Khadi India 55th National Premier Chess Championship 2017 - Round 13 Print
Thursday, 09 November 2017 14:36

Round 13. Final.

By IA R. Anantharam


PSPB grandmaster Lalith Babu, scoring nine points, was crowned as the undisputed National Premier Chess Champion, thanks to Odisha’s grandmaster Debashis Das, who defeated the only other title seeker Aravindh Chithambaram of Tamil Nadu in the Khadi India National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. Irrespective of the loss, Aravindh scored 8.5 points to remain status quo in ranking - the runner up spot he secured by losing the final round to RR Laxman in 2016. Defending champion Karthikeyan could muster only the third position with 7.5 points. Debashis and SL Narayanan of Kerala were placed fourth and fifth with same number of points.

Lalith Babu receiving the Champions trophy from Sri. AK Tripathi Honourable Judge Patna High Court
Lalith Babu receiving the Champion's trophy from Sri. AK Tripathi, Honourable Judge, Patna High Court

Aravindh’s preference of Kings Indian defence was not beneficial to him, as Debashis attained a good positional advantage on 12th move itself. To add to the woes, Aravindh’s bad move of Ne5 on 18th move, for which he consumed just 18 seconds, gifted a winning position to his opponent. When Debashis’ c6- pawn attacked Aravindh’s bishop, the latter’s ploy of attacking the queen not only failed miserably, but also proved to be fatal. Debashis demolished Aravindh in just 28 moves.

Aravindh Chithambaram gets the runner up trophy
Aravindh Chithambaram gets the runner up trophy

In an equal position arising out of the Catalan opening, Lalith Babu surprised everybody by allowing GM Swapnil Dhopade to repeat the moves and get away with a draw claim in just 14 moves, shortest in terms of both moves and time. Later, the much relieved and elated Lalith Babu admitted that the pressure on him was too much and he boldly took the risk of splitting the point.

1. Lalith Babus draw against Swapnil Dhopade was sufficient for him to emerge champion
Lalith Babu's draw against Swapnil Dhopade was sufficient for him to emerge champion

The splendid performance of Railways international master Arghyadip Das took a back seat in the final round, when he lost to former national champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB. After castling on the queen side, Arghyadip gave up his bishop for a compensation of three pawns. His another knight sacrifice was unwarranted and Abhijit won in a relaxed manner with plenty of pieces in his kitty.

2. GM Dibyendu Barua is observing the game wherein Debashis Das dashed the hopes of Aravindh to win the title
GM Dibyendu Barua is observing the game wherein Debashis Das dashed the hopes of Aravindh to win the title

SL Narayanan of Kerala got the better of S Nitin of Railways in the Rubinstein variation of four knights game in 55 moves. Until move 41, the game predicted a draw. The course of the game changed, once Narayanan combined his queen and knight to make an assault on Nitin’s king. Failing to safeguard his knight and king, Nitin resigned.

3. Karthikeyan Murali played a draw with RR Laxman to finish third
Karthikeyan Murali played a draw with RR Laxman to finish third

In the clash between the tail enders GM Himanshu Sharma of Railways and Sammed Shete of Maharashtra, Himanshu brought a halt to his dry spell, by long waited first win in the tournament. In the Fianchetto variation of Grunfeld defence, Himanshu was in his elements during a series of exchanges in the middle game, finally fetching him an extra minor piece. Sammed resigned on the 47th move.

4. SL Narayanan finished fifth by beating S Nitin
SL Narayanan finished fifth by beating S Nitin

Defending champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu underperformed in the second half of the tournament and the final round was no exception. He conceded a draw to the national blitz champion RR Laxman of Railways in a Reti opening game in mere 30 moves, without any fight. In an English opening, Railways team mates internationalmaster P. Shyaamnikhil and GM Deepan Chakkravarthy quickly settled for a draw in 26 moves. Though White had a slightly better position, Shyaam could not convert it to a winning advantage.

5. Sammed Shete is the loss in the final round was the first win to Himanshu Sharma in the tournament
Sammed Shete is the loss in the final round was the first win to Himanshu Sharma in the tournament

Honourable Shri. Ajay Kumar Tripathy, Justice, Patna High Court was the chief guest and Shri. Bharat Singh Chauhan, Hon, Secretary, All India Chess Federation, former national champions GM Dibyendu Barua and GM Pravin Thipsay were the guest of honours, together with the president of the Organising Committee Sri. RR. Laxmanan, Sri. Rakesh Prasad, General Manager of NTPC, and Ms. Sangita Kumari, Regional Director of Khadi India.

6. Abhijit Kunte defeated Arghyadip Das in a good game
Abhijit Kunte defeated Arghyadip Das in a good game

Final ranking

1 GM  Lalith Babu M R  PSPB 
 9
2 GM  Aravindh Chithambaram Vr  TN  8½
3 GM  Karthikeyan Murali  TN  
4 GM  Debashis Das  ODI  
5 GM  Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan  KER  
6 IM  Nitin S.  RSPB  7
7 IM  Das Arghyadip  RSPB  7
8 GM  Kunte Abhijit  RSPB  
9 GM  Laxman R.R.  RSPB  
10 GM  Deepan Chakkravarthy J.  RSPB  6
11 GM  Swapnil S. Dhopade  RSPB  6
12  IM  Shyaamnikhil P  RSPB  5
13    Sammed Jaykumar Shete  MAH  4
14 GM  Himanshu Sharma  RSPB  3

7. Shyaamnikhil is about to make a move against Deepan Chakkravarthy
Shyaamnikhil is about to make a move against Deepan Chakkravarthy



Round 12


By IA R. Anantharam


Overnight joint leaders PSPB grandmaster MR Lalith Babu and Tamil Nadu’s GM Aravindh Chithambaram scored fluent wins in the twelfth and penultimate round, to be on par with each other, with 8.5 points, heading for an exciting and excellent finish of the Khadi India National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. If both players have a similar result in the final round, Lalith will pip Aravindh at the post, because of the Direct encounter tiebreak. Lalith had beaten Aravindh in the ninth round. For Aravindh to win the title, he has to score half point more than Lalithin in the 13th and final round.

