Caruana wins again, wonderful day for Indians
New Delhi, June 30: Parimarjan Negi stopped his run of losses while Krishnan Sasikiran got back to his winning ways in what turned out to be good day for the Indian duo in the AAI Grandmasters Chess Tournament.
Negi completed a comprehensive 27-move win over Wesley So of the Philippines while Sasikiran after draws in previous two games took just 30 moves following a Queen’s Indian opening for a full point against Czech Viktor Laznicka in the eighth round on Thursday. In the third game of the day Fabiano Caruana beat Hou Yifan to extend his lead to 1.5 points with two rounds to go.
Caruana continues to be the only unbeaten player in the tournament scored his fifth win and with three other draws. With 6.5 points he is 1.5 points ahead of the second place Sasikiran, who has five points. Wesley So and Viktor Laznicka have four points each, Negi has 2.5 and Hou Yifan two.
“It was not really that easy because I took some risks today,” said Sasi. “At one point I offered a sacrifice which he need not have taken then but he did and it became a bit easier. Maybe the Kh1 (on 23rd move) from him was the mistake that helped me get to the win faster,” said Sasi, who with his 30-move win is now second place.
Mr. J S Balhara making the inaugural move of 8th round
Parimarjan Negi and Krishnan Sasikiran
On his recent run with four wins and two draws in the last six rounds after starting with two losses, Sasikiran laughed and said, “Maybe the weather cooling down also helped me. I like playing in slightly cooler weather. There is two more games to go. As such before the tournament I was hoping to get to either plus three or plus four and I am right now plus two.” It was Sasi’s second win over Laznicka in the tournament as he had earlier beaten him in the third round.
The 17-year-old Indian National champion Negi approached the round rather cautiously but was surprised to see his rival, Wesley, play the Petroff defence, something he had played only once before against a noted opponent, Alexei Shirov, last year. “It was a big surprise to see him use the Petroff, maybe he just wanted to play solid and also surprise. I thought I wouldn’t take any chances,” said Negi.
But it was So who made the big error when he played Be7 on the 18th move and from there on the game turned decisively in Negi’s favour. It was thereafter only a matter of time as Negi won in just 27 moves. It was by far the quickest game in terms of moves and took less than three hours.
Asked is the nightmarish part of the week is over, Negi smiled and said, “I don’t know whether the nightmare is over as there are two more rounds to go, but this win was certainly welcome. There is always some pressure when you play a tournament, but I feel I have not been able to convert my chances. If you notice I have had my chances in many games, but was not able to use that.”
Negi and Sasi are both due to play Asian Team Chess in China next month and then the World Cup in Russia.
Negi, who had drawn his third round with Wesley So before his run of losses began in the fourth round, now has 2.5 points from eight games.
“It was a nice win. It is good to be 1.5 points ahead with two rounds to go, but no tournament is over till the last,” said the shy Caruana with a slight smile. He won in 46 moves from a Sicilian Najdorf.
There are two more rounds to go in the 10-round Category-17 tournament, which comes to an end on Saturday.
Young chess player Raghav Sharma presenting his on the spot painting of Chess Hall to GM Laznicka
Young Chess player Raghav Sharma’s on the spot painting of chess hall
Points after eight rounds:
6.5 points – Caruana
5 – Sasikiran
4 – Wesley So and Laznicka
2.5 – Negi
2 – Yifan
Results of the eighth round: F Caruana beat H Yifan; Negi P beat W So; V Laznicka lost to K Sasikiran
Draw for the Ninth round: V Laznicka v F Caruana; K Sasikiran v Negi P; W So v H Yifan
Negi and Sasikiran after their 8th round victory