GRONINGEN (NETHERLANDS): Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta came back into reckoning with a finely crafted victory over compatriot International Master Ashwin Jayaram in the sixth round of the Groningen International Open chess tournament on Tuesday.

After losing to German Arkadij Rotstein in the previous round, Abhijeet was troubled by Ashwin and the game looked headed for a draw before he forced a victory.

Several draws at the top of the table ensured that Abhijeet remained in hunt for the title with three rounds still to come in this tough tournament.

Shiven Khosla’s final International Master norm prospects suffered a slight setback as he went down fighting to Zaven Andriasian of Armenia. However, the Indian can take heart from the fact that he has played very high opposition in the tournament and is still within striking distance of making the norm.

The other Indian in the fray, IM Sahaj Grover played out a draw with IM De Jong Migchiel of Netherlands.

As many as eight players emerged as joint leaders on 4.5 points. They are Illya Nyzhnyk of Ukraine, Mark Bluvshtein of Canada, Peter Prohaszka of Hungary, Dejan Bojkov of Bulgaria, Rotstein, Andrisian and Dutch duo of Daan Brandenburg and Benjamin Bok.

Abhijeet shares the ninth spot now on four points and still have some catching up to do. The Indian is set to meet legendary Grandmaster Oleg Romanishin of Ukraine in the next round.

Shiven Khosla and Sahaj Grover have 3.5 points each and Ashwin remained on three points following the defeat to Abhijeet.

Playing the black side of a Grunfeld defense, Abhijeet attained easy equality with black pieces against Ashwin but the big question was how to fight for a win. It came through a lot of risk that involved sacrificing one of the pawns on the queen side and at one point Ashwin’s position even looked enviable.

However, as the game progressed, Abhijeet equalised comfortably and did not have many troubles in reaching a position where only he was fighting for the full point. Ashwin blundered decisively on the 40th move after which the technicalities were handled well by Abhijeet.

Shiven Khosla was outdone by Andrisian from the black side of a closed Sicilian game. The Armenian, who is also a former world junior champion, took advantage of Shiven’s time trouble to register a positional victory after getting a queen side passed pawn.

Important and Indian Results in Round 6: Illya Nyzhnyk (Ukr, 4.5) drew with Mark Bluvshtein (Can, 4.5): Arkadij Rotstein (Ger, 4.5) drew with Dejan Bojkov (Bul, 4.5); Daan Brandenburg (Ned, 4.50 drew with Peter Prohszka (Hun, 4.5); Oleg Romanishin (Ukr, 4) drew with Vladimir Baklan (Ukr, 4); Zaven Andriasian (Arm, 4.5) beat Shiven Khosla (3.5); Benjamin Bok (Ned, 4.5) beat Friso Bijboer (Ned, 3.5); Jan Werle (Ned, 4) beat Davit Lobzhanidze (Geo, 3.5); Ashwin Jayaram (3) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (4); Sipke Ernst (Ned, 4) beat Hagen Poetsch (Ger, 3); De Jong Migchiel (Ned, 3.5) drew with Sahaj Grover (3.5).