AICF World Cup Qualifier: Iniyan ends Gukesh's unbeaten run to take lead

With three rounds to go, the race for the lone World Cup berth on offer is primarily among three youngsters - P. Iniyan (10.5 points), D. Gukesh (10) and Raja Rithvik (9.5).

P. Iniyan

After beating C. R. G. Krishna, P. Iniyan lost to Surya Shekhar Ganguly but came out strongly to beat D. Gukesh for the lead.   -  Special Arrangement

In what was seen as the virtual title-decider, involving two teenage Grandmasters, P. Iniyan pulled off a much-needed win over a previously-unbeaten D. Gukesh in the 14th round to snatch a half-point lead in the AICF World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

With three rounds to go, the race for the lone World Cup berth on offer is among three youngsters - Iniyan (10.5 points), Gukesh (10) and Raja Rithvik (9.5) - while second seed S. P. Sethuraman (9) has a very slim chance.

The day’s results firmly shut the door on three other leading seeds - favourite B. Adhiban, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and S. L. Narayanan.

Effectively, the picture should get clearer at the end of the 15th round on Sunday morning, when Iniyan takes on Rithvik and Gukesh clashes with Narayanan.

READ | FTX Crypto Cup: Carlsen rallies to knock out Nakamura

In the remaining two rounds, Iniyan plays lowly-placed Saravana Krishnan and Deep Sengupta, Gukesh faces Soumya Swaminathan and Vishnu Prasanna while Rithvik meets Narayanan and Soumya.

Overall, the day belonged to Iniyan. After beating C. R. G. Krishna, Iniyan lost to Ganguly but came out strongly to beat Gukesh for the lead.

The first loss for Gukesh came after he had beaten S. Nitin and drawn with another young talent Aditya Mittal, the conqueror of Ganguly in the morning.

ALSO READ | AICF World Cup qualifier: Iniyan joins Gukesh in lead; Ganguly suffers three losses

If Aditya had not found the right defensive plan to hold Rithvik Raja in the day’s last round, Gukesh would have had company in the second place.

Rithvik, unbeaten on a day when almost all the top players lost once, and Gukesh have won eight times - two less than Iniyan.

Adhiban and Sethuraman, due for mandatory byes today, failed to gain the most from the other matches. Adhiban lost to Deep Sengupta and drew with Sethuraman who won his other match against M. Vinay Kumar.

The results:

14th round: P. Iniyan bt G. Gukesh; Aditya Mittal drew with Raja
Rithvik; M. Vinay Kumar lost to S. P. Sethuraman; S. L. Narayanan lost
to Surya Shekhar Ganguly; Rahul Srivashav bt Deep Sengupta; S. Nitin
bt Krishnan Saravana; Soumya Swaminathan bt C. R. G. Krishna; Vishnu
Prasanna drew with Vatsal Singhania; B. Adhiban bye.

13th round: Gukesh drew with Aditya; Ganguly bt Iniyan; Rithvik drew
with Nitin; Sethuraman drew with Adhiban; Krishna bt Narayanan; Deep
bt Vinay; Krishnan lost to Srivatshav; Singhania drew with Soumya;
Prasanna bye.

12th round: Iniyan bt Krishna; Nitin lost to Gukesh; Adhiban lost to
Deep; Aditya bt Ganguly; Srivatshav lost to Rithvik; Narayanan bt
Singhania; Soumya lost to Prasanna; Vinay bt Krishnan; Sethuraman bye.

Standings (after Day Four): 1. Iniyan (10.5 points), 2. Gukesh (10);
3. Rithvik (9.5); 4. Sethuraman (9); 5. Ganguly (8); 6-7. Srivatshav,
Narayanan (7.5 each); 8-9. Nitin, Deep (7 each); 10-11. Adhiban,
Aditya (6.5 each); 12-13. Krishna, Prasanna (5 each); 14-15. Soumya,
Vinay (4 each); 16. Saravana (3); 17. Singhania (2).
For more updates, follow Sportstar on :