Former world junior champion and second seed Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta beat Daniel Naroditsky of United States in quick time to jump to joint third spot after the fourth round of Groningen International open chess tournament.
After two back to back draws, Abhijeet needed to stay in hunt for top honours and he did that in style with black pieces, showcasing home preparation, to outwit young talent Naroditsky.
International Master Sahaj Grover was held to a draw by FIDE Master Wim Heemskerk of Holland while Shiven Khosla remained on course for his final IM norm after disposing the challenge of Axel Partenheimer of Germany.
The other Indian in the fray, GM norm holder Ashwin Jayaram staked his claim for a comeback after a disastrous start by outsmarting Koen Lambrechts of Holland.
At the top of the tables defending champion Illya Nyzhnyk of Ukraine played out a draw with local start GM Sipke Ernst to inch to 3.5 points out of a possible four.
GM Dejan Bojkov of Bulgaria joined Nyzhnyk at the top of the tables after getting the better of dark horse Vahe Baghdarsyan of Armenia. With these two in the front, Abhijeet now shares the third spot with ten others.
Shiven Khosla has 2.5 points in his kitty and three points from the next five remaining round should be able to net him his final IM norm.
The Mumbai lad is accompanied by his coach Alexander Goloshchapov of Ukraine here and has performed way above his present rating here.
Sahaj Grover and Ashwin Jayaram have identical two points from four outings so far and will need to better their performance to be in with a chance in this strong compeition.
Abhijeet employed the French defense for the second time in this tournament and his preparation came good against fast-improving Naroditsky.
The Indian came up with a thematic plan of putting pressure on the strong-looking white center and Naroditsky erred when he sacrificed a pawn.
Abhijeet improved his position considerably as the game progressed and was threatening to invade the white's king side when Naroditsky overlooked a Bishop sortie and had to call it a day immediately.
Shiven Khosla defeated Partenheimer with black pieces.
Playing black, Khosla exerted pressure on the queen side to find his path to victory.
Sahaj Grover stood slightly worse when the peace was signed against Heemskerk while Ashwin had a routine victory over Lambrechts.