BHUBANESWAR: Close battles proved the order of the day but Petroleum continued its winning spree to emerge as the only leader in both sections of the National team chess championship here on Saturday.
Petroleum men got past fourth-seeded Air India 3-1 with G.N. Gopal and M. Karthikeyan contributing to the winning margin from the lower boards.
For the second time in three days, spearhead Surya Shekhar Ganguly was held after facing a determined N. Srinath in 74 moves. B. Adhiban, playing black, settled for a 36-move draw against Swayams Mishra.
Gopal crushed an off-form Tejas Bakre in just 24 moves to put the team ahead. This was Bakre’s first defeat following three successive draws against far lesser-rated players. Karthikeyan squeezed out an important win from an equal position in 51 moves after local IM S. Satyapraygan faltered in the endgame.
The two Railway teams played out a hard-fought 2-2 draw to share the second spot. Second seed Airports Authority of India (AAI) bounced from the third-round defeat to outplay 10th seed Odisha ‘A’ but not before GM M. Shyam Sundar was held by Sambit Panda in 48 moves.
Among the women, Petroleum scraped past third seed AAI 2.5-1.5 but the defeat of three-time National champion Mary Ann Gomes to Srija Seshadri hurt the winning team.
AAI’s Sakshi Chitlange also did well by holding Soumya Swaminath. After Eesha Karavade had beaten Parnali Dharia, the fourth-board triumph of National champion Padmini Rout over V. Varshini saw the team through.
Open (fourth round): Petroleum (8) bt Air India (6) 3-1; Railways ‘A’ (7) drew with Railways ‘B’ (7) 2-2; AAI (6) bt Odisha ‘A’ (5) 3.5-0.5; Defence Accounts (4) lost to LIC (6) 1-3; Bengal ‘A’ (6) bt Assam (4) 3.5-0.5; Odisha MCF-1 (4) lost to Odisha-KIIT (6) 1.5-2.5.
Women (third round): AAI (4) lost to Petroleum (6) 1.5-2.5; Air India (5) bt Punjab (2) 4-0; Tamil Nadu (4) bt Odisha-KIIT (3) 2.5-1.5; LIC (4) bt Telangana (2) 3.5-0.5; Odisha-MCF-5 (4) bt HP (1) 3-1; Karnataka (3) bt HP ‘A’ (0) 4-0.