MUMBAI: Competition is getting stronger with each passing round in the AICFB National Chess Championship with Kishan Gangolli of Karnataka and Soundarya Kumar Pradhan of Orissa in joint lead with 4.5 points at the end of the fifth round on Wednesday.
On the top board, Pradhan played with white pieces against Gangolli. Defending champion Pradhan chose the Gueen's Gambit Opening. While the top seed of the event Gangolli made a mistake in the opening, Pradhan played safely. As both players didn't want to take risks, Pradhan offered a draw on the 17th move, which Gangolli accepted immediately.
On the second board, Aryan B. Joshi of Maharashtra played with white pieces against Sing Surya Pratap of Madhya Pradesh. Surya Pratap opted for Philidor Defence and played passively. Aryan, the junior world championship silver medallist in France 2022, played aggressively. In the middle game, he won an extra piece and thereafter won the game comfortably.
Earlier, in the fourth round of the tournament, both Gangolli and Pradhan won their respective matches -- Pradhan upsetting second-seed Darpan Inani at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini Keshav Srushti, Bhayandar West, Mumbai.
On the top board, Gangolli played with white pieces against Aryan B. Joshi of Maharashtra. Gangolli opted for the Queen's Gambit, and Aryan went for the Slav Breyer Variation. On the 10th move, Aryan exchanged a pawn, which proved a mistake. Gangolli took advantage of the position and continued very strongly in a combination. He sacrificed his rook to get the attack, and finally Aryan surrendered on the 32nd move.
On the second board, defending champion Soundarya Kumar Pradhan of Odissa with white pieces played against Darpan Inani of Gujarat. Soundarya opted for Quenn's Gambit Exchange Variation and started attacking from the beginning. Inani played defensively but failed to sustain in front of Pradhan's attack. The player from Orissa prepared for a beautiful combination and, on the 21st move, sacrificed the rook. Inani accepted his defeat on the 26th move.
A total of 56 players (all visually challenged) have been selected to take part in this prestigious tournament based on their performance at the state and zonal chess tournaments conducted all over India.
The event will be used to select the Indian team of four players for the forthcoming World Individual Chess Championship in October in Greece. Twelve players in the categories of totally blind (B1) and partially blind (B2 & B3) will be selected for the upcoming Asian Para Games that will be held in October in Hangzhou, China.
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