CHENNAI: Grandmaster Maxim Lugovskoy of Russia maintained his lead at the end of the eighth round of the 11th Chennai Open chess tournament, for the Sakthi Group Dr N Mahalingam Trophy on Wednesday. He beat Stupak Kirill of Belarus to move to 7.5 points.
In the second spot with seven points is Georgian GM Levan Pantsulaia, who beat Karthik Venkataraman. Half-a-point behind and sharing the third place were top seed Alexandr Predke, Ivan Popov, Andrei Deviatkin (all Russia), Luka Paichadze (Georgia) and India’s Girish Koushik and NR Vignesh. The top board game was a Queens Gambit declined affair, where Kirill opened up his kingside for initiative.
With both players castling long, the middle game piece play led to a rook and minor piece ending. Lugovskoy played it safe, creating positional weakness into white territory. Kirill gave up when his position looked like falling apart. The second board saw Predke play out another draw, this time against Paichadze.
Round 8 (Indians unless specified): Stupak Kirill (Blr, 6) lost to Maxim Lugovskoy (Rus, 7.5), Luka Paichadze (Geo, 6.5) drew with Alexandr Predke (Rus, 6.5); Levan Pantsulaia (Geo, 7) bt Karthik Venkataraman (6); Ivan Rozum (Rus, 6) drew with Nguyen Van Huy (Vie, 6); G Akash (5.5) lost to Ivan Popov (Rus, 6.5); Neelotpal Das (5.5) lost to ALeksej Aleksandrov (Blr, 6.5); Erigaisi Arjun (5.5) lost to Girish Koushik (6.5); Tran Tuan Minh (Vie, 6) drew with Olga Babiy (Ukr, 6); M Siddarth (5.5) lost to Andrei Deviatkin (Rus, 6.5).