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Negi regains lead

Dubai: Parimarjan Negi crashed through the defence of Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway to regain the lead after the end of the eighth and penultimate round of Dubai International open chess tournament here.

Former World junior champion Abhijeet Gupta made sure that an Indian will win the title by outplaying highly regarded Grandmaster Sergey Volkov of Russia. While Parimarjan is on seven points out of a possible eight, Gupta inched closer and now occupies the second spot on 6.5 points.

As many as 11 players including top seed K. Sasikiran are in contention for the honours but the summit clash will be between two younger Indians in the $45000 prize money tournament.

Hammer made a positional error in the queen-less middle game that allowed Negi to liquidate the position on the king side and soon he had an extra pawn to back him. Hammer took his chances on the other flank by advancing his pawns in tandem but an alert Negi came up with an inspiring exchange sacrifice that sealed the fate of the Norwegian.

Sasikiran was held to a draw by Kazhgaleyev.

The norm seekers were in for a surprise at the fag end of the event as both Shyam Sundar and M.R. Lalith Babu went down to higher ranked opponents.

Important Indian results: Round 8 (Indians unless specified): Parimarjan Negi (7) bt Jon Ludvig Hammer (Nor, 6); K. Sasikiran (6) drew with Murtas Kazhgaleyev (Kaz, 6); Aleksej Aleksandrov (Blr, 6) drew with Alexei Fedorov (Blr, 6); Abhijeet Gupta (6.5) bt Sergey Volkov (Rus 5.5); Artashes Minasian (Arm, 5.5) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (5.5); Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 5.5) drew with B. Adhiban (5.5); Amin Bassem (Egy, 6) bt M.R. Lalith Babu (5); Levan Pantsulaia (Geo, 6) bt Ramnath Bhuvanesh (5); Merab Gagunashvili (Geo, 5.5) bt Swapnil Dhopade (4.5); Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (4.5) lost to Stelios Halkias (Gre, 5.5); Mikhail Simantsev (Ukr, 5.5) bt M. Shyam Sundar (4.5); S. Nitin (4.5) lost to Al-Sayed Mohammed (Qat, 5.5); N. Srinath (4.5) lost to Niclas Huschenbeth (Ger, 5); Ashot Anastasian (Arm, 5) bt G.V. Sai Krishna (4); R.R. Laxman (4) lost to Yusup Atabayev (Tkm, 5); Myroslava Hrabinska (Ukr, 4) lost to Ashwin Jayaram (5); Sopiko Khukhashvili (Geo, 5) bt Sayantan Das (4); Tania Sachdev (5) bt Svetlana Cherednichenko (Ukr, 4); Prathamesh Mokal (4.5) drew with Abdo Somoff (Lib, 4.5); Shiven Khosla (5) bt N. Surendran (4); Yann-Michael Guidez (Fra, 3.5) lost to Anwesh Upadhyaya (4.5); Aditya Udeshi (4.5) bt Omar Noaman (UAE, 3.5); Vishnu Prasanna (4) drew with El Arousy Abdul Hameed (Egy, 4); Fenil Shah (4.5) bt Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri, 3.5); S. Satyaragyan (4) bt Marvin Marcos (Phi, 3). — Agencies

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