Kolkata (IANS) World Junior Chess Champion Grand Master Lu Shanglei of China joined overnight leaders Nigel Short of England and India’s Surya Sekhar Ganguly to jointly lead the fray with six points each after the seventh round of International Grandmasters Tournament here on Sunday.
Close on their heels were GM Sandipan Chanda of India and GM Kirill Stupak of Belarus on 5.5 points each. Sandipan, who jumped into the contention for the top honours after missing the first two rounds, outplayed GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus in a sharp tactical struggle.
Sandipan allowed his opponent to break open his kingside in return for two bishops and play in the centre. He won two pawns on the queenside which was sufficient to ensure a win.
Short was held to a draw by Stupak in a French defence. Short had a slightly superior position for most part of the game and despite all his efforts Stupak defended well to split the point.
Ganguly, playing black, against IM Wang Chen tied to infuse life into a sterile exchange variation which the latter adopted but overlooked the loss of his central d-pawn after which he had to struggle to find the correct moves to force a draw.
Lu Shanglei, playing against 18-year-old Shardul Gagare of India, won a pawn in the middle game which arose from a Caro-Kan defence. Shanglei then transposed to a minor piece ending where his extra pawn decided the fate of the game.
The penultimate round will be played on Monday with the final round coming off on Tuesday.