With his first draw in the tournament after two losses and five victories, Adhiban remained in contention for a top-10 finish in the strongest Open of the world and the Indian will now hope to do well in the last round to get a cherished performance after double debacle in the first two rounds.

Former world champion, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, emerged as the sole leader of the tournament with one round remaining after a clinical victory against A.R. Salem Saleh.

The Russian, who is playing an Open after more than two decades went on to prove his true mettle yet again as he outclassed Saleh from level position.

Kramnik took his tally to seven points out of a possible eight winning his sixth game on the trot after a lopsided start with a couple of draws. The Russian ace is now just a draw away from title.

The other overnight leader Anish Giri suffered his second straight loss in a row after he went down to Chinese super-talent Yu Yangyi.

Yangyi, the Asian champion came up with a superlative effort in this game to win with black pieces and will now challenge Kramnik for the title in the over $1,00,000 prize money tournament.

The Indian challenge for a top spot ended today after Adhiban and Harikrishna drew their games. With white pieces, Adhiban could not put much pressure on the Chinese star while Harikrishna played out a draw with Ivan Salgedo Lopez of Spain.

There were some expectations from Abhijeet Gupta who had a brilliant run in the tournament thus far but the Indian collapsed in this round against Sjugirov Sanan of Russia.

It was a Queen’s Indian defense wherein Gupta got a huge advantage on the clock but this time Sanan was quite up to the task when it came to finding a counter active measure.

Xiangzhi went for the Moller system against Adhiban in the Ruy Lopez as black and found an easy equality in the middle-game. The game was ripe for complications and Adhiban tried but this time, after five victories the Indian could not force matters.

With just one round remaining, Kramnik remains the top contender for the winner’s cheque of $25,000 while Yangyi will hope to give the Russian a run for his money in the final game.

The Indian camp will rely on Adhiban to win his final game and also Harikrishna to do well however, a podium finish for any of the Indian seems almost out of question now.

Important and Indian results round 8 (Indians unless specified): Anish Giri (6) lost to Yu Yangyi (6.5); A R Saleh Salem (Uae, 5.5) lost to Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 7); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 5.5) drew with Samuel Shankland (Usa, 5.5); Evgeny Tomashevsky (Rus, 5.5) drew with Andrei Volokitin (Ukr, 5.5); B Adhiban (5.5) drew with Bu Xiangzhi (Chn, 5.5); Mikhailo Oleksienko (Ukr, 5.5) drew with Yuriy Kryvoruchko (Ukr, 5.5); Vladimir Akopian Vladimir (Arm, 6) beat Nils Grandelius (Swe, 5); Zahar Efimenko (Ukr, 6) beat Matthieu Cornette (Fra, 5); P Harikrishna (5) drew with Ivan Salgado Lopez (Esp, 5); Abhijeet Gupta (4.5) lost to Sjugirov Sanan (Rus, 5.5); G N Gopal (4.5) drew with Bogdan Belyakov (Rus, 4.5); Debashis Das (4) drew with Ivan Saric (Cro, 4); Bartel Mateusz (Pol, 4.5) beat Murali Karthikeyan (3.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (4) drew with Alexander Ipatov (Tur, 4); Sebastian Bogner (Sui, 3.5) lost to S Kidambi (4.5); Shardul Gagare (4) drew with Xu Jun (Chn, 4); Sayantan Das (3) lost to Sergey Fedorchuk (Ukr, 4); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (3.5) drew with Deimante Daulyte (Ltu, 3.5); Amin Tabatabaei (Iri, 3) lost to Sandipan Chanda (4); Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman (3.5) drew with Harika Dronavalli (3.5); P Konguvel (4) beat Pontus Carlsson (Swe, 3); Aryan Gholami (Iri, 3) lost to M Shyam Sundar (4); Neelotpal Das (4) beat Gunay Mammadzada (Aze, 3); Ankit Rajpara (3) drew with Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri, 3); Rishi Sardana (3.5) beat Lidia Tomashevskaya (Rus, 2.5); Sameer Kathmale (3.5) beat Ernest Kharous (Rus, 2.5): Sabina-Francesca Foisor (Usa, 2) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (3).

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