After losing two games in a row in round three and four, it has been a remarkable comeback by Gupta who registered his third win on the trot in the tournament to reach five points out of a possible seven and is now very close to the leading pack.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France settled for a draw with Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia on the top board to remain in joint lead on 5.5 points alongside Sargissian and English duo of David Howell and Nigel Short.

David Howell was staring at defeat but turned the tables on compatriot Gawain Jones to reach 5.5 points while Nigel Short accounted for seasoned Israeli Grandmaster Alon Greenfeld to make it to the top.

The other Indian in the fray - Grandmaster D Harika - also did well to hold highly regarded Grandmaster Mihail Marin of Romania and took her tally to 4.5 points.

Harika is now the main contestant for the best woman prize in this 18,000-pound tournament.

With just two rounds to come, Gupta will be finally where he belongs and will meet Sergei Tiviakov of Holland in the next round. Another victory can make Gupta a co-leader in the tournament.

It was an expected Dutch Stonewall by Vaisser that did not impress Gupta as he got a slight advantage in the middle game with a sound grip on the position by controlling the black squares.

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