Gopal jumps to joint second spot

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Gibraltar Feb 1 (PTI) Grandmaster G N Gopal jumped to thesecond spot after defeating Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia in theseventh round of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess tournamenthere.

With his fifth victory from seven rounds apart from alone draw and a defeat against compatriot Deep Sengupta, theIndian elevated himself to 5.5 points and now stands just halfpoint behind tournament leader Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.

Sengupta too continued with his excellent form and heldanother higher ranked player � Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu ofRomania to a creditable draw.

Ivanchuk meanwhile retained the sole lead in 1,26,000Pounds prize money tournament after settling for a draw withVictor Mikhalevsky of Israel.

The Ukrainian is now trailed by six players a half pointbehind. They are Mikhalevsky, Gopal, Nigel Short of England,Daniel Fridman of Germany, Michael Roiz of Israel and MeliaSalome of Georgia who is the lone woman player near to thetop.

Deep Sengupta, Krishnan Sasikiran and P Harikrishna arealso vying for the top honours with three rounds still to comeon five points each but they might just need to win more gamesthan those in the top bracket.

El Debs Felipe De Cresce did not prove a match forSasikiran whileHarikrishna accounted for Anna Zatonskih ofUnited States.

The other Indian GM in the fray, Sandipan Chanda howevercould not break the ice and had to settle for a draw withIrina Krush of United States.

Sandipan inched to 4.5 points and was joined by formerworld junior girls� champion D Harika and young InternationalMaster Vaibhav Suri in this point group. The all Indian duelbetween Eesha Karavade and Arghyadip Das ended in draw leavingthem both on four points.

Gopal was the pick of the Indians in his fine attackingvictory over Dzagnidze. The Indian faced the Sicilian defenseas white and went for lesser-known middle game position thatgave him a pleasant position.

Dzagnidze lost control pretty early in the middle gameas she found her king stranded in the centre and a couple oftimely exchanges by Gopal led to a won position. The gamelasted a mere 26 moves.

Sasikiran was aided by a blunder by El Debs from a King�sIndian defense game where the former played black. El Debs wasforced in to an inferior position in the middle game andblundered a piece to resign in just 19 moves.

Harikrishna''s win against Zatonskih was quite theopposite and the American lady felt that she should drawn theendgame. Harikrishna won on 81 moves. More PTI Corr AT

Important and Indian results (Indians unless stated); Victor Mikhalevski (Isr, 5.5) drew with Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr,6); Nigel Short (Eng, 5.5) drew with Daniel Fridman (Ger,5.5); Michael Adams (Eng, 5) drew with Kulaots Kaido (Est, 5);Alexander Fier (Bra, 5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 5);Deep Sengupta (5) drew with Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (Rou, 5);Michael Roiz (Isr, 5.5) beat Nadezhda Kosintseva (Rus, 5).

GN Gopal (5.5) beat Nana Dzagnidze (Geo, 4.5); SalomeMelia (Geo, 5.5) beat Giorgi Kacheishvili (Geo, 4.5); El DebsFelipe De Cresce (Bra, 4) lost to Krishnan Sasikiran (5); AnnaZatonskih (Usa, 4) lost to P Harikrishna (5); Irina Krush(Usa, 4.5) drew with Sandipan Chanda (4.5); Espen Forsaa (Nor,4.5) drew with D Harika (4.5); Eesha Karavade (4) drew withArghyadip Das (4); Eric Vaarala (3.5) lost to Vaibhav Suri4.5).

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