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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Ganguly in sole lead in Kavala International chess

Surya Shekhar Ganguly

KAVALA (Greece): Grandmaster and former national champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly came up with a sterling performance to beat compatriot SP Sethuraman and shot to sole lead with a perfect score after the end of the fourth round of Kavala International chess tournament in progress.Ganguly, famous as one of the seconds of world champion Viswanathan Anand, excelled on the lone double round day and defeated Grandmaster Branko Damljanovic of Serbia in the third round to follow it up with a fine technical triumph over Sethuraman.Taking the two victories into account, Ganguly now enjoys a nine-game winning streak, having won the last five games to tie for first in the preceding Paleochora chess tournament.Ganguly was not the only Indian who excelled on the third day. Joining the party was national champion and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta who is clearly headed for the next level. Abhijeet defeated Serbian Saric in the third round and outwitted Alojzije Jankovic of Croatia in the fourth.With five rounds still to come in the event, Ganguly is followed by top seed Tigran Petrosian of Armenia, Tornike Sanikidze of Georgia and Abhijeet Gupta who all have 3.5 points apiece. In the next round, Ganguly meets Petrosian while Gupta will take on Sanikidze.The other Indians in the fray had mixed results in the third and fourth round. The final GM norm hopes of Akshayraj Kore almost vanished after he played out two draws against much lower-ranked opponents. Kore now faces a daunting task of making a comeback in the tournament as he has just two points from four games.GA Stany drew with Damljanovic in the fourth round, which was a good result, while Neelotpal Das ended up on the winning side against local hopeful Georgios Ketzetzis. Ashwin Jayaram moved to three points alongside Sethuraman after accounting for Dorfanis Ilarion of Greece.Ganguly was in his elements against Damljanovic in the third round and the Serbian fell prey to some wily manoeuvres in the middle game. Ganguly knocked down one pawn and never allowed a comeback.In the fourth round, Ganguly went for the Catalan variation as white and Sethuraman was saddled with a passive position in the endgame. As the game progressed, Ganguly exerted pressure and increased his advantage to romp home.Gupta defeated Alojzije Jankovic from a Grunfeld defense game. Playing black, the Indian equalized early and that put the pressure which proved decisive in the end.Important and Indian results round 4 (Indians unless specified):Surya Shekhar Ganguly (4) beat SP Sethuraman (3); Tornike Sanikidze (Geo, 3.5) beat Antonios Pavlidis (Gre, 3); Marjanovic Slavoljub (Srb, 2.5) lost to Tigran Petrosian (Arm, 3.5); Alojzije Jankovic (Cro, 2.5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (3.5); G A Stany (2.5) drew with Branko Damljanovic (Srb, 2.5); Ashwin Jayaram (3) beat Dorfanis Ilarion (Gre, 2); Niranjan Navalgund (2.5) drew with Nikolaos Galopoulos (Gre, 2.5); Akshayraj Kore (2) drew with Dimitros Ladopoulos (Gre, 2); Georgios Ketzetzis (Gre, 1.5) lost to Neelotpal Das (2.5); S Nitin (2) drew with Sandra Djukic (Srb, 2); Kruttika Nadig (1) lost to Evanthia Makka (Gre, 2).PTI

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