Pantsulaia snatches lead, Pranesh secures IM norm

Tamil Nadu's M.Pranesh shocked GM Erigaisi Arjun, thereby achieving his International Master Norm in style.

Levan Pantsulaia took the lead on the penultimate day of the 11th Chennai Open International Grand Master chess tournament. [File photo]   -  Rakesh Rao

Georgia’s Levan Pantsulaia defeated tournament leader and fellow GM Maxim Lugovskoy (Russia) in the ninth and penultimate round Thursday to snatch the lead with eight points in the 11th Chennai Open International Grand Master chess tournament.

Sharing the second spot with 7.5 points was Grandmaster Lugovskoy Maxim (Russia).

Tamil Nadu lad M.Pranesh shocked GM Erigaisi Arjun, thereby achieving his International Master Norm in style. Requiring a draw to achieve the norm, he defeated Arjun in a Sicilian game that lasted 62 moves.

Earlier, tournament leader Lugovskoy went down to in-form Pantsulaia on the top board.

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Employing the “c3” Sicilian, Pantsulaia grabbed the initiative with original middle game play.

The sheer energy he brought into his pieces undid Lugovskoy, who lost the plot in a rook and pawn ending.

Saurabh Anand continued his good form, as he brought down International Master P Shyaam Nikhil, increasing his norm chances.

The tournament concludes tomorrow with the 10th and final round.

Results:

Round (Indians unless specified): Maxim Lugovskoy (Rus) 7.5 lost to Levan Pantsulaia (Geo) 7, Alexandr Predke (Rus) 7 drew with N R Vignesh (7), Ivan Popov (Rus) 7 drew with Aleksej Aleksandrov (Blr) 7.

Andrei Deviatkin (Rus) 7 drew with Luka Paichadze (Geo) 7, Girish A Koushik (6.5) lost to Ivan Rozum (Rus) 7, Padmini Rout (7) bt Kirill Stupak (Blr) 6, Attila Czebe (Hun) 6.5 drew with Tran Tuan Minh (Vie) 6.5, Olga Babiy (Ukr) 6 lost to Megaranto Susanto (Indonesia) 7.