Sethuraman stops Safin

Rakesh Rao

Adhiban and Magesh lose

Twelve share lead

Abhijit Kunte held by Sahaj Grover

GURGAON: S.P. Sethuraman stayed on course for a second successive Grandmaster norm when he upstaged eighth-seeded Uzbek GM Shukhrat Safin to be among the 12 leaders at 4.5 points after five rounds of the Gurgaon International Open chess tournament at the Suncity World School here.

The Chennai youngster, a last-minute entrant here after attaining his maiden GM norm in New Delhi earlier this week, forced Safin to give up his rook for a knight on the 31st move and dominated the proceedings thereafter to win in 63 moves.

Indian GMs struggle

National ‘B’ champion B. Adhiban and GM P. Magesh Chandran, seeded 10 and 13, were the other notable losers after being collared by Saptarshi Roy and young S. Nitin. Barring Safin’s defeat, it was a fairly fruitful day for the overseas GMs while their Indian counterparts struggled.

Yuriy Kuzubov, Anuar Ismagambetov, Mikhail Ulibin, Yuri Solodovnichenko emerged victorious to join the lead while Evgeny Gleizerov and Petr Kostenko won on the lower boards after the top-two boards settled for draws in seven moves.

Kunte settles for a draw

Only 17th seeded International Master USA’s Justin Sarkar surrendered to Arghyadip Das. Abhijit Kunte, seeded fifth and the strongest Indian in the fray, settled for yet another draw. Thirteen-year-old Sahaj Grover, struggling for form for the past six months, proved equal to the challenge thrown by Kunte in 43 moves.

Pravin Thipsay, too, dropped half a point to V. Raghavendra, whileUzbek Saidali Iuldachev did the same against Arindam Mukherjee.

The results (Indians unless stated): Fifth round: Niaz Murshed (Ban, 4.5) drew with Alexander Areshchenko (Ukr, 4.5); P.D.S. Girinath (4.5) drew with M.R. Lalith Babu (4.5); Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 4.5) bt Prathamesh Mokal (3.5); Anuar Ismagambetov (Kaz, 4.5) bt B.T. Murali Krishnan (3.5); Shukhrat Safin (Uzb, 3.5) lost to S. P. Sethuraman (4.5).

M. S.Thejkumar (3.5) lost to Mikhail Ulibin (Rus, 4.5); B. Adhiban (3.5) lost to Saptarshi Roy (4.5); S. Nitin (4.5) bt P. Magesh Chandran (3.5); Justin Sarkar (USA, 3.5) lost to Arghyadip Das (4.5); V. Raghvendra (4) drew with Pravin Thipsay (4); Deep Sengupta (4.5) bt N. Srinath (3.5); Akash Thakur (3.5) lost to Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 4.5).

EvgenyGleizerov (Rus, 4) bt Vishnu Prasanna (3); Sahaj Grover (3.5) drew with Abhijit Kunte (3.5); Arindam Mukherjee (3.5) drew with Saidali Iuldachev (Uzb, 3.5); Shreyansh Daklia (3) lost to Petr Kostenko (Kaz, 4).

Neelotpal Das (4) bt Saurabh Kherdekar (3); R.R. Laxman(4) bt Nafisa Muminova (Uzb, 3); Aswin Jayaram (3.5) drew with Ravi Hegde (3.5); Vinay Kumar Matta (3) lost to M. Shyam Sundar (4).

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