Chennai: Top seed Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus and untitled Chinese star Yu Ruiyuan shared the lead with seven points at the end of the eighth round of the SDAT-RMK 4th Chennai Open International Grandmasters Chess tournament.
Sharing the second spot were ten players – Grandmasters Mikhailo Oleksienko (Ukraine), Marat Dzhumaev (Uzbekistan), Hoang Thanh Trang (Hungary), two untitled Chinese stars, Ma Qun and Zeng Chongsheng and Indians in Grandmasters S P Sethuraman and Deepan Chakravarthi, and International Masters M R Venkatesh, P Karthikeyan and Akshayraj Kore at 6.5 points each.
The contingent from China has been the most impressive so far. While Yu Ruiyuan held the top seed Aleksandrov to a comfortable draw, Ma Qun held International Master P Karthikeyan to another draw.
Zeng Chongsheng had some anxious moments against Grandmaster Hoang Thanh Trang of Hungary but the former cleverly liquidated into a Rook vs. Opposite colour Bishop, ending with a pawn down and held on grimly to draw the game.
The Indians, Sethuraman and Chakravarthi scored fluent victories against International Masters R Siddharth and Vishnu Prasanna, respectively, while International Master M R Venkatesh prevailed over Vakhidov Jahongir of Uzbekistan in a Nimzo Indian game.