New Delhi: Grandmaster and defending champion Abhijeet Gupta lived up to his top billing and put it across Vaibhav Suri to snatch the sole lead on six points after the end of the seventh round of Commonwealth Chess Championship here at the Leela Convention Centre on Saturday.
Looking for his third straight Commonwealth Crown, Gupta came out with one of his best performances thus far as he slowly but surely outplayed Suri. The Bogo Indian defense by Suri was a mild surprise for Gupta but he pursued his objectives determinedly in a tense middle game.
Just while it looked Suri was much in the game, Gupta spotted a nice tactical trick thanks to an optical blunder. The end result was a queen for two pieces for Gupta and thereafter Suri did not stand a chance.
Suri, leading by a half point at the start of the round, suffered his first loss but the young GM from Delhi is still tied for the second spot on 5.5 points.
With Gupta at the helm, Tejas Bakre, Shardul Gagare, Pravin Thipsay, Suri and Alexander Wohl of Australia share the second spot on 5.5 points apiece. The race is still tight and tomorrow’s game could be crucial to decide the outcome of the tournament.
The women’s championship was thrown wild open as the in-form Swati Ghate and Bhakti Kulkarni suffered defeats at the hands of Gagare and Abdullah Al Rakib of Bangladesh respectively.
Highest rated among women, Tania Sachdev is now among the leaders in the women’s section. It’s a tough draw for most of the women players in the penultimate round as well and Tania along with Mary Ann Gomes are now favourites to annex the title in the women’s championship.
Important results round 7: Abhijeet Gupta (6) beat Vaibhav Suri (5.5); Swapnil S. Dhopade (5.5) drew with Tejas Bakre (5.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (5) drew with Aleksandar Wohl (5.5); Abhijit Kunte (5) drew with P Shyaamnikhil (5); M S Thejkumar (5) drew with Mitrabha Guha (5); P M Thipsay (5.5) beat Deepan Chakkravarthy (4.5); Shardul Gagare (5.5) beat Swati Ghate (4.5); G M H Thilakarathne (4) lost to Ziaur Rahman (5); Abdullah Al Rakib (5) beat Bhakti Kulkarni (4); Ankit R. Rajpara (4.5) drew with Rajesh Nayak (4.5); M Chakravarthi Reddy (4.5) beat Enamul Hossain (3.5); P V Nandhidhaa (4.5) drew with Tania Sachdev (4.5)