GM Kratvsiv Martyn of Ukraine defeated the Maharashtra youngster Shardul Gagare to emerge sole leader with 5.5 points at the end of the sixth round of the NIT Nagpur International Grandmasters Open Chess Tournament, organised by Nagpur Improvement Trust at Naivedhyam Recreation Centre, Nagpur today.
He is followed by five other players including Vidit Santosh Gujarti of Maharashtra and top seed Aleksandrov Aleksej of Belarus, with five points each.
In an absorbing game, Shardul started with Catalan opening and offered to exchange the queens on move 25. His opponent Kravtsiv, having an extra pawn rejected it. His b- and c- pawns had a steady march towards the eighth rank, which was effectively controlled by Shardul.
After exchanging the queens on move 36, Shardul tried to repeat the position aiming for a draw. But, Kravtsiv avoided it and used his resources to eliminate his opponent’s bishop and won after a marathon 77 moves.
In another interesting game of Polish defence, Aleksej defended stoutly against Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh to extricate half a point. Though Ziaur Rahman had two pawns with a white bishop, Alexej managed a draw with his opposite colour bishop. Ziaur is also on the second spot with 5 points.
Former under 25 national champion Himanshu Sharma crushed Asian Junior champion N. Srinath of Tamil Nadu in a Sicilian defence with two extra minor pieces on the board, to raise his tally to 5 points.
In the Slav defence, former world under 14 champion Vidit traded the queens with Andrei Deviatkin of Russia in the thirteenth move. Though he gained a pawn, there was no breakthrough and both agreed for a draw in 23 moves. Both have five points each.
GM-elect Sahaj Grover of Delhi had to concede half a point to Maharashtra IM Ankit Rajapara in a French defence.
IMs Anup Deshmukh and Swapnil Dhopade registered comfortable wins to secure four points each.
Former Asian Junior champion IM P. Karthikeyan of PSPB created space advantage in a Sicilian defence, played by veteran GM Alexander Fominyh of Russia to register a win in 25 moves.
Former national under 25 and blitz champion RR Laxman of ICF had to lose a valuable point, when his mobile phone rang in his game with IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni of Maharashtra, playing for Railways.
Former Asian Junior runner up MR Lalith Babu’s last minute under time pressure tactics paid off to sacrifice his rook to outwit Bangladesh IM Minhazuddin Ahmed in a king pawn opening game.
Report by IA Rathinam Anantharam