NEW DELHI: Deep Sengupta nailed overnight leader G.N. Gopal with a fine display of endgame technique and snatched the lead in the sixth round of the Asian junior chess championship at the Bapu Samaj Sewa Kendra here on Saturday.
Deep's 55-move victory in this interesting game between two young National `A' qualifiers, raised his tally to five points and kept him half a point clear of a seven-player pack including six Indians.
In the girls' section, Kiran Monisha Mohanty pulled off another surprise win over National junior girls' champion Soumya Swaminathan to join favourite Hoang Thi Bao Tram at the top with five points. With the top eight boards providing decisive verdicts, the victorious trio of Mary Ann Gomes, Lakshmi Sahiti and Amruta Mokal continues to trail the leaders by half a point.
Deep eased into a position of comfort in his Sicilian game against Gopal after most of the major pieces were exchanged. Deep's rook made inroads from the queen's side and pushed Gopal on the defensive. It was Deep's extra kingside pawn that brought his queen back on the board. At this stage, Gopal gave up.
Similarly, it was Kiran's surplus pawn in an ending involving a rook each and pawns that sealed Soumya's fate. In this Sicilian battle, lasting 69 moves, a draw looked a fair result until Kiran saw her chance and grabbed it.
On the top board, Vietnamese top seed Hoang Thi Bao Tram was impressive during her 36-move thrashing of Kruttika Nadig. Tram's rook pair thronged Kruttika's back rank and threatened to checkmate her when the Indian resigned.
Coming back to the boys' action, Ashwin Jayaram began well and eventually proved equal to Vietnam's Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son in their Sicilian Dragon game. This 29-move deadlock witnessed violent exchange of pieces that left the players with opposite-colour bishop and equal pawns.
National junior champion Abhijeet Gupta defeated Swapnil Dhopade and Shyam Sundar outplayed Uzbekistan's Dzhurabek Khamrakulov.
The results (Sixth round, Indians unless stated):
Open: Deep Sengupta (5) bt Gopal (4.5); Ashwin Jayaram (4.5) drew with Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vie, 4.5); Rohit (4.5) drew with Sethuraman (4.5); Dzhurabek Khamrakulov (Uzb, 4) lost to Shyam Sundar (4.5); Abhijeet Gupta (4.5) bt Swapnil Dhopade (3.5); Rahul Sangma (4) drew with Arun Prasad (4); Sai Srinivas (3.5) drew with Swayams Mishra (4); Soumitra Majumdar (3) lost to Adhiban (4); Lalith Babu (4) bt Venkat Sundaram (3); Rajapaksha (Sri, 3) lost to Nitin (4); Anwesh Upadhyay (3.5) drew with Purushothaman (3.5); Akshat Khamparia (4) bt Dhruv Hingorani (3); Kalugampitiya (Sri, 3) lost to Premnath (4); Ashwath (3.5) bt Rousan Kumar Jaiswal (Nep, 2.5); Hemant Sharma (3) drew with Shinya Kojima (Jap, 3); Aditya Vikas (3) drew with Shahin Sadeh (Iri, 3).
Girls: Kruttika Nadig (4) lost to Hoang Thi Bao Tram (Vie, 5); Kiran Monisha Mohanty (5) bt Soumya Swaminathan (4); Mary Ann Gomes (4.5) bt Saheli Nath (3.5); Lakshmi Sahiti (4.5) bt Padmini Rout (3.5); Priya (3.5) lost to Amrutha Mokal (4.5); Preethi (4) bt Nadiya Tashimova (Kaz, 3); Syed Nabeela Farheen (3) lost to Tejaswi (4); Ketaki Dave (3) lost to Baisakhi Das (4); Rajadarshini (3) drew with Shohreh Bayat (Iri, 3); Jimli Barua (2.5) drew with Dhara Gupta (2.5); Mayuri Karunanayake (Sri, 2.5) drew with Preetika Tayal (2.5); Supeshala Thilakawardena (Sri, 2.5) drew with Inchara (2.5); Aparna Raja (1.5) lost to Ngyuen Thi Hanh (Vie, 2.5); Thilini Anoratne (Sri, 2) drew with Chathuri Karunanayake (Sri, 2); Dimagi Gunasekera (Sri, 2.5) bt Monalisa Khamboo (Nep, 1.5); Kanika Saxena (1) lost to Yashmada Lokunarangoda (Sri, 1.5).