1. Aravindh Chithambaram played a nice game to overcome Himanshu Sharma
Aravindh Chithambaram played a nice game to overcome Himanshu Sharma

Aravindh Chithambaram started dictating terms from the opening phase of the Petroff defence used by Himanshu Sharma, the grandmaster from Railways. By his prophylactic as well as attacking moves, Aravindh offered a pseudo sacrifice of his bishop on move 18, which was not accepted by Himanshu. Aravindh then sacrificed his knight, leaving the pawns ahead of Himanshu’s castled king in disarray. Himanshu had to give up the rook for a bishop to reduce the size of the artillery on attack. Aravindh slackened a bit to allow some counter play by the opponent, but pulled up his socks by combining his queen and two rooks intelligently to inflict a defeat on Himanshu in 49 moves.

2. Lalith Babu was equally impressive in defeating SL Narayanan
Lalith Babu was equally impressive in defeating SL Narayanan

The Modern system of Giuoco Piano between Lalith Babu and SL Narayanan provided no thrill for the first 31 moves and the game was evenly balanced. But Lalith slowly paraded his two rooks and the queen to focus on the weak f2 square. When the knight also joined the party for the attack, Lalith’s advantage grew tremendously. Narayanan moved his f2 pawn to f3 overlooking a simple knight sacrifice by Lalith, which led to the loss of queen or checkmate. Narayanan resigned immediately. Lalith is in good nick and he played with precision today.

3. Deeapn Chakkravarthy played lethargically to lose the game to S Nitin
Deeapn Chakkravarthy played lethargically to lose the game to S Nitin

Though the game looked like Bird’s opening, the two Railways players GM Deepan Chakkravarthy and IM S Nitin deviated from the opening theory. Nitin seized the initiative by fifth move itself, but his mistake on the tenth move brought him back to the ground zero level. When Deepan castled on the long side, Nitin sacrificed his bishop for two pawns to rip open the castled side. Nitin reached a winning position by 20th move itself. He forced a queen exchange on 32nd move to arrive at a rook and three pawns up position and Deepan declared his resignation.

4. Shyaamnikhil was inconsistent and paid the penalty to Sammed Shete
Shyaamnikhil was inconsistent and paid the penalty to Sammed Shete

Untitled Sammed Shete of Maharashtra had a consolation win over International master P. Shyaamnikhil of Railways. The latter played the Najdorf variation of Sicilian defence with an unusual 6th move. A similar opening by the former world championship finalist Boris Gelfand yielded victory over another ever green player Ivanchuk, but Shyaam had an opposite result. Sammed was in attacking mood today to pick up a rook for his knight on 26th move. Shyaam also lost his bishop for the opponent’s queen, which was obtained by pawn promotion. The rest was mere technique.

Arghyadip Das RR - Laxman
Arghyadip Das RR - Laxman

Railways international master Arghyadip Das with four GM norms to his credit employed the Classical exchange variation of the Slav defence against his team mate, grandmaster RR Laxman. With a periodical procession of all the pieces except the queen from the board to the table, they reached a symmetrical queen and pawn ending, wherein a draw agreement was signed after 25 moves.

Swapnil Dhopade -  Karthikeyan Murali
Swapnil Dhopade -  Karthikeyan Murali


World Cup winner Levon Aronian used the the Ragozin defence of Queens Gambit Declined to defeat former world champion Vishy Anand in 2015. But the defending champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu had to be satisfied with a draw in a rook vs rook and pawn ending against Railways grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade.

Abhijit Kunte was lucky to escape with a draw because of some miscalculations by Debashis Das
Abhijit Kunte was lucky to escape with a draw because of some miscalculations by Debashis Das

Odisha’s only grandmaster Debashis Das messed up in a completely winning game against former national champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB missing his pawn’s promotion to settle for a draw.

Ranking after Round 12

1 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB 1
2 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN 0
3 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN 7 1
4 IM Nitin S. RSPB 7 1
5 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB 7 1
6 GM Debashis Das ODI ½
7 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER ½
8 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB 6 0
9 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB
10 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB 1
11 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB ½
12 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB 0
13   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH 4 0
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB 2 0





Round 11

By IA R. Anantharam

Tamil Nadu grandmaster and 2016 Asian Junior champion Aravindh Chithamabaram defeated IM P. Shyaamnikhil of Railways to join the PSPB grandmaster MR Lalith Babu on cloud nine, at the end of the eleventh round of the Khadi India National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. Both have scored 7.5 points each and three players – defending champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu, SL Narayanan of Kerala and Arghyadip Das of Railways have scored one point less. The overnight leader Lalith Babu had a draw against Deepan Chakkravarthy of Railways.

1. Shyaamnikhil committed a harakiri against Aravindh Chithambaram
Shyaamnikhil committed a harakiri against Aravindh Chithambaram

The Reti opening handled by P. Shyaamnikhil against the title aspirant GM Aravindh Chithamabaram was flowing like calm river until move 36. Capitalising the White’s idle and dormant queen on h- file for 13 moves, Aravindh slowly targeted the king side. Under severe time pressure, Shyaam committed a harakiri, allowing Aravindh to nail his queen to the wall, blocking all its escape routes. Shyaam’s collapse happened in just four moves, out of the total 40 moves of the game. The story might have been different, had Shyaam used his queen’s full potential properly; he might have secured at least a draw.

