Grandmaster and Commonwealth Champion Abhijeet Gupta crashed through the solid defences of Lin Chen of China to join the leaders pack after the seventh round of Asian continental chess championship in Al Ain, PTI reports.
Gupta was in his elements against overnight joint leader Lin Chen as the latter was outplayed in the endgame after offering stiff resistance. For the records, it was a Slav defence wherein Gupta managed to complicate matters in the middle game as white and after regulation exchanges a queen and pawn endgame was reached.
Lin Chen succumbed when he could no longer tie the white king down. Methodical development of position by Gupta shut the come-back doors for Chen and although it was a long battle, Gupta made sure of his full point after 57 moves.
Gupta now shares the lead with Surya Shekhar Ganguly and A R Salem Saleh of UAE on 5.5 points from seven rounds. While Ganguly played out an easy draw as white against top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, Salem Saleh rose back in reckoning defeating Indian national champion S.P. Sethuraman.
With just two rounds to come in the premier event of the continent, as many as seven players share the fourth spot with five points each. Indian Grandmasters Krishnan Sasikiran, Vidit Gujrathi and Deep Sengupta are among those having five points each.
In the women’s section, S. Vijayalakshmi almost pulled a rabbit out of hat to turn the tables on Mitra Hejazipour of Iran. It was a hopeless position for Vijayalakshmi in the endgame where she had a couple of pawns less but the Iranian girl blundered and found her king in a checkmate web from which there was no rescue in the end.
The lucky victory elevated former national champion Vijayalakshmi to the pole position in this section as the Indian moved to six points out of a possible seven.
Mary Ann Gomes defeated former Asian champion Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran to jump to joint second spot on 5.5 points and she will clash with Vijayalakshmi in the penultimate round now in what could well be the decider for the gold medal.
Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan and Shen Yang of China are the other player on 5.5 points while Soumya Swaminathan is also in with an outside chance for a podium finish with her five points from seven rounds.
The championships are part of the next world championship cycle in both sections. In the open, top five players will qualify for the world chess cup at Baku next month while the top woman player will make it to the next Women’s world cup.
Important and Indian results round seven open (Indians unless specified): Surya Shekhar Ganguly (5.5) drew with Le Quang Liem (Vie, 5); Abhijeet Gupta (5.5) beat Lin Chen (Chn, 5); Zhou Jianchao (Chn, 5) drew with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (5); A R Salem Saleh (Uae, 5.5) beat S P Sethuraman (4.5); Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vie, 5) beat Jahongir Vakhidov (Uzb, 4); Krishnan Sasikiran (5) beat Darini Pouria (Iri, 4); Deep Sengupta (5) beat Tabatabaei M.Amin (Iri, 4); D Harika (4.5) drew with Koneru Humpy (4.5); Abhijit Kunte (4.5) drew with M R Lalith Babu (4); Idani Pouya (4.5) beat Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb, 3.5); Gao Rui (Chn, 4) drew with Debashis Das (4); V Vishnu Prasanna (4) drew with Lou Yiping (Chn, 4); P Karthikeyan (4.5) beat Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy (Vie, 3.5); Sandipan Chanda (4) beat Xu Yi (Chn, 3); Parham Maghsoodloo (Iri, 4) beat G N Gopal (3); S Nitin (3.5) drew with Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan (Mgl, 3.5); Saiyn Zhanat (Kaz, 4) beat S L Narayanan (3); M R Venkatesh (3.5) beat Mahmood Lodhi (Pak, 2.5); K Rathnakaran (3) beat Xu Xiangyu (Chn, 2.5).
Women: Mitra Hejazipour (Iri, 5) lost to S Vijayalakshmi (6); Shen Yang (Chn, 5.5) beat Aulia Medina Warda (Ina, 4.5); Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, 5.5) beat Lei Tingjie (Chn, 4.5); Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iri, 4.5) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (5.5); Soumya Swaminathan (5) beat Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri, 4); Pratyusha Bodda (5) beat Nguyen Thi Mai Hung (Vie, 4); Padmini Rout (4.5) beat Minoo Asgarizadeh (Iri, 3.5); Pham Le Thao Nguyen (Vie, 4) drew with Eesha Karavade (4); Zhai Mo (Chn, 4.5) beat Bhakti Kulkarni (3.5); Tania Sachdev (4) drew with Madina Davletbayeva (Kaz, 4); Nisha Mohota (3.5) lost to Zhang Xiaowen (Chn, 4.5).