Grandmaster Lugovskoy Maxim (Russia) maintained his lead with 7.5 points after the eighth round in the 11th Chennai Open International Grandmaster Chess tournament.
Sharing the second spot with 7.0 points was Pantsulaia Levan of Georgia. Further half a point behind at third place with 6.5 points were top seed Predke Alexandr, Popov Ivan, Deviatkin Andrei (all Russia), Paichadze Luka (Georgia), Girish A Koushik and Vignesh N R (both India).
The top board game turned out to be a Queens Gambit Declined affair, where Stupak Kirill opened up his kingside for initiative. With both players castling long, the middle game piece play led them to a rook and minor piece ending. Overnight leader Lugovskoy played it safe, creating positional weakness into white territory. Kirill gave up when his position appeared falling apart, as he ran into his final seconds of play.
The second board, saw top seed Grandmaster Predke Alexandr (Russia) shedding one more draw, this time against Grandmaster Paichadze Luka of Georgia. The Ruy Lopez exchange variation game saw early aggression from black. But, as soon as the queens were traded off, the players repeated their moves in a rook and knight ending signing peace after 31 moves.
Sivaganga boy M Pranesh scored a fine win over International Master S Nitin of Southern Railways. With six points in his kitty, Pranesh is on the right track to achieve his International Master Norm.
Round 8 Results (Indians unless specified): Stupak Kirill (Blr) 6 lost to Lugovskoy Maxim (Rus) 7.5, Paichadze Luka (Geo) 6.5 drew with Predke Alexandr (Rus) 6.5, Pantsulaia Levan (Geo) 7 bt Karthik Venkataraman (6), Rozum Ivan (Rus) 6 drew with Nguyen Van Huy (Vie) 6, Akash G (5.5) lost to Popov Ivan (Rus) 6.5, Neelotpal Das (5.5) lost to Aleksandrov ALeksej (Blr) 6.5, Erigaisi Arjun (5.5) lost to Girish A Koushik (6.5), Tran Tuan Minh (Vie) 6 drew with Babiy Olga (Ukr) 6, Siddarth M (5.5) lost to Deviatkin Andrei (Rus) 6.5