Gujrathi holds Kryvoruchko; Karthikeyan beats Areshchenko

Abu Dhabi: Indian Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi kept himself in joint lead following a come-from-behind draw with second seed Yuriy Kryvoruchko of Ukraine in the fourth round of Abu Dhabi Masters chess tournament now underway here.

After settling for his first draw in four games, Gujrathi remained in shared lead on 3.5 points along with Kryvoruchko, Adam Horvath of Hungary, Russian duo of Aleksandr Rakhmanov and Sergey Volkov and Tigran Petrosian of Armenia.

Young International Master Murali Karthikeyan caused a major flutter in the tournament scalping for third seed Alexander Areshchenko of Ukraine in a fairly one-sided affair.

After losing to Gujrathi in the previous round, it was a second big blow for Areshchenko who remained on two points while Karthikeyan took his tally up to three with some excellent chances of obtaining a Grandmasters norm now.

With six players sharing the podium, as many as 13 follow them a half point behind. Leading the Indian challenge in this pack is Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta who accounted for Azeri GM Nijat Abasov in a clinical display of positional chess.

Ankit Rajpara, G N Gopal and Sahaj Grover are the other Indians, besides Karthikeyan, on three points set to face tougher opposition in the next round.

Karthikeyan was the hero of the day as he caught Areshchenko unaware in one of the prepared variation in the Sozin variation of the Najdorf. Once a favourite of Bobby Fischer, Karthikeyan showed that the variation presents much venom when taken lightly, a fact that Areshchenko learned the hard way.

Sacrificing a piece early in the opening, Karthikeyan kept Areshchenko in pressure once the Ukrainian decided to part with his extra material to ease tension, Karthikeyan was clearly on top and gave nothing away.

Gujrathi faced some problems and was pushed to the wall by Kryvoruchko. However, the fast improving Indian came up with some imaginative manoeuvres to force the game in to a deadlock by making his position impregnable.

Abhijeet Gupta came good with his Catalan opening against Abasov who did not have a clue once the structure resembled the intricacies of a Caro Kann defense. Landing himself in to an inferior endgame the Azeri was outdone with some deft planning by Gupta.

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