International Master S Kidambi stunned top seed Krishnan Sasikiran while Grandmaster Koneru Humpy and IM Master Neelotpal Das moved up to joint second position with wins in the fifth round of the fifth Asian Chess Championship in Hyderabad on Monday.
Kidambi outplayed Sasikiran in the Meran variation of Queen's Gambit where he made calculated moves combined with aggression and sacrificed his knight to get a positional advantage. He unleashed his pieces to rip open the defence of the GM, who struggled for space and movement.
At one stage, Sasikiran even offered to sacrifice his Queen for bishop and rook but Kidambi did not buy the exchange and went for the kill and the top seed resigned in the 30th move.
Humpy, with black pieces, played Pirc defence and defeated Sergey Kayumov (UZB) in 44 moves with two pawns up aided by positional advantage.
The Uzbek player could not wriggle out of the difficult situation created due to the pawn structure and a solid mid-game by Humpy who logged four full points to stay in contention for the title against a formidable Chinese contingent.
Neelotpal worked out a fine strategy to hold GM Susanto Megaranto (INA) in 28 moves' game to follow Zhang Zhong of China, who led the table with 4.5 points.
"I'm happy with my performance," a jubilant looking Das said after the match.
"Of the five matches I've played so far, I won three and drew two against Grandmasters and it's a good going."
Positions after fifth round (Indians unless specified): Zhang Zhong (CH), Li Shilong (CHN) 4.5 points, Neelotpal Das, Koneru Humpy, Susanto Megaranto (INA) Hua Ni (CHN) 4 points, Kidambi Sundararajan 3.5 points.
Important results: Zhang Zhong (CHN) bt Hao Wang (CHN), Li Shilong bt Hai Dao thien (VIE), Susanto Megaranto (INA) drew with Neelotpal Das, Hua Ni (CHN) bt Zhao Jun (CHN), Sergey Kayumov (UZB) lost to Koneru Humpy, Kidambi Sundararajan bt Krishanan Sasikiran, R B Ramesh lost to Pavel Kotsur (KAZ).
Surya Sekhar Ganguly bt Jayson Gonzales (PHI), Rui Wang (CHN) drew with Sandipan Chanda, Himanshu Sharma drew with Wu Wenjin (CHN), Abhijit Kunte bt Vishal Sareen, Dibyendu Barua drew with Abhijit Gupta, Roktim Badyopadhyay drew with MR Venkatesh, Lanka Ravi bt Xie George Wendi (AUS), Tejas Bakre drew with DP Singh, Deepan Chakravarty bt Lim Yee Weng
(MAS), Sharbaf Mohsen (IRI) drew with Satyapragyan Swayangsu, G Rohit bt V Saravanan, Poobesh Anand bt Lukey Stephen (NZL), Parik Valay drew with Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury.
Visweswaran lost to D Harika, Arghyadip Das drew with Sudhakar Babu, Pg Mohd Omar Ak Hira (BRU) lost to RR Laxman, Rishipal Singh lost to GN Gopal Palit Somak bt Ramu.