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Sharjah Masters: Chithambaram beats Salem Saleh to take sole lead after 5th round

Chithamabaram claimed the sole lead, earning 4.5 points out of a possible five. The win also took him close to the elite 2700 club.

Sharjah Masters: Chithambaram beats Salem Saleh to take sole lead after 5th round

Indian GM Aravindh Chithambaram posing for a photograph during his fourth round game at Sharjah Masters. (Photo credit: ChessBase India/X)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 19 May 2024 4:55 AM GMT

Indian Grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram took down A R Saleh Salem of the UAE in the fifth round of the Sharjah Masters chess tournament to claim the sole lead.

The Indian GM earlier played out a draw against Iran's Amin Tabatabaei in the fourth round of the $52000 prize money tournament.

Following his draw and a win on Saturday night, Chithamabaram took his tally to 4.5 points out of a possible five. Tabatabaei beat Abhimanyu Puranik with black pieces to stay behind Chithambaram with four points out of possible five.

The win also took Chithamabaram on the verge of breaking into the elite 2700 club - his current live rating is 2697.9.

Chithamabaram will face Sam Shankland with the black pieces in the sixth round on Sunday.

However, the top-seeded Arjun Erigaise is still far behind on the ladder board though he claimed his second straight win when he beat Manuel Petrosyan of Armenia.

With five more rounds to go, Arjun will look to revive his campaign.

Joining Arjun on three points are two more Indian players Abhimanyu Puranik and Sankalp Gupta. They drew against Sam Shankland of the United States and Russian prodigy Volodar Murzin respectively.

Chithamabaram, meanwhile, managed to salvage a draw by a narrow margin. The Nimzo Indian by the Indian fell in the difficult zone in the middle game and Tabatabaei made most of the opportunities after the trade of the queens.

Tabatabaei then went for a winning attack against the black king with his rooks and knight and Aravindh was in a difficult position soon after. It was on the 48th move that the Iranian player committed a blunder, allowing the Indian to make a comeback in the game.

Among other Indians in the fray in the Masters chess tournament is Bharath Subramaniyam who registered a magnificent win over S L Narayanan.

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