At stake are the Shaikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup and $50,000 in cash prizes.
A strong contingent of 36 Grandmasters are seeing action of which 21 are in the high level rating of 2600 and above, 5 Woman Grandmasters, 23 International Masters and 15 Fide Masters.
The 41 year old former Latvian champion and 7-time member of the Latvian team to the Olympiad is a half point ahead in the homestretch of the 9-round Swiss System tournament, a media release said.
Nine Grandmasters trail with 5.5 points each, namely Ni Hua of China, Vladimir Akopian and Zaven Andriasian of Armenia, Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia, Evgenij Miroshnichenko and Yuri Kuzubov of Ukraine, and Indians Chanda Sandipan, Parimarjan Negi and Abhijeet Gupta.
Fifteen players follow with 5 points each.
Among the leaders, there were three other winners in round 7.
Mchedlishvili outmanoeuvered the Nimzoindian Defence of Babu Lalith of India in only 36 moves.
Andriasian used the King’s Indian Defence to threaten mate and force IM Mohamed Ezat of Egypt to give up his Queen and resign in the 39th move.
Kuzubov used the French Defence to outplay IM Prasam Vishnu in the Rook and Pawn Endgame and force resignation on the 55th move.
The other three matches among the leaders were drawn.
Akopian used the English Opening against Sandipan and drew in 37 moves.
Miroshnichenko also essayed the English Opening and drew with Gupta in 48 moves.
Negi played the Ruy Lopez against Ni Hua who countered with the Berlin Defence as the two drew in 59 moves with opposite coloured Bishops and Pawn Endgame.
The tournament is a nine-round Swiss System event with games scheduled at 5:30pm for the remaining two rounds. The closing ceremony is set for 7pm on Tuesday.
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