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Abhijeet Gupta holds Maghami

NEW DELHI: Continuing his brilliant form, 15-year-old Abhijeet Gupta pulled off a sensational 79-move draw against sixth-seeded Iranian Grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami in the seventh round of the Abu Dhabi Masters chess tournament at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Even as National champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly defeated 12-year-old Parimarjan Negi to taste victory after two successive defeats, D.V. Prasad held Latvia-born Grandmaster Igors Rausis, who now represents Bangladesh, to join Abhijeet at 4.5 points.

Abhijeet, playing white, looked in danger of losing when Maghami, whose rating is 2603, held a two-pawn advantage in the end game where both players had a rook and knight each. But the youngster held his nerves to win back a pawn and was forced to exchange the rooks.

Just when Abhijeet was threatening to capture the lone pawn on the board, Maghami accepted the inevitable draw. Rated 2380, Abhijeet had earlier held Uzbek GM Saidali Iuldachev (2541) and beat Russian GM Igor Kurnosev (2549). He now plays another Russian GM Dmitry Bocharov (2547).

With two rounds to go, Armenia's Ashot Anastasian, Ukraine's Alexander Goloshchapov and Belarus' Aleksej Aleksandrov share the lead with 5.5 points each.

The results (seventh round, involving Indians):

Abhijeet Gupta (4.5) drew with Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Iran, 4.5); Igors Rausis (Ban, 4) drew with D. V. Prasad (4.5); S.S. Ganguly (4) bt Parimarjan Negi (3); Mikhail Ulibin (Rus, 4) bt Akshat Khamparia (3); Tania Sachdev (3.5) drew with Eltaj Safarli (Aze, 3.5); S. Ghader Pour (Iran, 2.5) lost to Eesha Karavade (3.5); M.B. Muralidharan (2.5) drew with Niboisa Illijin (Rom, 3); Ishaq Ahmed (UAE, 1.5) lost to Kruttika Nadig (3).

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