Moscow: Grandmaster and National champion Abhijeet Gupta played out an easy draw with higher seed Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain to remain in the leading group after the end of the third round in group A of the Aeroflot International chess tournament.
After two back to back victories, Abhijeet stood much better after the opening against Vallejo but an inaccuracy in the queen-less middle game cost him dear as Vallejo equalized easily.
Abhijeet took his tally to 2.5 points out of a possible three on a draw marred day that had just one decisive result in the top 10 boards. The beneficiary was second seed Fabiano Caruana of Italy who defeated Eduardo Iturrizaga of Venezuela.
With six rounds still to come in one of the strongest open of the world, its an eight-way tie at the top of the tables and Abhijeet is the sole Indian amongst them.
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania held Krishnan Sasikiran to a draw while Parimarjan Negi played it safe and signed peace with Vadim Zvjaginsev of Russia.
Lower down, B Adhiban spoilt his chances and went down to Safarli Eltaz of Azerbaijan but Sandipan Chanda made most of the opportunities to coast to his first victory at the expense of Jorge Cori of Peru.
Achiving good results were S P Sethuraman and M R Venkatesh. With white, Sethuraman defeated higher ranked Gadir Guseinov of Azerbaijan while Venkatesh remained in the hunt for his final Grandmaster norm after holding Zhao Jianchao of China to a draw.
On the flip side, luck-less G N Gopal succumbed to his third straight loss in the tournament at the hands of Boris Savchenko of Russia.
In the ‘B’ group, being organized simultaneously, young International Master Vaibhav Suri continued to impress and drew with noted theoretician Victor Mikhalevski of Israel. Suri took his tally to 2.5 points and the Delhi-lad looks poised for his final GM norm.
Also on 2.5 points in this section are Tejas Bakre, Akshayraj Kore and S Kidambi while top rated Indian in the fray Sahaj Grover is in the next group of two pointers. The lead here is shared by Sergey Grishchenko of Russia, Vitaly Sivuk of Ukraine and Can Emre of Turkey who all have a perfect score.
National Junior champion Aravindh Chithambaram continued with his winning ways in the ‘C’ group and downed Vasily Vasilev of Russia to remain in joint lead. Giving him company at the top is R Bharathi who accounted for another Russian Samdan Samdanov.