Al Ain (UAE): Defending champion Abhijeet Gupta outclassed Grandmaster Viktor Moskalenko of Spain while Deep Sengupta crashed through the defences of Armenia's Arman Pashikian to emerge as co-leaders after the fourth round of Al Ain Classic international chess tournament now underway here.
Grandmaster G N Gopal also made perfect use of his white pieces against compatriot -- International Master Shardul Gagare -- to also join the leader-board which is now shared by as many as 12-players including three Indians and top seed Yuriy Kryvoruchko of Ukraine.
The fifth round will be crucial for the leading Indians with Gupta meeting Gaioz Nigalidze of Georgia even as Sengupta tackles Sergei Zhigalko of Belarus. Gopal has to cross sword with Yuriy Kuzubov of Ukraine.
It turned out to be a good day generally for the huge Indian contingent here as former world junior girls' champion Soumya Swaminathan also caused a major upset defeating GM Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova. On the flip side, Grandmaster Sahaj Grover suffered a defeat at the hands of Ukrainian Vladimir Onischuk.
With five rounds still remaining in the USD 11,000 first prize tournament, Soumya is now sharing the 13th spot on three points along with 10 other players. In her point group, the Indian girl has the company of Grandmaster Sandipan Chanda, Vidit Gujrathi, Tejas Bakre, M Shyam Sundar and International Master Sagar Shah.
Abhijeet Gupta was on song against Moskalenko as he played a fine attacking game to beat Moskalenko who is doubles up as a theoretician of the game. With white pieces, Gupta faced the Budapest gambit by the Spanish and got a slightly better position and what followed was a superb attacking game once Moskalenko gave a concession on the king side.
Gupta thematically sacrificed a couple of pawns and rolled his pieces on the king side to get a winning position. "I could have finished slightly quicker than 41 moves may be, but the attack looks pretty devastating for my opponent," said Gupta after the game.
Sengupta was not far and accomplished a fine result after a long drawn endgame against Pashikian. The Scotch opening gave Sengupta enough complications to look for an advantage and he capitalised on a middle game error to reach a decidedly better rook and pawns endgame.
It was a long grind and even though his technique was not at its best, Sengupta still picked up the bits and pieces as they came and romped home after 105 moves. Gopal had it easy against Gagare out of a Caro Kann defense where the former played white. The Advance variation by Gopal did not meet the best reply and Gagare was soon left facing a king side attack after white dominated the board on both flanks. Gopal won in just 29 moves, uncorking a piece sacrifice to rip apart black's king side.