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Kramnik takes lead as Giri loses yet again.

Russia's Vladimir Kramnik and UAE's Salem AR Saleh shake hands before their game begins at the Qatar Masters Open chess tournament yesterday. Kramnik

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik emerged as the sole leader after his sixth straight victory in the Qatar Master Open Chess Tournament yesterday.

In the penultimate round, the Russian, playing with black, defeated UAE's Salem AR Saleh in the endgame, while the 20-year-old Dutch player Anish Giri failed to overcome stiff challenge from China's Yu Yangi and slipped to third spot with last round due to be played today.

Yangi moved up to second spot with six and a half points.

Kramnik, who found superb touch after starting the tournament on a low with draws in the first two rounds, once again proved his dominance with an easy victory. Kramnik, who has seven points, will have white against Yangyi in the final round and only needs a draw to win the title.

It was a very disappointing round for Giri, who won six straight games in the tournament, but failed to soak the pressure of a high-profile tournament when it mattered most. The seventh round loss to Kramnik seemed to be still lingering in Giri's mind as he lost from a salvageable position.

Earlier in the seventh round, Grandmaster B Adhiban scored his fifth victory on the trot, beating Ukraine's Yuriy Kuzubov, to grab joint fifth spot. Starting with losses in the first rounds of the tournament, Adhiban emerged as the best performing Indian in the tournament after a fine attacking victory against Kuzubov with black pieces. For the record, it was a King's Indian defence wherein the Indian checkmated his higher ranked opponent.

In other important games involving Indians, P. Harikrishna was held to a draw by Daniil Dubov of Russia while Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta played out another draw with a top-50 member, holding Ding Liren of China in a wild game of the seventh round.

Meeting his third 2700+ opponent in a row and the highest rated Chinese, Gupta again stood out and looked better prepared than his opponent and got the half point after wild complexities ensued out of a Grunfeld.

Playing black again, Gupta faced one of the topical variations and Liren had to spend quite some time to come up with a plan in the opening.

Even as he missed a small chance to seize initiative early, Gupta fell slightly worse but quickly recovered to launch a fierce counter-attack. Liren, decided against taking any great risk and the draw was agreed to on move 34.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Dec 4, 2014
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