Harsha Bharathakoti stunned second seeded Russian Pavel Ponkratov to join National champion Arjun Erigaisi and runner-up D. Gukesh in the lead after an action packed eighth round of the Delhi International Open chess tournament on Sunday.

Harsha needed 58 moves to stop Ponkratov and reach seven points after Arjun halted in-form Lalith in 28 moves. Gukesh produced a brilliant finishing-stroke that made Karthik Venkataraman resign in 29 moves.

Delhi International Open: Karthik Venkataraman holds M. R. Lalith Babu  

On a day when the top six boards produced decisive results, S. P. Sethuraman, Abhijeet Gupta, Neelash Saha and Iran’s Seyed Kian Poormosavi also won to share the fourth spot at 6.5 points.

With two rounds to go, 18 players followed at six points. .

The results (Indians unless stated):

Eighth round:
Arjun Erigaisi (7) bt M. R. Lalith Babu (6); Harsha Bharathakoti (7) bt Pavel Ponkratov (Rus); Karthik Venkataraman (6) lost to D. Gukesh (7); S. P. Sethuraman (6.5) bt Ortik Nigmatov (Uzb); Abhijeet Gupta (6.5) bt C. R. G. Krishna (5.5); Neelash Saha (6.5) bt Neuris Delgado Ramirez (Par, 5.5); N. R. Vignesh (6) drew with N. R. Visakh (6); Deepan Chakkravarthy (5.5) lost to Syed Kian Poormosavi (Iri. 6.5); Himal Gusain (6) drew with P. Iniyan (6); Abdimalik Abdisalimov (Uzb, 6) drew with Azer Mirzoev (Aze, 6); Mitrabha Guha (5.5) drew with P. Karthikeyan (6).