Kolkata: Georgian GM Levan Pentsulaila snatched the lead from IM Jacek Stopa of Poland in the eighth round of SREI International Grandmaster Tournament here on thursday.
With two more rounds to go, Pentsulaila emerged sole leader on 6.5 points and the tournament was poised for an intense finish as six others were closely following the leader half-a-point adrift.
Stopa, second seed GM Ivan Popov, GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, GM Vladislav Borovikov, IM Mikhail Mozharov and GM Valeriy Neverov are on joint second place.
Needing only a draw from two games, Stopa was rather subdued as Pentsulaila sacrificed both his rooks for two minor pieces to give the latter a commanding position with three extra pawns for the exchange.
Stopa`s all attempts to salvage a draw from the position came to a naught and he resigned on the 62nd move.
There was disappointment in store for the Indian GM norm aspirants. IM Murali Karthikeyan went down to Ter-Sahakyan of Armenia while IM Anurag Mhamal failed to make any headway in his game against GM Vladislav Borovikov of Ukraine.
Top seed Surya Sekhar Ganguly won comfortably against IM Prathamesh Mokal but his chances of winning the title is all but over.
Top Board Results
GM Levan Pantsulaia (6.5) b IM Jacek Stopa (6); GM Merab Gagunashvilli (5.5) drew GM Ivan Popov (6); GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan (6) b IM Murali Karthikeyan (5); IM Anurag Mhamal (5) lost to GM Vladislav Borovikov (6); GM Praveen Thipsay (5) lost to GM Tornike Sanikidze (5); IM Mikhail Mozharov (6) b IM Siddharth Ravichandran (5); GM R R Laxman (5) lost to GM Valeriy Neverov (6); IM Vahe Baghdasaryan (4.5) lost to GM Deep Sengupta (5.5); GM Marat Dzhumaev (5.5) b IM Swayams Mishra (4.5); GM Azer Mirzoev (5.5) b IM Bhuvanesh Ramnath (4.5); IM Bahruz Rzayev (5.5) b M Kunal (4.5); FM Tigran S Petrosyan (5.5) b GM Hovik Hayrapetyan (4.5); GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly (5) b IM Prathamesh Mokal (4); GM Levon Babujian (5) b IM Ponnuswamy Konguvel (4); IM V Saravanan (4.5) drew GM Neelotpal Das (4.5).