India’s young guns R Praggnanandhaa and D Gukesh posted impressive wins in the fourth round of the Masters category in the 18th Gibraltar Chess festival as Georgia’s Ivan Cheperinov jumped into sole lead with an all-win record.
Praggnanandhaa, who suffered a shock loss to compatriot PV Nandhidhaa in the opening round, bounced back in style and on Friday won his fourth-round match against Russian Voldar Murzin, a teen prodigy like him, to take his tally to three points.
Gukesh put it across Dutch player Peter Lombaers in 36 moves to join Praggnanandhaa on three points.
Another Indian to shine was young GM Vaibhav Suri (ELO rating 2593), who held world No 7 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, ELO rating 2770) to a creditable draw.
The top-seed Shakriar Mammedyarov (Azerbaijan) dropped half a point in his game against Leondro Krysa of Argentina.
The top-rated Indians in the event, B Adhiban and K Sasikiran had mixed luck. The former was forced to share the point with compatriot M R Lalith Babu while Sasikiran defeated Azerbaijan’s Woman Grand Master Gunay Mammadzada in 41 moves.
There were also wins for Indians players SL Narayanan, S Ravi Teja and Shardul Gugare over Soumya Swaminathan.
Narayanan is among a bunch of 12 players in joint second with 3.5 points. Cheperinov continued his superb start as he pushed his pawn to attack on the kingside and was rewarded when broke through on the ‘h’ file in his fourth round match against Maksim Chigaev of Russia in 30 moves.
He said it was the best start he could have hoped for and “the thing was that he was playing well with both colours.”
Promising Indian junior Divya Deshmukh went down to defending champion in the women’s event-Tan Zhongyi.
Round 4: Shakriar Memmedyarov (3) drew Leondro Kyrsa (3.5); Maxim Vachier-Lagrave (3) drew Vaibhav Suri (3); B Adhiban (3) drew with M R Lalith Babu (3); K Sasikiran (3) beat Gunay Mammadzada (2).
Veselin Topalov (3.5) beat Jaime Santosa Latasa (2.5); R Prgannandhaa (3) beat Volder Murzin (2); D Gukesh (3) beat Peter Lombaers (2); S L Narayanan (3.5) beat Ori Kobo (2.5); Karthikeyan Murali (3) drew Rishi Sardana (3).