India’s Parimarjan Negi finally found his winning ways as he beat Tomike Sanikidze of Georgia in the seventh round to grab the joint second spot at the International Chess Festival Baku Open here.

He is now within half a point of the leader and defending champion Sergei Zhigalko. Behind Zhigalko (5.5 points), there are three players including Negi at five.

The Asian champion, who is still unbeaten had drawn his last three games, won the seventh round against Georgia’s Sanikidze (2586) to keep his chances of grabbing the title alive.

He now has five points with three wins and four draws and Zhigalko (2667), who beat Anton Korobov (2705) has 5.5 points.

“Today was a wild game. I surprised him with an interesting novelty, and he took almost an hour to deal with it. Eventually this time difference turned out to be the key, even though I missed chances to finish the game cleanly.

“But under increasing time pressure he failed to find the correct defences in a wild game. It was nice to win after three draws,” Negi said.

The eighth round could see a pairing between Negi and Zhigalko and that may well give the Indian a chance to move ahead.

Joining Negi at five points was Rauf Mamedov, who beat overnight joint leader, Baris Esen. Mikheil Mchedlishivli also joined them at five after beating Gulnar Mammadova.

The nine-round Swiss tournament is being held at the famous Aqua Park near Caspian Sea and carries a purse of USD 50,000 with the winner taking USD 10,000. The tournament runs through to October 1.

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