Russian Grandmaster Ivan Popov inched closer to the title after settling for a draw with Yuri Solodovnichenko of Ukraine in the ninth and penultimate round of the premier group of 14th Parsvnath Delhi International chess festival now drawing to a close here.
After scoring seven victories on the trot, Popov did not take many chances with Solodovnichenko and his second draw on the trot ensured that he has a half point lead going in to the final round of Rs. 12.5 Lakh prize money tournament.
Grandmaster Czebe Attila of Hungary is Popov’s closest contender on 7.5 points after he won his game against highest rated Indian in the fray – M R Lalith Babu.
With just one round to go, the Ukrainian trio of Solodovnichenko, Vitaly Sivuk and Valeriy Neverov hold the third spot jointly on seven points apiece.
It turned out to be another productive day from Indian perspective. As many as four norms were made by Indians and with one more round to go, there are three more in contention.
R A Pradeep Kumar finished his third and final International Master norm just by appearing for his game against Neverov as the Indian had achieved the feat a round to spare.
Himal Gusain brought cheers to the Indian camp defeating compatriot K Praneeth Surya to achieve the same feat while Mehar Chinna Reddy also got his IM norm despite the loss against N R Vignesh.
Recently migrated to Delhi, Srija Seshadri joined the party getting herself a Women International Master norm despite her loss against Marat Dzhumaev of Uzbekistan.
The final round will be played tomorrow and the category ‘C’ will end simultaneously.
Important Results Round-9 (Indians otherwise stated) :- GM Ivan Popov (8) drew with GM Yuri Solodovnichenko of Ukraine (7); GM Attila Czebe of Hungary (7.5) beat GM Lalith Babu MR (6.5); GM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam (6.5) drew with GM Boris Garchev of Russia (6.5); IM N Srinath (6) lost to GM Vitaly Sivuk of Ukraine (7); GM Sriram Jha (6.5) drew with GM Vaibhav Suri (6.5); GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy of Ukraine (6.5) drew with GM Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy of Vietnam (6.5); GM Valeriy Neverov of Ukraine (7) beat Pradeep Kumar RA (6); IM Sayantan Das (6.5) beat GM Alberto David of Italy (5.5); Rakesh Kulkarni (5.5) lost to GM Anton Demchenko of Russia (6.5); IM Ravi Teja S (5.5) lost to GM Mikhail Mozharov of Russia (6.5); GM Vladmir Belous of Russia (6) drew with IM Krishna CRG (6); GM Ernst Sipke of Netherlands (6) drew with IM Akash G (6); IM Rathnakaran K (6.5) beat IM Sameer Kathmale (5.5); IM Vignesh N R (6.5) beat Mehar Chinna Reddy (5.5); Himal Gusain (6.5) beat Praneeth Surya (5.5); IM Rahul Sangma (5.5) drew with GM Adam Tukhaev (5.5); Pratik Patil (5.5) drew with GM Esen Baris of Turkey (5.5); IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh (6) beat IM Murali Krishnan B T (5); Prince Bajaj (6) beat IM Nitin S (5); Raghunandan K S (5) lost to IM Visakh N R (6).
Photo : 1. Himal Gusain 2. Mehar Chinna Reddy 3. Pradeep Kumar 4. Srija Seshadri 5. Ivan Popov 6. Valeriy Neverov 7. Yuri Solodovnichenko 8. Attila Czebe
Photo Courtesy : Priyadarshan Banjan