Grandmasters Parimarjan Negi and Abhijeet Gupta got back in contention with victories over Nguyen Anh Dung of Vietnam and Irwanto Sadikin of Indonesia respectively, in the third round of Asian Continental Chess Championship in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, on Tuesday.
Having lost the second round to John Paul Gomez of the Philippines, Negi called the shots with white pieces and got an advantage in the ensuing middle game against Dung, who could only pose resistance towards the end of the game.
A slight inaccuracy by Negi went unnoticed as Dung missed his only chance and the Indian's pieces were all over the local hopeful.
Like Negi, Gupta too had an unfamiliar start, drawing the first and losing the second round against unheralded Chinese Wang Chen. In the third round, however, he showed his true mettle and outplayed Irwanto Sadikin of Indonesia in all departments of the game.
For the record, it was a Grunfeld defense wherein Gupta got the initiative after trading of queens. Sadikin was tempted to take his chances in the middle game but the plan boomeranged when Gupta forcibly won a pawn.
The rest was easy for the Indian national champion.
With six rounds still to go in the premier Asian event, the Chinese duo of Yu Yangyi and Liu Qingnan share the lead with a perfect score of three points.
India's S P Sethuraman is the only Indian in proximity of the leaders on 2.5 points and shares the third spot, while Negi has two points.
In other games involving Indians, B Adhiban went down to Vietnam's Nguyen Van Huy, while Kirill Kuderinov of Kazakhstan proved stronger than G N Gopal.
Vidit Gujrathi played out a draw with Wei Yi of China and Deepan Chakkravarthy maintained his all draw record in the championship after signing peace with Rinat Zumabayev of Kazakhstan.
In the women's championship, being held simultaneously, former champion Tania Sachdev scored a confidence-boosting victory over Pham Thi Thu Hoai of Vietnam.
Tania, who had lost the first round, is now on two points along with compatriots Eesha Karavade and Nisha Mohota.
The lead here is now shared by Batchimeg Tuvshintugs of Mongolia and Irine Sukander Kharisma of Indonesia.
Tuvshintugs beat Eesha when the latter blundered, while Kharisma had a fine result against Tan Zhongyi of China.
The Indian eves had a mixed day. Mary Ann Gomes and B Pratyusha spoiled their good starts by losing to Nguyen Thi Thanh An of Vietnam and Ding Yixin of China, respectively.
Lower down, Padmini Rout, Swathi Ghate and Kiran Manisha Mohanty scored victories and are on 1.5 points.
Results Round 3 (Indians unless stated):
Men: John Paul Gomez (Phi, 2) lost to Yu Yangyi (Chn, 3); Liu Qingnan (Chn, 3) beat Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan (Mgl, 2): M R Venkatesh (1.5) lost to Ding Liren (Chn, 1.5); Cao Sang (Vie, 2) drew with Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (Iri, 2); Zhao Jun (Chn, 2.5) beat Nguyen Duc Hoa (Vie, 1.5); B Adhiban (1.5) lost to Nguyen Van Huy (Vie, 2.5); Wang Chen (Chn, 1.5) lost to S P Sethuraman (2.5); Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (2) drew with Wei Yi (Chn, 2); Parimarjan Negi (2) beat Nguyen Anh Dung (Vie, 1); Kirill Kuderinov (Kaz, 2) beat G N Gopal (1); Deepan Chakkravarthy (1.5) drew with Rinat Jumabayev (Kaz, 1.5); Irwanto Sadikin (Ina, 0.5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (1.5); Antonio Rogelio (Phi, 0.5) w/o N Srinath (1.5).
Women: Hoang Thi Bao Tram (Vie, 2.5) drew with Munguntuul Batkhuyag (Mgl, 2.5); Tan Zhongyi (Chn, 2) lost to Irine Sukandar Kharisma (Ina, 3); Eesha Karavade (2) lost to Batchimeg Tuvshintugs (Mgl, 3); Zhao Xue (Chn, 2.5) beat Nafisa Muminova (Uzb, 1.5); Pham Le Thao Nguyen (Vie, 2) drew with Nisha Mohota (2); Nguyen Thi Thanh An (Vie, 2.5) beat Mary Ann Gomes (1.5); B Pratyusha (1.5) lost to Ding Yixin (Chn, 2.5); Pham Thi Thu Hoai (Vie, 1) lost to Tania Sachdev (2); Padmini Rout (1.5) beat Ni Shiqun (Chn, 0.5); Nguyen Quynh Anh (Vie, 0.5) lost to Swathi Ghate (1.5); Kiran Manisha Mohanty (1.5) beat Dewi Aa Citra (Ina, 0.5).