New Delhi, Oct 31 (IANS) Harsha Bharathakoti, seeded 12th, continued his fine form and put it across International Master Koustav Chatterjee to snatch the sole lead with four-and-a-half points at the end of the fifth-round matches of the Asian Continental Chess Championship at the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel here.
Playing with white pieces, Harsha exerted pressure on his rival to secure advantage in the middle game to garner full point after 49 moves. A pack of seven Grandmasters, including top seed R. Praggnanandhaa, is now trailing the leader by half a point. Praggnanandhaa split the point with Leon Luke Mendonca, while the other overnight leaders, Maksat Atabayev Maksat of Turkmenistan and Karthikeyan Murali, signed the peace treaty.
Sethuraman SP, B. Adhiban and Vokhidov Shamsiddin of Uzbekistan are giving company to Praggnanandhaa, Karthikeyan Murali, Leon Luke Mendonca and Atabayev on the points table with emphatic victories in the fifth round against Raja Rithvik, Sammed Jaykumar Shete and Sanket Chakravarty, respectively.
In the crucial sixth-round match on Monday, Praggnanandhaa will take on leader Harsha with black pieces, while Mendonca is paired against Sethuraman, Adhiban takes on Karthikeyan Murali and Shamsiddin is paired against Atabayev.
Meanwhile in the women’s section, Woman Grandmasters Nandhidhaa PV and Priyanka Nutakki scored victories over Thi Kim Phung Vo of Vietnam and Soumya Swaminathan, respectively to become joint leaders with four-and-a-half points.
Playing the white side of the French Defence game, Nandhidhaa dominated her Vietnamese rival throughout to secure a full point after 87 moves, while Priyanka made an exchange sacrifice to use her double-bishop combo to annihilate her International Master rival in just 30 moves.
Important Results Round-5: R. Praggnanandhaa (4) drew with Leon Luke Mendonca (4); Maksat Atabayev of Turkmenistan (4) drew with Karthikeyan Murali (4); Harsha Bharathakoti (4.5) beat Koustav Chatterjee (3.5); Narayanan SL (3.5) drew with Shyam Sundar M (3.5); Sethuraman SP (4) beat Raja Rithvik R (3); Aravindh Chithambaram (3.5) drew with Saparmyrat Atabayev of Turkmenistan (3.5); Adhiban B (4) beat Sameed Jaykumar Shete (3); Sanket Chakravarty (3) lost to Shamsiddin Vokhidov of Uzbekistan (4); Viani Antonio Dcunha (3.5) drew with Abhimanyu Puranik (3); Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan (3.5) beat Bilguun Sumiya of Mongolia (2.5); Mitrabha Guha (2.5) lost to Pranav V (3.5); Aditya Samant (3) drew with Sankalp Gupta (3); Urazayev Arystanbek of Kazakhstan (3.5) beat Pranav Anand (2.5); Yusup Atabayev of Turkmenistan (2.5) lost to Ayush Sharma (3.5); Ajay Karthikeyan (3) drew with Shyaamnikhil P (3).
Women’s Round-5: Nandhidhaa PV (4.5) beat Vo Thi Kim Phung of Vietnam (3.5); Soumya Swaminathan (3.5) lost to Priyanka Nutakki (4.5); Nilufar Yakubbaeva of Uzbekistan (4) beat Saina Salonika (3); Mary Ann Gomes (3.5) beat WIM Rakshitta Ravi (3); Tania Sachdev (3) drew with Thi Mai Hung Nguyen of Vietnam (3); Liya Kurmangaliyeva of Kazakhstan (2.5) lost to Padmini Rout (3.5); Xeniya Balabayeva of Kazakhstan (3) drew with Vantika Agrawal (3); Sakshi Chitlange (2.5) lost to Divya Deshmukh (3.5); Cholleti Sahajasri (3.5) beat Parnali S Dharia (2.5); Varshini V (3) drew with Amina Kairbekova of Kazakhstan (3).