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Sriram Jha takes title

VIJAYAWADA, JUNE 27 . With a better progressive score, IM Sriram Jha of LIC emerged victorious in the Indian Oil Xtra Premium 42nd National `B' chess championship here on Sunday.

The progressive score came into picture as Jha was tied at ten points with Goodricke National Chess Academy's Saptarshi Roy, who stole the final round honours with an upset win over defending champion and GM R.B. Ramesh. Jha had a healthy progressive score of 76.5, while Saptharshi Roy 67.5.

``My goal is to earn the GM title'' announced the jubilant Jha (2386), who settled for a quick 12-move draw with IM Sundarrajan Kidambi of the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB).

WGM Dronavalli Harika of Wipro, who agreed for a truce with Rahul Shetty of Indian Airlines in just four moves, finished third with a better progressive score of 75 though she tallied 9.5 points tying with 13 others.

Entering the 13th round with a must-win situation, Ramesh faced an unusual opening from Saptharishi Roy. Also, Ramesh had to play with black pieces against Roy, for whom a draw was sufficient for securing a berth in the National `A' Championship. Ramesh's poor handling of the end game compounded the problem further and Roy, who had missed a berth in National `A' by a whisker in the last two editions, won the game in 53 moves.

M.R. Venkatesh (PSPB) qualified for the National `A', scheduled to be held in Jammu and Kashmir in December, along with Abhijeet Gupta (Raj), P. Mokal (BSB), Saptarishi Roy Chowdury (WB), R. Bandopadyay (WB), S. Kidambi (PSPB), Suvarjit Saha(WB), Deepan Chakravarthy (TNSCA), Rahul Shetty(IA), Vishal Sareen (LIC) and P. Konguvel(PSPB).

Grand Masters Koneru Humpy, S.S. Ganguly, Sandeepan Chanda, P. Harikrishna, Abhijit Kunte, Dibendra Barua, Tejas Bakre and IM Neelotpal Das have been already seeded for the National `A'.

Important results: Sriram Jha (10) drew with S. Kidambi (9.5); Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (9.5) drew with M.R. Venkatesh (9.5); P. Mokal (9.5) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (9.5); D. Harika (9.5) drew with Rahul Shetty (9.5); Saptarshi Roy (10) bt R.B. Ramesh (8.5); S. Meenakshi (8.5) lost to Vishal Sareen (9.5); D.V. Prasad (9) drew with T.S. Ravi (9); Sekhar Sahu (9.5) bt P.D.S. Girinath (8.5); R. Bandyopadyay (9.5) bt Nassir Wajih (8.5); R.R. Laxman (8.5) lost to Deepan Chakravarthy (9.5). — UNI

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