Indian Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi put his second round debacle behind and defeated Mongolian Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan to jump to joint-sixth after the fourth round in the Asian Chess Championship in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam.
It was consistent pressure that did the trick for Negi from what should have been a draw with Bayarsaikhan.
Playing the black side of a Slav defense, Negi got an easy game after the trade of queens and Bayarsaikhan's position worsened after the Indian initiated a king side pawn roll.
Bayarsaikhan kept himself in the game by sacrificing a piece and got three pawns in return and then began a long grind wherein the Indonesian kept himself in the game with a drawn position till move 59, but blundered on the next.
Negi clinched the issue in 67 moves.
As if taking a cue from Negi, National champion Abhijeet Gupta also rose to the occasion and easily defeated Jan Emmanuel Garcia of the Philippines to move to 2.5 points.
For Gupta, it was a routine day in office in his pet Saemisch variation against the King's Indian attack and he made things look easy with an effortless victory.
However, S P Sethuraman's excellent run ended after he misplayed and went down to Ding Liren of China. After equalising easily, Sethuraman missed the thread in the endgame and had to pay dearly as Liren made no mistakes.
It's a five-way lead at the top, including Liren on 3.5 points each and Negi is in the next set of those who have three points.
Gupta, Sethuraman and Vidit Gujarathi are amongst those who have 2.5 points, while B Adhiban, Deepan Chakkravarthy and N Srinath are all on two points apiece with five rounds still to go in the premier Asian event.
In the women's section, highest rated Indian Tania Sachdev jumped to the joint-second spot along with compatriot Nisha Mohota after a fine positional victory against Guliskhan Nakhbayeva of Kazakhstan. Nisha defeated Yanjindulam Dulamsuren of Mongolia to match Tania on three points out of a possible four and these two are now the best performing Indians.
Irine Sukandar Kharisma of Indonesia continued with her dream run in this section and defeated Mongolian Batchimeg Tuvshintugs to maintain a clean slate with her fourth victory in a row. Thye Indonesian girl is followed by a pack of nine players including top seed Zhao Xue of China.
Important and Indian Results Round 4 Open (Indians unless stated): Yu Yangyi (Chn, 3.5) drew with Liu Qingnan (Chn, 3.5); Ding Liren (Chn, 3.5) beat S P Sethuraman (2.5); Megaranto Susanto (Ina, 3.5) beat Zhao Jun (Chn, 2.5); Oliver Barbosa (Phi, 3.5) beat Anjas Novita (Ina, 2.5); Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan (Mgl, 2) lost to Parimarjan Negi (3); Nezad Husein Aziz (Qat, 2.5) drew with Vidit Gujrathi (2.5); Abhijeet Gupta (2.5) beat Jan Emmanuel Garcia (Phi, 1.5); Deepan Chakkravarthy (2) drew with B Adhiban (2); Wan Yunguo (Chn, 2.5) beat M R Venkatesh (1.5); N Srinath (2) drew with Darwin Laylo (Phi, 2); G N Gopal (2) beat Qu Yanqiao (Chn, 1).
Women: Batchimeg Tuvshintugs (Mgl, 3) lost to Irine Sukandar Kharisma (Ina, 4); Ding Yixin (Chn, 3) drew with Zhao Xue (Chn, 3); Munguntuul Batkhuyag (Mgl, 3); drew with Nguyen Thi Thanh An (Vie, 3); Tan Zhongyi (Chn, 2.5) drew with Hoang Thi Bao Tram (Vie, 3); Tania Sachdev (3) drew with Guliskhan Nakhbayeva (Kaz, 2); Le Kieu Thien Kim (Vie, 2.5) drew with Eesha Karavade (2.5); Yanjindulam Dulamsuren (Mgl, 2) lost to Nisha Mohota (3); Mary Ann Gomes (2.5) beat B Pratyusha (1.5); Swathi Ghate (2.5) beat Padmini Rout (1.5); Nafisa Muminova (Uzb, 2) drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty (2).