Updated May 19th, 2024 at 15:09 IST

Aravindh Chithmabaram beats Salem to claim sole lead in Sharjah

Indian Grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram defeated local star A R Saleh Salem to emerge as the sole leader on 4.5 points after the end of the fifth round of Sharjah Masters chess tournament here.

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Indian Grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram defeated local star A R Saleh Salem to emerge as the sole leader on 4.5 points after the end of the fifth round of Sharjah Masters chess tournament here.

Chithambaram is now followed by four players, the Iranian duo of Amin Tabatabaei and Bardiya Daneshvar and Americans Hans Moke Niemann and Sam Shankland who all have four points apiece.

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Top seed Arjun Erigaisi is in the next pack of eight players having 3.5 points each and giving him company here is another Indian in Sankalp Gupta.

With four rounds still to be played in the USD 52000 prize money tournament, as many as 16 players have an identical three points each. The list includes Indians Abhimanyu Puranik, Leon Luke Mendonca, P Iniyan and V Pranav.

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It turned out to be a tough day at the office for many but Chithambaram was in his element as he simply crushed Salem in all departments of the game.

It was a King’s Indian defense by Salem who played black and the middle game saw Chithambaram exerting pressure on the queen side. It was on the 17th move that the Chennai-based GM unleashed a brilliant tactical sequence, giving up two minor pieces for a rook.

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As things turned out, white’s position remained better for the rest of the game and Salem was outdone eventually in the endgame wherein white’s rook proved superior. The game lasted 48 moves.

Erigaisi was in a spot of bother at some point against Volodar Murzin, the upcoming talent from Russia who has to play under FIDE flag here. After attaining an optically better position in the middle game out of a Queen pawn game, Erigaisi was on the defensive as Murzin made some steady recovery. He had to liquidate to a rook and pawns endgame where the draw was a just result.

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Sankalp continued with his impressive run, holding highly regarded Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan to a draw while Abhimanyu Puranik could not keep up with his form and lost to Amin Tabatabaei of Iran.

Important and Indian results Round 5 (Indians unless specified): Aravindh Chithambaram (4.5) beat A.R. Saleh Salem (Uae, 3.5); Hans Moke Niemann (Usa, 4) drew with Alexey Sarana (Srb, 3.5); Erigaisi Arjun (3.5) drew with Volodar Murzin (Fid, 3.5); Abhimanyu Puranik (3) lost to Amin Tabatabaei (Iri, 4); Sankalp Gupta (3.5) drew with Samuel Sevian (Usa, 3); Shreyas Royal (Eng, 3) drew with Nihal Sarin (3); Leon Luke Mendonca (3) drew with Nikolas Theodorou (Gre, 3); P Iniyan (3) drew with Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 3); V Pranav (3) beat Nodirbek Yakubboev (Uzb, 2); Abhimanyu Mishra (2.5) drew with Bharath Subramaniyam (2.5); Benjamin Gledura (Hun, 2.5) drew with Pranav Anand (2.5); Aditya Mittal (2.5) drew with Siddharth Jagadeesh (Sgp, 2.5); B Adhiban (3) beat Pouya Idani (Iri, 2); Abhijeet Gupta (2.5) drew with Mahdi Gholami Orimi (Iri, 2.5); D Harika (1.5) lost to Emre Can (Tur, 2.5); Yilmaz Mustafa (Tur, 1.5) drew with Raja Rithvik (1.5); S P Sethuraman (1) lost to Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus (Tur, 2).

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Published May 19th, 2024 at 15:09 IST