Esbjerg (Denmark), July 12 (PTI): GM Krishnan Sasikiran slipped to third place after an eighth-round loss to Russian Alexey Dreev in the 18th North Sea Cup international chess tournament on Saturday.
Sasikiran, who had maintained the lead since Round II, trails Luke McShane of England and Dreev, both on six. Sasikiran (5.5) can at best tie for first, provided he beats Curt Hansen and the game between Dreev and McShane ends in a draw.
Hansen is a distant fourth with 4.5 while the fifth spot is shared by Danish Peter Heine Nielsen, Cuban Lenier Dominiguez and Poland’s Michal Krasenkow, who have 3.5 each.
Bruzon Lazaro of Cuba and Lars Schandorff of Denmark share the next slot on three. The other Indian GM in the fray, Koneru Humpy (2), playing black, settled for peace with Schandorff in a long drawn game, lasting 58 moves. Humpy is now certain to finish last.
In the only decisive battle of the day, Dreev delivered when it mattered most giving just another indication of his class. In the previous round, the Russian had declared his intentions of a grand finish when he outclassed Hansen and the victory against Sasikiran was just an extension of his brilliant play.
Hansen drew with Lazaro, who was determined to keep his position intact in the Queen’s Indian Defence. The truce was signed after 39 moves.
Krasenkow and Dominiguez fought well in a Sicilian Sveshnikov game where the former played black. After a titanic struggle in the middle-game, the game ended in a draw.