Abhijeet Gupta took a draw by perpetual checks against M. R. Lalit Babu and retained his half-point lead after the seventh-round clash involving two former winners of the Commonwealth chess championship here on Friday.
The 30-move deadlock raised Abhijeet’s tally to six points. Fourth seed Lalit was joined at 5.5 points by the victorious brigade comprising second seed S. L. Narayanan, third seed Aravindh Chithambaram, fifth seed Deepan Chakkravarthy, sixth seed Debashis Das and 10th seed Swapnil Dhopade.
With the top six seeds within half a point of each other, the remaining two rounds promise plenty of excitement on the leading boards.
Narayanan unleashed a fierce attack with his queen and knight to script a swift finish to his game against another young GM Arjun Ergaisi, seeded seven.
Playing white, Bhakti Kulkarni put up an impressive resistance against Aravindh but succumbed in 45 moves. Similarly, R. Vaishali battled for 45 moves before Deepan proved superior.
Das ended the dream run of Suyog Wagh in 62 moves following a king-side pawn-march. In a battle lasting 72 moves, Dhopade overpowered a fighting Krishna.