New Delhi, Dec 8 (UNI) I M K Rathnakaran ended the dream run of I M Himanshu Sharma by beating him comprehensively in the 8th round of the Parsvnath Commonwealth Chess Championship played here.
After this win, Rathnakaran took the sole lead with a score of 7 points.
Rathnakaran, playing white, carried the momentum of beating GM Negi in the previous round as he went into the offensive from the start in the Sicilian Rossolimo variation.
Such was the force of his attack that Himanshu had to give up his queen on the 29th move to avert mate. Rathnakaran completed the formality on move 36.
With only two rounds remaining in this event, tough fight was witnessed on all the boards. Top-seeded Ganguly remained in the hunt for the championship by stopping IM Arun Prasad in the Caro-Kann opening.
Arun, playing black, was not able to equalize in the Caro-Kann opening. Ganguly created good outpost for his pieces and won a pawn on the 27th move and thereafter wrapped up the game on the 31st move.
The game between IM Kidambi and 2nd seeded English GM Gawain Jones also witnessed tough fighting but Kidambi managed to hold Jones for a draw in 45 moves.
WGM Nisha Mohota proved that she is on equal footing with male players as she defeated Bangaldesh GM Reefat Bin Sattar. The game went on equal footing but Nisha gained slight advantage by winning a pawn. In an acute time scramble, Reefat overlooked mate threat and resigned when faced with loss of heavy material.
With this win Nisha has now occupied 2nd spot jointly with Ganguly, Himanshu Sharma, Ramesh, Vikramaditya Kamble and Sriram Jha to head for an exciting finish.
It was bad day for two of the most experienced Indian Grandmasters, Praveen Thipsay and Dibyendu Barua, who suffered defeats against Vikramaditya Kamble and P Karthikeyan respectively.
However, it turned out to be a good day for MS Thejkumar, who earned his 1st IM norm.