Bhakti retains sole lead, Adhiban joins leaders in Asian open

Bhakti Kulkarni played out a solid draw with Dinara Saduakassova to retain sole lead while B. Adhiban jumped in to joint lead following a lucky victory against Petr Kostenko in the seventh round of Asian women and open chess championship now underway.

With three players at the top, S. P. Sethuraman and Surya Shekhar Ganguly are two Indians among eight players sharing the fourth spot on five points each.   -  Getty Images

Woman Grandmaster Bhakti Kulkarni played out a solid draw with Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan to retain sole lead while Grandmaster B. Adhiban jumped in to joint lead following a lucky victory against Petr Kostenko, also of Kazakhstan, in the seventh round of Asian women and open chess championship now underway here.

On what turned out to be an excellent day from Indian perspective, Bhakti remained on course for a podium finish for which she would now require one and a half point from the next two rounds. The Indian moved to 5.5 points out of a possible seven and as many as four players trail her a half point behind with just two rounds remaining in the premier women event of the continent.

Former world junior girls’ champion Soumya Swaminathan continued with her comeback act and defeated former Asian champion Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran. Soumya, Saduakassova, Li Xueyi of China and Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova of Uzbekistan share the second spot on five points apiece.

On the flip side, highest ranked Indian Padmini Rout bowed out of contention after another draw in the event against Hoang Thi Bao Tram of Vietnam. Padmini bagged just four points out of a possible seven.

There was drama on Adhiban’s board after the Indian suffered a lapse in concentration against Kostenko. So huge was Adhiban’s blunder that everyone had written him off as Kostenko enjoyed a simply winning position with three extra pawns and no apparent counter play. And then the magic happened.

Out of sheer complacency, Kostenko started missing the thread, his menacing passed pawns suddenly felt like a house of cards and Adhiban picked his queen for his two rooks in addition to a handful of pawns. The rest was child’s play as Adhiban scored one of the most remarkable comeback victories in recent times in Grandmaster games.

Backed by his good luck, Adhiban now shares the top spot along with top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam and Wei Yi of China. Adhiban will meet the Chinese in the next round.

With three players at the top, S. P. Sethuraman and Surya Shekhar Ganguly are two Indians among eight players sharing the fourth spot on five points each. Sethuraman defeated Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia, while Ganguly played out a draw with Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran.

Important and Indian results round 7 open (Indians unless stated): Le Quang Liem (Vie, 5.5) drew with Wei Yi (Chn, 5.5); Jahongir Vakhidov (Uzb, 5) drew with Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzb, 5); B Adhiban (5.5) beat Petr Kostenko (Kaz, 4.5); Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Iri, 5) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (5); Wen Yang (Chn, 5) drew with Ni Hua (Chn, 4.5); Xu Yinglun (Chn, 4.5) drew with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (4.5); Susanto Megaranto (Ina, 4) lost to S P Sethuraman (5); Murtas Kazhgaleyev (Kaz, 4.5) drew with Deep Sengupta (4.5); Xu Yi (Chn, 4) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (4); Aravindh Chithambaram (4.5) beat Nodirbek Yakubboev (Uzb, 3.5); Bakhodir Kholmirzaev (Uzb, 3) lost to Murali Karthikeyan (4); Liu Yan (Chn, 3.5) drew with Rahul Srivatshav (3.5); M R Lalith Babu (3.5) beat Ibragim Karimov (Uzb, 3).

Women: Bhakti Kulkarni (5.5) drew with Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, 5); Li Xueyi (Chn, 5) drew with Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (Uzb, 5); Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iri, 4) lost to Soumya Swaminathan (5); Padmini Rout (4) drew with Hoang Thi Bao Tram (Vie, 4.5); Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri, 4) drew with Nguyen Thi Mai Hung (Vie, 4); Vo Thi Kim Phung (Vie, 4.5) beat Guo Qi (Chn, 3.5); R Vaishali (4.5) beat Mitra Hejazipour (Iri, 3.5); B Pratyusha (4) beat Citra Dewi Ardhiani Anastasia (Ina, 3); Anu Bayar (Mgl, 2.5) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (3.5).

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