Grand Master Abhijeet Gupta got the better of GM Sahaj Grover to stay in joint lead after the third round of 16th Dubai International Open. It turned out to be another good day for Gupta, who played almost flawless chess to score his third victory.
Its a six-way tie at the top with Eduardo Romain of France, Axel Bachmann of Paraguay, Anuar Ismagambetov of Kazakhstan, Eduardo Itturizaga of Venezuela, Hatim Al-Hadarani of Yemen and Gupta sharing the honours with a perfect score. Indian GMs — M R Lalith Babu, Debashish Das, M Shyam Sundar — and IM Diptayan Ghosh are among those who have 2.5 points and this list is topped by highest ranked Anton Korobov of Ukraine.
In all there are 18 players sharing the seventh spot on 2.5 points each and they are followed by a pack of 43 hopefuls, including Grover with two points apiece. Gupta played a fine game to beat Grover from the white side of a Queen’s Indian defense. Grover tempted Gupta in to an exchange sacrifice that was hard to judge and the latter took the bait to reach a tense endgame.
The right defense would have yielded a draw but Grover could not find it with his clock ticking away and ended up losing a handful of pawns. After a sedate start, Lalith Babu came back in reckoning after scoring over Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakshtan. The Nimzo Indian defense by Babu came good as he won queen in a favourable position against two rooks.
While Saduakassova tried to work her counter play, the damage was done as Queen and Knight proved to be a lethal combination.
The game lasted 52 moves. Among other Indians in the fray, Debashish put up a perfect defense to hold higher ranked Csaba Balogh of Hungary in a long drawn endgame. Das was down a knight but his two pawns kept him in contention and some fine calculations towards the end saved the day.
Ghosh also did well to hold Russian GM Aleksandr Rakhmanov to a draw.