Gibraltar Chess: Sethuraman in the joint lead

Former national champion Sethuraman was in his element and gave a power-packed performance against Wojtaszek who is famously known for his association with five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand in many world championship matches as second.

With seven points from nine games Sethuraman joined the leaders. (File photo)   -  Special Arrangement

Grandmaster S. P. Sethuraman made his presence felt against the highly rated Polish Grandmaster Radoslav Wojtaszek to join the leaders’ pack after ninth round of the masters section of Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival here.

Former national champion Sethuraman was in his element and gave a power-packed performance against Wojtaszek who is famously known for his association with five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand in many world championship matches as second.

Wojtaszek’s lack of control and a blunder cost him. The game lasted a mere 37 moves.

With seven points from nine games Sethuraman joined the league of top seed Hikaru Nakamura of United States, compatriot P Harikrishna, French trio of Etienne Bacrot, Sebastian Maze and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Li Chao B of China and David Anton Gujarro of Spain who all stand as leaders.

With just one round to go the chances for the winner’s purse of 20000 Pounds Sterling to be decided by a tiebreaker are pretty high.

Harikrishna survived some anxious moments before he was held to a draw by Gujarro. The Indian ace thwarted the pressure with some brilliant resistance and despite an extra pawn, Gujarro was unable to convert in the endgame.

Anand meanwhile did some damage control by easily outclassing Dmitrij Kollars of Germany to take his tally up to 5.5 points out of eight games.

Among other Indians in the fray Abhijeet Gupta’s excellent campaign ran in to Nakamura who was at his attacking best in the Grunfeld defense game. Playing white, the American took advantage as Gupta did not go in to a forced variation and sacrificed an exchange instead for counter play. Nakamura won with his extra material in the end.

Among the Indian women, Padmini Rout suffered another setback and her chance of annexing the women’s crown evaporated. Playing white Padmini lost to Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine.

Harika also could not get back to winning ways and only inched up to five points following another draw in the event with countryman S. Satyapragyan.

It will be a big day for Harikrishna in the finale when he takes on Li Chao of China while Sethuraman is pitted against Bacrot in the 185000 Pound Sterling festival.

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