The two highest rated Indian Grandmasters -- Abhijeet Gupta and Parimarjan Negi -- suffered major setbacks as they lost their second round ties in the Asian Chess Championship in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
They suffered contrasting defeats, Abhijeet bowing to China's Wang Chen with white pieces, while a delayed defence did not prove enough for Negi, who could not salvage the day against John Paul Gomez of the Philippines.
Having drawn the first game, Abhijeet was under pressure and it showed as he could not make use of a better position and missed some simple continuations that would have guaranteed victory. Instead, the reigning Indian champion miscalculated in the final stages of the first time control and was forced to resign.
Negi first equalised but later fell into a bad position against Gomez out of a Ruy Lopez opening where the latter played black. After being pushed, Negi did well to stay in the game by finding some excellent defensive moves but towards the end missed a tactical stroke that cost him his queen and the game soon after.
The losses left Abhijeet on just a half points while Negi remained on one following a first round victory. The two will have a lot of catching up to do in the remaining seven games.
Meanwhile at the top of the table, Yu Yangyi of China maintained his winning run to keep a perfect score, while it's a four-way tie at the top, B Adhiban, Vidit Gujarathi, S P Sethuraman and M R Venkatesh are among those who have 1.5 points after two games.
Among other Indians in the fray, Grandmaster Deepan Chakkravarthy had another good day after holding Abhijeet in the opener as he proved equal to Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam while G N Gopal bounced back after a defeat by outwitting Andita Pitra of Indonesia.
International Master Nisha Mohota played a highly entertaining game and drew with top seed Zhao Xue of China in the Women's Championship being played simultaneously.
Important and Indian Results Round 2 Open (Indians unless stated):
Men: Ding Liren (Chn, 1.5) drew with Yu Ruiyuan (Chn, 1.5); John Paul Gomez (Phi, 2) beat Parimarjan Negi (1); Yu Yangyi (Chn, 2) beat Darwin Laylo (Phi, 1); Nguyen Duc Hoa (Vie, 1.5) drew with B Adhiban (1.5); Xiu Deshun (Chn, 1.5) drew with Vidit Gujrathi (1.5); Novita Anjas (Ina, 1.5) drew with M R Venkatesh (1.5); Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vie, 1) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (1); Abhijeet Gupta (0.5) lost to Wang Chen (Chn, 1.5); S P Sethuraman (1.5) beat Sokhib Djuraev (Tjk, 0.5); Lu Shanglei (Chn, 1.5) beat N Srinath (0.5); G N Gopal (1) beat Andita Pitra (Ina, 0)
Women: Nisha Mohota (1.5) drew with Zhao Xue (Chn, 1.5); Munguntuul Batkhuyag (Mgl, 2) beat Guliskhan Nakhbayeva (Kaz, 1); Le Thanh Tu (Vie, 1) lost to Tan Zhongyi (Chn, 2); Irine Sukandar Kharisma (Ina, 2) beat Wang Jue (Chn, 1); Medina Warda Aulia (Ina, 1) lost to Eesha Karavade (2); Mary Ann Gomes (1.5) beat Nguyen Quynh Anh (Vie, 0.5); Nafisa Muminova (Uzb, 1.5) beat Padmini Rout (0.5); B Pratyusha (1.5) beat Kiran Manisha Mohanty (0.5); Tania Sachdev (1) beat Pham Bich Ngoc (Vie, 0); Swathi Ghate (0.5) drew with Ni Shiqun (Chn, 0.5).