Dubai (UAE): Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi blundered and went down to Sandipan Chanda from a position of strength in the penultimate round of the 14th Dubai International Open chess tournament here.
Negi`s loss turned out to be a big gain for Chanda as he joint the leader, Latvian Grandmaster Miezis Normunds on 6.5 points. Normunds held defending champion Abhijeet Gupta to an easy draw.
Fast improving Madhurima Shekhar displayed her growing tactical strength as she beat Grandmaster Mysroslava Hrabinska of Ukraine.
The victory also ensured a maiden Woman International Master norm for the Delhi girl with a round to spare. This was a commendable achievement considering the fact that Madhurima is only a 1900 rated player and for a WIM norm, one must play like someone above 2250.
None could have imagined what transpired on Negi`s board. Chanda suffered after going for unwarranted complications early in opening and Negi pounced on his chances in the queen-less middle game.
It was a near-perfect game wherein Negi simply outplayed Chanda but for the last move when he thought he was making the winning move but ended up dropping his rook for nothing.
Not only for Negi, this was a shocker for most of the spectators -- a typical case of `chess blindness` as one Grandmaster put it.
On the top board Abhijeet Gupta could not achieve anything against Normunds and had to settle for a draw after being worse in the endgame.
Surya Shekhar Ganguly inched himself up to six points defeating S Nitin in a keenly contested game. Gupta and Ganguly now share the third spot along with ten others.
Negi, Grandmaster G N Gopal, International Master Sahaj Grover, Lalith Babu and M Shyam Sundar are amongst those who have 5.5 points and need to win in the final round to figure among prize winners.