Delhi International Open chess: Aleksandrov emerges as leader with perfect score after six rounds

Aleksej Aleksandrov escaped from a tight corner in the middle game to nail Karthik Venkataraman and emerge as a leader after six rounds of 18th Delhi International Open.

Belarus GM Aleksej Aleksandrov (right) makes a move on his way to a crucial victory over Karthik Venkataraman before emerging as the leader with a 'perfect' score from six rounds of Delhi International Open Grandmasters chess tournament in New Delhi on Sunday.   -  CHESSBASE INDIA

Aleksej Aleksandrov escaped from a tight corner in the middle game to nail an in-form Karthik Venkataraman and emerge as a leader with a perfect score after six rounds of 18th Delhi International Open Grandmasters chess tournament here on Sunday.

The Grandmaster from Belarus seized the opportunity after Karthik, playing white, erred in judgement and made a knight-move on the 40th turn. Six moves later, the decision to sacrifice his rook for a bishop backfired and thereon, it was downhill for Karthik who resigned after 68 moves.

With four rounds to go, Aleksandrov enjoyed a one-point lead over 13 players sharing the second spot.

Read: India’s Magesh Chandran lifts Hastings International chess title

On the second of the double-round days, Karthik started by stunning
fourth seeded Peruvian Grandmaster Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantara to lead with Aleksandrov, who defeated Bangladesh’s Ziaur Rahman.

Before Karthik lost his first game, C. R. G. Krishna surrendered to Alcantara on the second board. Top seed Farrukh Amonatov drew for the third time before fifth seed Abhijeet Gupta was held by P. Shyam Nikhil.

Surprisingly, it was ‘double’ delight for little-known M. Pranesh. He scored over two higher-rated rivals to be among those sharing the second spot.

Pranesh, rated 2317, stunned 12th seeded Ukrainian Grandmaster Stanislav Bogdanovich (2562) and then scalped Vietnamese International Master Nguyen Van Huy (2463).

Important results (Indians unless stated):

Sixth round: Karthik Venkataraman (5) lost to Aleksej Aleksandrov (Blr, 5); Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantara (Per, 5) bt C. R. G. Krishna (4.5); Farrukh Amonatov (Tjk, 4.5) drew with Valeriy Neverov (Ukr, 4.5); Abhijeet Gupta (4.5) drew with P. Shyam Nikhil (4.5); Muhammad Khusenkhojaev (Iri, 4) lost to Diptayan Ghosh (5); Adam Tukhaev (Ukr, 5) bt P. Karthikeyan (4); Sayantan Das (4.5) drew with Aryan Gholami (Iri, 4.5); N. R. Vishakh (5) bt Sammed Shete (4); Kirill Stupak (Blr, 5) bt Al Muthaiah (4)

Fifth round: Alcantara (4) lost to Karthik (5); Aleksandrov (5) bt Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 4); Krishna (4.5) drew with Rozum (4); Florian Kaczur (Hun, 4) drew with Farrukh Amonatov (Tjk, 4); Pavel Ponkratov (Rus, 4) drew with Ortik Nigamatov (Uzb, 4); Al Muthaiah (4) bt M. Karthikeyan (3); Neelesh Saha (3.5) drew with Nodirbek Yakubboev (Uzb, 3.5); Manish Anto Cristiano (4) bt Aleksey Goganov (Rus, 3); Stanislav Bogdanovich (Ukr, 3) lost to M. Pranesh (4).