It was a day of shocks for the foreign Grandmasters in action at the Chetana College where the fourth round of the Mumbai Mayor’s Cup-International Chess tournament conducted by the Venus Chess Academy and co-sponsored by LIC of India was played.
Top seed GM Aleksej Alexandrov of Belarus was all but lost against Praveen Kumar but the youngster failed to get his act together and allowed him to wriggle out with a draw.
Eighth seed GM Mark Paragua of Philippines wasn’t so lucky and was shocked by T Purushothaman while 15th seed GM Evgeny Podolchenko was stunned by C Natarajan.
Sixth seed Abhijit Kunte was held to a draw by Ram S Krishnan, 10th seed Kirill Stupak also split point with Rakesh Kulkarni while Mithil Ajgaonkar held GM Raset Ziatdinov. Interestingly it were the untitled and lesser rated players who stole the show today.
10 players have emerged joint leaders with four points each: GM Deviatkin Andrei RUS 2577, GM Rahman Ziaur BAN 2520, GM Gomez John Paul PHI 2507, IM Debashis Das IND 2425, Natarajan C IND 2229, GM Chadaev Nikolai RUS 2563, GM Adhiban B IND 2555, FM Rajesh V A V IND 2364, Purushothaman T IND 2241 and GM Hoang Thanh Trang HUN 2449.
17 players follow half a point behind and Sunday promises to dish out exciting fare with two rounds scheduled.
On the top board, Alexandrov enjoyed an edge in the Catalan opening but the Belorussian was strangely erratic in the middle-game and allowed a clear cut edge to Praveen Kumar. Alexandrov’s King was pulled out of his sheltered castle and his opponent’s queen and rook threatened to catch the King in a checkmating net.
However Praveen Kumar also missed many winning continuations and Alexandrov was forced to give up his queen for a rook and bishop. On the 53rd turn Black again missed a winning continuation and the game fizzled into a draw after 63 moves.
In a Modern Defence game Purushothaman needed 51 moves to defeat Mark Paragua while the encounter between C Natarajan and Podolchenko lasted 35 moves of a Trompowsky Opening.
Earlier in the third round played on Friday evening the top seeded players sailed through with neat and convincing victories. The only noteworthy flutter was caused by 13-year-old Jinshi Bai who held GM Czebe Attila.
Report by Vitthal Madhav