Overnight leader R B Ramesh played a quick draw against top seeded Grandmaster Dmitry Svetushkin of Moldova while Russian GM Alexander Fominyh beat IM Vargeese Koshy to move in to the joint lead at the end of the eighth round in the Parsvnath International Chess tournament at New Delhi on Tuesday.
Ramesh and Fominyh, who recorded his fourth straight victory in the Rs 300,000 prize-money tournament on Tuesday, now have seven points each and lead a group of four players Grandmaster Pendyala Harikrisha, Svetushkin, GM S S Ganguly and IM Neelotpal Das - by half a point.
On the top board, Ramesh opted for the Queen's defence, popularised by former world champion Anatoly Karpov, and seemed to be in a better position in the middle game.
But the double GM-norm holder played it safe against the "dangerous" Moldavian and agreed for a draw after 23 moves.
Meanwhile, Fominyh continued on his good run to beat the experienced Koshy in 34 moves.
Koshy, who had defeated GM Marat Dhzumaev of Uzbekistan and IM S Kidambi yesterday, played his preferred English opening but was forced to adopt a defensive game as he conceded the centre too early to his opponent.
The Russian GM made good use of the position to nail down Koshy in the rook and minor pieces end game commiting the Indian into a premature resignation.
Youngest Commonwealth champion Harikrishna was not at his best against IM Neelotpal Das and agreed to a draw in 30 moves to maintain his second spot.
Meanwhile, Asian women's champion Koneru Humpy had something to cheer about as she defeated Dushyant Das to reverse the trend of defeats she suffered yesterday.
The Andhra girl had lost both her matches against lesser-known opponents yesterday, virtually nullifying her title chances.
Important eighth round results: (All Indian unless specified otherwise):
Dmitry Svetushkin (MDA) 6.5 drew R B Ramesh 7.0, Neelotpal Das 6.5 drew P Harikrishna 6.5, Vargeese Koshy 6.0 lost to Alexander Fominyh (RUS) 7.0, Jonathan Rowson (SCO) 6.0 drew Lanka Ravi 6.0, S S Ganguly 6.5 beat Shashikant Kutwal 5.5, P Konguvel 6.0 drew S Ovestivitij (UKR) 6.0, Niaz Murshed (BAN) 6.0 drew Sriram Jha 6, Tahir Vakhidov (UZB) 6.0 beat R Balasubramaniam 5.5, Abhijeet Kunte 5.5 drew Aarthie Ramaswamy 5.5, Gurpreetpal Singh 5.0 lost to S Iuldachev (UZB) 6.0, P D S Girinath 5 lost to Marat Dzhumaev (UXB) 6.0, K Rathnakaran 5.5 drew S Kidambi 5.5, Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury 6.0 beat Rishipal Singh 5.0, M B Muralidhran 6.0 beat C S Gokhale 5.0, Nisha Mohota 5.0 lost to Prathmesh Mokal 6.0, Abhijeet Gupta 5.5 drew Vishal Sareen 5.5, Tania Sachdev 5 drew G B Joshi 5.