Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi went through the defences of Yu Yangyi of China to emerge sole leader after the sixth round in the Asian Continental Chess Championships in Ho Chi Min City, Vetnam, on Friday.
With his fourth victory on the trot, the 19-year-old Indian ace left everyone behind and is now training his sight on the gold medal.
The victory over Yangyi was a close affair, as the Chinese had a draw in hand when he tried too hard with his clock ticking away.
The Najdorf Sicilian gave Negi a nice game earlier with black pieces but Yangyi kept pressing with an exchange sacrifice in the centre.
Negi made the right moves to defend and Yangyi failed to spot the draw when his chance came.
By virtue of this victory, the Indian took his tally to an admirable five points out of a possible six. He next faces Ding Liren of China, who occupies joint-second spot with four others on 4.5 points.
The other fancied Indian in the fray, Abhijeet Gupta, however, fell out of contention after throwing away a winning position against Mark Paraguy of the Philippines.
Gupta played the Russian system in the Slav defense with white and had Paragua in all sorts of troubles right from the opening.
Close to the end, Gupta had several ways to draw the affair but the day was tailor-made for Paragua.
In the women's championship being held simultaneously, the all-Indian duel between Tania Sachdev and national champion Mary Ann Gomes was won by the latter.
Tania consumed a lot of time in the opening and fell under time pressure early in the middle game and there was no rescuing thereafter. Mary finished the game with a tactical stroke.
Irine Sukandar Kharisma of Indonesia continued dream run here. On the receiving end in the sixth round was Munguntuul Batkhuyag of Mongolia, who was outplayed from a level position in the middle game.
Irine took her tally to 5.5 points out of a possible six and she now enjoys a full point lead.
Mary Ann Gomes shares the second spot.
Indians Eesha Karavade and Nisha Mohota too rose back in contention with fine victories in the sixth round. Both Eesha and Nisha have four points apiece.
Important and Indian Results after Round 6:
Open (Indians unless specified): Yu Yangyi (CHN, 4.5) lost to Parimarjan Negi (5); Ding Liren (CHN, 4.5) drew with John Paul Gomez (PHI, 4.5); Salem A R Saleh (UAE, 4.5) drew with Liu Qingnan (CHN, 4.5); Abhijeet Gupta (3.5) lost to Mark Paragua (4.5); Megaranto Susanto (INA, 3.5) lost to Oliver Barbosa (PHI, 4.5); Lu Shanglei (CHN, 4.5) beat Gao Rui (CHN, 3.5): Ni Hua (CHN, 4) beat B Adhiban (3); Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (IRI, 3.5) drew with Vidit Gujrathi (3.5); S P Sethuraman (2.5) lost to Yu Ruiyuan (CHN, 3.5); G N Gopal (3) drew with Nguyen Anh Dung (VIE, 3); Goh Wei Ming Kevin (SIN, 2.5) lost to M R Venkatesh (3.5); N Srinath (2.5) drew with Kuderinov Kirill (2.5); Nguyen Van Hai (VIE, 2) lost to Deepan Chakkravarthy (3).
Women: Munguntuul Batkhuyag (MGL, 4) lost to Irine Sukandar Kharisma (INA, 5.5); Ding Yixin (CHN, 4.5) drew with Nguyen Thi Thanh An (VIE, 4.5); Zhao Xue (CHN, 4.5) beat Hoang Thi Bao Tram (VIE, 3.5); Tania Sachdev (3.5) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (4.5); Swathi Ghate (3.5) lost to Wang Jue (CHN, 4.5); Batchimeg Tuvshintugs (MGL, 3) lost to Nisha Mohota (4); Zhai Mo (CHN, 3) lost to Eesha Karavade (4); Sihite Chelsie Monica (INA, 2.5) lost to Padmini Rout (3.5); Vo Thi Kim Phung (VIE, 2.5) drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty (2.5); Jelsen Yemi (INA, 1.5) lost to Pratyusha Bodda (2.5).