Rakesh Rao

NEW DELHI: For the last couple of days, Surya Shekhar Ganguly is the last one to leave the stage where the leading boards are placed. Known to work hard on his game, the National champion is being made to stretch all the way by his rivals of varying strengths. But Ganguly is not complaining as long as he stays in contention of the top prize in the Parsvnath International chess tournament here.

Hard-fought win

Sunday turned out to be yet another day when Ganguly worked overtime to earn his reward against Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua. Eventually, the 79-move victory with black pieces after facing Barua’s favourite Guico Piano variation gave Ganguly the lead at eight points. Ganguly, looking for his first title in the National capital, enters Monday’s final round with a half-point cushion.

Kazakh Petr Kostenko, Russian Mikhail Ulibin, Neelotpal Das, P. Karthikeyan and M.S. Thejkumar share the second spot. The day witnessed the making of three norms. Chennai youngster S.P. Sethuraman made his first GM norm by drawing in just 10 moves with GM Abhijit Kunte.

Shashikant Kutwal collected his second International Master norm in spite of losing to Ukranian Yuriy Kuzubov while Arindam Mukherjee gained his first IM norm by drawing with Sriram Jha.

The results (Indians unless stated): Ninth round: Petr Kostenko (Kaz, 7.5) drew with Mikhail Ulibin (Rus,7.5); Dibyendu Barua (6.5) lost to Surya Shekhar Ganguly (8); S.P. Sethuraman (7)drew with Abhijit Kunte (7); Joydeep Dutta (6.5) lost to Neelotpal Das (7.5); G.B. Prakash (7) drew with R.R. Laxman (7); P. Karthikeyan (7.5) bt Prathamesh Mokal (6.5); M.S. Thejkumar (7.5) bt Vishnu Prasanna (6.5); Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 7) bt Shashikant Kutwal (6.5); Niaz Murshed (Ban, 6.5) drew with Alexander Areshchenko (Ukr, 6.5); Nurlan Ibrayev (Kaz, 6.5) drew with Negi (6.5); Akshayraj Kore (6) lost to Evgeny Gleizerov (Rus, 7).

Dinesh Kumar Sharma (7) bt Anuar Ismagambetov (Kaz, 6); Roktim Bandyopadhyay (6) lost to Saidali Iuldachev (Uzb, 7); Pravin Thipsay (7) bt Shyam Sundar (6); Deep Sengupta (6) lost to Suvrajit Saha (7); Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (7) bt Sokhib Djuraev (Tjk, 6); Arindam Mukherjee (6.5) drew with Sriram Jha (6.5); K. Ratnakaran (7) bt Prantik Roy (6); Arjun Tiwari (6) lost toYuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 6.5); Shukhrat Safin (Uzb, 6.5) bt Neeraj Kumar Mishra (5.5); Sudhakar Babu (6) drew with Vinay Bhat (USA, 6); Arkhangels (Rus, 6.5) bt P. Magesh Chandran (5.5); M.R. Lalith Babu (6.5) bt Akshat Khamparia (5.5); R. Premnath (6.5) bt M.R. Venkatesh (5.5); P. Konguvel (5.5) lost to D.P. Singh (6.5).

Atanu Lahiri (5.5) lost to Justin Sarkar (USA, 5.5); Vidit Gujarathi (6.5) bt Navin Kanna (5.5); Amanov (Kaz, 6.5) bt Soumyaranjan Mishra (5.5); Gurpreet Pal Singh (5.5) lost to Himanshu Sharma (6.5); Arghyadip Das (6) drew with Varugeese Koshy (6).

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