Mumbai: Belarussian Grand Master Aleksej Aleksandrov inched closer to title in the fourth Mayor`s Cup International Chess Tournament on Friday when he overcame India`s M S Thejkumar in the ninth and penultimate round to widen his lead by one point.
Top seed Aleksandrov subdued a fighting IM Thejkumar in 54 moves. Now he needs just a draw in his final round match on Saturday to clinch his maiden title in the tournament, organised by Venus Chess Academy at the Goregaon Sports Club here.
The victory boosted the points tally of title-favourite Aleksandrov (ELO 2618) to nine, one better than second seeded Ukrainian GM Martyn Kravtsiv, who got the better of Marat Dzhumaev of Uzbekistan in 38 moves.
Seven players were tied with 7.5 points each going into the final day.
The game between Aleksandrov and Thejkumar (ELO 2450) saw the two players exchanging pieces at regular intervals leading to a bishop and knight end-game after 35 moves with both having equal chance.
But Thejkumar missed a chance of wresting the initiative and his rival captured a pawn that allowed him two passed pawns leading the Indian to call it quits.
On the second board GM Kravtsiv (ELO 2583) opted for Spanish opening against GM Dzhumaev (ELO 2492) who replied with Jaenisch Defence. Kravtsiv prevented his rival from castling and kept Dzhumaev`s king in the centre.
This led to an attacking game with both playing for victory. On the 29th move Dzhumaev captured a rival pawn with his rook, a blunder, to give a decisive advantage to his opponent.
In another game, Indian GM Deep Sengupta (ELO 2572) agreed for a quick draw with compatriot GM Neelotpal Das (ELO 2458) in 18 moves.
Top 10 results: IM M S Thejkumar (2450, IND) 7.5 lost to GM Aleksej Aleksandrov (2618, BLR) 9; GM Martyn Kravtsiv (2583, UKR) 8 beat GM Marat Dzhumaev (2492, UZB) 7; GM Deep Sengupta (2572, IND) 7.5 drew GM Neelotpal Das (2458, IND) 7.5; IM Shyam Nikil (2418, IND) 7.5 drew GM Abhijit Kunte (2528, IND) 7.5; IM Anwesh Upadhyaya (2408, IND) 7 drew GM Andrei Deviatkin (2580, RUS) 7; IM S Nitin (2387, IND) 7 drew GM Nikolai Chadaev (2564, RUS) 7; GM S P Sethuraman (2529, IND) 7 drew IM Swapnil S Dhopade (2411, IND) 7; GM Ziaur Rahman (2528, BAN) 7.5 beat IM Rahul Sangma (2385, IND) 6.5; IM K Rathnakaran (2386, 7.5) beat GM Enamul Hossain (2481, BAN) 6.5; GM Deepan Chakkravarthy (2470, IND) 7 drew IM Debashis Das (2375, IND) 7.