In what was seen as the virtual title-decider, involving two teenage Grandmasters, P. Iniyan pulled off a win over a previously-unbeaten D. Gukesh in the 14th round to snatch a half-point lead in the AICF World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
With three rounds to go, the race for the lone World Cup berth is among three youngsters — Iniyan (10.5 points), Gukesh (10) and Raja Rithvik (9.5) — while second seed S.P. Sethuraman (9) has a slim chance.
Effectively, the picture should get clearer at the end of the 15th round on Sunday morning, when Iniyan takes on Rithvik and Gukesh clashes with S.L. Narayanan.
The day’s results firmly shut the door on three other leading seeds — B. Adhiban, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Narayanan — after they suffered more reverses. Deep Sengupta beat Adhiban, Aditya Mittal stopped Ganguly, who in turn, defeated Narayanan.
Standings (after Day Four): 1. P. Iniyan (10.5 points), 2. D. Gukesh (10); 3. Rithvik Raja (9.5); 4. S. P. Sethuraman (9); 5. Surya Shekhar Ganguly (8); 6-7. Rahul Srivatshav, S. L. Narayanan (7.5 each); 8-9. S. Nitin, Deep Sengupta (7 each); 10-11. B. Adhiban, Aditya Mittal (6.5 each); 12-13. C. R. G. Krishna, Vishnu Prasanna (5 each); 14-15. Soumya Swaminathan, M. Vinay Kumar (4 each); 16. Krishnan Saravana (3); 17. Vatsal Singhania (2).