Victorious Ziaur Rahman takes surprise lead

Rahman upstaged higher-rated Vietnamese GM Tran Tuan Minh in 48 moves to maintain an all-win record. When the dust settled after some close, long battles, Rahman enjoyed a half-point lead over 21 players.

When the dust settled after some close, long battles, Rahman enjoyed a half-point lead over 21 players. File photo   -  V. Ganesan

Bangladesh’s seasoned Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman emerged as the surprise leader after four rounds following a spate of draws involving other overnight leaders in the Delhi International Open chess tournament here on Thursday.

Rahman upstaged higher-rated Vietnamese GM Tran Tuan Minh in 48 moves to maintain an all-win record. When the dust settled after some close, long battles, Rahman enjoyed a half-point lead over 21 players. On the top board, third seed Abhijeet Gupta, the strongest Indian in the field, was held to a draw by Deepan Chakkravarthy in 57 moves. Abhijeet had reasons to feel he was better off in the contest.

Eventually, his extra pawn in an endgame involving a bishop each did not prove enough. Top seed Arkadij Naiditsch should consider himself a shade lucky to score over young talent Sammed Shete in 47 moves after the Indian had posed a number of problems with black pieces. Second seed Adam Tukhaev, too, raised his tally to 3.5 points after getting past Kaustav Kundu in 40 moves.

Similarly, Tiumr Garayev and Ivan Rozum, seeded four and five, also recovered some lost ground by scoring expected victories. Sixth seed Deep Sengupta continued his steady progress by overpowering International Master Abhishek Kelkar in 74 moves. Similarly, M. Karthikeyan returned to winning ways by stopping Indonesia’s Hafiz Arif Abdul in their 63-move encounter.

On the lower boards, there were a few surprises. Aradhya Garg held 19th seed P. Karthikeyan in 33 moves, Sankalp Gupta proved equal to N. R. Vignesh and Kaustav Chatterjee, rated 2288, brought down off-form Uzbek GM Marat Dzhumaev, who has been struggling to play to his rating of 2434.

Neelash Saha was another surprise winner following his conquest of International Master P. Shyaam Nikhil.

The results:

Fourth round (Indians unless stated): Abhijeet Gupta (3.5) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (3.5); Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 3.5) drew with Arjun Kalyan (3.5); Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 4) bt Tran Tuan minh (Vie, 3); Arjun Erigaise (3.5) drew with Vaibhav Suri (3.5); Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh (3.5) drew with Roeland Pruijssers (Ned, 3.5); Arkadij Naiditsch (Aze, 3.5) bt Sammed Shete (3); Sidhant Mohapatra (2.5) lost to Farrukh Amonatov (Tjk, 3.5); Abhishek Kelkar (2.5) lost to Deep Sengupta (3.5); Sergei Tiviakov (Ned, 3.5) bt K. Ratnakaran (2.5); Hafiz Arif Abdul (Ina, 2.5) lost to M. Karthikeyan (3.5); Kaustav Kundu (2.5) lost to Adam Tukhaev (Ukr, 3.5); Mithrabha Guha (2.5) lost to David Alberto (Ita, 3.5).