Overnight sole leader G. Akash of Tamil Nadu escaped a loss to Saptarshi Roy of Railways in the 10th round to maintain his lead in the ongoing 50th National Challengers Chess Championship here Friday.
Playing with black pieces in unusual lines in Queen Pawn opening, the chances of Akash looked grim in the middle game but a costly blunder towards the end by Roy helped him to secure half point and settle for a draw.
It also helped Akash to maintain the slender half-point lead over International Master Debashis Das, who is in the lone second spot with eight points after signing the truce with Suvrajit Saha of Railways.
Eyeing for the qualification mark of top thirty for the National Premier, most of the top boards in the tenth round ended without decisive results.
Fide Master Diptayan Ghosh signed the peace with state mate Bitan Banerjee and is joint third spot along with Andhra Pradesh youngster M.L. Abhilash Reddy.
Reddy caused a flutter in the tenth round by shocking seventh seed International Master Saptarshi Roy Chouwdhury in a well fought game arrived out of Old Indian Defence.
Three more rounds are remaining in this championship and top thirty will qualify for the forthcoming National Premier Chess Championship which is scheduled to be held in West Bengal in October.
Round-10 :- IM Saptarshi Roy of Railways (7) drew with G Akash of Tamilnadu (8.5); IM Suvrajit Saha of Railways (7) drew with IM Debashis Das of Odisha (8); Bitan Banerjee of West Bengal (7) drew with FM Diptayan Ghosh of West Bengal (7.5); Ram S Krishnan of Tamilnadu (7) drew with IM Dinesh Sharma of LIC (7); N Sanjay of Karnataka (7) drew with Sidhant Mohapatra of Odisha (7); IM Sudhakar Babu of Indian Bank (7) drew with IM Praveen Kumar C of Railways (7); Ravi Teja S of Andhra Pradesh (7) drew with IM Murali Krishnan B T of Railways (7); IM Atanu Lahiri of LIC (7) drew with Sohan Phadke of Maharashtra (7); CRG Krishna of Andhra Pradesh (7) drew with K Praneeth Surya of Andhra Pradesh (7); Rajib Dhar of Assam (7) drew with Shashikant Kutwal of Railways (7); Abhilash Reddy M L of Andhra Pradesh (7.5) beat IM Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury of Railways (6); IM S Satyapragyan of Air India (7) beat IM Anup Deshmukh of LIC (6); IM Karthikeyan P of PSPB (7) beat FM Sayantan Das of West Bengal (6); FM Rajesh VAV of Tamilnadu (7) beat Vikramjit Singh of Railways (6); IM Ramnathan Balasubramaniam of Railways (7) beat IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh of Tamilnadu (6); IM Koshy Varugeese of PSPB (6.5) drew with S L Narayanan of Kerala (6.5); IM Rahul Shetty of Air India (7) beat Karthikeyan Murali of Tamilnadu (6); IM Rahul Sangma of Railways (6.5) drew with IM Chandrashekhar Gokhale of Air India (6.5); Syed Anwar Shazuli of Railways (6.5) drew with Pratik Patil of Maharashtra (6.5); Utkal Ranjan Sahoo of Odisha (6) lost to IM Singh D P of Railways (7); Abhishek Kelkar of Maharashtra (6) lost to Arun Karthik of Tamilnadu (7); Arvind Shastry of Karnataka (7) beat Yohan J of Kerala (6); Puneet Jaiswal of Delhi (5.5) lost to IM Swayams Mishra of Odisha (6.5); Abhimanyu Puranik of Maharashtra (5.5) lost to IM Girinath PDS of Railways (6.5); IM Prakash G B of Indian Bank (6) drew with Santu Mondal of West Bengal (6).