Young Indian GM Vidit Gujrathi and Filipino GM Oliver Barbosa shared the lead with seven points each, at the end of the ninth and penultimate round, of the sixth Kolkata Open International Chess here on Wednesday.
Indian GMs B. Adhiban, M.R. Lalith Babu and Abhijit Kunte along with GM Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh are second with 6.5 points each.
Former age-group World champions Gujrathi and S.P. Sethuraman fought fiercely in a Caro Kann defence adopted by the former. Gujrathi gained a valuable pawn on the 42nd move after several exchanges. In an equal ending, Gujrathi demonstrated that knight is a better piece than bishop, when all the pawns are on the same side. He then retained his position in the leadership to win in 98 moves, the longest game of the tournament.
Barbosa and Konstantin Landa of Russia preferred to play the Tarrasch game, in which the latter went for a queen exchange as early as in the seventh move. Barbosa did not allow Landa to castle and his outside passer pawn on the a-file helped to get the verdict in his favour.
The chances of getting a GM norm vanished for IM Diptayan Ghosh as he lost to GM Avetik Grigoryan of Armenia in a symmetrical English opening. One of the two extra pawns of Avetik was an outside passer, which was instrumental in ensuring the win for the Armenian.
The Sicilian defence game between Adhiban and Rahman was full of tactics and both tried to outwit each other.
The double edged rook and two pawns ending had no other result than a draw.
Ninth round: Oliver Barbosa (Phi) 7 bt Konstantin Landa (Rus) 6; B. Adhiban 6.5 drew with Ziaur Rahman (Ban) 6.5; S.P. Sethuraman 6 lost to Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 7; M.R. Lalith Babu 6.5 drew with Abhijit Kunte 6.5; Nigel Short (Eng) 5.5 drew with Deep Sengupta 5.5;Abdulla Al-Rakib (Ban) 5.5 drew with Sergey Fedorchuk (Ukr) 5.5; S. Arun Prasad 5.5 drew with Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Geo) 5.5;Levan Pantsulaia (Geo) 5 lost to J. Deepan Chakkravarthy 6; Avetik Grigoryan (Arm) 6 bt Diptayan Ghosh 5; Henrik Danielsen (ISL) 5.5 bt P. Karthikeyan 5; Padmini Rout 4.5 lost to G.N Gopal 5.5.