India’s R Vaishali shot into sole lead after she crashed through the defences of former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria in the ninth round of Fide Grand Swiss chess tournament.
Playing the tournament of her life, Vaishali also completed an inconsequential fourth Grandmaster norm in the process and now just needs around seven rating points to become the third woman from India to attain the feat.
Vaishali, who is the elder sister of Indian’s latest chess sensation R Praggnanandhaa, is on seven points. With just two rounds left, she will face Zhongyi Tan of China in what is seen as the final hurdle between her and the title.
In the open section, Vidit Gujrathi played out a draw with Russia’s Andrey Esipenko to remain in a six-way lead on 6.5 points.
The American duo of Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, Deac Bogdan-Daniel of Romania, Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran and Esipenko have an identical score and it is a very close race.
Vaishali’s game was keenly contested in the middle game arising out of a Queen pawn opening. The Indian got an unbalanced position on board in the early middle game but Stefanova’s quest for unwarranted complications cost her dearly as she ended up losing a pawn.
As the Bulgarian tried to resurrect, Vaishali won another pawn and efficiently converted to a rook and pawns endgame where the victory was never in doubt.
For the second day running Gujrathi could not make much use of his white pieces. Esipenko was quite up to the task in finding out the road to equality and the draw was a just result.
Arjun Erigaisi played out another draw with Vladimir Fedoseev of Slovenia. Playing black Erigaisi did not face any serious complexities and will now have to do well in the last two rounds in this 460000 USD event.
Amongst other Indians in the fray, Nihal Sarin’s hopes of a podium finish ended as he blundered and lost to Vincent Keymer of Germany.
Praggnanandhaa scored his second victory in the event at the expense of Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan while P Harikrishna defeated Hrant Melkumyan of Armenia to breach the fifty percent mark.
Important and Indian results round 9 (Indians unless specified):
- PAK vs NZ: Williamson becomes highest run-getter for New Zealand in ICC ODI World Cup history
- ENG vs AUS Live Score, World Cup 2023 Updates: Australia 220/5 (40); Wood gets Labuschagne for 71; Rashid picks two
- Most sixes conceded by bowler in single edition of ODI World Cup: Haris Rauf sets record during NZ vs PAK WC match
- NZ vs PAK Live Score, World Cup 2023: Rain stops play; Fakhar smashes 63-ball 100 to keep Pakistan in hunt in 402 chase; PAK 160/1 (21.3)
- SMAT Live Score Semifinal 2: Punjab beats Delhi by 6 wickets, Baroda bowls first against Assam; Live Updates