Kokarev keeps lead in Mayor`s chess

Mumbai: Dmitry Kokarev of Russia outwitted Kazakhstan`s Rustam Khusnutdinov to maintain his slender lead on the seventh day of the Mumbai Mayor`s Cup international open chess tournament at the Goregaon Sports Club.

Grandmaster Kokarev was ahead of the pursuing GM duo of top seed Alexy Dreev, also of Russia, and Fier Aleksandr of Brazil by half a point in the Rs 15-lakh prize money LIC-sponsored tournament.

Playing with white pieces the Russian, having an ELO rating of 2612, outsmarted Khusnutdinov (ELO 2525) in a game of Sicilian Defence.

Kokarev won two pawns in the middle game without his rival attaining major returns. The Kazakh resigned after 34 moves.

On table two, Dreev (ELO 2655) outclassed GM Anton Kovalyov (ELO 2615) of Argentina in 47 moves in a game of Nimzo-Indian Defence.

Mumbai youngster Aditya Udeshi (ELO 2316) completed his third IM norm while two other Indian players - Rakesh Kulkarni (ELO 2149) and Yashas D (ELO 2204) - secured their maiden IM norms. All three players lost their games.

Udeshi lost against German GM Thomas Luther (ELO 2541) in 34 moves, while Kulkarni was beaten by his Maharashtra rival, GM Abhijit Kunte (ELO 2523).