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Sasikiran avenged his loss to Negi in the
NEW DELHI: In the space of 72 hours, the experience and over-the-board wisdom of K. Sasikiran has helped him gain the respect of his rivals who thrive on the exuberance of youth.
After two nightmarish rounds, the 30-year-old Sasikiran has done his reputation a lot of good by completing a hat-trick of victories.
Sunday proved an off-day for Parimarjan Negi and K. Sasikiran came up with a workmanlike effort against the local boy for a 56-move victory in Ruy Lopez.
In three encounters this year, all with Negi playing white, the players have one win each. The result helped Sasikiran avenge the loss suffered in the Dubai Open.
“Nice to win, but the quality of this win was not so good. Too many mistakes are happening,” was how Sasikiran chose to describe the feeling soon after his victory over the youngster. He hoped that the second half of the 10-round event would produce more quality games.
Playing black, Sasikiran did not suffer for long against Negi, who looked keen to make things happen over the board. After falling to the lure of claiming a queenside pawn, Negi struggled all the way. The dubious queen-move on the 29th move was to haunt the youngster while Sasikiran grew in confidence.
Sasikiran advanced his central pawn and traded a rook for a bishop on the 43rd move to reach a completely winning position. It was clear that Negi was fighting a losing battle.
Negi went on to give up his rook for the ‘queening' pawn on the 52nd turn and eventually gave up four moves later, with Sasikiran ready to exchange the queens to do the needful with the help of an extra knight.
Negi, on his part, continued to struggle out of the opening for another day. Twice in the past five days, Negi mishandled a comfortable position from the white side and then failed to come up with the best defensive plan.
For the third time in five days, top seed Fabiano Caruana considered himself “lucky” not to lose. After being helped by Negi and Sasikiran, by turns to win in the first two rounds, Caruana eluded the grasp of second seed Viktor Laznicka for a 59-move draw in Carokann.
Caruana struggled for a fair amount of time after the opening phase and Laznicka looked set to win their maiden encounter.
However, on the 47th move, Laznicka handed over the initiative with a dubious knight move and four moves later, slipped further with a pawn-move that helped Caruana nurse hopes of a possible win. But thereafter, the two players, with a queen and three pawns each settled for a draw — a result that left Laznicka feeling miserable.
“This was one game I should have won,” said a dejected Laznicka, ruing the missed opportunity while Caruana said, “I was worse out of the opening and was miserable for some part. So it was not such a bad result for me.”
Earlier, women's World champion Hou Yifan opened her account with a fighting draw with Filipino lad Wesley So in 52 moves of their Vienna game.
“I thought I had my chances, but she defended the position very well. I did not want to press too hard for victory,” said Wesley, after being the only player not to score over the Chinese girl in the first half of the competition.
Monday is a rest day.
The results: Fifth round: Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 1.5) lost to K. Sasikiran (Ind, 3) in 56 moves; Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 4) drew with Viktor Laznicka (Cze, 3.5) in 58 moves; Hou Yifan (0.5) drew with Wesley So (Phi, 2.5) in 52 moves .
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