Negi holds Sasikiran, joint third at Gibraltar chess tourney



Negi holds Sasikiran, joint third at Gibraltar chess tourneyGibraltar: Continuing his excellent form, Parimarjan Negi held higher-ranked compatriot K Sasikiran to a draw for a share of the third spot after the eighth round of the Tradewise Gibraltar chess congress here.

Negi, who looks set to cross the 2650 rating barrier for the first time, took his tally to six points out of a possible eight and will now meet top seed Peter Svidler of Russia in the penultimate round.

Grandmaster G N Gopal also did well, holding higher-ranked Sergei Movsesian of Armenia to an easy draw as black and also reached six points.

Women`s world champion Yifan Hou of China caused another major upset in the tournament by outwitting Le Quang Leim of Vietnam.

The Chinese joined Michael Adams of England in the lead on 6.5 points and is now performing like a 2859 Elo-rated player, a rating that has never been achieved by anyone in history.

Adams played out a draw with second seed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in this round.

With Yifan and Adams in front, the Indian trio of Negi, Sasikiran and Gopal share the third spot in an illustrious company that includes Svidler, Mamedyarov, Movsesian, Alexei Shirov of Spain and six others.

The next round will be crucial for the final standings and Sasikiran has the best chance of moving forward as he meets lower-ranked Richard Rapport of Hungary.

Gopal has a tough customer in Viktor Bologan of Moldova in which the Indian plays with white.

Among other Indians in fray, national champion Abhijeet Gupta won a game of fluctuating fortunes against Ismael Karem of Morocco while Koneru Humpy went down to Bologan after an intense battle.

Soumya Swaminathan was also on the receiving end against Pia Cramling of Sweden while the exploits of Israeli Danny Raznikov were tough to handle for Rakesh Kulkarni. On the brighter side, Soham Phadke won against Xavier Mastalerz.

Negi had his task cut out against Sasikiran in the Brayer variation of the Ruy Lopez and even though the Delhi-based player faltered a little in the middle game, a quick recovery was enough to hold his fort. Sasikiran tried but could not break through.

Gopal surprised Movsesian with the French defense as black and the Armenian could not quite find a path to advantage.

The middle game featured swift exchanges leading to a rook and pawns endgame where the draw was a just result.

Important and Indian results round 8 (Indians unless stated): Michael Adams (Eng, 6.5) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 6); Nigel Short (Eng, 6) drew withy Zoltan Almasi (Hun, 6); Yifan Hou (Chn, 6.5) beat Le Quang Liem (Vie, 5.5); Sergei Movsesian (Arm, 6) drew with G N Gopal (6); Parimarjan Negi (6) drew with K Sasikiran (6); Nana Dzagnidze (Geo, 5.5) lost to Peter Svidler (Rus, 6); Artur Jussupow (Ger, 5) lost to Alexei Shirov (Esp, 6); Viktor Laznicka (Cze, 5) lost to David Howell (Eng, 6); Viktor Bologan (Mda, 6) beat Koneru Humpy (5); Parligras Mircea-Emilian (Rou, 5) lost to Richard Rapport (Hun, 6); Varuzhan Akobian(Usa, 6) beat El Debs Felipe De Cresce (Bra, 5); Alexandr Fier (Bra, 5) lost to Salem A R Saleh (Uae, 6); Soumya Swaminathan (4.5) lost to Pia Cramling (Swe, 5.5); Ismael Karim (Mar, 4) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (5); Danny Raznikov (Isr, 5) beat Rakesh Kulkarni (4); Xavier Mastalerz (Bel, 3.5) lost to Sohan Phadke (4.5).

PTI