Grand Swiss chess | Sasikiran shares top spot

Nihal, Harika joint second in their categories after third straight draw

K. Sasikiran, continuing his good run, overpowered Russia’s Alexandr Predke and joined four others in the lead at 4.5 points after six rounds of the $425,000 FIDE Grand Swiss chess tournament in Riga, Latvia, on Monday.

Predke resigned in 53 moves when Sasikiran threatened to win the Russian’s bishop. The victory with black pieces put Sasikiran in the company of Alireza Firouzja, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (both France), Evgeniy Najer (Russia) and Alexie Shirov (Spain).

When the action resumes after a day’s rest, Sasikiran will play white against Vachier, rated 123 points higher.

Nihal Sarin, after a third straight draw, was among those trailing the leaders by half a point. Raunak Sadhwani upstaged D. Gukesh to join P. Harikrishna at 3.5 points. R. Praggnanandhaa and Arjun Erigaisi lost.

D. Harika’s third successive draw kept her a point behind leader Lei Tingjie (China). Three others — Zhu Jiner (China), Nino Batsiashvili (Georgia) and Elisabeth Paehtz (Germany) — shared the second spot at 4.5 points.

Vantika Agarwal and Padmini Rout lost to former women World champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) and Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria).

The results (sixth round, involving Indians): Open: Nihal Sarin (4) drew with David Navara (Cze, 4); Alexandr Predke (Rus, 3.5) lost to K. Sasikiran (4.5); Matthias Bluebaum (Ger, 3.5) drew with P. Harikrishna (3.5); Alexey Sarana (Rus, 4) bt R. Praggnanandhaa (3); D. Gukesh (2.5) lost to Raunak Sadhwani (3.5); Volodymyr Onyshchuk (Ukr, 3.5) bt Arjun Erigaisi (2.5); Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 2.5) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2.5); S. P. Sethuraman (2) lost to Anton Demchenko (Rus, 3); Aleksandra Goryachkina (Rus, 2) drew with B. Adhiban (2).

Women: D. Harika (4) drew with Nino Batsiashvili (Geo, 4.5); Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus, 4) bt Vantika Agarwal (3); R. Vaishali (3) drew with Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kaz, 3.5); Antoaneta Stefanova (Bul, 3) bt Padmini Rout (2); Divya Deshmukh (2) lost to Alina Bivol (Rus, 3).

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