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Sasikiran finishes second at Biel

July 29, 2004 17:30 IST

Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran settled for a quick draw with Grandmaster Etienne Bacrot of France and assured himself second place in the Grandmaster's section in the 37th Biel International chess festival in Switzerland.

Top seed and world no.4, Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich of Russia won a back-to-back title in Biel after another fantastic victory against local hope Yannick Pelletier.

Morozevich took his tally to an unassailable seven points out of a possible nine and will now look forward to equal his last year's performance when he had scored a whopping 8 points to be clear first.

Sasikiran moved to 5.5 points in this category-18 event, being played on a double round-robin basis between six players.

However, as he might have really liked, the Indian was not able to give Morozevich a run for his money in the closing stages of the tournament.

While Morozevich is 1.5 points clear of Sasikiran, the Indian has a similar lead over next placed rivals - former World champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, Bacrot and Pelletier - with just one round remaining.

This is by far Sasikiran's best achievement since he won the North Sea Cup and the Politiken Open in Denmark last year.

The penultimate round was not devoid of excitement even though Sasikiran played it safe and settled for a draw in just 16 moves against Bacrot, who played black.

"I just assured my second place and took a quick draw. It was my offer and Bacrot accepted it," Sasikiran said, adding: "I knew Moro was winning his game and the title."

Morozevich compensated for Sasikiran's quick draw with yet another fine game with black. No matter what colour he plays these days, the Russian is always out to score against players rated below him.

Pelletier on his part played positive chess and went for thematic castling on the Queenside in the Rubenstein variation of the French defence.

However, as the middle game surfaced Morozevich gained control with some deceptive manoeuvres and the Swiss fell under time to make matters worse for himself. Picking a pawn

amidst tactical complexities, Morozevich romped home on the 40th move when Pelletier was declared lost on time.

"It is nice to win here at Biel for the second year in a row. One always feels better with a round to spare victory in such high category tournaments," said Moorzevich.

It was a battle fought till the last nail between Ponomartiov and GM Luke McShane wherein the former tried his best to avenge his earlier defeat against the Englishman in the same event.

McShane did not budge under pressure even though his position was, as claimed by many, critical. With skilled defence and timely exchanges he transposed to a drawn king pawn endgame and the peace was signed in 53 moves.

In the Master's section, being organised simultaneously, Asian Junior champion P Magesh Chandran came up with yet another inspired performance to beat GM Roiz Michael of Israel in a long drawn game that was stretch for more than five hours.

Magesh moved to joint fifth spot with this effort and is still in with a chance to get his second GM norm.

The lead positions atop the tables had another addition as GM Alexander Rustemov of Russia joined overnight leaders Chiristian Bauer of France, Andrei Shariyazdanov of Russia and

Boris Avrukh of Israel in lead on 7 points.

Magesh is next in the standing list with Russians Evgeny Alekseev and Mikhail Kobalia and Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine.

In other games involving Indians, young gun Parimarjan Negi went down to Bra Thorfinnssson but not before declining a draw proposal by his higher rated opponent.

P Konguvel won against Kolly Jacques of Switzerland while RR Vasudevan played a hard-fought draw with Jacques' compatriot Nicolas Curien.

Results Grandmaster's section:

Yannick Pelletier (4, Sui) lost to Alexander Morozevich (7, Rus); Krishnan Sasikiran (5.5, Ind) drew with Etienne Bacrot (4, Fra); Ruslan Ponomariov (4, Ukr) drew with Luke McShane (2.5, Eng).

Important results round 9 Master's (Indians unless specified):

Andrei Shariyazdanov (7, Rus) drew with Boris Avrukh (7, Isr); Mikhail Kobalia (6.5, Rus) drew with Christian Bauer (7, Fra); Evgeny Alekseev (6.5, Rus) drew with Pavel Eljanov (6.5, Ukr); Alexander Rustemov (7, Rus) beat Mikhail Ulibin (5.5, Rus); Raj Tischbierek (6, Ger) drew with Vitaly Tseshkovsky (6, Rus); Zahar Efimenko (6, Ukr) drew with Nadezhda Kosintseva (6, Rus); Ognjen Cvitan (6, Cro) drew with Porper Edward (6, Isr); Alexander Raetsky (6, Rus) drew with Alexander Cherniaev (6, Rus); Roiz Michael (5, Isr) lost to P Magesh Chandran (6.5); Alexander Riazantsev (6, Rus) beat Josip Rukavina (5, Kos); Vladimir Kosyrev (6, Rus) beat Giuseppe Valenti (5, Ita); Hans-Jnrg KSnel (5, Sui) lost to Jenni Florian (6, Sui); Parimarjan Negi (5) lost to Bra Thorfinnsson (6, Isl); Kolly Jacques (4, Sui) lost to P Konguvel (5); R R Vasudevan (4) drew with Nicolas Curien (4, Sui).

The moves:

K Sasikiran v/s Etienne Bacrot

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. e3 a6 5. b3 Bf5 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 e6 8. Nbd2 Nbd7 9. O-O Be7 10. Bb2 c5 11. cxd5 Nxd5 12. Ne4 cxd4 13. Qxd4 N7f6 14. Nc5 O-O 15. Rfc1 Qb6 16. Nd3 draw agreed.

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