Double GM Norm holder Shyaamnikhil P (ICF, Chennai) along with GM Lugovskoy Maxim of Russia moved into the top of the leader board with 5/5 score in the 11th Chennai Open International Grandmaster Chess tournament.
Sharing the third spot half a point behind at 4.5 points were Grandmasters Paichadze Luka, Aleksandrov Aleksej (both Belarus), Erigaisi Arjun, Karthik Venkataraman (both India) among others.
The first and third boards ended in peace with Nguyen Van Huy – Paichadze Luka and Karthik Venkataraman – Harikrishnan A Ra games concluding without a result.This left overnight joint leaders Shyaamnikhil and Lugovskoy to snatch the lead winning their respective games. Shyaam scored over GM Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam in 36 moves. The Bluemenfeld Counter Gambit game saw Shyaam leaping forward to a big pawn push in the centre. In the ensuing skirmish of exchanges, the Indian placed both his rooks behind passed pawns, converting his win without ado.
In another upset, International Master Muthaiah A L (SRM College, Vadapalani, Chennai) outplayed experienced Grandmaster Megaranto Susanto of Indonesia. Muthaiah’s kingside attack was a treat to watch, as he came up with an electrifying rook sacrifice, coupled with a mate threat. Susanto threw all his pieces on the Indian who kept his cool like “Dhoni in finish” forcing the Indonesian to resign after 31 moves.
At halfway mark, a number of promising Indian players are well within the striking mark for IM and GM Norms.
Round 5 Results (Indians unless specified): Nguyen Van Huy (Vie) 4.5 drew with Paichadze Luca (Geo) 4.5, Tran Tuan Minh (Vie) 4 lost to Shyaamnikhil P (5), Karthik Venkataraman (4.5) drew with Harikrishnan A Ra (4.5), Lugovskoy Maxim (Rus) 5 bt Akash G (4), Popov Ivan (Rus) 4 drew with Girish A Koushik (4.5), Aleksandrov Aleksej (Blr) 4.5 bt Saravanan V (3.5), Harshavardhan G B (4) drew with Stupak Kirill (Blr) 4, Muthiah A L (4.5) bt Megaranto Susanto (Ina) 3.5