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Sasikiran holds Morozevich to a draw

July 22, 2004 21:15 IST

Krishnan Sasikiran let top seed Alexander Morozevich of Russia off the hook in the third round match of the Grandmaster's section at the Biel International Chess Festival in Biel on Thursday.

The Indian Grandmaster posed a serious threat but Morozevich held on for a draw and maintained his slender half point lead with 2.5 points from three games.

Second seed former World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine remained on the heels of the leader with 2 points in his kitty.

Sasikiran, Eienne Bacrot of France and local star Yannick Pelletier shared the third spot with 1.5 points while Luke
McShane of England was yet to open his account.

The category-18 event is being played on a double round-robin basis between six players and there are ten games in all.

Sasikiran played a double-edged game with white pieces.

Up against the main variation of the Slav defence by Morozevich, the Indian apparently had an advantage in the middle game after his opponent tried too hard in an approximately equal position.

Sasikiran offered a draw after the 26th move that was refused by Morozevich but thereon only the former could boast off any winning chances.

Sasikiran got a strong hold and eventually forced Morozevich to part with his queen for two pieces.

"It was a very tense match, and I might have missed a win," said Saikiran after the game, adding, "after the first time control, I tried a few tricks with my queen, but he defended precisely to pull out the draw".

"Only Fritz (a popular chess software for analysis) could have found the win quickly," Sasikiran observed.

The game lasted 49 moves.

The lone victory of this round was scored by Bacrot who handed McShane his third straight loss in the tournament.

Playing the white side of a Grunfeld, Bacrot was at his attacking best in converting a slightly better position in the
middle game and romped hbome in just 28 moves.

The third game of the day turned out to be a hard fought draw between Pelletier and Ponomariov. Interestingly, the lower ranked Pelletier was seen pressing for an advantage in the middle game arising out of a Ruy Lopez in this contest but Ponomariov thwarted white's attacking bid and exchanged pieces at regular intervals. The draw was agreed to after 40 moves.

In the Master's section being organised simultaneously, the Indian GM norm aspirants had a bad day as both Asian Junior champion P Magesh Chandran and former National champion P Konguvel tasted defeats.

While Chandran went down to GM Zahar Efimenko of Ukraine, Konguvel failed to impress Alexander Rustemov of Russia.

Young Parimarjan Negi scored his first victory in the tournament, accounting for Ronald Arbonger of Germany, and took his tally to 1.5 points and R R Vasudean drew with William Wright of the United States.

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