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Abhijeet Gupta Beats Lalith Babu to Stay Ahead in Commonwealth Chess

Grandmaster and former champion Abhijeet Gupta cruised to his sixth victory on the trot defeating fellow Grandmaster Lalith Babu in the sixth round of Commonwealth Chess Championship here on Saturday.

On what turned out to be an easy day for the top seed, Gupta employed his pet Grunfeld defense as black and Lalith Babu went for a variation favored by Vladimir Kramnik some time back. As it turned out in the middle game, things did not go Babu's way as he missed out on a tactical trick and lost a pawn.

There was compensation as the game was still around the boundaries of a draw but Babu Again faltered and entered a worse endgame after which it was a long grind and Gupta made no mistakes to maintain a clean slate.

Grandmaster and defending champion Deep Sengupta kept pace with Gupta after a fine victory over Ankit Rajpara. It was a strange opening wherein Rajpara lost a pawn early as white and the queens got traded to add to his woes. Sengupta was at his best in handling the technicalities.

With Gupta on six points and Sengupta on 5.5, a pack of 16-players are sharing the third spot with five points apiece. Prominent among them are Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh and Indian GMs Sahaj Grover, Deepan Chakkravarthy and Abhijeet Kunte.

Among the norm seekers, Himanshu Sharma remained on course for his final Grandmaster norm holding Rahman to draw while Arghyadip Das held Sahaj Grover to a draw.

Unheralded Athul Krishna continued with his impressive run in the champion and held International Master Akshat Khamparia to another creditable draw. Coming from Kerala with a rating of less than 2000 points, Krishna has done remarkably well as he has drawn with Grandmasters Aravindh Chithambaram, Sriram Jha and beat International Master Chakkravarthy Reddy earlier in the event.

In the women's section Padmini Rout put it across Harsha Bharthakoti to take her tally up to five points.

News Reporter

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