Grandmaster Koneru Humpy got back into the reckoning after defeating International Master Sergey Kayumov of Uzbekistan in the sixth round of the Dubai International Chess championship in Dubai on Saturday.
The victory enabled her move within half a point of the leading group. The top-ranked Indian in the competition took her tally to 4.5 points out of a possible 6.
With three rounds to got, as many as eight players emerged joint leaders on five points. They are the Kazakh duo of Kotsur Pavel and Darmen Sadvakasov, Georgians Levan Pantsulaia and Tamaz Gelashvili, Tigran Kotanjian of Armenia, Guseinov Gadir of Azerbaijan, Megaranto Susanto of Indonesia and Ghaem Maghami Ehsan of Iran.
Apart from Humpy, D Harika and P D S Girinath are the other Indians in the 4.5 points bracket and all are in with a chance of catching up with the leaders in the rounds to come, with Humpy having a definite edge over the others.
In the next round, Humpy's clash is set up with Harika, who defeated local hopeful Abdul Majeed Mohamad in the sixth round.
It turned out to be a fine day for Humpy, who played the white side of a queen pawn game against Kayumov. She came out with a slightly better position in the middle game and nurtured it well to win a pawn after which it was just a matter of routine technique for the Indian.
After a good start, Woman Grandmaster Eesha Karavade found her nemesis in Iranian Grandmaster Amir Bagheri, who had it easy with white pieces.
Eesha was saddled with a passive position in the middle game and could not recover lost ground.
Despite the loss, Eesha's prospects of her third and final IM norm remained well within striking distance as she has played an excellent opposition here.
Meanwhile, GM norm holder S Kidambi took what he called a practical decision when he accepted a draw with top seed Jaan Ehlvest of the United States.
Playing white, the loss in the previous round against Guseinov took its toll on Kidambi as he preferred to play it safe and split the point against Ehlvest. The draw kept his GM norm hopes alive but he will have to do well with his two black games in the rounds to come.
S P Sethuraman also came back in the hunt for his IM norm after a fine victory as black against IM Salor Sitanggang of Indonesia. He moved to 4 points with the victory and should make his norm with 2 points in the remaining three rounds.
Indian results round 6 (Indians unless specified):
Sundararajan Kidambi (4) drew with Jaan Ehlvest (Usa); Koneru Humpy (4.5) beat Sergey Kayumov (Uzb, 3.5); P D S Girinath (4.5) beat El Taher Fouad (Egy, 3.5); Amir Bagheri (Iri, 4.5) beat Eesha Karavade (3.5); Abdul Majeed Mohamad (Uae, 3.5) lost to D Harika (4.5); Al Sayed Mohamad (Qat, 3.5) drew with V Kamble (3.5); Saleh Nagueb (Uae, 3) lost to R B Ramesh (4); Ayyad Husain Abdulgalil Saleh (Brn, 3) lost to G N Gopal (4); Tejas Bakre (3.5) drew with S Meenakshi (3.5); Salor Sitanggang (Ina, 3) lost to S P Sethuraman (4); Oleg Kulicov (Rus, 4) beat M R Lalith Babu (3); Taleb Moussa (Uae, 3.5) drew with R Aarthie (3.5); B Adhiban (4) beat Himdan Maher (Egy, 3); Aditya Udeshi (3.5) beat Purnama Tirta Chandra (Ina, 2.5); Sahaj Grover (2.5) lost to Toufighi Homayoon (Iri, 3.5); Prasanna Rao (2.5) lost to Jasim A.R. Saleh (Uae, 3.5); Narayanan Srinath (2) lost to Saeed Ishaq (Uae, 3); A Ghobadibigvand (Iri, 2) lost to Kruttika Nadig (3); Shiven Khosla (2) lost to Ayyad Maher (Brn, 3); Mahmoody M Sadegh (Iri, 2) drew with Shatrughan Jha (2).