India’s fourth-youngest Grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa on Monday (January 27) achieved his biggest win after defeating former world champion Veselin Topalov in the sixth round of the 18th Gibraltar chess festival to record his fifth straight victory in Gibraltar.
The 14-year old Chennai boy achieved the feat in just 33 moves to beat the Bulgarian.
Praggnanandhaa, who started with a loss against fellow teammate P. V. Nandhidhaa, has been on a winning spree ever since. He is now in the second spot with five points alongside six other players and will take on China’s Wang Hao in the seventh round.
“It was very tough to prepare against him,” said the teen who recently won the world under-18 title.
Seventeen-year-old Russian GM Andrey Esipenko jumped to sole lead with 5.5 points with a win over Georgia’s Ivan Cheparinov with black pieces.
The Russian player would be unpaired in the seventh round as he decided to take a bye.
A bunch of players including Indians — B Adhiban, K Sasikiran, Shardul Gagare, Karthikeyan Murali, last year’s runner-up here, SL Narayanan, are in joint third place with 4.5 points.
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Adhiban beat Gabriel Flom, while D Gukesh, the world’s second youngest Grand Master ever, defeated Martin Percivaldi to move to four points.
Also winning were Karthikeyan Murali against Qi B Chen and Gagare over France’s Maxime Lagarde.
Top-seed and world No.7 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov’s moderate run continued as he was held to a draw by Indian GM Aryan Chopra. He is now on four points.
Meanwhile, second-seeded Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, beat Fernando Peralta to register his third win in the tournament and take his tally to 4.5 points.
Swedish women’s legend, Pia Cramling, a former world No.1, drew with Ukraine great Vassily Ivanchuk in 30 moves.
Important results after sixth round: Andrey Esipenko (5.5) beat Ivan Cheparinov (4.5); R Praggnanandhaa (5) beat Veselin Topalov (4); B Adhiban (4.5) beat Gabriel Flom (3.5); D Gukesh (4) beat Martin Percivaldi (3).
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (4) drew Aryan Chopra (4); SL Narayanan (4.5) drew Daniil Yuffa (4.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (4.5) beat Fernando Peralta (3.5); Shardul Gagare (4.5) beat Maxime Lagarde (3.5).
(With inputs from agencies)