Delhi International Open Chess: Abhijeet Gupta back in joint lead

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Defending champion Abhijeet Gupta fought his way back in a five-way lead defeating Poormosavi Seyed Kian of Iran in the ninth and penultimate round of 19th Delhi International open chess tournament, here on Monday.

With his sixth victory in a row following a disastrous start, Gupta reached 7.5 points to join overnight leaders Arjun Erigaisi, D Gukesh and Harsha Bharthakoti while S P Sethuraman accounted for Pavel Ponkratov of Russia to match these four on points.

Poormosavi Seyed Kian meanwhile became the first player in the tournament to score an International Master norm. The other norm aspirant is Neelash Saha who needs a victory in the final round to make a Grandmaster norm.

At the top of the tables, Erigaisi Arjun played out an effortless draw as black against Gukesh out of a Sicilian Najdorf where the pieces changed hands right from the early middle game. The players soon reached an endgame where neither side had chances.

Bharthakoti drew with Saha who played white while Sethuraman was at his best in outwitting Ponkratov.

For Gupta it was a good day in the office. The champion of the last 2020 edition won a pawn in the Bishop and pawns endgame. The technicalities were never a problem and Gupta wrapped the issue in 45 moves.

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