Draws were the order of the day as most of the top players preferred to play it safe in the sixth round of the Parsvanath International Chess tournament at New Delhi on Saturday.
WIM Arthie Ramaswamy, International Master Atanu Lahiri and national champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly drew their respective games on the top boards while GM R B Ramesh and N Sudhakar Babu also signed peace pacts with their opponents.
Joint leaders Saidali Iuldachev of Uzbekistan and Pavel Kotsur of Kazakhstan split points to be at 5.5 points apiece while Ganguly remained third after drawing with Lahiri.
GMs Dibyendu Barua, Sandipan Chanda, WIM Aarthie, D V Prasad, Sriram Jha, Neeraj Kumar Mishra, Tejas Bakre and GM Serik Temirbaev of Kazakhstan were joint second.
Ganguly (4.5) now badly requires a couple of wins for a comeback. Ganguly, black, accepted the draw offer from his well-placed opponent in the short game of 12 moves played with the Greunfield opening.
In the morning session, the Kolkata player sacrificed his knight and then a piece and trapped G B Joshi in mating net. Joshi finally surrendered in 24 moves in the game played with Ruy Lopez opening.
Chanda beat Gurpreet Pal Singh, who was in equal position with his opponent but wrongly pushed his pawn into the center and lost it. Pal, began with Italian opening and surrendered in 36 moves.
Yesterday's joint leader Nassir Wajih's dream run came to an end as he lost his fifth and sixth round matches to Temirbaev and International Master Tejas Bakre respectively to slide to the fourth spot with four points.
Koneru Humpy suffered her second loss of the competition when she went down to International Master R R Laxman.
Saidali Iuldachev (Uzb, 5.5) drew Pavel Kotsur (Kaz, 5.5); Serik Temirbaev (Kaz, 5) drew Aarthie Ramaswamy (5); D V Prasad (5) drew Sriram Jha (5); Atanu Lahiri (5) drew S S Ganguly (4.5); Dibyendy Barua (5) bt Himanshu Sharma (4), Safin Shukrat (4.5) drew S Poobesh Anand (4.5); Gurpreet Pal Singh lost (4) to Sandipan Chanda (5); R B Ramesh drew (4.5) drew N Sudhakar Babu (4.5); Neeraj K Mishra (5) bt Neelotpal Das (4), Tejas Bakre (5) bt Nassir Wajih (4); Nurlan Ibraev (Kaz, 4) drew D Harika (4.5); R Balasubramanium (5) bt K Visweswaran (4.5); Suvrajit Saha (4.5) drew Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (4.5); M R Venkatesh (4.5) bt K Ratnakaran (3.5).