Delhi International Open chess: Naiditsch, Karthikeyan stay ahead

Much against the run of play of the seventh round, joint overnight leaders Arkadij Naiditsch and M. Karthikeyan eased to important victories on the top-two boards of the Delhi International Open chess tournament on Saturday.

M. Karthikeyan, who shared the lead with top seed Arkadij Naiditsch after seven rounds of Delhi International Open chess tournament, in New Delhi on Saturday.   -  Special Arrangement

Much against the run of play of the seventh round, joint overnight leaders Arkadij Naiditsch and M. Karthikeyan eased to important victories on the top-two boards of the Delhi International Open chess tournament here on Saturday.

In a round when close games proved the flavour of the day, six among the top-10 seeds failed in their search for victory. Sixteen players shared the third spot as Naiditsch and Karthikeyan stayed ahead at 6.5 points.

Facing fellow-leader Ziaur Rahman, Naiditsch virtually sleepwalked through the game. A comfortable start, the gain of a central pawn on the 23rd move and smooth movements of the pieces gave the Azerbaijani top seed a clear run to victory. Rahman gave up on the 40th move when Naiditsch was ready to capture another pawn on the kingside.

Karthikeyan kept Naiditsch company at the top when a resounding 53-move victory over Tran Tuan Minh. The winner looked clear from the 38th move when the Vietnamese erred decisively by advancing his king.

Thereafter, it was Karthikeyan all the way. An advanced queenside-pawn, well assisted by a rook and knight ensured Karthikeyan’s victory.

On the lower boards, S, Nitin proved equal to fourth seed Timur Gareyev, N. R. Vignesh held fifth seeded Ukrainian Vitaly Sivuk drew with sixth seed Deep Sengupta, Akash Iyer split point with seventh seed Sergei Tiviakov and untitled  Sankalp Gupta tamed Yuri Solodovnichenko, the ninth seed from Ukraine.

Important results (Indians unless stated)

Seventh round: Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 5.5) lost to Arkadij Naiditsch (Aze, 6.5); Tran Tuan Minh (Vie, 5) lost to M. Karthikeyan (6.5); N. R. Vignesh (5.5) drew with Ivan Rozum (Rus, 5.5); Deep Sengupta (5.5) drew with Vitaly Sivuk (Ukr, 5.5); Akash Iyer (5.5) drew with Sergei Tiviakov (Ned, 5.5); Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh (5.5) drew with David Alberto (Ita, 5.5); Ankit Gajwa (5) lost to Vaibahv Suri (5.5); Farrukh Amonatov (Tjk, 5.5) bt Javokhir Sindarov (Uzb, 4.5); S. Nitin (5) drew with Timur Gareyev (USA, 5); Arjun Tiwari (5) drew with P. Karthikeyan (5); Harsha Bharathakoti (5.5) bt Mary Ann Gomes (4.5); Himal Gusain (4.5) lost to Koustav Chatterjee (5.5); Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb, 5.5) bt Neelash Saha (4.5); Niranjan Navalgund (4) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (5); Sankalp Gupta (5) bt Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 4); Adam Tukhaev (Ukr, 4.5) drew with A. L. Muthaiah (4.5); Sameer Kathmale (5) bt Diptayan Ghosh (4).