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Four share the lead

Calcutta: Competition in the 6th Kolkata Open Grandmasters Chess tournament is becoming more and more intense with Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh and Oliver Barbosa of the Philippines joining overnight leaders Abhijit Kunte and Vidith Santosh Gujrathi at the top of the table with 5.5 points apiece.

Three more rounds are still remaining in the tournament, organised by Alekhine Chess Club, here, at Gorky Sadan.

On Monday, in a thrilling top-board match, Kunte opted for this third consecutive draw in the tournament against Vidith in a Catalan opening. After exchanging the queens on the 20th move, Kunte tried to promote his pawn to eighth rank by sacrificing the Knight. But Vidith nullified the advantage to share the point.

In a double Bishop ending, with equal pawns, J. Deepan Chakravarthy forced third seed Konstantin Landa of Russia to split the point. Ukraine’s Sergey Fedorchuk overlooked a powerful combination of Ziaur Rahman’s Queen and Bishop to get virtually checkmated in 31 moves. Ziaur, who defeated top seed Nigel Short in an earlier round, has climbed back to the top.

In a long-drawn battle between Barbosa and Pantsulaia Levan of Georgia, the former prevailed with two extra pawns in the queen and pawns ending.

IM Diptayan Ghosh followed the Slav defence against former Commonwealth champion M.R. Lalith Babu. Top seed Short of England bounced back from his sequence of draws, cutting short GM Debashis Das.