GM Safin Shukrat takes sole lead

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Mumbai, May 15 (UNI) GM Safin Shukrat of Uzbekistan notched up his sixth consecutive win by defeating Bangladesh GM Al-Rakib to take sole lead at the end of round six, in the LIC-Mumbai Mayor's sponsored international chess tournament underway at the Goregaon Sports Club here today.

Playing Black, Al-Rakib adopted the Old Benoni Defense set-up against the d4 opening of Shukrat. Both the players opted to keep their King at the centre by launching an attack. In a closed position, Shukrat had the better space advantage and a good pawn center. To gain equality Al-Rakib tried to open the lines, but a series of exchanges left him with a pawn down on move 30. Shukrat consolidated this advantage further by winning an exchange, which forced Al-Rakib to resign on move 35.

The trend of either of Grandmaster losing in each of the rounds right from the second day continued as IM M R Venkatesh of India created sensation by defeating 2nd seeded Macieja of Poland.

In a game arising from the Caro-Kann defense advance variation, the young Indian IM showed his excellent attacking prowess against the experienced Polish GM, who had played in the World Chess Championship. With a piece sacrifice on move 19, Venkatesh gained compensation by creating a passed pawn on h7. Macieja tried to maintain his extra minor piece, but in the process lost 5 extra pawns. He tried all his experience but ultimately had to surrender after long struggle in 75 moves.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Michael Kransenkow and Humpy put an end to the giant killing spree of their respective rivals, M S Thejkumar and B T Muralikrishna, who have earlier scalped GM Ziaur Rahman and GM Merab respectively.

With this win, GM Michael Kransenkow of Poland and GM Koneru Humpy, GM Reefat Sattar, GM Abhijit Kunte and M R Venkatesh are now occupying the 2nd spot behind GM Safin with a score of five and a half points.

A big group of 20 players are trailing these 5 players with a score of 5 points.

UNI GS SSS AB ND1840

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