Grandmaster and Asian Champion Parimarjan Negi continued his excellent run to beat the defence of Grandmaster Vegeny Vorobiov of Russia in the seventh round of the Leiden International chess tournament.
After what turned out to be an excellent day with lots of fine tactics, Negi took his tally to six points out of a possible seven and the Indian star now shares the lead with David Howell of England, who defeated Indian Grandmaster M R Lalith Babu.
Grandmaster S Arun Prasad also came good to beat Michal Luch of Poland but the other Indian GM S Kidambi suffered a setback at the hands of Russian Vladimir Zakhartsov.
While Negi and Howell are firmly in front with just two rounds to come, Arun Prasad is in sole third spot on 5.5 points while Lalith Babu and Kidambi have now bowed out of contention. For the records, Babu has 4.5 points while Kidambi is on just four points.
After beating Bartosz Socko in a gem of a game in the previous round, Negi demonstrated his fantastic tactical skills to crush Vorobiov.
It was a Sicilian Najdorf by Vorobiov and white forces operated like a hurricane out to ruin black's king side. Negi started with a temporary piece sacrifice and kept on building pressure against the black king.
The Indian also lured Vorobiov in to grabbing one king side pawn after which further lines opened for operations and it was Negi all the way. The game lasted just 25 moves and is sure to find its place in many future tutorials.
Arun Prasad played excellently to get the better of Luch from an irregular queen pawn game. Slow execution on both flanks gave Prasad advantage on the king side while Luch was confined to passivity. The finale was picturesque as Arun Prasad dropped his queen to force resignation.
Howell defeated Lalith Babu from the white side of a Queen pawn game. The middle game saw Babu equalizing but in the subsequent queen and minor piece endgame Howell simply outplayed him. It was however a long grind that lasted 70 moves.
Important results round 7 (Indians unless stated):
Parimarjan Negi (6) beat Evgeny Vorobiov (Rus, 5); David Howell (Eng, 6) beat M R Lalith Babu (4.5); Igor Khenkin (Rus, 5) drew with Benjamin Bok (Ned, 5); Predrag Nikolic (Bih, 5) drew with Bartosz Socko (Pol, 5); S Arun Prasad (5.5) beat Michal Luch (Pol, 4.5); Jan-Willem De Jong (Ned, 5) drew with Csaba Horvath (Hun, 5); Viacheslav Zakhartsov (Rus, 5) beat Admiraal Miguoel (Ned, 4); S Kidambi (Ind, 4) lost to Vladimir Zakhartsov (Rus, 5); Edwin Van Haastert (Ned 5) beat Peter Wilschut (Ned, 4).