Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran defeated former women's World champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria to remain in the leading group of Tradewise Gibraltar chess tournament here.

On a generally good day for higher ranked Indians, Koneru Humpy also made good use of her black pieces to beat giant-killer Craig Hanley of England, while G.N. Gopal had it easy against Ido Ben Artzi of Israel.

Also back to winning ways was National champion Abhijeet Gupta, who had a tense game with Even Thingstad of Norway, while Parimarjan Negi conceded half a point to the experienced GM Pia Cramling of Sweden.

Amongst other Indians in the fray, Rakesh Kulkarni and Sohan Phadke lost, while Soumya Swaminathan continued her good run to hold GM Matthias Womanca of Germany to a draw.

At the top of the table, six times Russian champion Peter Svidler played out a draw with Germany's Artur Jussupow, which was not a surprise as the latter had played chess at the highest level many years back.

While Sasikiran won from the black side of a Neo-Grunfeld, Humpy successfully created imbalances all over the board against Hanley who had beaten Emil Sutovsky in the first round.

The tactics against the otherwise solid Catalan opening worked as Hanley was tested on both flanks. In the end the jumping knights did the trick as Humpy forcibly won the queen. The game lasted 35 moves.

Abhijeet Gupta was in for a surprise in the Nimzo Indian against Thingstad after the latter played energetically on both flanks. The Indian champion, after a disastrous start, thwarted a spirited challenge to finally coast to his first victory.

With eight rounds still to come in the over, as many as 30 players share the lead with a perfect score.

Humpy and Sasikiran are part of leading pack while Negi and Gopal are half a point behind.

Important results:

Second round (Indians unless stated): Artur Jussupow (Ger, 1.5) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus, 1.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2) bt Tamir Nabaty (Isr, 1); Emanuel Berg (Swe, 1) lost to Michael Adams (Eng, 2); Zoltan Almasi (Hun, 2) bt Viktor Korchnoi (Sui, 1); Del Rio De Angelis (Esp, 1) lost to Le Quang Liem (Vie, 2); Judit Polgar (Hun, 2) bt Vyacheslav Ikonnikov (Rus, 1).

Viktor Laznicka (Cze, 2) bt Milos Pavlovic (Srb, 1); Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul, 1) lost to K. Sasikiran (2); Baron Tal (Isr, 1) lost to Nigel Short (Eng, 2); Parimarjan Negi (1.5) drew with Pia Cramling (Swe, 1.5); Craig Hanley (Eng, 1) lost to Koneru Humpy (2).

Ido Ben Artzi (Isr, 0.5) lost to G.N. Gopal (1.5); Nadezhda Kosintseva (Rus, 1.5) bt Rakesh Kulkarni (0.5); Soumya Swaminathan (1) drew with Mathias Womacka (Ger, 1); Even Thingstad (Nor, 0) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (1). — PTI

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