Hyderabad: Defending champion Viswanathan Anand won his board to catch up with K. Sasikiran, who suffered a shock defeat, after the penultimate league round of the World Cup chess tournament Sunday. Both the players are locked at 2.5 points.
Sasikiran, who inflicted a defeat on Anand in the second round, lost to Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan in 35 moves.
While Anand and Sasikiran are likely to qualify for the knockout from Group C, Alexander Beliavsky of Slovenia led Group D with three points. Nigel Short and Surya Sekhar Ganguly are fighting it out for the second spot. Surya drew with P. Harikrishna who garnered the first point of the tournament so far.
Anand asserted his superiority in 36 moves against Al Modiahki of Qatar. In a game which started in Sicilian Najdroff and converted into Sicilian Dragon variation, Anand proved his class by displaying the power of his pieces. He placed his pieces with dexterity to register a comprehensive victory.
Sasikiran, however, looked out of sorts as he was outwitted in a game where he employed the Kings Indian Defence against the queen pawn opening.
Grandmaster Koneru Humpy continued to dominate in the women’s section registering her fourth successive win to lead Group C with four points.
Humpy played the classical Dutch defence to outwit Bhagyashree Thipsay, who is yet to win a game.
World champion Zhu Chen of China has 2.5 points in Group D along with defending champion and compatriot Xu Yuua with one more game to go.
In other matches, Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich of Russia virtually bowed out of the tournament losing to Jann Ehlvest of Estonia in a Group D match. Alexander Beliavsky and Jann Ehlvest of Estonia are likely to qualify from this group.
Stefenov Antoneta of Bulgaria defeated Nino Khurtsidze of Georgia to top Group B table with 3.5 points and is assured of a berth in the next phase of the tournament. (PTI)