Indian Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi, Pentala Harikrishna and teen prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa took a big step towards a spot in the fourth round of FIDE Chess World Cup in Sochi on Sunday by posting wins in the first game of the two-game mini-match.
Gujrathi, World No 22, posted an impressive win, beating compatriot Adhiban Baskaran.
The Gujrathi vs Adhiban game was expected to be an interesting one and it lived up to the expectations before the former snatched victory in 43 moves.
Harikrishna, the highest ranked Indian in the tournament at No 21, began his pursuit for a spot in the fourth round with a smooth win over lower-rated Constantin Lupulescu of Romania in 48 moves.
The 15-year-old Praggnanandhaa outwitted the experienced 57-year-old Poland player Michal Krasenkow in 45 moves in a Petroff Millennium Attack game to go 1-0 ahead.
Meanwhile, young GM Nihal Sarin lost the opening game to Dmitry Andreikin of Russia in 41 moves.
In the women's section, Harika Dronavalli, the only Indian still in contention, went down in the first game to Russia's Valentina Gunina in 43 moves in a Ruy Lopez opening.