New Delhi: Krishnan Sasikiran scored his third successive win, beating compatriot Parimarjan Negi, to occupy the third position in the inaugural AAI Grandmasters chess tournament here on Sunday.
Sasikiran`s victory also avenged his recent loss to Negi and brought him to three points.
Fabiano Caruana currently leads with four points while Viktor Laznicka is second with 3.5 points. Filipino Wesley So has 2.5 points, Negi 1.5 and Hou Yifan has half a point after the end of five rounds.
Women`s World champion Hou Yifan got her first points through a draw against Wesley So in 52 moves.
A game between Caruana and Laznicka, which began in the Caro-Kann Advanced Variation, also ended in a draw in 59 moves. It was the first time a round had produced two draws.
Overall, only four games out of 15 have ended in draws in the first five days.
Asked if he was relieved with three wins out of five ties at the first half way stage, Sasikiran said, "No doubt about that. It felt good to come back at fifty per cent and now I am plus one.
Sasikiran had lost to Negi in the Dubai Open in April, while their earlier clash in the Asian Championships had ended in a draw.
For both Sasikiran and Negi, the tournament has been a bitter-sweet affair so far.
This game against Negi may well have been Sasikiran`s first in the past week without any serious error but Negi in most of his games in the ongoing tournament has begun well but was found wanting in the middle game.
On Sunday, in a Ruy Lopez Closed with Breyer Variation, Negi was again fine in the opening and in fact was actually better positionally. But once again he went awry in the middle game.
Wesley So, who had admitted to having mistakenly having got ready for Hou Yifan instead of Fabiano Caruana a day earlier, did not quite manage to grab a win from the Women`s World champion.
"She was slightly better in the opening and then I may have had chances, but she defended very well," said Wesley.
"Hopefully the second half will see better chess from me," he added.
It was Hou`s first draw after four losses. With a rest due for Monday, she will be hoping for a better second half of the tournament.
It was a very well fought 59-move draw between Caruana and Lazincka, who are now first and second at the midway stage of the tournament.
Points after five rounds: Caruana (4 pts), Laznicka (3.5 pts), Sasikiran (3 pts), Wesley So (2.5 pts), Negi (1.5 pts), Yifan (0.5 pts).
Results of fifth round: F Caruana drew with V Laznicka; Negi P lost to K Sasikiran; Hou Yifan drew with W So.
Draw for sixth round: F Caruana v Negi P; V Laznicka v H Yifan; K Sasikiran v W So.