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

Arjun Erigaisi and Pavel Ponkratov, the top two seeds, win their respective contests in the seventh round to be among the seven leaders.

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: Seven players have six points each, after seven rounds.   -  Getty Images

National champion Arjun Erigaisi and Russia's Pavel Ponkratov, the top two seeds, scored important seventh-round victories to be among the seven leaders in the Delhi International Open chess tournament here on Saturday.

Even as the two overnight leaders M. R. Lalith Babu and Karthik Venkataraman drew their top-board clash in 38 moves, the triumphant brigade of Arjun, Ponkratov, D. Gukesh, Ortik Nigmatov and Harsha Bharathakoti also reached six points to form the leading brigade.


Arjun foiled P. Shyamnikhil’s designs of gaining any decisive advantage for the sacrificed knight in 30 moves. Ponkratov wriggled out of trouble, thanks to a 35th move blunder by Adham Fawzy, to win in 51 moves.

Gukesh posted his fifth successive win after forcing Iran’s Arash Tahbaz into a checkmating net in 44 moves. Nigmatov dominated Arjun Kalyan in 60 moves and Harsha punished a fighting Srija Seshadri for a late error in 54 moves.

Important results, seventh round (Indians unless stated)
  • M. R. Lalith Babu (6) drew with Karthik Venkataraman (6);
  • P. Shyamnikhil (5) lost to Arjun Erigaisi (6);
  • Pavel Ponkratov (Rus, 6) bt Adham Fawzy (Egy, 5);
  • Neuris Delgado Ramirez (Par, 5.5) drew with Azer Mirzoev (Aze, 5.5);
  • Syed Kian Poormosavi (Iri, 5.5) drew with S. P. Sethuraman (5.5);
  • D. Gukesh (6) bt Arash Tahbaz (Iri, 5);
  • P. Iniyan (5.5) drew with N. R. Vignesh (5.5);
  • Ortik Nigmatov (Uzb, 6) bt Arjun Kalyan (5);
  • Harsha Bharathakoti (6) bt Srija Seshadri (5);
  • Orimi Mahdi Gholami (Iri, 5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (5.5).

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