Rakesh Rao

NAGPUR: Grandmasters made a roaring comeback in the title-race of the Commonwealth chess championship on an eventful double-round day here on Friday.

Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Bangladesh’s Enamul Hossain, seeded two and 10, scored comprehensive victories on the top two boards in the eighth round to share the lead with seven points.

Lead changed hands twice during the day that saw overnight leader Deep Sengupta crash to twin losses.

B.T. Murali Krishnan snatched the lead from Deep following a marathon 90-move win in the seventh round but suffered a 29-move defeat against Hossain in the evening.

Hossain benefited from Murali’s erratic display that saw the Southern Railway player first lose a central pawn, overlook the loss of his queen for a rook and a minor piece and then get his rook trapped.

Ganguly, who drew with GM in-waiting S. Arun Prasad in the seventh round, doubled Deep’s agony in 41 moves to join Hossain at the top. Arun netted a point by trapping P. Karthikeyan in his home preparations in 36 moves and shared the third spot with Murali and top seed Nigel Short.

Short outplays Lodhi

Short finally played to his reputation.

He outplayed Pakistan’s veteran Mahmood Lodhi and used all his experience to end S.P. Sethuraman’s resistance in 86 moves to move within half a point of the leaders.

Other GMs like Abhijit Kunte and Parimarjan Negi reached six points after collecting 1.5 points during the day.

Struggling veteran Dibyendu Barua also enhanced his chances of an honourable finish after scoring two wins on this day.

But World junior champion Abhijeet Gupta had a highly forgettable day after losing both his games.

The Bhilwara boy lost to Vidit Gujarati, the reigning National under-13 boys’ champion and then surrendered to K. Priyadarshan.

Vidit, meanwhile, went on to hold Asian junior champion GM Deepan Chakkravarthy after pushing the stocky GM to the brink of defeat.

Earlier, Deepan was lucky to draw with P. Karthikeyan, the current Asian junior champion.

The results:

Eighth round: Enamul Hossain (Ban, 7) bt B.T. Murali Krishnan (6.5); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (7) bt Deep Sengupta (6); Nigel Short (Eng, 6.5) bt S.P. Sethuraman (6.5),

Parimarjan Negi (6) drew with Saptarshi Roy (6); P. Konguvel (6) drew with R.R. Laxman (6); P. Karthikeyan (5.5) lost to S. Arun Prasad (6.5); Vidit Gujarati (6) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (6);. Arghyadip Das (6) drew with M.R. Venkatesh (6); Suvrajit Saha (6) drew with Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 5.5); S. Meenakshi (5) lost to Abhijit Kunte (6); Dibyendu Barua (6) bt M.R. Lalith Babu (5); Neelotpal Das (6) bt Taibur Rahman (Ban, 5)

.S. Kidambi (5.5) drew with S. Nitin (5.5); P. Shyam Nikhil (5) lost to M.S. Thejkumar (6); G.B. Joshi (5) lost to Niaz Murshed (Ban, 6); Aswin Jayaram (6) bt Anup Deshmukh (5); M. Shyam Sundar (5.5) drew with P.D.S. Girinath (5.5); T. Purushothaman (5) lost to B. Adhiban (6); Aleksandar Wohl (Aus, 5.5) drew with Sohan Phadke (5.5); M. VinayKumar (5.5) drew with Vikramaditya Kamble (5.5); K. Priyadarshan (5.5) bt Abhijeet Gupta (4.5).

Seventh round: Murali bt Deep; Arun drew with Ganguly; Deshmukh lost to Hossain; Deepan drew with Karthikeyan; Sethuraman drew with Saha; Lodhi lost to Short; Kunte drew with Shyam Nikhil; Abhijeet lost to Vidit; Guy West lost to Negi; Rahul Sangma lost to Laxman; Venkatesh bt Shashikant Kutwal. Lalith Babu drew with Kidambi; Murshed drew with Shyam Sundar; Taibur Rahman drew with Aswin; Girinath drew with Purushothaman; Priyadarshan lost toKonguvel; Satyapragyan drew with Vinay Kumar; Saptarshi bt Gajendra Singh; Vaibhav Suri lost to Arghyadip; Rahman bt Arun Karthik; R. Premnath lost to Barua.

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