2. RR Laxman lost to Debashis Das
RR Laxman lost to Debashis Das

Railways GM RR Laxman was determined to get away with a draw from his game against Odisha’s GM Debashis Das. It was transparent, when he repeated his knight to the same square thrice, in the middle game of a Ragozin defence Queens Gambit Declined game. But, Debashis who was not prepared for it, did not move his bishop to the same square for the third time, a basic condition for a draw claim. In the end game, Debashis had two isolated pawns, one of them supported by the advanced king and another by his rook and had no difficulty in beating Laxman.

3. Abhijit Kunte ended his drought beating winless  Himanshu Sharma
Abhijit Kunte ended his drought, beating winless  Himanshu Sharma

Former national champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB came out of the drought by registering his first win in the tournament over the winless GM Himanshu Sharma of Railways in a Scheveningen variation of Sicilian defence. Exchange of queens on the 23rd move provided a slight advantage to Abhijit. He held on to it for a facile win in 38 moves, when his e- pawn inched towards the promotion square with support from his knight and bishop. Hinanshu languishes at the bottom with 2 points.

4. Deepan Chakkravarthy lost his rhythm and drew with Lalith Babu
Deepan Chakkravarthy lost his rhythm and drew with Lalith Babu

Both Lalith Babu and Deepan Chakkravarthy judiciously mixed attack and defence to gain momentum in the Catalan opening by the former. At one stage, Deepan had a slight edge. Once the players moved into the second time control, Deepan could not continue his rhythm and Lalith had an obstinate defence to extract half a point in well fought 56 moves.

5. Sammed Shete put a full stop to his five consecutive losses by holding the birth day boy S Nitin
Sammed Shete put a full stop to his five consecutive losses by holding the birth day boy S Nitin

Sammed Shete heaved a sigh of relief, when he scored half a point in the game with Railways player S Nitin, to stop his string of five continuous losses. In the Spanish variation of the four knights game, Sammed readily gave up his rook for a knight and pawn to break open the safety of Nitin’s king. He also relinquished his queen for two rooks and a pawn. But Nitin was able to draw the game in a queen vs rook and bishop ending, though Sammed had three more pawns than Nitin.

6. Swapnil Dhopade secured a draw against SL Narayanan
Swapnil Dhopade secured a draw against SL Narayanan

GM SL Narayanan tried in vain to extricate full point against GM Swapnil Dhopade in a Cao Kann defence, by sacrificing his bishop and then his rook for a knight. But his tactics failed to bear any fruit. He had to force a draw by repeated checks with his queen to the Dhopade’s king on the edge of the board, in a rook down position.

7. Arghyadip Das had little difficulty  to hold Karthikeyan Murali to a draw
Arghyadip Das had little difficulty  to hold Karthikeyan Murali to a draw

Defending champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu never held any advantage in his game with Railways international master Arghyadip das, who started with the Keres variation of the Ruy Lopez opening. They had to settle for a draw in a knight and bishop ending.

Ranking after Round 11

1 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB
2 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN
3 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER
4 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN
5 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB
6 IM Nitin S. RSPB 6
7 GM Debashis Das ODI 6
8 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB
9 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB
10 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB 5
11 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB 5
12 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB
13   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH 3
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB 2




Round 10

By IA R. Anantharam

The PSPB grandmaster MR Lalith Babu from Andhra Pradesh came through with flying colours to lead the pack with seven points at the end of the tenth round of the Khadi India National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. When the co-leader Arvaindh Chithambaram and the three players on the second spot drew their respective games and with only three rounds remaining in the tournament, Lalith Babu realised that his win against low rated Sammed Shete of Maharashtra would put him in an enviable position. He also achieved it without much ado. Aravindh is the lone player with 6.5 points on the second position.


1. Sammed Shetes loss to Lalith Babu put Lalith at the top of the standings
Sammed Shete's loss to Lalith Babu put Lalith at the top of the standings

The Caro Kann defence employed by Lalith Babu had no hiccups until move 37, by which time the queens and many pieces were exchanged. Though Lalith had four pawns, all were individual islands compared to three connected pawns of Sammed at the centre. The rejuvenated Lalith’s extra drive, in combo with a weak 42nd move by Sammed, resulted in the loss of a knight and a bishop to Sammed against a rook for Lalith. The rest was routine. The debutant Sammed had an ignominious five losses in a row.

2. Himanshu Sharma remained at the bottom by losing to RR Laxman
Himanshu Sharma remained at the bottom by losing to RR Laxman

RR Laxman of Railways handled the Slav defence adopted by his team mate Himanshu Sharma comfortably and confidently. After exchanging the queen on 29th move, the loss of a pawn after nine more moves was inevitable to Himanshu. To prevent Laxman’s centre passer pawn moving to the last rank, Himnashu had to lose another pawn. When Himanshu had the choice of either losing his bishop or resignation, he preferred the latter.

3. Aravindh Chithambaram - S Nitin game was the first to finish
Aravindh Chithambaram - S Nitin game was the first to finish

Railways international master S. Nitin chose the Fischer Sozin attack of the Najdorf variation in Sicilian defence against the joint leader Aravindh. Najdorf variation is the favourite one played in this tournament, as well as that of Boris Gelfand, the World championship finalist against Vishy Anand in 2012. After opening up the king side in the early part of the game, Aravindh castled on the queen side. The rooks and pawns ending had no other choice than a draw.

5. Debashis forced a draw with Karthikeyan in a rook vs knight ending
Debashis forced a draw with Karthikeyan in a rook vs knight ending

Immediately after Aravindh finished the game, his team mate Karthikeyan followed him out of the hall with an agreed draw with Odisha’s grandmaster Debashis Das. Though Karthikeyan had a rook in lieu of Debashis’ knight in the end game, the latter forced a draw by repeated checks with his queen to the exposed king of Karthikeyan.


