Doha: P Harikrishna, the highest rated Indian in fray, crashed through the defences of Polish Grandmaster Bartosz Socko while Abhijeet Gupta played out a hard-fought draw with French Grandmaster Matthieu Cornette in the fourth round of Qatar Masters International Open Chess tournament now underway here.
Losing the third round to Mikhailo Oleksienko of Ukraine, Harikrishna bounced back in style and outwitted Socko out of a King's Indian defense game where the Indian played white.
Socko went for the thematic central breakthrough in the centre but soon realised that white had too much counter play on the queen side.
Harikrishna was at his technical best in the middle game after the queens got traded and exerted pressure in copy-book fashion to win a pawn.
The Bishop pair caused further damage thereon and the Indian, aided by a couple of passed pawns, registered an emphatic victory in 45 moves to jump to three points out of a possible four.
On what turned out to be a tough day for him, Abhijeet Gupta had to sweat before he could get a draw with Matthieu Cornette. The English opening gave Cornette a slightly better endgame and following an error Gupta found himself pushed to the wall.
However, a timely exchange salvaged the day as Gupta converted to a level Bishop and pawns endgame. The draw was agreed to in 53 moves.
Meanwhile, Anish Giri made short work of Oleksienko on the top board to emerge as the sole leader on four points from as many games. Up against a Caro Kann, Giri won in a mere 18 moves with a crushing attack and is now followed by five players on 3.5 points apiece.
Harikrishna and Gupta are among those who have three points each sharing the seventh spot in the strongest open of the world and these two are currently the best performing Indians in the fray. There are five rounds still remaining.
The best result by an Indian in the fourth round, however, came on a much lower board. International Master Shardul Gagare almost ended the comeback hopes of highly rated and ninth seed Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany.