Commonwealth Chess Ch'shp set for thrilling finale

Overnight leader Abhijeet Gupta, drew in just 24 moves with Tejas Bakre before Suri and Wohl scored contrasting victories to make it a three-man leaders’ group.

Vaibhav Suri (left, foreground) who defeated Shardul Gagare to become part of a three-player leaders' group in the eighth round of the Commonwealth chess championship in New Delhi on Sunday. Earlier, overnight leader (right, background) drew with Tejas Bakre.

The title-race in the Commonwealth Chess championship headed for a thrilling finale on Monday, after defending champion Abhijeet Gupta found himself in the company of local Vaibhav Suri and Australia’s Aleksandar Wohl at the top.

After the eighth and penultimate round on Sunday, the trio led with 6.5 points.

Abhijeet, the overnight leader, drew in just 24 moves with Tejas Bakre before Suri and Wohl scored contrasting victories to make it a three-man leaders’ group.

Suri needed 34 moves to overpower Shardul Gagare before 54-year-old International Master and former Australian champion Wohl pulled off a 59-move thriller over Swapnil Dhopade.

Among the ladies, Tania Sachdev and Mary Ann Gomes shared the lead at 5.5 points but face Grandmaster rivals in the final round. With Swati Ghate, Nisha Mohota, Bhakti Kulkarni, Shamima Akter (Bangladesh) and Soumya Swaminathan tied at five points, the two leaders face serious
competition.

Meanwhile, Arjun Erigaisi, who stunned second seed Aravindh Chithambaram in a marathon lasting 90 moves to reach six points, needs to beat P. Shyam Nikhil on Monday for an International Master norm.

Similarly, P. Bala Kannamma and K. Priyanka also need final-round victories for their Woman International Master norms.

Eighth round results
Tejas Bakre (6) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (6.5)
Vaibhav Suri (6.5) bt Shardul Gagare (5.5)
Aleksandar Wohl (Aus, 6.5) bt Swapnil Dhopade (5.5)
Pravin Thipsay (5.5) lost to M. S. Thej Kumar (6)
 Aravindh Chithambaram (5) lost to Arjun Erigaisi (6)
Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 5.5) drew with Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh (5.5)
Mitrabha Guha (5) lost to Abhijit Kunte (6)
Rishi Sardana (5.5) drew with Abdullah Al Rakib Mollah (Ban, 5.5)
P. Shyam Nikhil (6) bt Chakravarthi Reddy (5)
Swati Ghate (5) drew with Sahaj Grover (5)
Deepan Chakkravarthy (5) drew with Nisha Mohota (5)
P. V. Nandhidhaa (4.5) lost to Ankit Rajpara (5.5)
Tania Sachdev (5.5) bt Srija Seshadri (4.5)
Mary Ann Gomes (5.5) bt P. Bala Kannamma (4.5).

Leading final-round pairings: Abhijeet-Wohl; Kunte-Suri; Thej-Bakre;
Arjun-Shyam; Gagare-Rahman; Dhopade-Tania; Mollah-Krishna;
Rajpara-Sardana; Shaikh-Thipsay; Deepan-Mary.