4. Deepan Chakkravarthy was content in splitting the point with SL  Narayanan
Deepan Chakkravarthy was content in splitting the point with SL  Narayanan

The Scotch game was played for the first time in the ten rounds of the tournament so far, between the in-form players GM Deepan Chakkravarthy of Railways and Kerala grandmaster SL Narayanan. After two successive wins, Deepan might have had the inclination to settle for a draw against a higher rated player, which was obvious from his moves. Though it was a same colour bishop and rook ending, both obtained half point each from the game after 38 moves.

7. Arghyadip Das and Swapnil Dhopade were involved in a draw
Arghyadip Das and Swapnil Dhopade were involved in a draw

The Catalan opening by Railways grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade with another Railway player IM Arghyadip Das failed to bring out any positive result. With both players reluctant to indulge in severe attack, the bishop vs knight ending was a 60 move peace treaty.

6. Abhijit Kunte - Shyaamnikhil encounter was a 59 move draw
Abhijit Kunte - Shyaamnikhil encounter was a 59 move draw

In the Fianchetto variation of the Grunfeld defence, international master P. Shyaamnikhil of Railways held former national champion GM Abhijit Kunte of PSPB in 59 moves. Though it was a four pawns and same colour bishop ending, both kings could not penetrate the defence to gain entry into the opposite half of the board.

Ranking after Round 10

1 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB 7
2 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN
3 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN 6
4 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB 6
5 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER 6
6 IM Nitin S. RSPB
7 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB
8 GM Debashis Das ODI 5
9 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB 5
10 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB
11 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB
12 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB 4
13   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB 2

 


Round 9

By IA R. Anantharam

PSPB grandmaster MR Lalith Babu turned the tables beating the hitherto leader GM Aravindh Chithambaram if Tamil Nadu in the ninth round of the Khadi India 55th National Premier Chess Championship 2017, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. In spite of the defeat, Aravindh shared the lead with his conqueror with 6 points each. The field has been thrown open by Lalith, as three more players SL Narayanan of Kerala, Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu and Arghyadip Das of closed in with 5.5 points each. The game is crucial for Lalith, as in case of a tie with Aravindh in the final ranking, he will enjoy the direct encounter benefit. Five decisive wins equalled the 4th round record for the most number of wins in a round.

1. Lalith Babu turned the tables by beating Aravindh Chithambaram
Lalith Babu turned the tables by beating Aravindh Chithambaram

In the exchange variation of Grunfeld defence, Aravindh was forced to lose a pawn on 16th move. Lalith’s bishop outpost at the centre of the board had a telling effect and he slowly strengthened his grip on the game. Aravindh resigned on 46th move, when his opponent’s pawn was promoted to become a queen. Aravindh did not play true to his potential but Lalith Babu’s energetic play has to be taken into cognizance at the same time.

2. Swapnil could do nothing against Deepan Chakkravarthy in the Caro Kann defence
Swapnil could do nothing against Deepan Chakkravarthy in the Caro Kann defence

In the game of the day, GM Deepan Chakkravarthy displayed his tremendous attacking prowess against GM Swapnil Dhopade, his team mate from Railways in a Caro Kann defence of two knights variation. When Swapnil castled on the queen side, Deeapn sacrificed a pawn on a- file to expose the Black king. Not satisfied with this, he stunningly gave up his queen for a bishop and knight. He skilfully manoeuvred his knight, rook and bishop to chase the king, searching for a place of safety. Swapnil’s queen, rook and bishop were silently watching his king running helter skelter, from another half of the board. A solid win for Deepan in 41 moves.

3. Himanshu Sharma lost to  Karthikeyan Murali
Himanshu Sharma lost to  Karthikeyan Murali

Another queen side castling of the day led to a win for defending champion Karthikeyan, wherein his opponent GM Himanshu Sharma of Railways played the closed variation of Ruy Lopez. The queens were sent off the board by ninth move itself. Karthikeyan positioned his rook and bishop well to deny the castling advantage to Himanshu. Karthikeyan gained the vital base of the three connected pawns of Himanshu on 27th turn of moves. Another exchange of rooks created a double pawn structure, resulting in a knight vs bishop ending. Karthikeyan’ passer pawn tilted the game in his favour after 64 moves.

4. Sammed Shetes fourth consecutive loss was against   - SL Narayanan
Sammed Shete's fourth consecutive loss was against   - SL Narayanan

SL Narayanan brought him back into contention with a convincing win over Sammed Jaykumar Shete of Maharashtra in the English Anglo Slav system, later transposed to Reti. In fact, Sammed had a better position up to 30th move, irrespective of Narayanan exchanging his knight and bishop for a rook. He made a weak 32nd move and Narayanan did not hesitate to seize the opportunity. As both had a couple of errors, the game was swinging in balance on either side and the game was poised for a draw by move 41. But, Narayanan had the last laugh, when Sammed was forced to lose his bishop while exchanging the queen, his fourth loss in a row.

5. GM Abhijit Kunte was at the receiving end against S. Nitin
GM Abhijit Kunte was at the receiving end against S. Nitin

GM Abhijit Kunte of PSPB was at the receiving ends in his Taimanov variation of the Sicilian defence against Railways IM S. Nitin in a good game. The latter offered a typical Bxh7 sacrifice, which was not accepted by Abhijit. Nitin’s f- pawn made quick run to the seventh rank, immobilising Abhijit’s king. Abhijit would have been checkmated in a couple of moves, had he not resigned on 33rd move. The grandmaster’s downfall was catalysed by Nitin’s active knight and bishops.

7. GM RR Laxman and IM  Shyaamnikhil had a mutual agreement
GM RR Laxman and IM  Shyaamnikhil had a mutual agreement

IM P. Shyaamnikhil of Railways fianchettoed his bishops on both flanks in the Reti opening against his ICF team mate GM RR Laxman. They waited to complete the required number of 25 moves before agreeing for a draw.

