Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi continued his winning ways and dumped Megaranto Susanto of Indonesia to jump to joint-second after the end of the fifth round in the Asian Continental Chess championship in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, on Thursday.
It was an excellent victory for Negi with white pieces from an Alekhine defense game employed by Susanto.
Backing himself to get long term advantage, Negi secured the Bishop pair against two knights and then exchanged pieces at will to reach better endgame.
Susanto had no defense once the position opened a little and the Indonesian caved in once Negi threatened to march his pawns to glory.
The victory took Negi to four points out of a possible five. It's been a perfect outing for the Delhi boy barring the debacle in the second round.
With four more rounds to come, Yu Yangyi of China is in sole lead on 4.5 points and Negi meets him in the next round.
The other fancied Indian, Abhijeet Gupta, also continued his winning run at the expense of another Indonesian, Novita Anjas.
Gupta went for the Moller variation in the Ruy Lopez as black, exchanged pieces at will to get a better endgame and squeezed out the defensive resources in routine fashion.
With 3.5 points to his credit, Gupta is also in the reckoning but much depends on his performance in the next two rounds.
S P Sethuraman succumbed to another loss in the event when he could not use the white pieces to better use against Dao Thein Hai of Vietnam. After a good start, Sethuraman now needs a miracle to be back in hunt as he remains on 2.5 points.
Making a recovery of sorts was former national champion B Adhiban who secured three points after defeating Ma Qun of China, while G N Gopal conceded a draw against Wang Chen, also of China.
In the women's championship, Tania Sachdev fell behind after splitting the point with Hoang Thi Thao Bram of Vietnam. Indonesian Irine Sukandar Kharisman maintained solo lead in this section on 4.5 points after holding top seed Zhao Xue of China.
Irine is now trailed by Mongolian talent Munguntuul Batkhuyag a half point behind while Tania shares the third spot on 3.5 points along with compatriot Mary Ann Gomes and Swathi Ghate.
For Mary Ann Gomes and Swathi Ghate, it turned out to be a good day against local hopefuls. Le Thanh Tu fell prey to some fine manoeuvres against Mary Ann while Pham Le Thao Nguyen was no match for Swathi who won her third game on the trot.
Important and Indian results round 5 open (Indians unless specified):
Men: Liu Qingnan (Chn, 4) drew with Ding Liren (Chn, 4); Oliver Barbosa (Phi, 3.5) lost to Yu Yangyi (Chn, 4.5); Parimarjan Negi (4) beat Megaranto Susanto (Ina, 3.5); Le Quang Liem (Vie, 3) lost to Salem A R Saleh (Uae, 4); John Paul Gomes (Phi, 4) beat Zhou Jianchao (Chn, 3); Novita Anjas (Ina, 2.5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (3.5); S P Sethuraman (2.5) lost to Dao Thien Hai (Vie, 3.5); Vidit Gujrathi (3) drew with Wan Yunguo (Chn, 3); So Wesley (phi, 3) beat Deepan Chakkravarthy (2); Wang Chen (Chn, 2.5) drew with G N Gopal (2.5); B Adhiban (3) beat Ma Qun (Chn, 2); Yu Ruiyuan (Chn, 3) beat N Srinath (2); M R Venkatesh (2.5) beat Pham Chuong (Vie, 1.5).
Women: Irine Sukandar Kharisma (Ina, 4.5) drew with Zhao Xue (Chn, 3.5); Nisha Mohota (3) lost to Munguntuul Batkhuyag (Mgl, 4); Hoang Thi Bao Tram (Vie, 3.5) drew with Tania Sachdev (3.5); Wang Jue (Chn, 3) lost to Ding Yixin (Chn, 4); Nguyen Thi Thanh An (Vie, 3) lost to Batchimeg Tuvshintugs (Mgl, 4); Eesha Karavade (3) drew with Tan Zhongyi (Chn, 3); Pham Le Thao Nguyen (Vie, 2.5) lost to Swathi Ghate (3.5); Le Thanh Tu (Vie, 2.5) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (3.5); Kiran Manisha Mohanty (2) lost to Zhai Mo (Chn, 3); Padmini Rout (2.5) beat Yanjindulam Dulamsuren (Mgl, 2); B Pratyusha (1.5) lost to Sihite Chelsie Monica (Ina, 2.5).