International Master Abhijeet Gupta of India assumed the sole lead with four points by crushing Woman Grand Master S Meenakshi in the fourth round of the $14,000 Commonwealth Chess Tournament in Mumbai on Thursday.
Indian Oil's Gupta, playing with white pieces, appeared to have prepared adequately in the Slav defense as his pieces obtained good positions and won the encounter against Meenakshi in 31 moves.
Gupta launched a strong King-side attack by sacrificing a pawn and thereafter won an exchange. Meenakshi surrendered when faced with an inevitable mate.
In a notable upset, WGM D Harika outsmarted GM Abhijeet Kunte after she took full advantage of her rival's unimaginative play when he overstretched his position. She won a piece on move 24 and thereafter showed good technique to romp home.
Elsewhere 'safety first' tactics were adopted on the top boards. The game between overnight leaders, Ganguly v/s Kidambi, Tejas Bakre v/s Pravin Thipsay and Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury v/s Neelotpal Das were dull affairs as they agreed to split points within 20 moves.
The lone fight was observed on the top board between IM M R Venkatesh and the top-seeded defending champion, GM Nigel Short of Britain. The Ruy Lopez opening opted by Venkatesh saw a theoretical battle with both players on an equal footing.
After the exchange of most of the pieces, Venkatesh managed to win a pawn on move 45. However, the extra pawn was not sufficient in the Knight ending and the players agreed to a draw on move 51.