Aradhya Sekhar Bagchi during his match against Diptayan Ghosh, at Gorky Sadan, on Thursday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Top seed and defending champion Sayantan Das of Scottish Church Collegiate School emerged as the sole leader after Round VII of the 22nd The Telegraph SchoolsÂ’ Chess Championship, at Gorky Sadan, on Thursday. Sayantan, now sits pretty on seven points, half-a-point ahead of his nearest rivals Chandrasish Majumdar of St XavierÂ’s Collegiate School and Saurabh Mandal of Jharkhand.

The premier schoolsÂ’ chess meet is being presented by Himani Sona Chandi Chyawanprash and organised by Alekhine Chess Club.

Former world U-12 champion, Sayantan, playing white against S. Prasanna of Velammal Matriculation H.S. School, Tamil Nadu, obtained a superior position right from the opening, as he won a pawn and converted his material advantage into a win with precision.

Fifth seed Chandrasish held second seed Prince Bajaj of Delhi Public School, Ghaziabad to a draw in an insipid game, where both sides preferred to play safe after an early exchange of queens.

The day, however, belonged to Aradhya Sekhar Bagchi of Calcutta Boys School, who put up a sterling performance to hold national U-13 champion Diptayan Ghosh in a QueenÂ’s pawn opening.

Diptayan, playing black, tried to take his opponent by surprise, by opting for the little-played Albin counter-Gambit. His strategy, though, didnÂ’t pay dividends, as Ardhya Sekhar held his own and even obtained space advantage in the middle game. Aradhya Sekhar offered a draw on the 22nd move, unwilling to take risks, but Diptayan spurned the offer. Diptayan eventually decided to accept another offer five moves later.

In another upset, Aakash Tiwari of ChildrenÂ’s Villa beat Aubhropratim Manna of Don Bosco, Park Circus in a hard-fought battle in a KingÂ’s Indian defence. Protiva Talukdar of Bangladesh took her tally to 5.5 points as she exploited the back rank weakness of Nishi Mahalaxmi Iyer of Bidya Teertha Academy, Bihar.

Faced with loss of a piece or checkmate, her opponent, Nishi resigned on the28th move.

Five of the 10 under-privileged boysÂ’ of Future Hope School won their games Thursday. Among them, Surojit Moira, who has shown considerable promise, beat Kushagra Mohan of Andhra Pradesh and now has 4.5 points to his credit.

The eighth and ninth round games will be played on Friday from 9.30 am and 3.00 pm, respectively.