Harikrishna beat Jumabayev, in title fray at Asian Chess
Mashhad: Grandmaster and former world junior champion P Harikrishna kept himself in contention for top honours after dismissing the challenge of Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan in the fifth round of the Asian Individual Chess
After a steady start post the mid-way stage, Harikrishna has now made a strong case for qualification to the next World Championship cycle but to achieve that he will need to do well in the last four rounds as well.
Young Chinese Grandmaster Yu Yangyi, meanwhile, emerged as the sole leader defeating highly regarded compatriot Bu Xiangzhi on the top board.
Yangyi took his tally to an imposing 4.5 points out of a possible five and Harikrishna is now in sole second spot with four points in his kitty.
Parimarjan Negi played out a draw against second seed Krishnan Sasikiran to inch to the joint third spot on 3.5 points. Sasikiran and several times National champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly are the other two Indians on same points.
In the women`s championship being played simultaneously, D Harika came back in the reckoning with a fine victory over Nafisa Muminova of Uzbekistan.
Munguntuul Batkhuyag of Mongolia continued to be at the helm here after settling for her first draw in the event with Huang Qian of China. She took her tally to a very impressive 4.5 points out of a possible five and now enjoys a full point lead over nearest rivals, including Harika and Eesha Karavade, who did well to beat Hoang Thi Bao Tram of Vietnam.
Among other Indians in the fray in the open section, Vidit Gujarathi added to the woes of Wesley So of Philippines after holding him to a creditable draw while Ganguly accounted for Abhijeet Kunte.
S P Sethuraman had to split points with Ghaem Maghami Ehsan of Iran while another Iranian Omid Noroozi found a tough customer in G N Gopal.
Among the Indian girls, only Harika and Eesha still have some medal hopes. Soumya Swaminathan, Mary Ann Gomes and Swathi Ghate settled for draws in their fifth round game while Padmini Rout went down fighting against Nguyen Thi Thanh An of Vietnam.