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2 Indians among leaders

Sharjah: Grandmaster S P Sethuraman put it across Chu Wei Chao of China to jump to joint lead, after the conclusion of the fifth round of Asian Continental chess championship here on Tuesday.

It was hard work for Sethuraman out of a Sicilian defense game where the Chinese played black. The Rauzer variation by Sethuraman lived up to its reputation, resulting in wild complexities.

Sethuraman calculated and judged well when he parted two rooks for the black queen and the resulting endgame was played well by the Indian. The game lasted 55 moves.

Overnight joint leader, B Adhiban played out a draw with in-form Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran in another battle that lasted long. Maghami got a good opening as black in the Ruy Lopez but allowed some counter play to let Adhiban take the initiative. Then Adhiban treaded on thin ice before securing the draw after 71 moves.

As many as seven players emerged as co-leaders on four points after five rounds — Chinese duo of Bu Xiangzhi and Yu Yangyi, Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan, Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan, Maghami, Sethuraman and Adhiban.

With four rounds still remaining, six more are in pursuit of the leaders with 3.5 points, while 15 others including Indian Grandmasters Krishnan Sasikiran, Parimarjan Negi, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Vidit Gujarathi, G N Gopal, V Vishnu Prasanna, Debashish Das and Abhijeet Kunte are also in contention with three points each.