Riding on fine victories in the penultimate round, Indian Grandmasters Sandipan Chanda and G N Gopal set themselves up an exciting finish in the Cappelle-La-Grande International chess tournament here.
Gopal, who started the tournament with a shocking loss against a lower-ranked player, scored his fifth victory defeating Meelis Kanep of Estonia to jump to six points out of a possible eight.
Sandipan Chanda matched Gopal on points as he made mincemeat of Franch Grandmaster Jean-Noel Riff. The fact that both Gopal and Chanda won with black pieces is an added bonus for the Indian as now in the final round game they will get white, considered the favourable colour in the game.
There was another twist in the tale of the tournament at the top of the tables as Vasilios Kotronias of Greece went down fighting against Alexander Onischuk of Ukraine. This threw the tournament wide open again as top seed Li Chao of China also won his game while Mikhail Ulybin of Russia caused an upset by beating Renier Igarza Vazquez of Spain.
Chao, Onischuk and Ulybin share the lead on 6.5 points with just one round to come in the 30000 prize money tournament and its anyone’s trophy in the final round. Gopal and Chanda are joint fourth on six points each sharing this spot with 10 others.
Vidit Gujrathi played out a fighting draw with Gao Rui of China. It was a wild middle game after Gujrathi sacrificed his rook for a knight and had a promising position. However, Rui got his act together around the centre and Gujrathi had to take the draw through perpetual checks. The Indian moved to 5.5 points and needs to win the final round to figure among prizes.