Grandmaster R B Ramesh was assured of his second title as he maintained an unassailable one-point lead with yet another draw in the 12th and penultimate round of the 43rd Parsvanath National 'B' Chess championships New Delhi on Friday.
Ramesh, on 10 points, is followed by a pack of 10 players on nine points, who have almost secured their berths among the 14 qualifiers for the National 'A' championships and would be playing for a draw on Saturday.
This means the last of the 13-round tournament at the Bapu Samaj Sewa Kendra will be a battle for the remaining slots for which as many as six players, who are placed third with 8.5 points, would be fighting tooth and nail to reach the magical 9.5 mark.
Among the players whose fate is hanging in balance in this championships, being played in Swiss format, include D K Sharma, K Rathnakaran, Arghyadip Das, P Konguvel, Abhijeet Gupta, Deep Sengupta, M Panigrahi and V Saravanan.
But situation may vary a bit for those lying low on the points table in case of draws among the players on the second position.
Asian junior champion S Arun Prasad, IMs B S Sivanandan, PDS Girinath, defending champion Sriram Jha and Lanka Ravi, B T Muralikrishanan, Diwakar Prasad Singh, Himanshu Sharma, M S Thej Kumar and Vikramaditya Kamble are all placed joint second.
Meanwhile, Woman Grandmaster Nisha Mohota, IM R R Laxman, Dronavalli Harika and 12-year-old MR Lalith Babu spoilt their chances suffering defeats in crucial matches.
Valay Parikh may still hope to salvage some pride owing to his better overall record in the tournament.