Asian Continentals: Vidit beats Ganguly to hop into the joint lead
Vidit Gujrathi, after a rather disappointing start to the tournament, has come back with a bang after six rounds. In his sixth round game, he defeated the tournament leader, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly to make dramatic changes on the leaderboard. After the sixth round, Ganguly, who was the overnight sole leader, is joined by Vidit and six others. SP Sethuraman also took this opportunity to step up and join tournament lead by defeating GM Wen Yang. In the women's group, IM Padmini Rout increased her tournament lead by a full point by defeating Singaporean WGM Gong Qianyun. With three rounds to go, she is now a hot favourite to clinch the title. Round 6 report.
Vidit catches Ganguly
After a tough start, the super GMs at the Asian Continental Chess Championship finally made their way to the top of the leaderboard. Six rounds into the event, Wei Yi, Wang Hao and Vidit Gujrathi share the tournament lead alongside Surya Ganguly, SP Sethuraman, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Nguyen Ngoc Troung Son and Amin Tabatabaei. Half-a-point behind are Le Quang Liem, Ni Hua, Xu Yi and Parham Maghsoodloo.
Ganguly’s lead from the previous round turned out to be rather short-lived. In round 6, the top board result turned the tournament on its head. Ganguly, who was half-a-point ahead of the field until this point, was defeated by GM Vidit Gujrathi. All of a sudden, there were eight takers to the top spot on the leaderboard.
GM SP Sethuraman, who had lost in the previous round to Ganguly, also took this opportunity to get back into the tournament lead. On board 5, he defeated Chinese GM Wen Yang with the white pieces. In an Italian Opening, Sethuraman generated a strong initiative in the middle game and was in a virtually winning position within the first 25 moves. And when Wen tried looking for counter chances on the queenside, he ended up getting his queen trapped on the kingside.
After a dominating win in round five, top seed, GM Wang Hao whipped out another brilliant win with black over Nodirbek Yakobboev to make it into the 8-way tie at the conclusion of the sixth round.
White had just played 31.h4? to kick the knight away. A serious drawback of the move is that it weakens white's kingside. Wang plunged in immediately with 31...Ngxe4! and after 32.Bxe4, unveiled 32...Qg4. The bishop, of course, is indefensible as both 33.Re1 and 33.Bd3 spell instant doom after 34...Qxg3+.
White limped on with 33.Qc3 Qxe4 34.Re1 Rd3 35.Qxe5 but Yakobboev had lost too many pawns at the end of the sequence.
Padmini leads the Women's group
In the Women's group, IM Padmini Rout is heading strongly towards the title. Winning all except one of her games -- which she drew against Zhu Jiner in round three -- she has now brought her score to 5½/6, a full point ahead of her nearest rival. After taking sole lead at the conclusion of the fifth round, Padmini defeated WGM Gong Qianyun in round six to increase her lead to a full point.
Nandhidhaa PV had an extra exchange in the endgame against Mobina Alinasab and even came close to winning several times. However, with the limited material remaining on the board, converting the game wasn't an easy task. In the end, after 154 moves (!), Nandhidhaa had to acquiesce and let her opponent slip away with a draw.
|1||11||GM||GANGULY Surya Shekhar||IND||2621||4,5||0,0||2615||21,0||23,5||2808||6||4,5||3,03||1,47||10||14,7|
|5||9||GM||NGUYEN Ngoc Truong Son||VIE||2641||4,5||0,0||2495||16,5||18,5||2688||6||4,5||4,10||0,40||10||4,0|
|8||4||GM||VIDIT Santosh Gujrathi||IND||2701||4,5||0,0||2430||17,5||20,0||2623||6||4,5||4,76||-0,26||10||-2,6|
|4||6||IM||PHAM Le Thao Nguyen||w||VIE||2363||4,0||0,0||2282||18,5||21,0||2394||6||4||3,76||0,24||10||2,4|
|7||7||WGM||VO Thi Kim Phung||w||VIE||2352||4,0||0,0||2205||18,0||19,5||2319||6||4||4,13||-0,13||10||-1,3|