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Uzbek IM halts Barua
- Surya still in contention with four rounds to go

Jamshedpur: Commonwealth champion Dibyendu Barua’s winning streak was halted by International Master Tahir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan in the seventh round of the Tata International Open chess tournament on Friday.

Barua, who had scored six victories on the trot prior to this, however remained in sole lead despite the draw and took his tally to 6.5 points.

Following him half-a-point behind are Grandmasters Alexander Fominyh of Russia, Marat Dzhumaev of Uzbekistan and Sergei Ovsejevitsch of the Ukraine, each on 6 points.

With four more rounds remaining, a pack of nine players including GMs P. Harikrishna, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Niaz Murshed of Bangladesh are also in contention for top honours in this Rs 3,50,000 prize money tournament.

Barua was apparently happy after having achieved easy equality with black against Vakhidov who is looking for his final Grandmaster norm. The Uzbek IM has now excellent chances for the norm but his average rating needs to shoot up further.

Dzhumaev continued with his uncompromising play and defeated top seed Dmitry Svetushkin of Moldova in a fine attacking game.

This was Dzhumaev’s second victory against Svetushkin in under ten days, the earlier one coming in the penultimate round of the Parsvnath International tournament in New Delhi.

Harikrishna missed out an opportunity when he let GM-in-waiting R. B. Ramesh off the hook. Fominyh and Ovsejevitsch played fine positional games to beat IM Sunderrajan Kidambi and GM Ziaur Rahaman of Bangladesh, respectively.

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