Gupta, Lalith Babu share lead in Delhi chess

New Delhi, Jan 11: Indian Grandmasters Abhijeet Gupta and M.R. Lalith Babu emerged joint leaders with a perfect score defeating M.R. Venkatesh and Eldar Gasanov of Ukraine respectively in the fourth round of the 12th Parsvnath Delhi International Grandmasters Chess Tournament at the Ludlow Castle Sports complex here Saturday.

Gupta showcased his superior preparation to outwit Venkatesh out of a Catalan opening. Playing white, Gupta repeated an earlier game played between former world champions V. Anand and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and had an ace up his sleeve as he came up with a home-cooked improvement.

Venkatesh landed himself in a worse endgame soon after and the rest was easy for Commonwealth champion Gupta who drove home the full point without much ado.

Lalith Babu won in contrasting fashion with his white pieces but was no less impressive in his assault against Gasanov. Out of a Queen pawn opening, the Indian came up with a well judged exchange sacrifice and his handful of pawns in the centre were enough to fetch the fourth victory in as many games.

As many as seven players trail the two leaders a half point behind. They are Grandmasters Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia, Raset Ziatdinov of the United States, Deep Sengupta, Deepan Chakkravarthy, International Masters Akshat Khamparia, Ankit Rajppara and young gun N.R.Vignesh.

Akshat Khamparia provided the shocker of the day defeating Grandmaster Tornike Sanikidze of Georgia while Vignesh held Gagunashvili to an easy draw.

Earlier in the third round, Gupta had put it across Asian junior champion N.Srinath in another fine display of positional chess. From the black side of a Sicilian Classical, Gupta reached a slightly better heavy pieces endgame wherein Srinath blundered to go down tamely.

Gasanov had played the spoiler in the third round defeating second seed Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia who spoiled a clear better position.

Important Results (Indians otherwise stated):

Round 4: GM Abhijeet Gupta (4) beat GM Venkatesh M R (3); GM Lalith Babu (4) beat GM Eldar Gasanov of UKR (3); GM Merab Gagunashvili of GEO (3.5) drew with Vignesh N R (3.5); GM Raset Ziatdinov of USA (3.5) drew with GM Kravtsiv Martyn of UKR (3); IM Shyam Nikil (3) drew with GM Alexander Evdokimov of RUS (3); IM Akshat Khamparia (3.5) beat GM Tornike Sanikidze of GEO (2.5); GM Deep Sengupta (3.5) beat FM Pavlo Vorontsov of UKR (2.5); Sameer Kathmale (2.5) lost to GM Deepan Chakkravarthy (3.5); Arjun Tiwari (2.5) lost to IM Ankit R Rajpara (3.5); IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni (2) lost to GM Levan Pantsulaia of GEO (3); IM Rahul Sangma (2.5) drew with GM Oliver Barbosa of PHI (2.5); IM Nitin S (2.5) drew with GM Vaibhav Suri (2.5); GM John Paul Gomez of PHI (2.5) drew with Visakh N R (2.5); GM Marat Dzhumaev of UZB (3) beat CM Abhimanyu Puranik (2); IM Shivananda B S (2) lost to GM Valeriy Neverov of UKR (3); GM Arun Prasad (2.5) drew with Saravana Krishanan P (2.5); WGM Padmini Rout (3) beat GM Sahaj Grover (3); Akash PC Iyer (2) lost to GM Laxman R R (3); Hemant Sharma (2.5) drew with GM Francois Fargere of FRA (2.5); Abhishek Kelkar (2.5) drew with IM N Srinath (2.5).

Round 3: Deepan Chakkravarthy drew with Kravtsiv Martyn; Levan Pantsulaia lost to Eldar Gasanov; N Srinath lost to Abhijeet Gupta; VAV Rajesh lost to Lalith Babu; Alexander Evdokimov drew with Ankit R Rajpara; Rathnakaran K lost to Merab Gagunashvili; Tornike Sanikidze drew with Shyam Nikil; Venkatesh M R beat S Kidambi; Vignesh N R beat Marat Dzhumaev; Sahaj Grover lost to Raset Ziatdinov; Oliver Barbosa drew with Sameer Kathmale; Bobir Sattarov drew with John Paul Gomez; Akmal Faizulaev lost to Deep Sengupta; Valeriy Neverov drew with Saravanan V; Karthikeyan Murali lost to Arjun Tiwari; Laxman R R drew with Hemant Sharma; GM Francois Fargere drew with Abhishek Kelkar; Yogesh Gautam drew with Stany G A; Debashish Dutta lost to Akshat Khamparia; Pavlo Vorontsov beat Harsha Bharathakoti.

IANS