Gibraltar: Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran got the better of Richard Rapport of Hungary to jump to joint second spot after the end of the ninth and penultimate round of Tradewise Gibraltar chess festival.
Sasikiran kept himself in the hunt for the title after defeating Rapport and the Indian will next take on Nigel Short of England.
To clinch the title, Sasikiran will have to win against Short, who is finding good form after an abysmal show at the last London Chess Classics.
Meanwhile, world women`s champion Yifan Hou shot in to sole lead following a demolition of Alexei Shirov of Spain.
The Chinese wonder-girl who is just 17-year-old, took her tally to 7.5 points with another scalp of a big gun and is now just half a point adrift to nearest rivals with one more round to go in one of the strongest opens of the world.
On a day that saw Parimarjan Negi showing another piece of excellent preparation by holding the World Cup winner Peter Svidler of Russia to an easy draw, G N Gopal fell out of contention after bowing to Viktor Bologan of Moldova.
On the flip side, Koneru Humpy`s chances of a podium finish amongst the women participants suffered a setback as she was held to a draw by former women`s world champion Zhu Chen of Qatar.
The other Indian girl in the fray -- Soumya Swaminathan however did well to beat Nino Khurtsidze of Georgia. Both Humpy and Soumya have 5.5 points apiece.
Amongst other Indians, Abhijeet Gupta worked hard to beat Lela Javakhishvili of Georgia, while Rakesh Kulkarni got the better of German Amos Frank.
Sohan Phadke, however was on the receiving end against Milos Pavlovic of Serbia.