Grandmaster Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus defeated overnight leader Grandmaster Vaibhav Suri to be in joint lead along with Marat Dzhumaev of Uzbekistan after the end of the eighth round of the premier section of Parsvnath International Chess Festival now underway here.
Dzhumaev accounted for Commonwealth champion M R Lalith Babu to match Aleksandrov on 6.5 points after the eighth round and these two will clash in the penultimate round now.
Aleksandrov ended the dream run of Suri from the black side of a closed Ruy Lopez. The Delhi boy could not keep pace with his counter-attack when black’s pieces came hurling at the kingside and the result was a smooth attack and a swift victory for Aleksandrov.
Dzhumaev, who recently won the strong Kolkata open, made short work of Lalith Babu in a Caro Kann defense game. Playing white, Marat went for a less-played system and got a dangerous attack right from the early middle game. An erroneous plan by Lalith Babu resulted in lost position pretty quickly and Dzhumaev clinched the issue in a mere 24 moves.
With Aleksandrov and Dzhumaev in front four players – Henrik Teske of Germany, Kiril Kuderinov of Kazakhstan, Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan and Suri share the third spot with six points apiece.
Teske defeated Sahaj Grover from the black side of a Queen pawn opening. The German GM was worse in the endgame but ended up swindling his young opponent.
Kuderinov turned the tables on Lu Shanglei of China after struggling in the middle game while Vakhidov had luck smiling at him when Bangladeshi Grandmaster Niaz Murshed forgot to keep track of his clock and lost on time.
Murali Karthikeyan kept himself in contention for a Grandmaster norm after drawing with Magesh Chandran Panchanathan. The Chennai-based 13-year old took his tally to a very impressive 5.5 points and a draw in the next round should be enough to get him his maiden Grandmaster norm. Kuderinov is another player who is in with a chance to make a Grandmaster norm.
Amongst other Indians in the fray, Diptayan Ghosh did well to hold top seed Abhijeet Gupta to a draw. With five points from eight games, Gupta is out of contention.
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