Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran drew with GM Loek Van Wely of Netherlands and remained in joint second spot after the eighth and penultimate round in the Aeroflot International Open Chess tournament.
Taking a safe approach, GM Valerij Filippov of Russia drew with second seeded compatriot Alexey Dreev and maintained his slender half point lead with just one round to go in the USD 25000 first prize tournament.
Filippov has 6.5 points followed by as many as 14 players, including Dreev and Sasikiran, on 6 points. In the last round Sasikiran has to battle it out with Darmen Sadvakasov while Filippov plays compatriot Pavel Tregubov with white pieces.
In other Group 'A' matches, GM Sandipan Chanda managed to beat Dmitry Chuprov of Russia while GM Praveen Thipsay drew with Igor-Alexandre Nataf of France. Losing their eighth round games were International Masters Neelotpal Das and Lanka Ravi who went down fighting against Kaido Kulaots of Estonia and Evgeny Postny of Russia respectively.
In the Group 'B' tournament that concluded, IM P Konguvel took a draw with Fikret Sideif-Sade of Azerbaijan to finish joint fifth.
Russians Anatoli Shvedchikov and Dzhakaev Dzhakay and Georgians Giorgi Bagaturov and David Arutinian, who all scored an identical 7.5 points, shared the top four places.
Grandmaster-in-waiting Tejas Bakre won his last round game to find himself amongst prize winners. Bakre eventually finished in a tie for the 11th spot on 6.5 points and remained undefeated throughout the tournament.
Amongst other Indians in 'B' Group, IM S Kidambi drew with Leonid Grezhoy of Israel while Tajikistan's Jamshed Isaev proved better than Dinesh Kumar Sharma in the last round.
Group 'A' Round 8: Alexey Dreev (Rus, 6) drew with Valerij Filippov (Rus, 6.5); Pavel Tregubov (Rus, 6) drew with Joel Lautier (Fra, 6); Loek Van Wely (Ned, 6) drew with Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind, 6); Ferenc Berkes (Hun, 6) drew with Alexander Motylev (Rus, 6) Alexei Fedorov (Blr, 6) beat Vladimir Malakhov (Rus, 5); Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 5.5) drew with Andrei Volokitin (Ukr, 5.5); Sergei Rublevsky (Rus, 6) beat Karen Asrian (Arm, 5); Alexander Rustemov (Rus, 5) lost to Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov (Aze, 6); Artashes Minasian (Arm, 5) lost to Alexander Graf (Ger, 6); Rafael Vaganian (Arm, 6) beat Tigran Petrosian (Arm, 5); Dmitry Jakovenko (Rus, 5) lost to Igor Khenkin (Rus, 6); Darmen Sadvakasov (Kaz, 6) beat Anton Korobov (Ukr, 5); Vasilios Kotronias (Cyp, 5.5) lost to Ilia Smirin (Isr, 5.5); Vasily Yemelin (Rus, 4.5) lost to Konstantin Sakaev Rus, 5.5); Zhang Zhong (Chn, 5) drew with Maxim Sorokin (Arg, 5); Semen Dvoirys (Rus, 5.5) beat Vladislav Tkachiev (Fra, 4.5); Kaido Kulaots (Est, 4.5) beat Neelotpal Das (Ind, 3.5); Lanka Ravi (Ind, 3.5) lost to Evgeny Postny (Rsu, 4.5); Igor-Alexandre Nataf (Fra, 3) drew with Praveen Thipsay (Ind, 3); Sandipan Chanda (Ind, 3.5) beat Dmitry Chuprov (Rus, 3.5).
Group 'B' Round 9: Anatoli Shvedchikov (Rus, 7.5) drew with Dzhakaev Dzhakay (Rus, 7.5); Kivanc Haznedaroglu (Tur, 6.5) lost to Giorgi Bagaturov (Geo, 7.5); David Arutinian (Geo, 7.5) beat Levon Babujian (Arm, 6.5); Fikret Sideif-Sade (Aze, 7) drew with P Konguvel (Ind, 7); Nurlan Ibraev (Kaz, 7) beat Joanna Dworakowska (Pol, 6); Beniamin Galstian (Arm, 7) beat Mark Tseitlin (Isr, 6); Tornike Sanikidze (Geo, 6) lost to Sergei Yudin (Rus, 7); Vadim Akhmadeev (Rus, 6) lost to Arnar Gunnarsson (Isl, 7); Dmitry Belenov (Rus, 5.5) lost to Tejas Bakre (Ind, 6.5); Gerzhoy Leonid (Isr, 5.5) drew with S Kidambi (Ind, 5.5); Jamshed Isaev (Tjk, 6) beat Diensh Kumar Sharma (5).