Al Ain: Former national champion S Viajayalakshmi came roaring back in joint lead after crushing top seed Tan Zhongyi of China in the sixth round of Asian continental women's chess championship here.
Playing the white side of a Ragozin defense, Vijayalakshmi went for a routine variation but capitalised on an early queen exchange to put pressure on Zhongyi.
The Chinese just could not handle the threats in the queen less middle game and lost a rook for a minor piece after which it was easy pickings for Vijayalakshmi.
With her fourth victory beside two draws, Vijayalakshmi took her tally to five points out of a possible six and now shares the lead with Iran's Mitra Hejazipour, who toppled overnight leader Aulia Medina Warda of Indonesia.
Mary Ann Gomes is the other Indian in reckoning for a medal here as she now shares the third spot on 4.5 points.
Mary Ann defeated Wang Jue of China in a keenly contested game of the day.
Among other Indian eves in the fray, Soumya Swaminathan raised visions of an improved finish defeating Shamima Akter Liza of Bangladesh. Soumya moved to four points in all.
In the open section being held simultaneously, Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly continued to lead the tables jointly, following an easy draw with International Master Lin Chen of China.
Ganguly and Lin Chen remain the only two leaders in this section with five points each in their kitty.
With just three rounds to go in the championship, which is a part of the next world championship cycle, Commonwealth Champion Abhijeet Gupta made sure he won't be far behind the leaders with a spirited defense against top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam.
Gupta was pushed to the wall in the endgame and only a very skilled defense could salvage a half point for the Indian.
With two leaders in front on five points, Gupta, Vidit Gujrathi S P Sethuraman, local star A R Salem Saleh and Quang Liem share the third spot on 4.5 points each and it is very likely that the podium will be decided between these contestants.
Gujrathi was at the top of his game in the sixth round and scored a crushing victory over Rustam Khusnutdinov of Kazakhstan, while Sethuraman ended the hopes of Wang Chen of China.
The other fancied Indian, Krishnan Sasikiran defeated Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan to be in with a chance to qualify for the next World Chess Cup, to be held next month in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Top five finishers from here will qualify for the premier knockout event.
Important and Indian results round 6 (Indians unless stated): Lin Chen (Chn, 5) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (5); Le Quang Liem (Vie, 4.5) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (4.5); Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (4.5) beat Rustam Khusnutdinov (Kaz, 3.5); S P Sethuraman (4.5) beat Gao Rui (Chn, 3.5); A R Salem Saleh (Uae, 4.5) beat V Vishnu Prasanna (3.5); Darini Pouria (Iri, 4) drew with Deep Sengupta (4); S L Narayanan (3) lost to Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vie, 4); Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan (Mgl, 3) lost to Krishnan Sasikiran (4); Koneru Humpy (4) beat Abdullah Al Rakib (Ban, 3); Tabatabaei M.Amin (Iri, 4) beat Sandipan Chanda (3); M R Lalith Babu (3.5) drew with Xu Yinglun (Chn, 3.5); Petr Kostenko (Kaz, 3) lost to D Harika (4); Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb, 3.5) drew with P Karthikeyan (3.5); Abdulwahhab Ahmed Abdulsattar (Irq, 3) lost to Abhijit Kunte (4); G N Gopal (3) drew with Liu Chang (Chn,3); Li Di (Chn, 2.5) lost to Debashis Das (3.5); Chu Wei Chao (Chn, 3) beat K Rathnakaran (2); Keshav Shrestha (Nep, 2) lost to S Nitin (3); Al-Hajiri Bader (Kuw, 1.5) lost to M R Venkatesh (2.5).
Women: Aulia Medina Warda (Ina, 4.5) lost to Mitra Hejazipour (Iri, 5); Lei Tingjie (Chn, 4.5) drew with Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iri, 4.5); S Vijayalakshmi (5) beat Tan Zhongyi (Chn, 3.5); Li Ruofan (Chn, 3.5) lost to Shen Yang (Chn, 4.5); Madina Davletbayeva (Kaz, 3.5) lost to Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, 4.5); Mary Ann Gomes (4.5) beat Wang Jue (Chn, 3.5); Eesha Karavade (3.5) drew with Pratyusha Bodda (4); Bhakti Kulkarni (3.5) drew with Padmini Rout (3.5); Shamima Akter Liza (Ban, 3) lost to Soumya Swaminathan (4); Nguyen Thi Thanh An (Vie, 2.5) lost to Tania Sachdev (3.5); Khalaji Hanieh (Iri, 2.5) lost to Nisha Mohota (3.5).