Blunder costs Abhijeet tie against Romain Edouard

Dubai: Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta committed a blunder and lost to Romain Edouard of France from a winning position in the fifth round of 16th Dubai International Open chess tournament here today.

Abhijeet seemed to be in complete control before he suddenly found himself short of time and what transpired was a series of inaccuracies which finally led to a piece blunder, costing him the full point.

The loss proved costly for the highest rated Indian in the fray as from his pole position, he slipped to joint second spot in this USD 50000 prize money tournament. With luck on his side, Edouard emerged the new leader on 4.5 points and the French enjoys a half point lead over nearest rivals that include prominent masters like top seed Anton Korobov of Ukraine, Vladimir Akopian of Armenia, Andrei Istratescu of France and Abhijeet. Four more rounds still remain in one of the strongest Asian open.

It was a Queen`s gambit accepted by Edouard wherein Abhijeet got an opening advantage and then nurtured it well to generate a king side attack. Edouard, to his credit, played at a brisk pace and got a healthy 30 minutes advantage on the clock.

In search of the victory, Abhijeet spent almost all his time, in between missing forced winning variations a few time and got in to trouble when Edouard got some counter play. There was still draw for the taking but it was not to be as he blundered a full piece to go down.

M R Lalith Babu was held to a draw by compatriot Ashwin Jayaram out of a Bogo-Indian defense. Playing skilfully with his black pieces, Lalith Babu got control of the queen side and was stood clear better at one point but subsequent exchanges allowed Jayaram to stay in the game. The peace was signed in the minor piece endgame.

Sahaj Grover missed out an easy drawing opportunity against Grandmaster Sebastian Bogner of Switzerland.