Rakesh Rao

GURGAON: Seasoned International Master P.D.S. Girinath is known to play the waiting game like no other. There is none in the country who can match his reputation when it comes to reeling off moves in acute shortage of time. On Thursday, Girinath turned the clock back to enjoy his best time in quite a while by stunning seventh-seeded Uzbek Grandmaster Saidali Iuldachev to be among the five leaders in the Gurgaon International Open chess tournament here on Friday.

Iuldachev, rated 116 points above at 2520, surrendered in 35 moves of French Defence in the fourth round after a sudden spate of exchanges left Girinath threatening to gain a rook. Girinath joined top seed Alexander Areshchenko, Prathamesh Mokal, M.R. Lalith Babu and Bangladesh’s veteran GM Niaz Murshed — the man who ended the magical run of P. Saravana Krishanan — in the lead.

Second seed Yuriy Kuzubov ran into in-form S.P. Sethuraman and settled for a 20-move draw after the sixth seed Anuar Ismagambetov did against Saptarshi Roy in just six moves.

GMs Yuri Solodovnichenko, Abhijit Kunte and Neelotpal Das drew again but P. Magesh Chandran and Pravin Thipsay won. Surprises followed when the ladies National champion Kruttika Nadig lost to lowly-rated V. Raghvendra, Akash Thakur scored over former National champion P. Konguvel and R. Preethi drew with Nurlan Ibrayev of Kazakhstan.

The results (Indians unless stated):

Fourth round: Alexander Areshchenko (Ukr, 4) bt Aswin Jayaram (3); S.P. Sethuraman (3.5) drew withYuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 3.5); Saptarshi Roy (3.5) drew with Anuar Ismagambetov (Kaz, 3.5); Saidali Iuldachev (Uzb, 3) lost to P.D.S. Girinath (4); N. Srinath (3.5) drew with B. Adhiban (3.5); Prathamesh Mokal (4) bt R.R. Laxman (3); M.R. Lalith Babu (4) bt Suvrajit Saha (3); B.T. Murali Krishna (3.5) drew with S. Nitin (3.5); Niaz Murshed (Ban, 4) bt P. Saravana Krishnan (3).

Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 3) drew with B. S. Shivananda (3); Abhijit Kunte (3) drew with R. Premnath (3); C. Praveen Kumar (2.5) lost to Shukhrat Safin (Uzb, 3.5); Mikhail Ulibin (Rus, 3.5) bt J. Ramakrishna (2.5); Soumyaranjan Mishra (3) drew with Neelotpal Das (3); P. Magesh Chandran (3.5) bt R. Balasubramanium (2.5); P. Konguvel (2.5) lost to Akash Thakur (3.5); P. Maheswaran (2.5) lost to Justin Sarkar (USA, 3.5); Pravin Thipsay (3.5) bt Arjun Tiwari (2.5).

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