Grandmaster Anton Korobov of Ukraine shot ahead of the field defeating Indian Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi in the ninth and penultimate round of AICF-AAI Chess Cup now drawing to a close here at AAI Institute.
Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran could not pose any problems to Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland and the game was drawn without much ado while the former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta was unfortunate not to score a full point against Evgeny Alekseev of Russia.
With just one round to come, Korobov emerged as the sole leader on 5.5 points and Alekseev remained on his toes a half point behind. Sasikiran and Wojtaszek share the third spot on 4.5 points apiece while Abhijeet Gupta inched himself up to four points, a half point more than Negi.
For the first time in this tournament, Korobov came up with an early opening surprise going for the King pawn advance on move one. Negi went for his pet Sicilian Najdorf but the Ukrainian had prepared some dangerous lines.
To his credit, Negi came out of the opening unscathed and was able to manage things with a timely pawn sacrifice breaking the center open. However the Indian went wrong in wild complexities with the clock ticking away and Korobov grabbed the full point after gaining three pieces for his queen.
Abhijeet Gupta was unlucky not to get a full point against Evgeny Alekseev out of a Catalan opening. With precise play Gupta exerted pressure and Alekseev found himself in a very difficult knight and pawns endgame after the first time control.
However, just after attaining the winning position Gupta miscalculated and gave enough chances to Alekseev who fought back. The game lasted over six hours and was fought till all the pieces got traded.
Wojtaszek played a topical variation in the Catalan opening by Sasikiran and equalized without much problem. The pieces got traded in a heap in this game and the players arrived at an opposite coloured Bishop endgame which was just a draw. The peace was signed in 41 moves.
The final match will start at ten AM on Sunday, and the prize giving ceremony of Rs. 1.2 million tournament will be held at 6:30 PM.
Results round 9: Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind, 4.5) drew with Radoslav Wojtaszek (Pol, 4.5); Anton Korobov (Ukr, 5.5) beat Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 3.5); Abhijeet Gupta (Ind, 4) drew with Evgeny Alekseev (Rus, 5).
Pairings final round: Alekseev v/s Sasikiran; Negi v/s Gupta; Wojtaszek v/s Korobov.