With the two former National champions S. P. Sethuraman and Abhijeet Gupta joining Arjun Erigaisi, D. Gukesh and Harsha Bharathakoti in the lead at 7.5 points, Tuesday’s 10th and final round promises a thrilling finish to 19th Delhi International Open chess tournament here.
In the ninth round, Sethuraman came up with a fine tactical stroke involving the trade of queen for a rook to stump second seeded Russian Grandmaster Pavel Ponkratov in 39 moves.
Abhijeet was less spectacular but equally effective in dealing with Iran’s Seyed Kian Poormosavi in 46 moves. After a series of clever exchanges of pieces on the queenside, Abhijeet’s advanced pawns on the kingside provided the decisive difference.
Meanwhile, the top-board action involving the reigning National champion Arjun and runner-up Gukesh ended in a well-fought 44-move deadlock. Gukesh, playing white, was determined to score his first victory over Arjun in six encounters. However, even after getting the initiative, Gukesh could not find the precise continuation.
After carrying out a quick analysis of their game with Arjun, Gukesh said, “I am still not certain where I missed my chance. But I am happy with the way I played.”
Arjun admitted being worried about his position before choosing to press for initiative. “In the later stages when I realised I could not lose, I played for advantage but Gukesh gave nothing away.”
Harsha, the third overnight leader, could not enlarge his initial advantage against Neelash Saha and drew in 50 moves. M. R. Lalith Babu (7) raised vision of a strong finish by beating Uzbekistan’s Abdimalik Abdisalimov in 44 moves. He now plays Himal Gusain who annihilated N. R. Visakh in just 23 moves.
- D. Gukesh (7.5) drew with Arjun Erigaisi (7.5);
- Neelash Saha (7) drew with Harsha Bharathakoti (7.5);
- Seyed Kian Poormosavi (Iri, 6.5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (7.5);
- Pavel Ponkratov (Rus, 6) lost to S. P. Sethuraman (7.5);
- M. R. Lalith Babu (7) bt Abdimalik Abdisalimov (Uzb, 6);
- N. R. Visakh (6) lost to Himal Gusain (7);
- P. Iniyan (6.5) drew with Viani Antonio Dcunha (6.5);
- Saptarshi Roy (6) lost to Karthik Venkataraman (7);
- Azer Mirzoev (Aze, 6.5) drew with Divya Deshmukh (6.5);
- P. Karthikeyan (6) lost to Arash Tahbaz (7);
- Ortik Nigmatov (Uzb, 7) bt Akshay Borgaonkar (6);
- S. Rohith Krishna (6.5) drew with N. R. Vignesh (6.5);
- Aradhya Garg (6.5) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (6).