6. Debashis Das drew with Arghyadip Das
Debashis Das drew with Arghyadip Das

The Queens Gambit Declined game between the two players having same surname Das in the tournament – IM Arghyadip of Railaways and GM Debashis of Odisha also ended in a similar fashion after 26 moves.

Ranking after Round 9

1 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB 6
2 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN 6
3 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER
4 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN
5 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB
6 IM Nitin S. RSPB 5
7 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB
8 GM Debashis Das ODI
9 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB
10 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB 4
11 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB 4
12 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB
13   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB 2




Round 8

By IA R. Anantharam

The 2016 Asian Junior champion GM Aravindh Chithambaram of Tamil Nadu stole the limelight again to stretch his lead to a full point at the end of the eighth round of the Khadi India 55th National Premier Chess Championship 2017, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. He defeated Kerala’s grandmaster SL Narayanan to increase his tally to 6 points. Lowly placed Railway’s international master P. Shyaamnikhil twisted the proceedings of the tournament with a shocking win over the defending champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu.

1. GM Aravindh Chithambaram consolidated the lead with a win over GM SL Narayanan
GM Aravindh Chithambaram consolidated the lead with a win over GM SL Narayanan

A pyrotechnic display was expected between the two hard fighting youngsters Aravindh and Narayanan. But Aravindh started dictating terms when the opening phase of the Closed Ruy Lopez transformed to middle game. Though Narayanan’s queen, rook, bishop and knight were attacking the weak f2 square at one point, Aravindh was in no mood to exchange the pieces to reduce the crowded opponent’s pieces. The series of assault by both players culminated in Aravindh having three connected pawns on the king side to the lone pawn of Narayanan, besides each having a pawn on a- file. Narayanan’s attempts to convert his a- pawn to a queen were in vain. Once Aravindh prevented Narayanan’s king entry into his pawn territory, the latter resigned.

2. Defending champion Karthikeyans shocking loss to IM P Shyaamnikhil changed the proceedings of the tournament
Defending champion Karthikeyan's shocking loss to IM P Shyaamnikhil changed the proceedings of the tournament

Najdorf variation of Sicilian defence has become a hot cake in the championship and two victories were recorded today using this defence. Shyaamnikhil and GM Deepan Chakkravarthy were the victors; Karthikeyan and Sammed Jaykumar Shete of Maharashtra were the victims. Karthikeyan might have been surprised, by the rook exchange of Shyaam for a knight on the 29th move. At one stage, the rook vs knight ending fetched Shyaam three extra pawns due to Karthikeyan’s improper handling of pieces. Shyaam won the race to queen the pawn first and also the well deserved point.

3. IM Arghyadip Das moved to second position by beating GM Himanshu Sharma
IM Arghyadip Das moved to second position by beating GM Himanshu Sharma

The Railway players IM Arghyadip Das – GM Himanshu Sharma clash emanated from Robatsch Modern defence of 3 pawns attack. Though Arghyadip obtained a huge advantage by move 33 due to a couple of errors by Himanshu, he could not convert to a win immediately, due to passive play. Arghyadip’s chances even slowly diminished about 25 moves later. Only in the rook and pawns ending, he revealed his class and subdued Himanshu in 74 moves. The win puts Arghyadip in second spot in the ranking, together with Lalith Babu with five points.

4. GM Deepan Chakkravarthy recorded the much needed win against Sammed Shete
GM Deepan Chakkravarthy recorded the much needed win against Sammed Shete

Former Asian Junior champion Deepan Chakkravarthy returned to his winning ways after three losses and two draws by outplaying Sammed Jaykumar Shete of Maharashtra. Sammed tasted victory in the fifth round game, wherein he castled on the queen side. A similar action today could not help him, as Deepan attacked steadily, not allowing his opponent to settle down. Sammed lost two pawns because of a series of exchanges at the advent of the middle game. Once the queens were exchanged on the 26th move, Deepan took complete command. Already on the verge of losing, Sammed committed a blunder in the final minutes of the first time control and Deepan had no difficulty in pocketing a point.

7. The third draw of the Round 8 was between GM Swapnil DHopade and GM Debashis Das
The third draw of the Round 8 was between GM Swapnil DHopade and GM Debashis Das

Railways grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade began with the Trompowsky attack, played by Magnus Carlsen in the first game of the 2016 World Chess Championship against Sergey Karjakin. Understanding the theory very well, his opponent Odisha’s grandmaster Debashis Das accepted the challenge to get a doubled pawn on the would be castled king side. Though Swapnil had a pawn and knight to the lone bishop of Debashis in the end game, the latter had no difficulty to hold, as his bishop was controlling the promotion square from the long side.

6. The Railways  ICF  teammates also drew their game
The Railways & ICF  teammates also drew their game

In the Kings Indian defence against S Nitin of Railways, his ICF team mate Laxman was satisfied with the outcome of the result – a draw. In the queen and knight vs queen and knight ending, Nitin had perpetual checks to his opponent’s king, forcing a draw in 44 moves.

5. PSPB team mates GM Abhijit Kunte and Lalith Babu split the point
PSPB team mates GM Abhijit Kunte and Lalith Babu split the point

A friendly draw was the outcome in the English opening between the two PSPB players, former national champion Abhijit Kunte and 2012 Commonwealth champion MR Lalith Babu.

The organisers have seized the opportunity of the presence of eminent chess personalities in Patna for the Premier Championship. Players gathering in large numbers for witnessing the games were benefitted by lectures from international master Sagar Shah, a charted accountant, who has elevated the chess journalism to new heights in India, a series of training classes by FIDE Trainer TJ Suresh Kumar, Treasurer of All Kerala Chess Association and a motivating speech by Rakesh Rao, a chess player and reporter of a leading newspaper.

