Esbjerg (Denmark): GM Krishnan Sasikiran marched ahead with his tactical brilliance, turning the tables on GM Bruzon Lazaro of Cuba in the fourth round of the 18th North Sea Cup international chess tournament.
Sasikiran took his tally to three points out of a possible four and now shares the lead with GM Luke McShane of England who defeated GM Michal Krasenkow of Poland in a keenly contested game.
Half a point adrift of the leaders are top seed GM Alexey Dreev of Russia and Curt Hansen of Denmark.
Of the two, Dreev was involved in a nonchalant draw with Lenier Dominiguez of Cuba while Hansen used his positional prowess to outclass former world junior girls’ champion Koneru Humpy.
Denmark’s Lars Schandorff, Hastings champion Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark and Lazaro share the fifth spot on a 50 per cent score while Krasenkow and Lenier were relegated to joint 8th spot having just 1.5 points from the four games played so far.
Humpy’s bad patch continued as she suffered her fourth loss on the trot and was yet to open her account even at the half way stage of this 10-player nine-round tournament.
Sasikiran was lucky as Lazaro blundered away a clearly superior position. The players fought the initial phase in an irregular opening that gave Sasikiran dynamic equilibrium with black pieces.
Lazaro was quick to pounce on a middle game error by the Indian stalwart that gave him a firm bind and spatial advantage. Sasikiran worked out his counterplay in the final stages of the first time control when he sacrificed a pawn in the centre and caught Lazaro’s king unattended by the supporting force.
On the 42nd move Lazaro resigned when he was unable to cope with irresistible threats.
Humpy seems woefully out-of-form and the recovery for the youngest GM of the country seems highly unlikely in this tournament.
Hansen took his chances in the middle game arising out of an unorthodox queen pawn game and was rewarded as Humpy fell in to a positional trap that left her light square bishop crippled.
Hansen Seizei control of the dark squares with his rooks soon after and a tactical sortie netted him a couple of pawns on the 23rd move itself. Soon Humpy’s king also came under firing range and the game ended in just 29 moves.
Krasenkow gave a demonstration of his positional acumen by giving his queen for three minor pieces and a pawn against McShane who played black.