Kunte defeats Cherniaev at Chess Congress

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Indian Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte outsmarted International Master Alexander Cherniaev of Russia at the Hastings International Chess Congress.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Indian Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte outsmarted International Master Alexander Cherniaev of Russia in the 8th and penultimate round of the premier tournament of Hastings International Chess Congress to move into fourth place with 4.5 points. GM Vasilios Kotronias of Cyprus joined top seeded GM Vladimir Epishin of Russia in the lead after GM Mark Hebden of England held the latter to a draw. Both Kotronias and Epishin have an identical 5.5 points from 8 games and they are followed by GM Jonathan Rowson of Scoland on 5 points while defending champion GM Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark stands fifth on 4 points. In the last round slated later today, Rowson will play Epishin, white while Kotronias will have the advantage of making the first move against Kunte. The first prize of this category-13-10-players event is 1200 Pounds Sterling. Relying on luck In the eighth round, Kunte had to rely on his luck after bungling out a favourable middle game arising out of a Leningrad Dutch defence where Cherniaev played black. Things looked rosy for the Indian as he seized the initiative on the queenside with emphatic play but ventured for a suspicious pawn sacrifice, overlooking black's counterattack through a simple retreat. "I completely missed his defencive resources otherwise the pawn sacrifice was quite unnecessary as I was anyway much betterv," said Kunte after the game. On the offensive As it happened later, Cherniaev failed to convert his extra pawn into anything useful and allowed Kunte to launch an attack against the King that proved decisive. The Indian pounced on every opportunity thereafter and created irresistible threats that netted him the full point in 54 moves. "I fought hard and after he allowed me to attack, his position was difficult," observed Kunte, who is now assured of a small gain in his present ELO rating of 2531 with one game still in hand. Kotronias, Lahno impress Kotronias accounted for Nielsen in a well-fought game that featured the Classical variation of the King's Indian defence. Playing white, Nielsen was up against a dangerous King side attack that is typical of the system and found his defences weakened through a power-packed assault by opposition pieces. Kotronias won the Queen with a simple combination and had little troubles thereafter. The game lasted 41 moves. Epishin could not convert a slight advantage against GM Mark Hebden of England, who played black. Opting for the Bayonet attack against the King's Indian, the Russian maintained a superior position for the major part of the game but Hebden attained equality after routine exchanges led to a rook and pawns endgame. The peace was signed on move 42. Kateryna Lahno, 14, of Ukraine continued to impress as she held Rowson to an easy draw in an English attack game. Rowson employed one of the popular variation but could not do much against Lahno's solid play. (PTI)