Karthikeyan among leaders

Grandmaster and National Champion Murali Karthikeyan maintained a clean slate defeating compatriot K S Raghunandan in the fourth round of 15th Parsvnath Delhi International open chess tournament now underway here.

In what was a fine display of his growing positional acumen and a penchant for aesthetics, Karthikeyan was simply a cut above Raghunandan who was simply outplayed. It was a Sicilian Kann by Raghunandan and Karthikeyan sacrificed an exchange enroute to registering his fourth victory on the trot.

Top seed Farrukh Amonatov of Turkmenistan, Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy of Vietnam and Karthikeyan emerged as the three co-leaders with a perfect score after the fourth round. While Amonatov had to work very hard to crack a full point against International Master K Rathnakaram, Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy put it across PC Akash Iyer.

Minor upsets continued in the Rs. 18 Lakh prize money tournament in to the fourth round as well. International Master Rahul Sangma continued his good work and held local Grandmaster Sahaj Grover to an easy draw while youngster P Iniyan ensured he did not make any slips against veteran Grandmaster Valeriy Neverov of Ukraine. R A Harikrishnan was the other big gainer of the day as he held Grandmaster Vadim Malakhatko of Belgium to a draw.

With six rounds still to come, a handful of fancied players are amongst those having 3.5 points and are breathing down the neck of the three leaders. Highest ranked Indian in the fray, M R Lalith Babu, former National junior champion S L Narayanan, Andrei Deviatkin of Russia, Vitaly Sivuk of Ukraine, Atilla Czebe of Hungary are all having 3.5 points apiece. Among other Indians in the fray, Niranjan Navalgund remained on course for an International norm after settling for a draw with higher ranked International Master N R Visakh. Having beaten Grandmaster Karen Movszezian of Armenia and International Master Saptarshi Roy in the last two rounds, Navalgund, a budding novelist, has got off to a flier in the event despite having no FIDE title.

Important results round 4: Farruk Amonatov (TKM, 4) beat K Rathnakaran (3); Murali Karthikeyan (4) beat K S Raghunandan (3); Sayantan Das (3.5) drew with Vitaly Sivuk (UKR, 3.5); Valeriy Neverov (UKR, 3.5) drew with P Iniyan (3.5); Rahul Sangma (3.5) drew with Sahaj Grover (3.5); N R Visakh (3.5) drew with Niranjan Navalgund (3.5); PC Akash Iyer (3) lost to Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy (VIE, 4); V A V Rajesh (2.5) lost to M R Lalith Babu (3.5); Sidhant Mohapatra (2.5) lost to Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan (3.5); R A Harikrishnan (3) drew with Vadim Malakhatko (BEL, 3); S Prasannaa (2.5) lost to Andrei Deviatkin (RUS, 3.5); Pawan Dodeja (2.5)lost to Atilla Czebe (HUN, 3.5); P Shyaamnikhil (3.5) beat Erigaisi Arjun (2.5); S Vikramjit Singh (3) drew with Niaz Murshed (Ban, 3)

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