Negi splits point with Kazhgaleyev

Negi and Hammer lead the pack with six points each. Having beaten top-seeded K Sasikiran in the previous round in a game of nerves, Negi was clinical with black pieces against Kazhgaleyev and drew without much ado in 41 moves.

Hammer joined Negi defeating Amin Baseem of Egypt and a pack of seven players including former World Junior Champion Abhijeet Gupta and Sasikiran are jointly second half a point behind the leaders.

M Shyam Sundar remained on course for a Grandmaster norm after settling for a draw with Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia. Sundar has been in excellent form against good opposition and should make the norm with positive results in the last two rounds.

Sasikiran showed his mettle in a one-sided affair against Guseinov. In a middle game akin to the King’s Indian defense, Sasikiran went for forceful exchanges leading to a slightly better endgame. Guseinov lost a pawn and the rest was child’s play.

Parimarjan faced the Queen pawn opening and equalised easily against Kazhgaleyev. It was a standard middle game wherein both had one weakness and after fighting it out for sometime, Kazhgakeyev decided against any undue risk and signed peace through repetition.

Important results (round VII, Indians unless specified): Murtas Kazhgaleyev (Kaz, 5.5) drew Parimarjan Negi (6); Krishnan Sasikiran (5.5) bt Gadir Guseinov (5); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (5) drew Emanuel Berg (Swe, 5); Nidjat Mamedov (Aze, 4) lt to Abhijeet Gupta (5.5); M Shyam Sundar (4.5) drew Merab Gagunashvili (Geo, 4.5); David Arutinian (Arm, 5) bt RR Laxman (4); Ashwin Jayaram (4) lt to Ter-Sahakyan Samvel (Arm, 5).

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