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Polgar in round three

Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): The world’s highest-rated woman player ever, Judit Polgar of Hungary made it to the third round of the World Chess Cup at the expense of Grandmaster Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania in the second set of tie-break games of the second round here.

The championship that started with 128 players is now down to the last 32 and many higher seeds have already been exited by lesser known rivals.

There were seven Indians in the fray to start with and four were ousted in the first round itself.

The remaining three — Krishnan Sasikiran, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Sandipan Chanda — went down in the regular games of the second round by identical 0-2 margins against Etienne Bacrot of France, Wang Hao of China and Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia respectively.

On a day that saw the elimination of dark horse Finnish Tomi Nyback at the hands of Russian Peter Svidler, Judit Polgar stole the show with a fine performance in the rapid tie-break games.

After drawing the first rapid tie-breaker with black pieces, the queen of the chess board went one up in the next game and seemed like holding on to her lead until the long-haired Romanian struck back.

After the rapid games ended, the score was 3-3 and that brought in the first set of two blitz games where Polgar proved superior, winning the first and drawing the tense second game to win by a 4.5-3.5 margin.

Peter Svidler did a lot of hard work in the match against lower-ranked Nyback. Having lost the first game under normal time control, the Russian struck back with vengeance in the second and then was relentless in the tie-break games played on Thursday. Svidler won two out of first three games to seal his place in the last 32. A big victory was scored by teenager Caruana Fabiano of Italy who got the better of Lenier Dominguez of Cuba. Caruana’s victory came in the fourth rapid tie-break game with black pieces after the first five games ended in draws.

The World Cup carries a total prize pool of $1.6 million with $120,000 going to the winner. — PTI

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