Koneru Humpy came close to take the sole lead, but a few hours later, Nihal Sarin ensured at least one Indian was in front going into the final day of the rapid section of the Tata Steel Chess India tournament.
Though Nihal had a quiet 22-move draw with the second seed Wesley So of the United States in the sixth round at the National Library here on Wednesday, he secured the sole lead, as his nearest rival and overnight leader Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan was beaten by Arjun Erigaisi.
The Kerala lad had earlier in the day posted wins against compatriots D. Gukesh and S.P. Sethuraman. With three rounds remaining, he has 4.5 points, one more than Arjun and Mamyedarov. “I managed to play well today and tried to put some pressure in the last game (against So), too,” he said.
Koneru Humpy admitted she was disappointed that she had to settle for a draw after playing so well against Nana Dzagnidze despite being under time pressure. “I should have played ‘h4’,” she said, referring to the king-side pawn push she missed right at the end.
Thanks to the draw, Dzagnidze is still in the lead with 4.5 points, half-a-point ahead of Humpy, R. Vaishali and the two Ukrainians Anna Ushenina and Mariya Muzychuk.
The results (Indians unless specified)
Sixth round: Open: Hikaru Nakamura (US) 3 bt Parham Maghsoodloo (IRI) 3; Arjun Erigaisi 3.5 bt Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) 3.5; Nihal Sarin 4.5 drew with Wesley So (US) 2.5; Nodirbek Abdusattarov (Uzb) 2.5 bt S.P. Sethuraman 1.5; Vidit Gujrathi 3 drew with D. Gukesh 3.
Women: Koneru Humpy 4 drew with Nana Dzagnidze (Geo) 4.5; Vantika Agrawl 1.5 drew with Dronavalli Harika 3.5; Anna Muzychuk (Ukr) 2 drew with Anna Ushenina (Ukr) 4; Mariya Muzychuk (Ukr) 4 bt Oliwia Kiolbasa (Pol) 1.5; B. Savitha Shri 1 lost to R. Vaishali 4.