The Asian Continental Chess Championship is heading for a close finish as four players are now sharing the lead with just two rounds remaining.
The seventh round on Tuesday produced some exciting matches and unexpected results. On the top board, leader Harsha Bharathakoti signed the peace treaty with second seed SL Narayanan while top-seeded Grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa won a marathon 137-move game against compatriot Karthikeyan Murali to move into joint lead with three others on five-and-a-half points.
International Master Koustav Chatterjee upset two-time national champion Aravindh Chithambaram to join Praggnanandhaa, Bharathakoti and Shamsiddin Vokhidov of Uzbekistan at the top. Member of the Olympiad gold medal-winning Uzbekistan team, Vokhidov joined the leaders’ pack after defeating former Asian champion SP Sethuraman.
Six players have five points and are in joint second spot. They are SL Narayanan, B Adhiban, Leon Luke Mendonca, Karthik Venkataraman and the Turkmenistan duo of Saparmyat Atabeyev and Maksat Atabayev.
In the women’s section, Nandhidhaa PV maintained her sole lead and unbeaten run with six point after seven rounds, after signing the peace treaty with Padmini Rout in 49 moves while Priyanka Nutakki following the heels of Nandhidhaa with a drift of half point after winning her seventh round against Nilufar Yakubbaeva of Uzbekistan.
Padmini Rout, Soumya Swaminathan and Divya Deshmukh are in joint third spot with five points. Soumya posted a win over Nisha Mohota while Divya put it across Rakshitta Ravi.
Important Results Round 7: Narayanan SL (5) drew with Harsha Bharathakoti (5.5); R. Praggnanandhaa (5.5) beat Karthikeyan Murali (4.5); Sethuraman SP (4.5) lost to Shamsiddin Vokhidov of Uzbekistan (5.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (4.5) lost to Koustav Chatterjee (5.5); B. Adhiban B (5) drew with Saparmyrat Atabayev of Turkmenistan (5); Maksat Atabayev of Turkmenistan (5) drew with Leon Luke Mendonca (5); Aditya Mitaal (4.5) drew with Abhimanyu Puranik (4.5); Raja Rithvik (4.5) drew with Pranav V (4.5); Sammed Jaykumar Shete (4.5) drew with Shyam Sundar M (4.5); Urazayev Arystanbek of Kazakhstan (4) lost to Karthik Venkataraman (5); Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan (4) drew with Pranesh M (4.5); Anuj Shrivatri (3.5) lost to Sankalp Gupta (4.5); Ortik Nigmatov of Uzbekistan (4) drew with Shyaamnikhil P (4); Ritviz Parab (3.5) lost to Vignesh NR (4.5).
Women’s Round 7: Nandhidhaa PV (6) drew with Padmini Rout (5); Nilufar Yakubbaeva of Uzbekistan (4) lost to Priyanka Nutakki (5.5); Mary Ann Gomes (4.5) drew with Vantika Agrawal (4.5); Rakshitta Ravi (4) lost to Divya Deshmukh (5); Thi Mai Hung Nguyen of Vietnam (4.5) drew with Vo Thi Kim Phung of Vietnam (4.5); Soumya Swaminathan (5) beat Nisha Mohota (4); Tania Sachdev (4) drew with Liya Kurmangaliyeva of Kazakhstan (4); Cholleti Sahajasri (4.5) beat WIM Saina Salonika (3.5); Srija Seshadri (4) drew with Amina Kairbekova of Kazakhstan (4); Sakshi Chitlange (3.5) lost to Kiran Manisha Mohanty (4.5).