Ranking after Round 8

1 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN 6
2 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB 5
3 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB 5
4 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN
5 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER
6 IM Nitin S. RSPB 4
7 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB 4
8 GM Debashis Das ODI 4
9 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB 4
10 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB
11 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB
12 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB
13   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB 2

 

A motivating chess lecture by Rakesh rao
A motivating chess lecture by Rakesh Rao

IM Sgar Shah conducted a workshop for the players
IM Sgar Shah conducted a workshop for the players

TJ Suresh Kumars lectures were much benificial
TJ Suresh Kumar's lectures were much benificial


Round 7

By IA R. Anantharam

Eighteen year old grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram of Tamil Nadu maintained his slender half point lead at the end of the seventh round of the Khadi India National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. He has scored 5 points, and the top four players of the tournament are occupying the first four slots in the ranking. Three grandmasters – defending champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu, Lalith Babu of PSPB and SL Narayanan of Kerala have scored 4.5 points each. Playing for a draw against his Madurai city mate GM Deepan Chakkravarthy of Railways, Aravindh achieved it after a long 102 moves fight.

GM Lalith Babu had a convincing win over GM Laxman
GM Lalith Babu had a convincing win over GM Laxman

In the Catalan opening game by Lalith Babu, Laxman unnecessarily exchanged his comparatively active queen with relatively less active Lalith’s queen on move 21. The latter was able to control the c-file with his doubled rook. When Laxman forced a rook exchange, he lost a pawn. In the ensuing knigjts and pawns ending, Lalith cleverly broke the opponent’s four connected pawn chain. Laxman acknowledged his defeat, when his a- pawn was about to be captured, leaving an outside passer pawn to Lalith.

Sammed met with two losses in 6th and 7th rounds the victor in 7th round being GM - Swapnil Dhopade
Sammed met with two losses in 6th and 7th rounds; the victor in 7th round being GM - Swapnil Dhopade

Railways grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade, won against the untitled Sammed Jaykumar Shtte of Maharashtra with black pieces. In his Caro Kann defence, the weak eleventh move by Sammed provided a big advantage to Swapnil. The advantage increased to manifold when Sammed captured the unsupported e4- pawn on 21st move. Swapnil converged all his five pieces on the a– and c- files to deliver a mate. Sammed realised that his rook as well as as pawn sacrifice offers did not divert Swapnil from his master plan and accepted his defeat in just 29 moves.

In a game of fluctuating fortunes Debashis defeated Himanshu
In a game of fluctuating fortunes, Debashis defeated Himanshu

In a game of fluctuating fortunes, Odisha’s only grandmaster Debashis Das held the upper hand finally against Haryana’s lone grandmaster Himanshu Sharma, now working for Railways Sicilian defence. Himanshu had a better position in the middle game; but buckled under time pressure to pass the advantage button to Debashis. When Himanshu was slowly losing the grip in the game, Deabashis’s pawn capture with his rook on 43rd move took away all his winning chances. Within seconds after breathing fresh air for a new life, Himanshu did not utilise the opportunity to split the point. Instead, he committed two more mistakes in successive moves to make a memorable present to Debashis.

IM Shyaamnikhil lost to IM Arghyadip
IM Shyaamnikhil lost to IM Arghyadip

In the Scheveningen variation of Sicilaian defence, international master P. Shyaamnikhil committed a mistake on 20th move to lose the game to his team mate Arghyadip Das after two more moves. His accurate play at this juncture might have given him some advantage.

Kunte - SL
Kunte - SL

In another Sicilian defence, Kerala’s grandmaster SL Nanrayanan kept his second spot in ranking intact, when he conceded a draw to former national champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB. There was nothing extra ordinary in the 35 move game, as the opening moves advantage of Narayanan was neutralised by Abhijit’s counter play.

Deepan - Aravindh
Deepan - Aravindh

When the extended Modern defence game had a smooth sailing for both players, Aravindh Chithambaram made a minor mistake on the 30th move. Though Deepan had one pawn in excess, his doubled a-pawn did not look like a big threat. But, when Deepan’s a5 – pawn started its march, Aravindh realised that some danger is brewing and sacrificed his bishop to get those two pawns off the board. In the end game of rook and bishop vs rook, Aravindh exhibited a perfect defence for a hard earned draw.

Karthikeyan - Nitin
Karthikeyan - Nitin

Defending champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu played it safe against another Tamil Nadu player S Nitin of Railways in a Ruy Lopez game. They repeated their bishops thrice to the same positions to claim a draw.

Ranking after Round 7

1 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN 5
2 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN
3 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB
4 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER
5 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB 4
6 IM Nitin S. RSPB
7 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB
8 GM Debashis Das ODI
9 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB
10 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB 3
11   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH
12 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB
13 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB 2

The players in front of 80 feet Budhha statue on the rest day
The players in front of 80 feet Budhha statue on the rest day


Round 6

By IA R. Anantharam


Tamil Nadu grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram emerged sole leader with 4.5 points in the Khadi India 55th National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemon Tree Hotel, Patna today. Half a point behind him are his team mate and defending champion Karthikeyan Murali, who had a good win over PSPB player MR Lalith Babu and Kerala’s SL Narayanan. After six hectic rounds, tomorrow is a rest day.

Once again Aravindh’s patient waiting game paid dividends, this time against Sammed. Both traded their queens on 17th move in the Reti opening transposed to Grunfeld game to display an enterprising fight. Aravindh played an attacking game and Sammed did not fall behind. Sammed understood the opponent’s tactical play and answered them readily, but had to lose a pawn to bring his rook into activity. Aravindh played an exceptional rook and pawns ending to record the third win in six rounds, the most in the tournament so far.

