An unusually aggressive Marat Dzhumaev missed a chance to tighten the screws on fellow overnight leader Ehsan Ghaem Maghami and suffered a disappointing defeat in an intriguing ninth-round battle of the 8th Parsvnath International Open chess tournament at the Modern School hall here.

Wednesday witnessed fierce battles with Maghami regaining the sole lead after a 41-move escape to victory on the top board. With two rounds remaining, Maghami has eight points and enjoys a half-point lead over four players.

Dzhumaev, playing white, had a chance to trade one of his minor pieces for a rook against a defensive but effective Maghami. Thereafter, Maghami strengthened his defence and looked better off with a pawn advantage. A desperate Dzhumaev sacrificed a bishop to expose Maghami’s castled king but could make little headway. With Dzhumaev under time-pressure, Maghami forced an exchange of queens on the 41st

move that made the Uzbek give up. Young International Master Deep Sengupta became part of the four-player pack in the second place by upsetting fourth seeded Russian GM Maxim Turov in 56 moves. Russia’s Nikolay Tolstikh, one of the three overnight leaders, drew with Bangladesh GM Ziaur Rahman.

Second seeded Slovenian GM Luka Lenic defeated an ambitious GM-norm aspirant Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury in 80 moves after Kazakh GM Pavel Kotsur overpowered young M. R. Lalith Babu in 76 moves.

Like Kotsur, top seeded Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem also kept alive chances of a strong finish. He defeated B. S. Shivananda in just 23 moves to reach seven points, a tally matched by Arghyadip Das after holding ninth seeded Ukrainian GM Martyn Kravtsiv in 42 moves.

The results (Indians unless stated):

Ninth round: Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb, 7) lost to Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Iri, 8); Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 7) drew with Nilokay Tolstikh (Rus, 7.5); Luka Lenic (Slo, 7.5) bt Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (6.5); Deep Sengupta (7.5) bt Maxim Turov (6.5); M. R. Lalith Babu (6.5) lost to Pavel Kotsur Kaz, 7.5); Arghyadip Das (7) drew with Martyn Kravtsiv (Ukr, 7); Richard Bitoon (Phi, 6.5) drew with Saptarshi Roy (7); Le Quang Liem (Vie, 7) bt B. S. Shivanandan (6); Dmitry Kryakvin (Rus, 7) bt Aniruddha Deshpande (6); P. Karthikeyan (7) bt Sahaj Grover (6); Andrey Gutov (Rus, 7) bt R. Arun Karthik (6); Dimakiling Oliver (Phi, 6) lost to Ravi Hegde (7); P. D. S. Girinath (6.5) drew with Swapnil Dhopade (6.5); N. Sudhakar Babu (6) lost to P. Konguvel (7); Swayams Mishra (5.5) lost to S. Arun Prasad (6.5); Alexander Zubarev (Ukr, 6.5) bt K. Priyadarshan (5.5); Abhishek Das (5.5) lost to Rinat Jumabayev (6.5); Saidali Iuldachev (Uzb, 6.5) bt P. Maheswaran (5.5); R. R. Laxman (6.5) bt Vaibhav Suri (5.5); Varugeese Koshy (5.5) lost to Deepan Chakkravarthy (6.5); Pravin Thipsay (6) drew with Shiven Khosla (6); Ankit Rajpara (5.5) lost to Himanshu Sharma (6.5); Navin Kanna (6) drew with Mikulas Manik (Svk, 6); Vinoth Kumar (5.5) lost to M. S. Thejkumar (6.5); Aswin Jayaram (6) drew with P. Saravana Krishna (6); K. Rathnakaran (6.5) bt Abhishek Kelkar (5.5); Meghan Gupte (5.5) lost to Tania Sachdev (6.5); Vikramaditya Kamble (6.5) bt Elena Semenova (Rus, 5.5).

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