International Master K Rathnakaran was the sole leader after round six in the fourth Mayor's Cup International Chess Tournament in Mumbai on Tuesday, but Grand Masters Aleksandrov Aleksej of Belarus, the top seed, and Martin Kravtsiv of Ukraine were breathing down the Indian's neck.
Rathnakaran, with rating points of 2386, has been the surprise packet in this tournament in which a number of GMs are in the fray. He jumped into the sole lead after vanquishing compatriot Nikhil Shyam, also an IM but slightly above him in ratings at 2418.
The victory over Shyam put Rathnakaran at six points, half a point ahead of Aleksej and Kravtsiv who outsmarted GM Marat Dzhumaev of Uzbekistan and GM Enamul Hossain of Bangladesh in their round six contests respectively.
Playing with white pieces against Shyam, Rathnakaran opted for Maroczy Bind to which his rival replied with Sicilian Defence.
Rathnakaran never allowed Shyam to move his queen pawn by placing his rook in front of it. In the middle game he doubled his rooks on the same file and, with the help of his knight, also captured it to force his opponent to resign in 28 moves.
The game between Uzbek's Dzhumaev (ELO 2492) and Russian top seed Aleksaj began in the Scotch Gambit. After an exchange of queens, Dzhumaaev committed some errors to yield the advantage to the title favourite.
Aleksej won a rook for his knight on the 29th move, thereafter forcing his rival to concede defeat on the next move.
On the third board Ukrainian Kravtsiv, playing with white pieces, level-pegged against Bangladesh's Enamul (ELO 2481) after a slight upper hand in the beginning till the 47th move.
Instead of moving his knight on the next move, Enamul moved his king away from the passed pawn and plunged into trouble before resigning after 50 moves.
The top 10 results (with rating points in brackets): IM K Rathnakaran (2386) 6 beat IM Nikhil Shyam (2418) 5; GM Marat Dzhumaev (2492) 4.5 lost to GM Aleksandrov Aleksej (2618) 5.5; GM Martyn Kravtsiv (2583) 5.5 beat GM Enamul Hossain (2481) 4.5; IM S Satyapragyan (2415) 5 drew GM Heberla Bartlomiej (2539) 5.
Ankit R Rajpara (2281) 5 drew GM Abhijit Kunte (2528) 5; GM S P Sethuraman (2529) 5 beat GM Neelotpal Das (2458) 4.5; IM Akshayraj Kore (2384) 4 lost to GM Andrei Deviatkin 2580 5; IM Vishnu Prasanna (2382) 4.5 drew GM Deep Sengupta (2572) 4.5; IM K Priyadharshan (2376) 5 beat GM Nikolai Chadaev (2564) 4; GM Ziaur Rahman (2528) 4.5 drew Swayams Mishra (2354) 4.5.