One of the most experienced Grandmasters at the 47th Premier National Chess Championship, Abhijeet Kunte has witnessed many ups and downs in a domestic career spanning over 15 years. As a result, he is not prone to disappointment or excitement.
But his defeat to International Master Himanshu Sharma in the third round on Thursday was a bit unpalatable, as the GM from Pune could not make the most of a good position.
Playing with white pieces, Kunte started with the queen-pawn opening and things seemed to be going well for him after Sharma opted for the Slav Defence. But in the middle game, Kunte miscalculated and gave away his bishop for two pawns and the loss of material haunted him till the end. He also lost the pawn advantage and resigned after 44 moves.
The win helped Sharma join the leading pack with 2.5 points from three rounds. He was sharing the lead with five others –Tejas Bakre, Abhijeet Gupta, S Arun Prasad, Sriram Jha and S Kidambi.
Jha played out a draw with Arun Prasad as did Kidambi and Bakre. Gupta defeated MS Thej Kumar with white pieces.
Thej Kumar opted for the Budapest Gambit against Gupta, who launched a pawn storm on the queen side to win the game in just 25 moves.
On the third board, youngster Vidit Gujrathi, silver medallist in the World U-16 Championship recently, held top seed GN Gopal to a draw in 21 moves by repetition of position.