Lalith Babu becomes India's new IM

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Panaji, Sep 20 (UNI) Andra Pradesh youngester M R Lalith Babu (ELO 2328) became India's new International Master after he held top seed and Grandmaster Parimarajan Negi(ELO 2529) of Air India in a hard fought struggle lasting 72 moves after the eighth round of the Monginis 46th National ''B'' Chess Championship underway at Damodar Sausuthan Zaubaulim in South Goa, today.

Lalit had gained 49 points in Balaguer, Spain and with the National''B'' ELO 28 points he succeeded in crosing the 2400 mark and this gained the prestigious International Master title.

On the top of the board, overnight leder Fide Master P Shyam Nikhil was comprehensively beaten by International Master Sriram Jha (ELO 2429) of LIC in just 29 moves of a Ruy Lopez Exchange variation. Both the players were joined in the lead by much heralded International Master B Adhiban( ELO 2422) of Tamilandu who beat triple Grandmaster norm holder Gogineni Rohit (ELO 2457) in a crucial encounter to gain his 7th point and the Championship was thrown wide open.

The other brilliant display came from Asian Schools under 9 Broze medalist Anirudh Bhat. The underrated student smashed Vikas Kumar Sinha(ELO 2047) of Jharkhand in just 18 moves of French Advance Variation.

Among the girls, National Junior champions Bhkati Kulkarni(ELO 2166) could just manage a draw with R Sabrimuthu(ELO 2034) of Pondiochery. Her opponent confessed to having a weak position of her king at the end of the game. Ivana Furtado, Goa's other bright hope was terribly unlucky to lose a winning game in a colle system. The marathon struggle lasted 120 moves before the double world under 8 girls champion finally conceded the point.

UNI SRN AB CS KN2104

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