Hyderabad: Grandmaster S P Sethuraman inched closer to the title after defeating compatriot Vidit Santosh Gujarathi in the ninth and penultimate round of the second Hyderabad International Grandmasters Chess tournament, here on Monday.
Playing black side of Scheveningen variation of Sicilian Defence, Vidit got slightly advantageous position in the middle game but under extreme time pressure overlooked the trap set by his rival to hand over full point to Sethuraman after 32 moves.
This crucial victory enabled Sethuraman (8) to enjoy a half point lead over nearest rivals, top seed Ivan Popov and second seed Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia, before the final round on Tuesday.
Russian Grandmaster Popov split the point with Armenian Grandmaster Samvel Ter-Sahakyan while Pantsulaia got better off young Indian International Master Karthikeyan Murali in a hard fought game that lasted 61 moves.
Meanwhile, three Indian youngsters Aniruddha Deshpande of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu duo Kunal M and Akash PC Iyer brought cheers to the crowd as they achieved International Master Norm.
Earlier in the ninth round, Pantsulaia and Sethuraman agreed to sign the peace treaty, while Popov outwitted Grandmaster Lalith Babu and Vidit got better off International master Mikhail Mozharov of Russia.
In the Category ?B? event which is being held simultaneously also headed for a close finish as Naveen Hegde of Karnataka, Sammed Jaykumar Shete of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh duo V Varun and Vishwanath Prasad are leading the table with seven and half points.
In the ninth round, Hegde and Prasad signed the peace treaty, while Varun split the point with Tamil Nadu lad Rathanvel. Shete got better off Fide Master Praggnandandhaa of Tamil Nadu to join the trio at pole position.
Five players are at joined number two position with seven points and in the final round tomorrow morning, Shete takes on Hegde while Prasad and Varun are paired against Rathanvel and Ramana Babu of Andhra Pradesh respectively.
Final round of both the categories will be played tomorrow morning and closing ceremony is scheduled in the afternoon.