Kavala: Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta outclassed Evgeny Boroviov of Russia to become joint second after the seventh round of the Kavala International Open Chess tournament here.
Abhijeet won his fourth game with white pieces in an exemplary fashion, giving no chance to his higher rated opponent. The victory helped the Indian to inch closer to the 2600 ELO rating barrier that he hopes to breach in this event.
Abhijeet played a gem against Vorobiov and it was certainly one of the best games of the day. Up against King’s Indian defence, Abhijeet employed the Samisch variation and squeezed out black’s defences on the queen side.
Vorobiov had not even lost a pawn but his position was beyond repair in the middle game itself. Abhijeet knocked down the queen side pawns in style before cruising home.
Meanwhile, Adam Tukhaev of Ukraine shot in to sole lead with his fourth straight victory against former world junior champion Zaven Andriasian of Armenia, who was grinded despite playing with white pieces.
Tukhaev moved to six points out of a possible seven with a splendid rating performance of over 2850. The Ukrainian is now followed by Nidjat Mamedov of Azerbaijan, Andrey Rychagov of Russia, Abhijeet and another Indian GM Tejas Bakre.
In the seventh round, Bakre again played it safe and drew with Rychagov.
Former world junior girls’ champion D Harika’s quest for her second Grandmaster norm got a major boost when she beat Grandmaster Vladislav Nevednichy of Romania.
Playing white, Harika won a pawn and converted to a rook and pawns endgame where her technique was perfect. Ratings of her opponents permitting, the Andhra-based should now need one point from the last two rounds to get her second GM norm.
Vishnu Prasanna, however, faltered against GM Davit Jojua of Georgia and will now be gunning for an International Master norm only which seems like a near certainty given the high average rating that he currently has.
Among other Indians in the fray, Tania Sachdev played out a draw with Grandmaster Nikolov Momchil of Bulgaria while M Shyam Sundar also held GM Suat Atalik to a draw.
GM Deepan Chakkravarthy, Sahaj Grover, Prasanna Rao and Karma Pandya won their respective games while last year’s world junior girls’ champion Soumya Swaminathan went down to Bulgarian Ivajlo Enchev.