Chennai, Feb 13 (UNI) Grand Master G N Gopal of Kerala, representing Petroleum Sports Board, drew level with leader and defending champion Surya Sekhar Ganguly of Indian Oil in the eleventh round of the Velammal 'National A' Chess Championship here today. With two more rounds left, Gopal and Ganguly have eight points each. One point behind them were M R Venkatesh and SP Sethuraman, both Tamil Nadu, Abhijit Kunte, Maharashtra and K Rathnakaran of Kerala.
After getting his second GM norm, 26-year old M S Thejkumar of Karnataka had lost both the games. After being 1.5 ahead, two days ago, Ganguly lost one game and drew one to share the lead with Gopal. He just managed to draw his game against S Arun Prasad of Tamil Nadu.
Arun Prasad played well with a bishop sacrifice on the 24th move to emerge on the winning position from the black side of a Sicilian Paulsen. But he missed his way and reached an ending, in which, he had an extra pawn and a knight against an ineffective bishop.
However, with few pawns left on the board, Ganguly was able to draw in 74 moves.
In a clash between GMs, Gopal had it easy against R B Ramesh. On the 17th turn, Ramesh captured a pawn with a rook and lost it for a bishop. He gave up after another 13 moves. Veteran GM Dibyendu Barua defeated Roktim Bandopadhyay in 22 moves with the black pieces.
M R Venkatesh was beaten by Velammal school boy and IM Sethuraman, who played a tight positional game for 29 moves. After seven violent moves of attack and counter-attack, Venkatesh resigned.
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