Former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta give out an impeccable performance to beat compatriot and his BPCL team-mate G N Gopal and jumped to joint lead after the seventh round of the Asian continental chess championship in Subic Bay, Philippines on Wednesday.
Grandmaster Ni Hua of China ended the dream run of local boy Wesley So in a finely crafted game with black pieces on the top board.
The Chinese trio of Ni Hua, Ding Liren and LI Chao emerged as the new joint leaders of the $50000 prize money event along with Abhijeet.
While all the leaders have 5.5 points apiece, a pack of four players including second seed Krishnan Sasikiran are also in contention for top honours with just two rounds to come.
Sasikiran defeated Nguyen Thanh Son of Vietnam in his seventh round game.
With top five places reserved for the next World Cup from here, P Harikrishna, National champion B Adhiban, S P Sethuraman, D Harika and Tejas Bakre are in contention for a top finish but for that all of them will have to win the next two rounds.
Abhijeet was a class act with his white pieces. Gopal came up with an early opening surprise going for the main line Slav instead of his trusted Grunfeld and followed an earlier game played by Abhijeet against Parimarjan Negi.
Both the players played the opening with unique speed and within first ten minutes nineteen moves were played. After Abhijeet deviated, Gopal spent a lot of time but could not find the way to equalize.
Abhijeet won a pawn and romped home in quick time.
Nguyen Thanh Son of Vietnam proved no match for Sasikiran in a queen pawn game where the latter played white. Though the victory took some time to come Sasikiran made sure he did not falter at any time.
International Master S P Sethuraman played a fine game to hold top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam who played black.
Sethuramay held on to his position without giving away much in another queen pawn game of the day.
In-form Tejas bakre produced another good result by holding Ghaem Maghami Ehsan of Iran to a draw from a worse position while Harika proved stronger than Nadera Barlo of Philippines.