Former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta outwitted Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy of Vietnam to become joint second on 4.5 points after the sixth round of the Asian Continental Chess Championship in Subic Bay, Phillipines.
Another Indian Grandmaster G N Gopal drew with tournament leader Wesley So of Philippines in 32 moves to remain in the second spot, which he also shares with Chinese trio of Ni Hua, Li Chao, Yu Yangyi and Bayarsekhan Gundavaa of Mongolia.
Abhijeet played his pet Grunfeld defence to score an important victory with black pieces. The Indian was surprised to see a very peaceful approach by Huy as he went for a series of exchanges that quickly led to a rook and minor pieces endgame.
Abhijeet increased his chances with some deft manoeuvres and the Vietnamese cracked when he faced some real threats. Losing a pawn, Huy transposed to a rook and pawns endgame but the position was already lost.
Second seed Krishnan Sasikiran was surprisingly held by lower-ranked John Paul Gomez of Philippines. After a fine start with victories in first two rounds, Sasikiran has managed to win only one game in the next four besides a loss and a draw.
Another Indian P Harikrishna also could not break the ice against Zeng Chongsheng of China.
Harikrishna is now in a situation where he may has to win all the remaining three games to keep alive his hopes of qualifying for the next World Cup for which there are five places reserved. Harikrishna has 3.5 points so far.
Grandmaster Tejas Bakre improved his chances in the tournament at the expense of Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh. It was one of the most interesting games of the day as Tejas matched Zia move for move from an irregular Sicilian and sacrificed an exchange to get a winning middle game.
S P Sethuraman accounted for Allan Macal of Philippines to also reach four points like Bakr, while National Champion B Adhiban was held to a draw by Chinese Yu Ruiyuan.
In the women's section, former champion Tania Sachdev and S Meenakshi improved their standings with fine victories in the sixth round.
The other Indian in the fray, Kiran Manisha Mohanty held second seed Tan Zhongyi to a draw. All the three Indians have 3.5 points while there is a two-way tie at the top between Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran and Wang Yu of China.