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Home > Sports > Chess > PTI > Report

Sasikiran loses in second round

July 21, 2004 20:05 IST

Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran went down fighting against former World champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the second round of the Biel International chess festival in Switzerland.

Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich of Russia emerged the sole leader in this category-18 six-player double round-robin event being played under classical time control.

Morozevich scored another emphatic victory over Etienne Bacrot of France to maintain a clean slate with two points and is now followed by Ponomariov, who has 1.5 points in his kitty.

Not far behind is Sasikiran, who is on one point along with local star Yannick Pellitier while Englishman Luke McShane, who is yet open his account, is at the bottom of the table.

Ponomariov outsmarted Sasikiran yesterday in a keenly-contested game even as the Indian tried his best defensive tricks.

From the Brayer variation of the Ruy Lopez, Ponomariov subtly obtained a miniscule advantage and slowly but surely exerted pressure on both flanks to score a workmanlike victory.

"I failed to see an intermezzo after a series of middle games exchanges, that caught me up in an unpleasant position," Sasikiran, who won the first round board against Pelletier, said after the game.

After getting the desirable position, Ponomariov gave away too little chances to his Indian opponent. The Ukrainian was at his best deploying his forces correctly that forced Sasikiran to part with two pieces for a rook.

"I had little choice other than for going for what he wanted as white's build up was slowly getting to menacing proportions," Sasikiran said.

Settling down with the inferior material imbalance, Sasikiran tested Ponomariov's technique for some time but the position remained lost for the rest of the game.

The Ukrainian forced his rival to resign after 62 moves in the game that lasted close to six hours.

Morozevich apparently has taken off from where he had left Biel last year. The reigning World number four had a score of 8/10 in his last outing here and if his games are any indication he is out to better it this time.

Playing with white second time in a row, Morozevich crushed Bacrot with some prophylactic manoeuvres that flowed out of the middle game position arising out of a closed Ruy Lopez.

Bacrot failed to find the correct method when faced with a relatively new position on board and went for the trade of queens to ease the tension.

However, Morozevich gained absolute control thereafter and it took him just 31 moves to turn the tide decisively.

The third game of the day was also decisive as Luke McShane's comeback bid did not materialise against a better0prepared Pelletier. The Sicilian Scheveningen gave Pelletier his first victory in the event.

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