Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Grandmaster and 2008 World Junior champion Abhijeet Gupta played out a hard fought draw with Xiangzhi Bu of China in the first game of the third round of the World Chess Cup.
Abhijeet, the lone Indian survivor in the event thus far treaded on thin ice before he could finally get the draw against the higher ranked Chinese, who was also once the youngest Grandmaster in the world.
It turned out to be a bad day for higher ranked players as top rated Woman Judit Polgar crashed through the defences of top seed Sergey Karjakin of Russia while Israeli Emil Sutovsky put it across second seed Vassily Ivanchuk to stake his claim in the pre quarter finals of this knockout event.
Former champion Gata Kamsky of United States however was amongst those higher ranked players who won. On the receiving end was Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia who did not get many chances with his black pieces.
Also ending the first game on a winning note was Alexander Grischuk of Russia at the expense of compatriot Alexander Morozevich in a keenly contested game.
Out of 16 games between last remaining 32 contestants only six ended decisively and the other winners of the day were Russian Dmitry Jakovenko and Cuban Leinier Dominguez Perez.
While Jakovenko, who had earlier conquered Indian P Harikrishna in the second round, defeated Baadur Jobava of Georgia, Pereze had it easy against Igor Lysyj of Russia.
Abhijeet Gupta conceded his third draw in as many white games in this world cup. Earlier in the first two rounds the Indian had drawn with white but had scored victories with black pieces to keep himself in contention.
Xiangzhi Bu had come well-armed in his pet Slav defense and yet again Abhijeet could not get any advantage with his white pieces. The middle game surfaced with the Chinese having an optical advantage and after regulation exchanges it only looked as though Bu was fighting for a victory.
However, with a timely and imaginative pawn sacrifice Abhijeet proved there was still game on after the first time control and forcibly reached a drawn endgame.
Abhijeet will now play the return game with black pieces. In the event of another draw, tiebreak games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner.