Four Indians in joint second spot after penultimate round of Gibraltar chess

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Gibraltar: Teen sensation R Praggnanandhaa drew his penultimate round game against Russian Mikhail Kobalia to hold on to the joint second spot, along with four other Indians, in the 18th Gibraltar Chess Festival here.

Five players shared the lead with seven points after nine rounds in the Masters category of the event Wednesday. Wang Hao, David Paravyan, Parham Maghsoodloo, Mustafa Yilmaz and Andrey Esipenko formed the leaders’ pack with seven points.

A 16-player pack, including four Indians — B Adhiban, Praggnanandhaa, Karthikeyan Murali and Aryan Chopra —, is close behind on 6.5 points.

Among the Indians, the 14-year old Praggnanandhaa settled for a 35-move draw against Kobalia while Adhiban registered an impressive win over Sebastian Maze to take his tally to 6.5 points.

D Gukesh, who last year became the world’s second youngest GM ever, took a 47-move draw against compatriot SL Narayanan.

On the top board games, experienced Chinese GM Wang Hao was held by Russian Paravyan while the 17-year old Russian Esipenko failed to convert a clearly superior position in his game against Parham Maghsoodloo.

There were wins for leading names like Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (second seed), Veselin Topalov, David Navara, Le Quang Liem and Michael Adams among others, who scored over lesser-rated players.

Important results-Round 9: Wang Hao (7) drew David Paravyan (7); Parham Maghsoodloo (7) drew Andrey Esipenko (7); Mustafa Yilmaz (7) drew with Ivan Cheparinov (7); R Praggnanandhaa (6.5) drew Mikhail Kobalia (6.5); Daniil Yuffa (6.5) beat Alekseenko (6); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (6.5) beat Emre Can (6); Veselin Topalov (6.5) beat Pierre Liugi Basso (5.5); David Navara (6.5) beat Alan Pinchot (5.5); Michael Adams (6.5) beat Mikhail Antipov (5.5); B Adhiban (6.5) beat Sebastian Maze (5.5); SL Narayanan (6) drew with D Gukesh (6); Aryan Chopra (6.5) beat Alexander Donchenko (5.5); Karthikeyan Murali (6.5) beat Zhansaya Abdumalik (5.5); K Sasikiran (6) beat Gabriel Flom (5); Raunak Sadhwani (6) beat Xander Wemmers (5); Leon Mendonca (6) beat Vasilos Kotronias (5); Vasily Ivanchuk (5) beat P V Nandhidhaa (4.5); S Ravi Teja (5.5) beat Padmini Rout (4.5).

PTI

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