Delhi International Open Chess: Narayanan in joint-lead, close finish in the offing

S. L. Narayanan (7.5) shares the lead with Georgia's Levan Pantsulaia after the ninth round.

D. Gukesh (right) makes his final move before Dinesh Sharma resigned in their ninth round encounter in the Delhi International Open chess tournament in New Delhi on Tuesday. Gukesh won and became the country's youngest and world's second youngest Grandmaster.   -  DAVID LLADA

S. L. Narayanan made his move towards the title at the expense of Debashis Das and jumped to joint lead with Georgian Levan Pantsulaia at 7.5 points after the ninth and penultimate round of the Delhi International Open chess tournament here on Tuesday.

With 12 players chasing the leaders at seven points, the title-race is headed for an exciting finish.

The day, during which Debashis and overnight leader Masaoud Mosadeghpour suffer their first losses, also saw the making of D. Gukesh as the youngest Grandmaster in the country.

Gukesh made his third and final GM-norm by beating Dinesh Sharma and broke record set by R. Praggnanandhaa last year.

Also making his GM-norm was Gukesh’s Tamil Nadu statemate N. R. Visakh. Four other players - Neelash Saha, Aditya Mittal, Saurabh Anand and Bharat Kumar Reddy - made their International Master norm.

Ninth-round results (Indians unless stated)

Levan Pantsulaia (Geo, 7.5) bt Masoud Mosadeghpour (Iri, 7); Kirill Stupak (Blr, 7) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (7); Debashis Das (6.5) lost to S. L. Narayanan (7.5); N. R. Visakh (7) drew with Diptayan Ghosh (7); N. R. Vignesh (6) lost to Farrukh Amonatov (Tjk, 7); Ivan Popov
(Rus, 6) lost to Swapnil Dhopade (7); E. Arjun (7) bt Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb, 6); Tran Tuan Minh (Vie, 7) bt Sammed Shete (6); Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Iri, 6.5) drew with V. Pranav (6.5); D. Gukesh (7) bt Dinesh Sharma (6); Praveen Kumar (7) bt Radoslaw Gajek (Aut, 6).