Gopal jumps to joint second spot

Gopal jumps to joint second spot Gibraltar: Grandmaster G N Gopal jumped to the second spot after defeating Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia in the seventh round of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess tournament here.

With his fifth victory from seven rounds apart from a lone draw and a defeat against compatriot Deep Sengupta, the Indian elevated himself to 5.5 points and now stands just half point behind tournament leader Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.

Sengupta too continued with his excellent form and held another higher ranked player Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania to a creditable draw.

Ivanchuk meanwhile retained the sole lead in 1,26,000 Pounds prize money tournament after settling for a draw with Victor Mikhalevsky of Israel.

The Ukrainian is now trailed by six players a half point behind. They are Mikhalevsky, Gopal, Nigel Short of England, Daniel Fridman of Germany, Michael Roiz of Israel and Melia Salome of Georgia who is the lone woman player near to the top.

Deep Sengupta, Krishnan Sasikiran and P Harikrishna are also vying for the top honours with three rounds still to come on five points each but they might just need to win more games than those in the top bracket.

El Debs Felipe De Cresce did not prove a match for Sasikiran whileHarikrishna accounted for Anna Zatonskih of United States.

The other Indian GM in the fray, Sandipan Chanda however could not break the ice and had to settle for a draw with Irina Krush of United States.

Sandipan inched to 4.5 points and was joined by former world junior girls champion D Harika and young International Master Vaibhav Suri in this point group. The all Indian duel between Eesha Karavade and Arghyadip Das ended in draw leaving them both on four points.

Gopal was the pick of the Indians in his fine attacking victory over Dzagnidze. The Indian faced the Sicilian defense as white and went for lesser-known middle game position that gave him a pleasant position.

Dzagnidze lost control pretty early in the middle game as she found her king stranded in the centre and a couple of timely exchanges by Gopal led to a won position. The game lasted a mere 26 moves.

Sasikiran was aided by a blunder by El Debs from a King's Indian defense game where the former played black. El Debs was forced in to an inferior position in the middle game and blundered a piece to resign in just 19 moves.

Harikrishna's win against Zatonskih was quite the opposite and the American lady felt that she should drawn the endgame. Harikrishna won on 81 moves.