Dubai: Indian Grandmaster Sandipan Chanda scored a swift victory over Russian Elmira Mirzoeva to remain in joint lead after the third round of the 14th Dubai International Chess Open here.
Playing the black side of a Benko Gambit, Chanda was happy that his sacrifice was not accepted by Elmira, who had caused an upset in the second round defeating Sahaj Grover.
The middle game was level but after trading a couple of major pieces, the Russian woman found the going tough as Sandipan invaded with her queen. The game lasted 39 moves.
Chanda now shares the lead with Ni Hua of China, Kravtsiv Martyn of Ukraine, and Georgian trio of Baadur Jobava, Levan Pantsulaia and Mikheil Mchedlishvili, who all have three points apiece.
As many as 22 players share the sixth spot in the USD 50000 prize money tournament. Prominent Indians amongst them are Grandmasters G N Gopal, M R Lalith Babu and International Masters P Shyam Nikil and Tania Sachdev.
The higher ranked Indians yet again had a tough day in office as defending champion Abhijeet Gupta could not break the ice against compatriot Akshayraj Kore and had to settle for a draw.
Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi was also in similar shoes as he could not attain much with white against talented Ankit Rajpara and had to settle for a draw, while Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly faced stiff resistance from Iranian Ebrahim Ahmadinia before signing peace.
Gupta, Negi and Ganguly are all on two points each with six rounds still remaining in one of the strongest Asian open.
Kore, infact, remained in hunt for his second Grandmaster norm following a draw with Abhijeet Gupta.
It was an English opening by Kore with white and though Gupta got an advantage it was important to play precisely at key moments in the game. A small slip led to a level endgame and the draw was a just result.
Like Kore, Vishnu Prasanna also continued with his good run and drew with second seed Loek Van Wely without much ado.
Both Kore and Prasanna have had identical results so far as in previous round, Kore had drawn against Van Wely while Prasanna held Gupta.
Among other Indians in the fray, Tania drew with Urkainian Grandmaster Alexander Kovchan. The game was fought till the last after Tania recovered from a pawn less endgame arising out of a French defense.
Shyam Nikil also did well to hold Zaven Andriasian of Armenia while Swapnil Dhopade was impressive with black after he shared points with Egyptian GM Amin Bassem.