| Kunte needs a draw in the last round to finish joint first
Edinburgh: Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte shot into sole lead with a brilliant technical victory over GM Peter Wells of England in the tenth and penultimate round of the Smith and Williamson British Chess Championship on Friday.
With just one round remaining in this £10,000 first prize tournament, Kunte (8) has a half-point lead over compatriot GM P. Harikrishna, who held top seed GM Vassilios Kotronias to a draw.
A repeat Indian victory looks imminent here with Kunte just needing a draw to finish joint first. IM R.B. Ramesh was the surprise winner of the previous championship when he won ahead of the likes of Kunte and Harikrishna.
Kunte, a former national champion, will meet Swiss GM Joseph Gallagher in the final round game with black pieces.
Bengal’s Neelotpal Das (6) drew England’s Stuart Conquest and Dibyendu Barua (5.5) beat Swati Ghate (4.5). Nisha Mohota beat Stephen Gordon of England to move to five points.
Among other Indian players, S. Kidambi (5.5) drew with Thomas Rendle of England, Gurpreet Pal Singh (5.5) drew with Simon Ansell and Aarthie Ramaswamy shared the point with Steve Mannion.
As many as seven players remain behind Kunte and Harikrishna with seven points apiece. They are nursing hopes of a shared first place in the unlikely event of Kunte going down in his last match and Harikrishna drawing.
The hopefuls are local GMs Paul Motwani and Jonathan Rowson, Bangladesh’s GM Ziaur Rahman, Georgian WGM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan, Gallagher, Kotronias and India’s Tejas Bakre.
The women’s title, however, appears to have slipped away from India after WGM S. Vijayalakshmi lost to Motwani. Vijayalakshmi remained on six points after going down and Ketevan moved ahead amongst women.