Playing with white pieces, GM Gupta enjoyed a certain advantage in the middle game that ensued and even got one opportunity when the whole point was up for grabs.

However, the Indian missed and Idani, himself a former U-18 World Champion, did not give Gupta a second chance to create an opening.

Up against higher opposition, the Indians had a mediocre day in the third round.

GM Sahaj Grover's opening preparation in the Benoni defence came out fine but he missed his chances in the middle game to equalise and went down to second seed Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia.

Sergei Zhigalko from Belarus also made most of his white pieces like Fedoseev as he scored over talented Indian GM Murali Karthikeyan while the big winners of previous round - Abhishek Kelkar and NR Vignesh went down fighting against Papp Gabor of Hungary and Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia respectively.

Looking for his second GM norm, Sagar Shah also ended on the receiving end against Nils Grandelius of Sweden.

With six rounds still to come in the $50,000 Prize money tournament that has $12,000 purse for the winner, as many as 12 players including top seed David Howell of England share the lead with three points apiece from as many games.

There are no Indians in the leading pack currently and the likes of Gupta, Grover and Karthikeyan will have to do the hard catch-up job in the next few rounds.

LN Ram Arvind produced the upset of the round when he put it across GM Sergei Beshukov of Russia. Arvind's second victory in the tournament took him to two points from his three games thus far.

Among other Indians in the fray, Grandmaster S Arun Prasad, IM S Vijayalakshni, Sameer Kathmale and Aniruddha Deshpandey made amends for the previous round and reached two points each.

The next round will also see some tough clashes for the Indians in the fray here. Gupta is set to meet an experienced Alexander Shabalov of United States while Grover too has a tough opponent in compatriot Mehar Chenna Reddy.

Important and Indian results round 3 (Indians unless specified): Jaan Ehlvest (Usa, 2) lost to David Howell (Eng, 3); Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 3) beat Sahaj Grover (2); Sergei Zhigalko (Blr, 3) beat Murali Karthikeyan (2); Zaur Mammadov (Aze, 2) lost to Andrei Istratescu (Fra, 3); Abhijeet Gupta (2.5) drew with Pouya Idani (Iri, 2.5);

Sagar Shah (2) lost to Nils Grandelius (Swe, 3); Nr Vignesh (2) lost to Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Geo, 3); Abhishek Kelkar (2) lost to Papp Gabor (Hun, 3); Rakesh Kulkarni (2) lost to Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 3); Tigran Petrosian (Arm, 2.5) beat Sundararajan Kidambi (1.5); Ivan Ivanisevic (Srb, 2) drew with R R Laxman (2);

Alexandr Fier (Bra, 2) drew with Eesha Karavade (2); Alexander Shabalov (Usa, 2.5) beat Nr Visakh (1.5); S Arun Prasad (2) beat Narmin Mammadova (Aze, 1); Sayantan Das (2) beat Rajarishi Karthi (1); Mona Khaled (Egy, 1) lost to K Rathnakaran (2);

Sergei Beshukov (Rus, 1) lost to L N Ram Aravind (2); Siva Mahadevan(1) lost to Vahe Baghdasaryan (Aze, 2); Ernest Kharous (Rus, 1.5) drew with Amruta Mokal (1.5); Yousry Salah (Egy, 2) beat Vinayak Kulkarni (1); Boshra Alshaeby (Jor, 1) lost to S Vijayalakshmi (2);

Amna Nouman (Uae, 1) lost to Sameer Kathmale (2); Harikrishnan Samyuktha (1) lost to Fawzy Adham (Egy, 2); Aniruddha Deshpande (2) beat Faisal Ali (Uae, 1); Aswin Sreekumar (0) lost to Akshay V Halagannavar (1).

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