Gopal jumps to joint second spot

Updated: Feb 01, 2011, 22:03 PM IST

Gibraltar: Grandmaster G N Gopal jumped to the
second spot after defeating Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia in the
seventh round of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess tournament

With his fifth victory from seven rounds apart from a
lone draw and a defeat against compatriot Deep Sengupta, the
Indian elevated himself to 5.5 points and now stands just half
point behind tournament leader Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.

Sengupta too continued with his excellent form and held
another higher ranked player Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of
Romania to a creditable draw.

Ivanchuk meanwhile retained the sole lead in 1,26,000
Pounds prize money tournament after settling for a draw with
Victor Mikhalevsky of Israel.

The Ukrainian is now trailed by six players a half point
behind. They are Mikhalevsky, Gopal, Nigel Short of England,
Daniel Fridman of Germany, Michael Roiz of Israel and Melia
Salome of Georgia who is the lone woman player near to the

Deep Sengupta, Krishnan Sasikiran and P Harikrishna are
also vying for the top honours with three rounds still to come
on five points each but they might just need to win more games
than those in the top bracket.

El Debs Felipe De Cresce did not prove a match for
Sasikiran whileHarikrishna accounted for Anna Zatonskih of
United States.

The other Indian GM in the fray, Sandipan Chanda however
could not break the ice and had to settle for a draw with
Irina Krush of United States.

Sandipan inched to 4.5 points and was joined by former
world junior girls champion D Harika and young International
Master Vaibhav Suri in this point group. The all Indian duel
between Eesha Karavade and Arghyadip Das ended in draw leaving
them both on four points.

Gopal was the pick of the Indians in his fine attacking
victory over Dzagnidze. The Indian faced the Sicilian defense
as white and went for lesser-known middle game position that
gave him a pleasant position.

Dzagnidze lost control pretty early in the middle game
as she found her king stranded in the centre and a couple of
timely exchanges by Gopal led to a won position. The game
lasted a mere 26 moves.

Sasikiran was aided by a blunder by El Debs from a King`s
Indian defense game where the former played black. El Debs was
forced in to an inferior position in the middle game and
blundered a piece to resign in just 19 moves.

Harikrishna`s win against Zatonskih was quite the
opposite and the American lady felt that she should drawn the
endgame. Harikrishna won on 81 moves.