In sharp contrast to the string of upsets on Friday, games on the leading boards produced anticipated results in the fourth round of the Delhi International Open Grandmasters chess tournament here on Saturday.
Five leaders, including Grandmaster Karthik Venkataraman and International Master C. R. G. Krishna, maintained their all-win sequence to reach four points. Six players followed at 3.5 points.
After three rounds of ‘accelerated pairings,’ normal pairings meant at least two overnight leaders got to play against far lower-rated rivals on the third and fourth boards. The beneficiaries were Karthik and Krishna who faced rivals who were rated 786 and 924 points lower.
Clearly, the lop-sided nature of pairings on the top four boards saw stronger players winning with black pieces. Of the lot, Niranjan Navalgund fought the toughest against eighth seeded GM Aleksej Aleksandrov and stretched him to 70 moves.
Indian chess in 2019: Players continue to make strong moves
On the top board, Peru’s 18-year-old Grandmaster Jose Eduardo Martinez Alcantaram, seeded four, stopped International Master Himal Gusain in an impressive manner. He traded a rook for a bishop and then used queen and bishop-pair to wreck havoc in 47 moves.
In the games involving those at 2.5 points, seven games ended as draws and four of the five decisive games witnessed victory for those playing with white pieces.
Among these, Indonesia’s Theolifus Taher Yoseph held second seed Pavel Ponkratov, Saptarshi Roy shared a point with third seed M. Karthikeyan, seasoned International Master proved equal to seventh seed Nodirbek Yakubboev and young Sri Lankan Kevin Ranidu Silva (rated 1854) made a mockery of rating by proving equal to 14th seeded GM Alexei Fedorov (2562).