Indian Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi produced a classic game to beat Javokhir Sindarov of Uzbekistan and jumped to the sole lead after seven rounds of the FIDE Grand Swiss tournament here on Thursday.
With the win, Gujrathi took his tally to 5.5 points and it looks more impressive as he started with a first-round defeat in the event.
The Indian has also made a strong claim for the two remaining slots in the next Candidates tournament that will decide the challenger for the World Championship.
Arjun Erigaisi remained in the joint second spot with 5 points after missing out on a great opportunity to defeat Russian Andrey Esipenkov.
In the women’s event, R Vaishali regained joint lead, defeating Bibisara Assaubuyeva of Kazakhstan.
Vaishali, sister of R Praggnanandhaa, took her tally to 5.5 points out of a possible seven and now shares the lead with Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine and Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria.
Vidit was in his elements with black pieces, and he conducted a brilliant middle game.
It was a tactical skirmish where Sindarov failed to evaluate the position correctly.
“It seems my evaluation of the resulting position was better than his,” Vidit said.
Sindarov lost two minor pieces for a rook after the dust subsided, and the resulting endgame was hopeless. Vidit wrapped the match in 57 moves.
Arjun’s oversight at a single point cost him dearly as he was forced to split the point.
It was on the 47th move that Esipenko blundered and should have lost the piece, but the key move escaped Arjun’s attention.
The game lasted 90 moves, but there was no real danger for the Russian after that moment of lapse.
Vaishali’s game against Assaubuyeva looked like heading for a draw, but the Kazakh girl blundered into an absolute pin that cost her a piece in the endgame.
The rest was just a matter of routine technique, and Vaishali did not falter.
Amongst other Indians in the fray in the open section, R Praggnanandhaa scored his first victory in the event over compatriot Abhijeet Gupta.
After six draws in a row, Praggnanandhaa was relieved after the victory, a result of Gupta’s blunder under time pressure.
S.L. Narayanan and Aravindh Chithambaram’s chances in the tournament ended after they suffered a reversal against Levon Aronian of the USA and Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran, respectively.
P Harikrishna drew with Volodar Murzin of Russia, while Aryan Chopra got a similar result against Nils Grandelius of Sweden.
In the women’s section, GM D Harika almost bowed out of contention after losing to Irina Bulmaga of Romania and B Savitha Shri met her nemesis in Dinara Wagner of Germany.
Important and Indian results: (Round 7, Indians unless specified)
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