Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta will clash with Xiangzhi Bu of China in the third round of the World Chess Cup.
Bu qualified to the round of 32 with a hard-fought win against rating favourite Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France in the tiebreaker of the second round and earned the right to play Abhijeet, who qualified defeating American Samuel Shankland 1.5-0.5 in the second round on Thursday.
The other Indians in the fray, P Harikrishna and Parimarjan Negi had crashed out in the second round.
Grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark caused the biggest flutter in the tiebreak games defeating higher-ranked Michael Adams of England 2.5-1.5.
Nielsen, famous as second of Viswanathan Anand for many years now, won with black pieces in the second rapid game to stake his claim in the round of 32.
Interestingly, Nielsen had not qualified for this event from any events but was given a seat by FIDE President Kirsan Illyumzhinov after he made protests about the tiebreak rules in the qualification process.
Meanwhile the top ranked players had it easy in the tiebreak games. Top seed Sergey Karjakin of Russia won the second rapid game against Wesley So of Philippines to set up his next round clash with highest ranked woman player Judit Polgar of Hungary.
Azerbaijan`s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also made the grade at the expense of Daniel Fridman of Germany. Mamedyarov won the first rapid game with black and enjoyed superior position in the second game also which was eventually drawn.
Former World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine was stretched to the second set of tiebreak games but prevailed as Ni Hua of China could not make most of the opportunities presented to him in the fourth and final tiebreak game.
After losing the third following two draws in rapid chess, Ni Hua got a winning position on board but failed to spot the maneuver that would have netted the equalizer.
Ponomariov soon regrouped successfully and got the draw to score a 3.5-2.5 victory.
The other match to go in to the second set of tiebreak games was between Russian champion Peter Svidler and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam.
Svidler, who recently won the Russian championship for the sixth time, forced matters with white pieces in a French Advance game and later won with black also to win by a 4-2 margin.
The 1.6 Million USD world chess cup is a part of the next world championship cycle. The knockout event started with 128 players including three Indians.
In each round there are two games under normal time control followed by tiebreak games of shorter duration to determine the winner.
I`ve always said the person who wins the world championship this year is the person who does the best job on the circuit, but that does not seem the way it is at the moment.