Karthikeyan dealt a heavy blow to the hitherto joint leader grandmaster Lalith Babu and crushed him in just 30 moves. In the Caro Kann defence played by Karthikeyan, he wisely chose to castle on the queen side on 12th move. Besides, he launched a heavy attack on the king side, never allowing Lalith to castle. While his bishop was under attack, Karthikeyan sacrificed his knight for two pawns to reach a good position. His queen, rook and bishops were in total control over the board; whereas Lalith’s rook was caged on a7 by his own two pawns. Though Karthikeyan was adrift of one minor piece, Lalith could not find a place to hide his king from checkmate.

The two international masters from Railways - S Nitin and Arghyadip Das drew their game
The two international masters from Railways - S Nitin and Arghyadip Das drew their game

The two international masters from Railways – S Nitin and Arghyadip Das played out a 25 move draw in a game arising from Najdorf variation of Sicilain defence. Eyeing on the requirement of six points for the GM norm, both players might have been reluctant to take risk. Another Najdorf variation game between the Railways international master P. Shyaamnikhil and Odisha’s grandmaster Debashis Das had a similar result. Shyaam’s double bishop advantage could not help him to gain momentum.

Former Asian Junior champion Deepan Chakkravarthy of ICF was happy to wriggle out from three consecutive losses. After the exchange of queens on 14th move, they reached an almost symmetrical position in a rook, knight and five pawns each ending. The game lasted for 26 moves.

Another 26 moves draw was the Queens Gambit declined duel between national blitz champion RR Laxman of Railways and SL Narayanan of Kerala, the highest rated player in the tournament after the release November ratings. Narayanan’s good performance in the Isle of Man tournament won by Magnus Carlsen earned him 17 valuable rating points.

The bishop and knight ending led to a draw in 69 moves in the game between the Railway grandmasters Himanshu Sharma and Swapnil Dhopade.

Rankings after Round 6

1 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN
2 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN 4
3 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER 4
4 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB
5 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB
6 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB 3
7 IM Nitin S. RSPB 3
8 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB
9 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB
10   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH
11 GM Debashis Das ODI
12 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB
13 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB 2
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB 2



After three losses GM Deepan Chakkravarthy split the point with GM Abhijit Kunte
After three losses, GM Deepan Chakkravarthy split the point with GM Abhijit Kunte

Aravindh Chithambaram scored a win over Sammed Jaykumar Shette
Aravindh Chithambaram scored a win over Sammed Jaykumar Shette

Defending champion Karthikeyan Murali was in good form against Lalith Babu
Defending champion Karthikeyan Murali was in good form against Lalith Babu

GM Debashis Das played out a formal draw with IM P Shyaamnikhil
GM Debashis Das played out a formal draw with IM P Shyaamnikhil

GM SL Narayanan slipped to second spot after the game against GM RR Laxman
GM SL Narayanan slipped to second spot after the game against GM RR Laxman

The Railway grandmasters pair Swapnil Dhopade and Himanshu Sharma had to settle for draw after 69 moves
The Railway grandmasters pair Swapnil Dhopade and Himanshu Sharma had to settle for draw after 69 moves


Round 5: Aravindh Chithambaram joins the leaders

By IA R. Anantharam

Former runner up in the World Youth Under 16 championship and grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram of Tamil Nadu defeated GM Swapnil Dhopade of Railways to join two more grandmasters SL Narayanan of Kerala and MR Lalith Babu of PSPB at the top after the fifth round of the Khadi India 55th National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at LemonTree Hotel, Patna today. GM RR Laxman of Railways who had a creditable win over his ICF teammate Deepan Chakkravarthy and national champion Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu are half a point behind the leaders with three points each.

When all the pieces were exchanged, except a rook, the Caro Kann defence played by Swapnil Dhopade seemed heading for a draw. The placement of the five pawns was also symmetrical. But the never say die spirit of the young boy from Tamil Nadu had other ideas. Aravind offered a pawn break at a5, but his opponent did not accept it. When Swapnil made a mistake of allowing Aravindh’s rook to the eighth rank, the latter made use of the chances to script a win by a beautiful rook sacrifice.

In the Giuco Piano opening, both Laxman and Deepan attacked and counter attacked to produce a complicated position in the middle game. Laxman’s pawn even made inroads into the seventh rank by move 23. When Laxman, with his knight captured Deepan’s rook on d1, the latter’s ploy might have been correct. But, instead of picking up the knight, Deepan made a blunder by sacrificing his queen on 34th move. His calculations for a checkmate did not work out, with only his rook and bishop in active play. Laxman won exactly after 40 moves, his second win on the trot and it was a hat trick of losses to Deepan.

Untitled Sammed Jaykumar Shetty scored an upset win over GM Abhijit Kunte
Untitled Sammed Jaykumar Shetty scored an upset win over GM Abhijit Kunte


The only untitled player Sammed Jaykumar Shette of Maharashtra scored his first win of the tournament at the expense of former national champion and experienced grandmaster Abhijit Kunte of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board. Though queen side castling is not rare in the Taimanov variation of Sicilian defnce, Sammed’s action at a time when the queen side pawns of Abhijit were moving ahead was a surprise. When Sammed’s two rooks and queen fell in line on the g- file to axe the opponent’s king, Abhijit made a weak move Rff8, overlooking the rook sacrifice by Sammed for a checkmate. Abhijit did not hesitate to resign immediately.

The first ten moves of the encounter between grandmaster MR Lalith Babu of PSPB and international master Arghyadip Das was a repetition of the third round game of the World Cup finals played by Levon Aronian and Ding Liren. The English opening did not provide any thrill and the arbiter had to accept the draw claim by three fold repetition before 25 moves. In the Scandinavian affair between S Nitin of Railways and Debashis Das of Odisha, the two players signed the peace treaty after 34 moves in a knight and pawns ending.

