Kolkata: IM Murali Karthikeyan eked out a tense draw against B Kumaran to hold his slender lead after the ninth round of the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship here on Monday.
Karthikeyan was the sole leader with 7.5 points, while Kumaran, top seed IM Diptayan Ghosh, Sidhant Mohapatra, Arvindh Chithambaram and Harsha Bharathakoti remained joint second half a point adrift.
There was a major upset in the girls section as unfancied Riya Savant (6.5) of Goa stunned top seed and overnight leader WFM M Mahalakshmi (7), enabling V Varshini snatch the sole lead with 7.5 points.
Having outwitted second seed G K Monnisha earlier, Varshini kept her winning run as she defeated Shiny Das to take the lead.
WFM Monnisha meanwhile beat C H Meghna to be on the joint second position with the top seed Mahalakshmi with 7 each.