Chennai, Feb 1 (PTI) India’s P Michelle Catherina and Olga Babiy of Ukraine caught up with overnight leader Divya Deshmukh with hard fought wins in the seventh round against Guliskhan Nakhbayeva of Kazakshtan in the Velammal-AICF WGM round-robin chess tournament here Friday.

India’s Woman international master Deshmukh (5 points) was held to a draw by Guliskhan Nakhbayeva of Kazakshtan, The result enabled Chennai’s Catherina and Babiy draw level on the points table with Deshmukh, with wins over Uuriintuya Uurtsaikh (Mongolia) and Chandreyee Hajra respectively.

The Divya-Nakhbayeva game saw the Kazakh player capitalise on an error on the 50th move to force a draw.

Catherina put it across Uuriintuya to join her compatriot Deshmukh and Babiy at the top.

Babiy defeated tail-ender Chandreyee Hajra in a Sicilian game after 52 moves.

With four rounds to go, Deshmukh and Catherina stand a good chance to achieve Woman Grand Master norms.

Results: Round 7 (Indians unless specified): Aakanksha Hagawane (4) drew with Osmak Iulija (Ukr) 4.5, Chandreyee Hajra (1.5) lost to Olga Babiy (Ukr) 5, Michelle Catherina (5) bt Uuriintuya Uurtsaikh (Mon) 3.

Divya Deshmukh (5) drew with Nakhbayeva Guliskhan (Kaz) 3.5, Saloni Sapae (2.5) drew with Franco Valencia Angela (Col) 1.5, Munguntuul Batkhuyag (Mon) 4.5 beat V Varshini (2).

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.