A third victory on the trot has earned Abhijeet Gupta a shot at a third title in Delhi International Open Grandmasters chess tournament.
In Thursday’s 10th and final round, Abhijeet (7.5 points) plays with white pieces against leader Aleksej Aleksandrov (8) of Belarus to decide the champion. Abhijeet needs a win while a draw is enough for Aleksandrov to take the title.
In the penultimate round, both won with black pieces in contrasting styles against Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantara and Diptayan Ghosh.
In fact, on the top-20 boards, 13 games produced decisive verdicts, with most players keen to brighten their chances of finishing strongly in the richest prize-money International Open in the country.
Three Indians - M. Pranesh, Shyaamnikhil and N.R. Visakh - were part of the eight-player bunch who shared the third spot with seven points.
Of the lot, Pranesh collected a much deserved nine-game Grandmaster norm following an unbeaten run. The Tamil Nadu lad, rated 2317, drew with seventh-seed Uzbek GM Nodirbek Yakubboev (2597). In nine rounds, Pranesh faced six GMs and one International Masters and gained five points. His sterling performance has earned him 72.6 rating points so far.
For another Indian, Audi Ameya, a defeat to second seeded Russian Pavel Ponkratov did not hurt as much since he gained an International Master norm for scoring six points against strong rivals in the tournament.
On Thursday, a few Indian norm-aspirants will be looking for victories in the final round to make the cut.
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