Chalkida: Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta survived a real scare before salvaging a half point against in-form compatriot Vishnu Prasanna in the sixth round of the first Negroponte International Open Chess tournament here.
Vishnu, who has displayed top form in this event so far, gave another special performance and only in the final stages of the game he let Abhijeet off the hook. Both Abhijeet and Vishnu remained in the joint third position on five points apiece.
The lead position remained unchanged as overnight leaders Suat Atalik of Turkey and Zaven Andriasian of Armenia also played out a draw between them. Both these players inched to 5.5 points from six rounds and are now trailed by six player - Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Ioannis Papaioannou of Greece, Robert Hess of United States, Vladimir Burmakin of Russia, Abhijeet and Prasanna who all have five points each.
Highest rated Indian in the fray, Surya Shekhar Ganguly gave an endgame lesson to Mahjoob Morteza of Iran form a Queen pawn opening.
For early development, Morteza sacrificed a pawn but he could never claim any real compensation for it as Ganguly exchanged pieces at regular intervals and easily won the ensuing Bishop endgame.
Vishnu Prasanna was on the verge of winning many times against Abhijeet who candidly agreed that he was a bit lucky.
Playing the white side of a King’s Indian, Abhijeet employed his pet set up but could not get any worthwhile advantage. Spurning down a draw offer in the middle game, Abhijeet embarked on dangerous path and was clearly lost.
To his credit, Abhijeet fought on bravely and worked on a fantastic fortress that did not quite strike Prasanna. In the end Prasanna had a queen that was unable to invade the fortress created by Abhijeet’s rook and pawn.
D Harika remained in contention for her final GM norm following a draw with Romanian GM Mircea Parligras. Harika did not have to exert much with white pieces.
The shocker from the Indian perspective was the defeat of GM Deepan Chakkravarthy at the hands of unheralded Ismail Shereif of Egypt.
Chakkravarthy was in a spot of bother in the middle game and his adventurous play only added to the advantage of Shereif as the game progressed. In the end the Egyptian was able to march his pawns to glory.
He (Major Dhyan Chand) is inspiration personified. He became synonymous with hockey. He became the parameter of hockey by which other player's calibre is measured.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal