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Suri, Girinath, Nikhil salvage some pride
Lenic & Oleksienko are the other leaders
NEW DELHI: A gritty Parimarjan Negi came out of a difficult middle-game to walk away with a creditable draw against top seed Alexander Areshchenko on an otherwise forgettable day for the Indian aspirants in the seventh round of the Rs. 1.35 million Parsvnath International Open chess tournament here on Wednesday.
The 77-move draw raised the 17-year-old Negi's tally to 6.5 points, where he was joined in the lead by Slovenia's Luca Lenic and Ukraine's Mikhailo Oleksienko seeded five and 15 respectively.
Playing black, Negi produced some brilliant defensive manoeuvres after being outplayed by the Ukrainian in the middle-game of the Sicilian game. Once both players had to hurry their moves in their bid to complete 40 moves in the stipulated time, it was Negi who improved his position with adequate help from Areschenko, rated 64 points higher at 2671. Later, Negi emerged with an extra pawn but it was not enough to force a win.
Of the nine Indians who lost to overseas rivals on the top-16 boards, Abhijeet's 29-move surrender to Oleksienko was the most disappointing. Grover battled for 79 moves against third seeded Ukrainian Yuriy Kuzubov but could not escape defeat.
On this day, S. Arun Prasad, Swapnil Dhopade, Rahul Sangma, Navin Kanna, B. S. Shivananda, Diptayan Ghosh and Ankit Rajpara fell short of playing above their ratings to hold higher-rated rivals. On the brighter side, 13-year-old local International Master Vaibhav Suri proved equal to fourth seeded Austrian GM Markus Ragger in 63 moves.
The vastly experienced P.D.S. Girinath brilliantly overpowered 13th seed Tamir Nabaty of Israel in 60 moves with the help of rooks and knight against his rival's queen.
Shyam Nikhil did well to hold another GM from Israel, 14th seed Alon Greenfeld, in 32 moves.
The results (Indians unless stated): Seventh round: Alexander Areshchenko (Ukr, 6) drew with Parimarjan Negi (6.5); Luka Lenic (Slo, 6.5) bt S. Arun Prasad (5.5); Mikailo Oleksienko (Ukr, 6.5) bt Abhijeet Gupta (5.5); Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 6) bt Sahaj Grover (5.5); Avigdor Bykhovsky (Rus, 5) lost to Ni Hua (Chn, 6); Vaibhav Suri (5.5) drew with Markus Ragger (Aut, 5.5); Konstantin Chernyshov (Rus, 5.5) drew with Saptarshi Roy (5.5); Swapnil Dhopade (5) lost to Evgeny Postny (Isr, 6); Rahul Sangma (5) lost to Hannes Stefansson (Isl, 6); Navin Kanna (5) lost to Yaroslav Zherebukh (Ukr, 6); Alon Greenfeld (Isr, 5.5) drew with Shyam Nikhil (5.5); Zeng Chongsheng (Chn, 5.5) drew with Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 5.5); Henrik Danielsen (Isl, 6) bt Diptayan Ghosh (5); B.S. Shivananda (5) lost to Levon Babujian (Arm, 6); S. Kidambi (6) bt B. T. Muralikrishnan (5); Martyn Kravtsiv (Ukr, 5.5) bt Ankit Rajpara (4.5); Tamir Nabaty (Isr, 4.5) lost to P. D. S. Girinath (5.5); Vikramaditya Kamble (5.5) bt Neelotpal Das (4.5); Sagar Shah (4.5) lost to R.R. Laxman (5.5); Himanshu Sharma (5.5) bt D.P. Singh (4.5); G.A. Stany (5) drew with Debaraj Chatterjee (5); Somak Palit (5.5) bt R. Premnath (4.5); K. Ratnakaran (5.5) bt Chandrasish Majumdar (4.5); Deepak Katiyar (4.5) lost to Arjun Tiwari (5.5); Suvrajit Saha (4.5) lost to Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb, 5.5).
Eighth round pairings (Top-10): Negi-Lenic; Postny-Oleksienko; Zherebukh-Areshchenko; Hua-Danielsen; Babujian-Kuzubov; Stefansson-Kidambi; Ragger-Himanshu; Suri-Chernyshov; Saptarshi-Abhijeet; Shyam-Kravtsiv .
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