Grandmaster Aleksej Aleksandrov outlasted Indian GM Deep Sengupta to join top-seed Farrukh Amonatov of Tajikistan in the lead of the first Maharashtra International Open Grandmaster chess tournament on Tuesday.
While Aleksandrov put it across Sengupta in 54 moves, GM Amonatov was held to a draw on the top board by Indian GM Arjun Kalyan in a 31-move game.
Aleksandrov and Amonatov share the lead with eight points each after the 10th round.
Kalyan is close on the heels of the leaders with 7.5 points following the draw against the Tajik player in the penultimate round.
Four players, Boris Savchenko, Luka Paichadze, Sengupta and Aditya Mittal, occupy the third spot with seven points each.
Grandmaster Savchenko and Paichadze drew their matches against Kirill Stupak and Mihail Nikitenko, while Mittal split points with L R Srihari.
M R Lalith Babu, the highest-rated Indian player in the field, could not break through the defences of Neelesh Saha and had to settle for a draw.
The final round of the event will be played on Wednesday.
Important results (10th round): Farrukh Amonatov (8) drew Arjun Kalyan (7.5), Aleksej Aleksandrov (8) beat Deep Sengupta (7), Luka Paichadze (7) drew Kirill Stupak (5), Boris Savchenko (7) beat Mihail Nikitenko (6), L R Srihari (5) drew against Aditya Mittal (7), M R Lalith Babu (6.5) drew with Neelesh Saha (5), Alexei Fedorov (6) beat Audi Ameya (3), M R Venkatesh (6.5) drew with Bhakti Kulkarni (2), A Shrivatri (4.5) beat Karthik Venkataraman (6).