New Delhi: Parimarjan Negi’s title hopes suffered a big jolt as he slumped to a second consecutive defeat against Argentinean GM Pablo Lafuente in the 10th round of the Parsvnath Commonwealth Chess Championship here on Monday.
Playing with black pieces, Lafuente took only 28 moves in French Defence to outwit the second seeded Indian Grandmaster.
Meanwhile, overnight sole leader Grandmaster Maletin Pavel of Russia maintained his sole lead after settling for draw with fellow Russian Dmitry Bocharov.
A pack of five players, including former World Junior Champion Abhijeet Gupta, Grandmaster RR Laxman and International Master Lalith Babu, are on joint second spot with eight points.
Abhijeet and Lalith beat Ashwin Jayaram and Girish A Koushik in the 10th round while Laxman got better off Matta Vinay Kumar.
The day turned out to be a happy one for the norm seekers as four Indian players achieved International Master Norms.
Gurpreet Pal Singh and S Nitin achieved their first International Master Norms by settling for half point against Sahaj Grover and Dmitry Kokarev respectively.
Prasanna Rao held former National Champion Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte to get his third International Master Norm while Sayantan Das beat seasoned campaigner BS Shivananda in the 10th round to attain the feat.
In the final round tomorrow, Maletin will take on Lalith Babu while Abhijeet Gupta and Laxman are paired with Dmitry Bocharov and Pablo Lafunete respectively.