If MR Venkatesh blames his inability to bag his biggest title on a flat tyre and city traffic, don't dismiss it as another eccentricity of a chess player.
Venkatesh was the sole leader for the last four rounds going into Friday's 11th round of the Tata 50th National Premier Chess Championship. Forced to concede his match after failing to reach on time, he now shares the top spot with three others with two rounds to go.
R Anantharam, chief arbiter for this tournament, said this was the first time in the senior national championship in India that the leader had to concede his match thus since the rule became mandatory on July 1, 2009. "It once happened in the Chinese championship in 2009," Anantharam said.
Venkatesh said he left his central Kolkata lodgings for the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra, the venue, some six km away, an hour before the 2.30pm start. "The taxi had a flat and we lost some time in trying to get another one. And then, there were too many traffic intersections that we got caught in," he said . "I ran the last 200m but reached two minutes late."