Indian Grandmasters Sandipan Chanda and Surya Shekhar Ganguly kept themselves in contention for top honours after drawing with Etienne Bacrot of France and Yuri Kryvoruchko of Ukraine respectively in the seventh round of Fujairah International chess tournament, in Fujaira, UAE, on Tuesday.
The Indian duo remained in joint-lead on five points along with the Ukrainian trio of Sergey Fedorchuk, Andrey Sumets and Alexander Moiseenko, Liem Le Quang of Vietnam and Bacrot.
The highest rated Indian in the fray Abhijeet Gupta came breathing down the neck of the leaders with a fine victory against compatriot GM Tejas Bakre.
With 4.5 points in his kitty, Gupta shares the eighth spot along with six others.
After initial hiccups, Chanda is back with a bang in the tournament, and if his form is anything to go by, the Indian is likely to remain at the top.
Following three victories on the trot in the tournament, Chanda did well to hold Kryvoruchko after a lot of complexities in the middle game.
It was the Fianchetto variation in the Sicilian defense by the Ukrainian wherein Chanda opted for opening of the center early and the position became wild. Chanda gave a pawn and when he regained it, the game was headed towards a draw. The peace was signed after 54 moves.
Ganguly had started off with victories in the first three rounds and thereafter the Indian has been successfully holding higher-ranked players to a draw with awesome ease.
The game against Bacrot was no different, as often the Indian champion got a miniscule advantage out of a Catalan and had an easy game right till the end. Bacrot neutralized with some timely exchanges and the game was agreed drawn after 36 moves.
On his road to recovery, Abhijeet Gupta defeated Bakre out of an Elista endgame that gained popularity during the 2006 World championship match between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov.
Showing his natural instinct in slight better endgames, Gupta got the upper hand but let it slip as the game progressed. However, the position remained unpleasant for Bakre and he caved in after 46 moves.
Important and Indian results (Indians unless stated): Surya Shekhar Ganguly (5) drew with Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 5); Sergey Fedorchuk (Ukr, 5) drew with Alexander Moiseenko (Ukr, 5); Yuriy Kryvoruchko (Ukr, 4.5) drew with Sandipan Chanda (5); Liem Le Quang (Vie, 5) beat Constantin Lupulescu (Rou, 4); Ivan Saric (Cro, 4.5) drew with Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Geo, 4.5); Andrey Sumets (Ukr, 5) beat Yaroslav Zherebukh (Ukr, 5); Jobava Baadur (Geo, 4.5) beat Ma Qun (Chn, 4); Abhijeet Gupta (4.5) beat Tejas Bakre (3.5): V Tkachiev (Fra, 4) drew with S Satyapragyan (4); Gadir Guseinov (Aze, 4) beat Debashis Das (3); Solak Dragan (Tur, 4) beat Ankit Rajpara (3); Aditya Udeshi (3.5) drew with Zeng Chongsheng (Chn, 3.5); Vishnu Prasanna (4) beat Asabri Hussien (Lba, 3); V Saravanan (3) lost to Sagar Shah (4); Mohannad Farhan (Jor, 2.5) drew with Akshat Khamparia (2.5); Alberto Manuel (Ang, 2.5) drew with Arjun Bharat (2.5); Aris Ozolins (Lat, 1.5) lost to Anurag Mhamal (2.5).