Vidit Gujrathi beats Areshchenko to remain in joint lead

Abu Dhabi: Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi continued with his winning ways and put it across third seed Alexander Areshchenko of Ukraine to remain in joint lead after the end of the third round of Abu Dhabi Masters Chess tournament here on Saturday.

Fresh from his victory at the Lake Sevan Grandmaster tournament in Armenia, Gujrathi had the opportunity of beating Areshchenko in second straight game after a delightful victory at the lake Sevan tournament.

Adding to the injury, this victory for Gujrathi also came with black pieces and puts him in joint lead along with Yuriy Kryvoruchko of Ukraine, Adam Horvath of Hungary and Aleksandr Rakhmanov of Russia.

While all the four leaders have an identical three points out of a possible three. As many as 12 players are breathing down the neck of the leaders a half point behind including India`s G N Gopal who played out a draw with Yuriy Kuzubov of Ukraine.

Highest rated Indian in the fray, Abhijeet Gupta was held to a second straight draw in the tournament by Vlad-Victor Barnaure of Romania.

The draw helped Gupta inch up only to two points from his three games and he currently stands joint 17th spot with seven rounds still remaining in one of the strongest open of the continent.

It turned out to be a good day for Gujrathi despite the earlier struggle. Reposing faith in his new found love for the French defense, the Indian faced the advanced variation and was clearly on the backfoot as the middle game surfaced. Areshchenko however miscalculated in a tricky endgame and Gujrathi did not give a second chance. The game lasted 57 moves.

It was a mixed day for the huge Indian contingent. Overnight joint leader M R Lalith Babu went down to Rakhmanov after a keen tussle where the Indian played with black pieces. A little lower, Arman Pashikian of Armenia also got the better of P Shyam Nikil while the other norm aspirant, Shardul Gagare also tested defeat at the hands of Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova.

On the brighter side from Indian perspective, Diptayan Ghosh played out a draw with Amin Baseem of Egypt and Murali Karthikeyan kept hikmself in contention for a Grandmaster norm by holding Russian Vladimir Burmakin to a draw.

Among the winners, Grandmaster Sahaj Grover was lucky to find his foot back in the game after struggling for some time against Mitra Hejazipour of Iran while Surya Shekhar Ganguly scored his second straight victory at the expense of compatriot V A V Rajesh on the doube round day.

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