Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika scored a sensational victory over former world championship challenger Nigel Short of England, while Viswanathan Anand won his second game in a row in the third round of the Masters section of Gibraltar Chess Congress.
With her third win in as many games, Harika remained a co-leader and she now shares the lead with 10 other players in this 185000 Pounds Sterling prize money festival.
The Indian girl, who has won many medals for the country, was a class act against Short and handed the English Grandmaster his first defeat with white pieces in Gibraltar.
It may be recalled that Short is also a former winner of this event.
S P Sethuraman, young Grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram and Harika are three Indians among the eleven leaders with perfect scores. This list includes second seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Dmitry Jakovenko of Russsia.
Sethuraman was in his elements to beat Bai Jinshi of China, and Aravindh Chithambaram lived up to his giant-killer tag to tame higher rated compatriot Sandipan Chanda.
Anand scored a crushing victory over Xiangyu Xu of China and jumped to joint 12th spot with seven rounds still remaining in one of the strongest open of the world.
The second highest rated Indian, P Harikrishna also rose after a draw in the previous round to beat Frenchman Fabien Libiszewski and match Anand on 2.5 points.
Among other Indians in the fray, M R Lalith Babu came up with some good preparation to hold highly rated Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland, while Anurag Mahamal played another fine game to hold Spanish Grandmaster Igarza Renier Vazquez.
Abhijeet Gupta was held to a draw once he missed a deep tactical trick by Bela Khotenashvili of Georgia, while Padmini Rout moved to two points after an impressive draw with Axel Bachmann of Paraguay.
The day’s honours, however, belonged to Harika who came up with a sterling performance. Short is a renowned exponent of the French defense and Harika used the same opening to get the better of the Englishman.
The Tarrasch variation by Short did not yield high dividends as Harika got the desired counter-play. Eventually it was a tactical slip that cost Short the full point.
Anand simply outclassed Xiangyu in a Sicilian defense game with white pieces, while Harikrishna won with black to make amends for his draw in the second round against Natalija Zhukova of Ukraine.