Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly outwitted higher-rated compatriot Abhijeet Gupta to maintain a clean slate after the end of the second round in the Fujairah International Chess tournament, in Fujairah (UAE), on Thursday.
Ganguly, who was recently struggling with his form, played a consistent game to get the better of his former World junior champion opponent and capitalised on a blunder in the endgame to jump to two points from as many games in the super-strong Open tournament.
Apart from Ganguly, GM Sandipan Chanda was the other notable Indian winner at the expense of International Master V Saravanan.
The US $50,500 prize-money tournament finds No 2700 rated players among the leaders as all four have dropped a half point now.
Top seed Baadur Jobava of Georgia had to sign peace with Gadir Guseinov of Azerbaijan while Etienne Bacort of France achieved the same result against Solak Dragan of Turkey.
Second seed Liem Le Quang of Vietnam was in for a bigger surprise as he was outdone by Andrey Sumits of Ukraine and the latter now finds himself in a five-way lead with an absolute score.
The other leaders are Ganguly, Yu Ruiyuan of China, Vladislav Tkachiev of France and Yaroslav Zherebukh of Ukraine.
A pack of 17-players follow the five leaders a half point behind and this list includes most of the big-wigs of the tournament including Jobava, Bacrot, Alexander Moiseenko of Ukraine and the lone Indian in Sandipan Chanda.
The other Indians aspirants again had mixed results. Debashish Das went down fighting to Moiseenko, who played black, while Vishnu Prasanna was not good enough against Tigran Petrosian of Armenia. Even Akshat Khamparia, who showed much promise in the opener, could not tackle the effective play by Ni Hua of China.
On the brighter side, Ankit Rajpara, Aditya Udeshi, Ashwin Jayaram and Anurag Mahamal scored victories over lower ranked opponents to remain in the hunt for a Grandmaster norm from here.
Important and Indian results (Round 2) (Indians unless stated): Baadur Jobava (Geo, 1.5) drew with Gadir Guseinov (Aze, 1.5); Andrey Sumets (Ukr, 2) beat Liem Le Quang (Vie, 1); Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 1.5) drew with Zaven Andriasian (Arm, 1.5); Yuriy Kryvoruchko (Ukr, 1.5) drew with Solak Dragan (Tur, 1.5); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2) beat Abhijeet Gupta (1); Vladislav Tkachiev (Fra, 2) beat Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 1); Yaroslav Zherebukh (Ukr, 2) beat A R Salem Saleh (Uae, 1); Debashis Das (1) lost to Alexander Moiseenko (Ukr, 1.5); Tigran Petrosian (Arm, 1.5) beat Vishnu Prasanna (0.5); Sandipan Chanda (1.5) beat V Saravanan (0.5); Akshat Khamparia (0.5) lost to Ni Hua (Chn, 1.5); Arjun Bharat (0) lost to Ashwin Jayaram (1); Tejas Bakre (1) beat Salih Akar Ali Salih (Irq, 0); Elarbi Abobker (Lba, 0.5) drew with S Satyapragyan (0.5); Ankit Rajpara beat Jasem Saleh (Uae, 0); Ben Nasser Khaled (Lba, 0) lost to Anurag Mhamal (1): Sagar Shah (1) beat Ozolins Aris (Lat, 0); Salem Mahjob (Lba, 0) lost to Aditya Udeshi (1).