Fedoseev and Shabalov in two-way lead

Fedoseev smashed the King’s Indian Defense of GM Daniele Vocaturo of Italy.

Dubai — Russian Grandmaster Vladimir Fedoseev and American GM Alexander Shabalov beat their respective seventh round opponents to figure in a two-way tie for the lead with six points each in the homestretch of the 17th Dubai Open Chess Championship at the Dubai Chess Club.

Fedoseev, 20, who won the recent Dubai Blitz Championship, smashed the King’s Indian Defense of GM Daniele Vocaturo of Italy. The Russian penetrated with his Rook on the seventh rank and weaved a mating net to force resignation on the 35th move.

Shabalov, formerly of Latvia and 4-time winner of the US Championship, crushed the Slav Defense of French GM Andrei Istratescu. The American escorted his passed pawn in a minor piece endgame to force resignation on the 41st move.

Seven players trail with 5.5 points, a half point behind the two leaders, namely top seed GMs David Howell of England Dragan Solak of Turkey, Nils Grandelius of Sweden, Gadir Guseinov and Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan, Yuri Solodovnichenko of Ukraine and the only International Master in the lead pack, Zaur Mammadov of Azerbaijan.

Guseinov outmaneuvered the Caro Kann Defense of GM Igor Kovalenko of Latvia in 61 moves. Safarli used the Caro Kann to beat GM Gabor Papp of Hungary in 56 moves. Mammadov essayed the Queen’s Gambit to defeat GM Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli of Venezuela in 28 moves.

GM Yuri Kuzubov of Ukraine used the Sicilian Najdorf Defense to beat GM Idani Pouya of Iran in only 28 moves.

The other two top matches were drawn. Grandelius and Solodovnichenko were last to finish after six hours of play in a marathon 90 move draw. Howell drew with Dragan Solak in the requisite 30 moves of a Ruy Lopez game.

Meanwhile the Georgian Chess Federation apologised to Chief Arbiter Abdulrahim Mahdi for the actions of GM Gaios Nigalize, Georgian champion who was caught cheating with a cell phone in the toilet to analyze his game in progress.

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