New Delhi:The impressive performance of International Master Himanshu Sharma continued as he beat Grandmaster Abdulla Al-Rakib of Bangladesh in the seventh round of the Parsvnath Commonwealth Chess Championship at the Siri Fort Sports Auditorium.
The win enabled Himanshu to maintain his half-point lead with a total score of 6.5.
Al-Rakib, playing black, opted for a rarely played Bird's variation of the Ruy Lopez opening.
However, Himanshu did not panic and both players regularly exchanged pieces in the middle-game to reach a knight ending.
The proceedings swung in the Indian's favour as he had a better-placed knight, which allowed him to win a pawn on move 38 and seal the victory on move 41.
Top-seeded Surya Sekhar Ganguly opted to play safe against IM Kidambi and a draw was agreed to in only 16-moves.
The game between GM Parimarjan and IM K Rathnakaran was an interesting encounter with the former showing his complete command over the French Defense game from the white side.
With a knight sacrifice, Negi exposed Rathnakaran's king to create a winning attack.
Rathnakaran gave back the material to stay in the game after which, Negi emerged better on the material count by move 34.
However, the young GM made some dubious moves to loosen his grip on the game and Rathnakaran utilised his two connected passers to force a surrender from Negi.
With this win, Rathnakaran now occupies second spot on his own with 6 points while a pack of 16 players are on third spot with a score of 5.5
Second seed GM Gawain Jones recorded a win over Saptarshi Roy while untitled Shashikant Kutwal and Thej Kumar registered upsets over GM Deepan Chakravarthy and IM Venkatesh respectively.
The games between Arun Prasad and D Harika, Nisha Mohota and Ramesh, Praveen Thipsay and Lanka Ravi, and Sriram Jha and Vikramadity Kamble ended in draws.