Albena (Bulgaria): Vishnu Prasanna's unbeaten run was halted by Grandmaster Hrant Melkumyan of Armenia as the Indian suffered his first defeat in the sixth round of Grand Europe Albena International Chess Tournament.
Having completed the Grandmaster title in style earlier in the tournament, Prasanna ran out of steam against Melkumyan. The loss proved costly as Prasanna also lost his lead in the tournament and now trails the leaders by a full point.
Meanwhile, Tigran Petrosian of Armenia defeated Sandro Mareco of Argentina on the top board to move to 5.5 points. Giving him company at the top are Melkumyan and Vladislav Nevednichy of Roumania who defeated Evgeny Sveshnikov of Latvia.
The Indians had a mixed day as former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta first misplayed a won position and then struggled to a draw against Alexej Gorbatov of Russia while Ashwin Jayaram got the same result against Grandmaster Avetik Grigoryan of Armenia.
Anurag Mahamal got a good result too as he beat Petar Arnaudov of Bulgaria.
Sagar Shah did well to hold top seed Constantin Lupulescu of Romania to a draw while Swapnil Dhopade improved his chances for a better finish after defeating Nastassia Ziaziulkina of Belarus.
With just three rounds to come things, do not look very promising for the Indians. Mahamal, Prasanna and Jayaram have 4.5 points apiece and only these two have a theoretical chance of catching up with the leading pack.
Among other Indians in the fray, Swapnil Dhopade has four points now while Gupta and Shah have just 3.5 points from their six outings. Gupta has to do well in the remaining three games otherwise he runs the risk of losing important rating points.


Latest News from Sports News Desk