Mumbai: The Mumbai Mayor's International Chess Tournament is set for a close finish as no less than six players have theoretical chances of winning the championship at the end of the ninth and penultimate round of matches here today.

Laxman RR
Laxman RR

The contest between overnight leaders R R Laxman vs K Priyadarshan & Krastiv Martyn of Ukraine vs second-placed GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia ended in draws that helped them in maintaining their lead.

They were joined by three more players -- Alexander Zubov (Ukraine), Nguyen Duc (Vietnam) and Luka Paichadze (Georgia). These players registered crucial wins over Harsha Bharathakoti, Pavel Smirnov (Russia) and S Nitin respectively.

The 10th and final round encounter between Zubov vs Nguyen, Krastiv vs Priyadarshan and Laxman vs Luka will decide the championship being played at the Goregaon Sports Club and offering the winner Rs 3 lakh from a prize pool of Rs 11 lakh.

The tournament has thus far brought cheers for Indians as 17-year old Rohan Ahuja from Goa has achieved his first International Master norm. The event is being sponsored by Brihanmumbai Municipal
Corporation and co-sponsored by LIC of India.

Key 9th round results:
K Priyadarshan (7 points) drew with R R Laxman (7); Martyn Kravtsiv (7) drew with Mikheil Mchedlishvili (6.5); Swapnil Dhopade (6.5) drew with Dmitry Kokarev; H Bharathakoti (6) lost to Alexander Zubov (7); Nguyen Duc (7) beat Pavel Smirnov (6); Luka Paichadze (7) beat S Nitin (6); N Sanjay (6) drew with Merab Gagunashvili (6); Alazadze Shota (6.5) beat Enamul Hussain (5.5); Abdulla Al-Rakib (6.5) beat Rakesh Kulkarni (5.5); K Surya Praneeth (6) drew with M Nubairshah Shaikh (6); Prasanna Raghuram Rao (6) drew with Abhimanyu Puranik (6).