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Sport - Chess

Sasikiran narrows the gap

By Amitabha Das Shrama

Iranian Grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami taking a look at his position in his ninth round encounter against GM Maxim Sorokin of Argentina at the Goodricke International Open chess tournament in Kolkata on Monday. — Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

KOLKATA, MARCH 25. Overnight leader Grandmaster Sarunas Sulskis of Lithuania survived a scare before managing a draw against Ukraine's GM Sergei Ovsejevitsch to improve his title chances after the ninth round of the XIII Goodricke international Open chess tournament at Gorky Sadan on Monday.

The draw kept the Lithuanian GM a point clear of the rest of the field even as his immediate challenger — India's GM Krishnan Sasikiran — won against GM Arsen Yegiazarian of Armenia to narrow the margin. The win puts Sasikiran in contention, but Sulskis is the best prospect for the title as he needs only a point from the remaining two games to clinch the title.

Playing on the top board, Sulskis was in difficulty against Ovsejevitsch in the exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined, as he had lost a rook for knight. But Sulskis managed to retrieve the situation as the position appeared blocked and the Ovsejevitsch agreed to a draw.

Sasikiran, having seen his sincere efforts fetch four consecutive draws in the earlier rounds, finally broke free against Yegiazarian in a Nimzo Indian Defence. Though the Indian GM had a passed pawn on the d-file, the game was heading for a draw in a queen and bishop ending. But the Armenian GM blundered in the endgame and Sasikiran lost no chance in scoring a creditable win. The win helped the Indian GM break go to the lone second spot with 6.5 points.

International Master Sandipan Chanda kept his final GM norm hopes alive as he upset the Russian GM Evgeny Gleizerov in a Benoni Defence. Sandipan, playing black, erred in the opening but Gleizerov could not take advantage of his opponent's inaccuracy. On the contrary, Gleizerov allowed Sandipan a dangerous passed pawn on the c-file which proved costly for the former.

Wong Zi Jing, a 20-year-old Aeronautical engineering student from Johor Baru, Malaysia, secured his first IM norm with a draw against Indian GM Abhijit Kunte in a Sicilian Defence.

City based GM Dibyendu Barua squandered a winning position against Alexander Goloshchapov of Ukraine in a Sicilian Defence and had to be satisfied with a draw and a tally of 5.5 points. Woman International Master Nisha Mohota, requiring a win for her first WGM norm went down to National junior boys champion Sundarajan Kidambi in a Queen's Gambit Declined in 31 moves.

P. Mahesh Chandran of India put up a notable show holding GM Bogdan Lalic of England in 23 moves in the Tarrasch variation of the French Defence. Agonies for WGM Koneru Humpy continued as she was held to a draw by Suvrajit Saha in 31 moves in a Slav defence

The results: Sergei Ovsejevitsch (Ukr) 6 drew with Sarunas Sulskis (Ltu) 7.5; Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind) 6.5 bt Aresn Yegiazarian (Arm) 5.5; Maxim Sorokin (Arg) 5.5 drew with Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Iri) 6; S. Satyapragyan (Ind) 5 lost to Drazen Sermek (Slo) 6; Pavel Kotsur (Kaz) 5.5 drew with Alexey Kuzmin (Rus) 5.5; Dibyendu Barua (Ind) 5.5 drew with Alexander Goloshchapov (Ukr) 5.5; Alexander Fominyh (Rus) 5.5 drew with Andrey Shariyazdanov (Rus) 5.5; Tejas Bakre (Ind) 4.5 lost to Aleksei Aleksandrov (Blr) 5.5; Alexander Motylev (Rus) 5.5 bt Rahul Shetty (Ind) 4.5; Evgeny Gleizerov (Rus) 4.5 lost to Sandipan Chanda (Ind) 5.5; Ruslan Sherbakov (Rus) 5.5 bt T.S. Ravi (Ind) 4.5; P. Mahesh Chandran (Ind) 5 drew with Bogdan Lalic (Eng) 5; Wong Zi Jing (Mas) 5 drew with Abhijit Kunte (Ind) 5; Lanka Ravi (Ind) 4.5 drew with G.B. Prakash (Ind) 4.5; Gore Yogesh (Ind) 4.5 drew with Mohamad Al-Sayed (Qat) 4.5; Sriram Jha (Ind) 4.5 drew with Joerg Blauert (Ger) 4.5; Koneru Humpy (Ind) 4 drew with Suvrajit Saha (Ind) 4; R.B. Ramesh (Ind) 4.5 bt Vikramjit Singh (Ind) 3.5; Sundararajan Kidambi (Ind) 4.5 bt Nisha Mohota (Ind) 3.5; V. Saravanan (Ind) 4 drew with Deep Sengupta (Ind) 4; K. Visweswaran (Ind) 4 bt Abdulla Al-Rakib (Ban) 3; Enamul Hossain (Ban) 4 bt Swathi Ghate (Ind) 3; Ponnuswamy Konguvel (Ind) 3.5 drew with Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (Ind) 3.5; Dinesh Kumar Sharma (Ind) 4 bt P.D.S. Girinath (Ind) 2.5; Krishna Thapa (Nep) 2 lost to Somak Palit (Ind) 3.5; Aarthie Ramaswamy (Ind) 3 bt Shayeste Ghader Pour (Iri) 2; Rahul Sangma (Ind) 2.5 drew with Saheli Dhar Barua (Ind) 2.5

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