GM Merab Gagunashvili shocked; 14 players share lead

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Mumbai, May 13 (UNI) The trend of Grandmasters losing or drawing to the lower rated players continued in the 4th round of LIC and Mumbai Mayor's International Chess Tournament in progress at the Goregaon Sports Club here today.

While in the 2nd round top-seeded GM Michael Kransenkow was held to a draw and the 3rd round saw GM Elizaar Ubilava crashing to a shock defeat, today was the turn of 3rd seeded Georgian, GM Gagunashvili Merab (ELO 2553), who could not withstand the onslaught of veteran Indian, B T Muralikrishnan.

In a Pirc Defense game, Murali, playing white, adopted a rarely played line to take his famed opponent out of the opening preparation. The strategy proved successful as Merab was unable to find the correct plan and was soon saddled with too many weaknesses on his King side. Murali's pieces got commanding outposts and, with a nice piece sacrifice on move 34, he created mating threats, which the Georgian could ward off only by returning heavy material. He resigned in a hopeless position on move 41.

On the top board, Super GM and current World's 2nd ranked woman player, Koneru Humpy, continued her excellent run by overcoming IM Vikramaditya Kamble in 48 moves from the white-side of the King's Indian fianchetto system. With Vikramditya introducing complications in the opening stage with a pawn sacrifice on move 10, Humpy drew upon all her experience to find the correct continuation and launched a blistering attack on the King-side. Vikramditya was forced to give up an exchange to prevent mate after which the rest was a technique for Humpy to romp home in 45 moves.

In the game between former Indian National champion Konguvel and Polish GM Macieja on the 2nd board, Macieja, playing black, failed to equalize in the opening, which allowed Konguvel to win an exchange. The chance for one more upset appeared brighter as Konguvel firmly established his Queen and Rook. However, he overlooked a simple Knight attack of Black to hand back the advantage to Macieja and just drifted towards defeat.

Meanwhile, the Bangladeshi grandmasters Al-Rakib, Ziaur Rahman and Reefat Sattar had no difficulty in defeating their respective opponents, IM Sudhakar Babu, Shashikant Kutwal and IM D P Singh respectively to march into the round 4 with as many points.

IM R R Laxman, fresh from his successful Dubai tourney wherein he earned his GM norm, easily defeated WGM Swati Ghate.

The lead is now shared by 14 players with a full score of 4 points after as many rounds in this Rs 11 lakh prize money tournament.

UNI GS MAZ RKM RN1859

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