Carrying on with their encouraging form, young Grandmasters Abhijeet Gupta and Lalith Babu won for the fourth time in succession to set up an intriguing fifth-round clash Parsvnath Grandmasters International chess tournament here.
Abhijeet, seeded three and the strongest Indian in the fray, outsmarted fellow GM M.R. Venkatesh in 48 moves in a rook-pawn endgame.
Fifth seed Lalith happily offered a rook for a knight to Ukrainian GM Eldar Gasanov during an interesting middle game that took a violent turn with both players high on aggression. Clever pawn-manoeuvre on both flanks gave Lalith the advantage. In desperation, Gasanov returned the rook for a bishop and pawn but it did not help his cause.
Lalith’s proactive rook limited Gasanov’s options and he finally gave up in 47 moves.
Akshat Khamparia crushed 10th-seeded Georgian GM Tornike Sanikidze.
The results (Indians unless stated): Fourth round: Abhijeet Gupta (4) bt M. R. Venkatesh (3); Lalith Babu (4) bt Eldar Gasanov (Ukr, 3); Merab Gagunashvili (Geo, 3.5) drew with N. Vignesh (3.5); Raset Ziatdinov (USA, 3.5) drew with Martyn Kravtsiv (Ukr, 3); P. Shyamnikhil (3) drew with Alexander Evdokimov (Rus, 3); Akshat Khamparia (3.5) bt Tornike Sanikidze (Geo, 2.5); Deep Sengupta (3.5) bt Pavlo Vorontsov (Ukr, 2.5); Sameer Kathmale (2.5) lost to Deepan Chakkravarthy (3.5); Arjun Tiwari (2.5) lost to Ankit Rajpara (3.5); Vikramaditya Kulkarni (2) lost to Levan Pantsulaia (Geo, 3); Rahul Sangma (2.5) drew with Oliver Barbosa (Phi, 2.5); S. Nitin (2.5) drew with Vaibhav Suri (2.5); John Paul Gomez (Phi, 2.5) drew with N. Visakh (2.5); Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb, 3) bt Abhimanyu Puranik (2); B.S. Shivananda (2) lost to Valeriy Neverov (Ukr, 3); Arun Prasad (2.5) drew with Saravana Krishanan (2.5); Padmini Rout (3) bt Sahaj Grover (2); Akash Iyer (2) lost to R. R. Laxman (3); Hemant Sharma (2.5) drew with Francois Fargere (Fra, 2.5); Abhishek Kelkar (2.5) drew with N. Srinath (2.5).