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Sasi loss helps Anand move up

Hyderabad, Oct. 14 (PTI): Despite drawing his board, defending champion Viswanathan Anand qualified for the knockout stage of the World Cup chess, owing to the defeat of fellow-Indian K. Sasikiran Monday.

Anand and Sasikiran were tied on 2.5 points in group C after the completion of the previous round and the former drew his final game with Hichem Hmdouch of Mauritius to move to three. Anand was still 0.5 behind Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan who won his final match to emerge group leader.

Anandís progress to the next round was not ensured till Sasikiran suffered a shock defeat to Xu Jun of China to remain on 2.5 points. Sasikiran, who had stunned Anand in the second round, lost to Jun in just 28 moves.

Barring Anand, no other Indian reached the knockout stage in the menís section. Koneru Humpy and S. Meenakshi advanced in the womenís half. The knockout phase begins Tuesday with the contenders playing two games, one on each day. In case there is no result, tie-break games will follow.

THE QUALIFIERS

MEN: Group A: Vladimir Malakhov (Rus), Vescovi Giovanni (Bra). Group B: Alexi Dreev (Rus), Sergei Rublevsky (Rus). Group C: Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzb), V. Anand (Ind). Group D: Alexander Beliavsky (Rus), Nigel Short (Eng). WOMEN: Group A: Matveeva Svetlana (Rus), Li Ruofan (Chi). Group B: Stefanova Antoneta (Rus), Xu Yuhua (Chi). Group C: Koneru Humpy (Ind), Irina Krush (US). Group D: S. Meenakshi (Ind), Pin Wang (Chi).

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