New Delhi: Krishnan Sasikaran won his second successive game while National champion Parimarjan Negi lost in the fourth round of the inaugural Airports Authority of India (AAI) Grandmasters Chess Championships here Saturday.
For the second day running Sasikaran played out a marathon game before beating Hou Yifan to haul himself back into the tournament held at at the AAI Officers Institute. Before that, Negi lost to the higher rated Viktor Laznicka. Leader Fabiano Caruana drew with Filipino Wesley So in 32 moves.
After four rounds, Caruana remained as the only unbeaten player. He leads the six-player field with 3.5 points, while Laznicka, who bounced back from his third round loss to Sasikaran Friday, has three points. Sasikiran and Wesley So have two each, Negi 1.5 and Hou is yet to open her account.
Sasikiran and Hou were engaged in a Catalan Classical that lasted 62 moves. Sasi looked like winning way ahead, but mistakes from either side prolonged the game. In the end the Indian benefited from Hou`s monumental blunder on 36th.
"At some point I think Rd1 was a mistake, probably a big blunder, and she may have been better at that stage. But she allowed me to get away and on the 36th, she played Nc5, which was a big mistake from her. After I got g4 (43rd) move I think I was winning," said Sasikaran. "That was a lease of life, because I came down from a very good position to a poor one with my mistake."
The Laznicka-Negi battle was in the Queen`s Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, where both players admitted to having made a few mistakes.
"My opponent surprised me in the opening and I had not prepared for this line, even though I have seen it. It was a sharp game and towards the end he (Negi) made some mistakes. Though I won, I did not get a very good feeling about the game," said Laznicka, for whom this was his third win in four games.
Negi said he felt he had draw chances before he overlooked Laznicka`s 51st move Qf6. "That was something I overlooked and from there on I lost. It was a sharp game," he said.
Playing against Caruana the Filipino Wesley So confessed to being still disappointed with his second round loss to Laznicka.
In a Guico Piano battle, also called the Italian, leader Caruana drew in 32 moves against Wesley So. That helped him keep his nose ahead in the 10-round double round-robin game.
Caruana finally had his winning streak halted. "It had to end sometime. But I am happy with this game as I got a draw with black and Wesley is a good player. Anyway with 3.5 in four games is a good start," said Caruana.
"Today there was not much in the game for both of us, so a draw is fine."