Former Under 12 & under 16 world champion Karthikeyan could not maintain the tempo to a winning advantage in the Philidor’s defence played by him against SL Narayanan. He had to be content with a draw in 43 moves. The result in the Sicilian defence by grandmaster Himanshu against his teammate P. Shyaamnikhil also ended without any favour to both.

Ranking after Round 5

1 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN
2 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER
3 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB
4 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN 3
5 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB 3
6 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB
7   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH
8 IM Nitin S. RSPB
9 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB 2
10 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB 2
11 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB 2
12 GM Debashis Das ODI 2
13 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB

Aravindh Chithambaram defeated - Swapnil Dhopade in a rook and pawn ending
Aravindh Chithambaram defeated - Swapnil Dhopade in a rook and pawn ending

Deepan Chakkravarthy was again on the losing side - this time against Laxman
Deepan Chakkravarthy was again on the losing side - this time against Laxman


Round 4

By R. Anantharam, International Arbiter


GM MR Lalith Babu of PSPB and GM SL Narayanan shared the lead with 3 points each at the end of the fourth round of the Khadi India 55th National Premier Chess Championship, organised by All Bihar Chess Association at Lemontree Hotel, Patna, today. The Tamil Nadu grandmasters Aravindh Chithambaram and Karthikeyan Murali are trailing behind the players by half a point. Apart from the above four players, Railways’ GM Swapnil Dhopade was also on the winning side today, marking the most number of wins in the tournament in a single day so far.

Playing Black, Grandmaster MR Lalith Babu made a Wei Yi like king walk and ran away with a scintillating win over GM Debashis Das in the Karpov variation of Nimzo Indian defence game. In a similar fashion to the game between the grandmasters Ivan Bukashvin, who died at the young age of 20 and Igor Lysyj in the Russian Superfinals 2015, Debashis went for Nxf7 sacrifice. While Lysij made another bishop sacrifice to force a draw, Debashis sacrificed his bishop, only to lose. Lalith Babu’s king travelled from e1 to h4 but retreated successfully and gave back one of his minor pieces, to consolidate the win in just 29 moves.

Deepan wanted to exchange the dark coloured bishop on 18th Bg5 move against Karthikeyan hoping to bring his queen into king side attack. The move backfired as Karthikeyan attacked back with f4. Deepan’s counter attack, opening the castled king side failed, resulting in the mopping up his entire king side pawns in a span of nine moves. Deepan could not sustain the pressure and resigned on 41st move, when Karthikeyan’s e-pawn made steady march to eighth rank.

3. 2016 champion Karthikeyan Murali right was the winner in the game against Deepan Chakkravarthy
2016 champion Karthikeyan Murali (right) was the winner in the game against Deepan Chakkravarthy

National Blitz champion RR Laxman, working for ICF of Railways heaved a sigh, when he recorded the much needed win over Maharashtra’s Sammed Jaykumar Shette, the lowest rated player in the tournament, after a series of incorrect moves from both players. Sammed’s Ra5 to attack Laxman’s doubled pawns proved to be futile. In a totally winning position, Laxman too made a weak move to bring the game back to equality. Like Lalith Babu, Laxman had another king walk from g1 to e8, even in the presence of queen and rook for both players. When the queens were exchanged on 56th move, Sammed had no other choice than to resign after two more moves.

In the Scotch game between SL Narayanan and Arghyadip Das, the queens were exchanged after 29 moves. With both having two rooks and six pawns, Narayanan had a superior pawn structure in the middle game. By exchanging a rook, Narayanan was left with a king, rook and a pawn to that of king and rook of Arghyadip. When Narayanan’s king was well ahead to protect his pawn for a safe travel to the furthest rank, Arghyadip accepted his defeat in 66 moves. IM P. Shyaamnikhil of Railways did not handle the Modern defence properly against his teammate and runner up in National Challengers GM Swapnil Dhopade and paid for the penalty in 57 moves. His improper piece placements facilitated Swapnil’s pieces into hyper activity. Though both queened their pawns, Swapnil’s agile queen and rook helped him to post a win comfortably.

The knight ending between former national champion evolving from Reti opening between GM Aravindh Chithambaram, the youngest Indian to win a GM tournament and GM Abhijit Kunte, a veteran of several national Premier championships was a 40 move truce. Railway teammates GM Himanshu Sharma and S Nitin had quick 25 moves draw before which they cannot agree as per the regulations.

Ranking after Round 4

1 GM Lalith Babu M R PSPB 3
2 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan KER 3
3 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. TN
4 GM Karthikeyan Murali TN
5 GM Kunte Abhijit PSPB 2
6 IM Das Arghyadip RSPB 2
7 GM Laxman R.R. RSPB 2
  GM Swapnil S. Dhopade RSPB 2
9 IM Nitin S. RSPB 2
10 IM Shyaamnikhil P RSPB
11   Sammed Jaykumar Shete MAH
  GM Debashis Das ODI
13 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. RSPB
14 GM Himanshu Sharma RSPB 1


1. GM Lalith Babu right had a scintillating win over GM Debashis Das
GM Lalith Babu (right) had a scintillating win over GM Debashis Das

2. Narayananan joined Lalith in the lead by beating  Arghyadip Das
Narayananan joined Lalith in the lead by beating  Arghyadip Das

4. RR Laxman right recorded his first win gainst Sammed Jaykumar Shette
RR Laxman (right) recorded his first win, gainst Sammed Jaykumar Shette

5. Swapnil Dhopade had no problem in beating IM  Shyamnikhil
Swapnil Dhopade had no problem in beating IM  Shyamnikhil
 
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