Young Indian Grandmasters Sahaj Grover and Vidit Gujrathi kept themselves in the hunt after settling for draws in the fourth round of Grand Europe Golden Sands International chess tournament here at the black sea resort.
Grover did well to hold higher rated Dmitry Svetushkin of Moldova while Gujrathi conceded a half point to talented young Russian David Paravyan to reach 3.5 points out of a possible four in this nine rounds tournament involving 222 players.
Zbynek Hracek of Czech Republic, Vladislav Nevednichy of Romania and Tamir Nabaty of Israel emerged as joint leaders on four points apiece following their fourth straight victory in the tournament.
Hracek defeated M R Venkatesh, Nevednichy accounted for young Turkish Sanal Vahap while M Shyam Sundar went down to Nabaty.
With five rounds to come, Grover and Gujrathi are in a pack of ten players following the leaders. Not far behind is highest rated Indian here Abhijeet Gupta who secured his second victory in the tournament to move to three points.
Also on three points are Indian Grandmasters Sundar, Venkatesh, G N Gopal, Deep Sengupta and S Arun Prasad.
Among other Indians in the fray, the Indian ladies continued with their rocking form against mixed opposition.
R Bharati made another step forward towards her Woman Grandmaster norm by holding National Champion G Akash to a creditable draw. With 2.5 points in her bag against four International Masters so far, Bharati has certainly put in a sterling show here.
Former World junior girls` champion Soumya Swaminathan, Kiran Manisha Mohanty and Eesha Karavade have three points apiece and this has been a good start by the Woman Grandmasters in the tournament.
Grover faced the Caro Kann defense by Svetushkin and could not force an advantage in a long l;asting theoretical battle. The Indian junior champion sacrificed a pawn to look for complications but Svetushkin was quick to neutralize the initiative by quick exchanges leading to a drawn queen and pawns endgame.
It turned out to be a tough day for Venkatesh from wild complexities against Hracek. Playing the black side of a King`s Indian, Venkatesh sacrificed a rook for a minor piece to get a couple of passed pawns but missed out on his chances as the game progressed. Hracek bounced back by moving his king side pawns forward and the material difference had the final say. The game lasted 47 moves.
Important and Indian results round 4 (Indians unless stated): Zbynek Hracek (Cze, 4) beat M R Venkatesh (3); Vladislav Nevednichy (Rou, 4) beat Sanal Vahap (Tur, 3); M Shyam Sundar (3) lost to Tamir Nabaty (Isr, 4); Vidit Gujrathi (3.5) drew with David Paravyan (Rus, 3.5); Sahaj Grover (3.5) drew with Dmitry Svetushkin (Mda, 3); Diptayan Ghosh (2.5) lost to Dragan Solak (Tur, 3.5); Ashwin Jayaram (3) drew with Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 3); Sandro Mareco (Arg, 3.5) beat N Srinath (2.5); Semen Virovlansky (Rus, 3) drew with Deep Sengupta (3); Vladimir Sveshnikov (Lat, 3) drew with G N Gopal (3); Abhijeet Gupta (3) beat Tiberiu-Marian Georgescu (Rou, 2); Mircea-Emilian Parligras (Rou, 3) beat Sagar Shah (2); S Arun Prasad (3) beat Liuben Spassov (Bul, 2); Umut Atakisi (Tur, 2) lost to Debashis Das (3); Sayantan Das (2) lost to Vitaliy Bernadskiy (Ukr, 3); Aravindh Chithambaram (2.5) drew with Milan Drasko (Mne, 2.5); Swapnil Dhopade (3) beat Guntram Hainke (Ger, 2); Nisha Mohota (2) lost to Radoslav Dimitrov (Bul, 3); Soumya Swaminathan (3) beat Roberto Junio Brito Molina (Bra, 2); Shardul Gagare (3) beat Maria Velcheva (Bul, 2); Mladen Gochev (Bul, 2) lost to Anurag Mhamal (3); Nebojsa Baralic (Srb, 2) lost to Eesha Karavade (3); Srdjan Cvetkovic (Srb, 2) lost to Kiran Manisha Mohanty (3); Michael Kubik (Cze, 2) lost to G A Stany (3); R Bharathi (2.5) drew with G Akash (2.5); Ege Koksal (Tur, 1.5) lost to Murali Karthikeyan (1.5); Bhakti Kulkarni (1.5) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (2.5); Dagur Arngrimsson (Isl, 2.5) beat Sidhant Mohapatra (1.5); Gireman Ja (2) drew with Viktor Forsberg (Swe, 2); Philipp Limbourg (Ger, 2) beat Srija Seshadri (1); Valerii Iovcov (Mda, 2) beat Parnali Dharia (1); Ralf Danielmeier (Ger, 2) beat Sunyasakta Satpathy (1); N Raghavi (1) lost to Svetlomir Stoyanov (Bul, 2); G K Monnisha (2) beat Wang Shujuan (Chn, 1); Grigore Rosca (Rou, 1) lost to R Vaishali (1.5); Maria Drogovoz (Bul, 1) drew with Y Saranya (1); kerem Ozcan (Tur, 0) lost to Riya Savant (1).