Sasikiran joins Harikrishna in lead

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> K Sasikiran joins P Harikrishna in the lead after the seventh round of the 77th Hastings International Chess Congress.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
  • Total Shares


Grandmaster K Sasikiran scored a hard fought victory in 39 moves over GM Joe Gallagher of Switzerland to join compatriot GM P Harikrishna in the lead after the seventh round of the Premier tournament of the 77th Hastings International Chess Congress here. Both Sasikiran and Harikrishna have 5 points each from seven games and were followed by GM Alexei Barsov of Uzbekistan on 4.5 points. Top seed GM Zhang Zhong of China is in the fourth spot with 4 points. He will get a chance to catch up with the Indians as he plays Harikrishna and Sasikiran in the last two rounds. It was an exciting day with as many as four decisive games of the possible five. Zhong outclassed tailender International Master Irina Krush of United States in a long drawn game with black pieces while the nightmarish run of English GM Peter Wells continued when he lost his third successive game this time to Uzbek GM Alexei Barsov. Sasikiran, playing black, was in for a surprise from Gallagher facing the Ruy Lopez opening and dull play in the early part of the game. The Indian got in to a good position with routine developing moves and soon manoeuvred his knight to the enemy camp to ensure a fierce battle. Going for complications, Gallagher used up a lot of time and fell under time pressure. His tactic of a sacrificing a pawn to open lines on the king side did not work as Sasikiran easily digested the offer and strove for initiative with his queen taking centrestage. The game might have prolonged had Gallagher not committed harakiri under time pressure as Sasikiran collected a handful of pawns and forced resignation in 39 moves. Harikrishna did not have much trouble with black pieces as he held IM Nicholas Pert of England to a draw. The opening was Harikrishna's pet Semi Slav defence and Pert opted for the ultra sharp Botwinik variation. An exponent of the system over the past year, Harikrishna chose the same variation he played last against GM Xu Jun of China till the 18th move and then introduced a novelty to get a dynamically balanced position where he had two pieces against white's rook and pawn. The game lasted only two more moves as Pert was in no mood to let Harikrishna in to his territory. Barsov's 27 move win over Wells came with black pieces. The game was out of main theoretical variations as early as the fourth move and Wells traded on thin ice all through. Barsov unleashed an interesting plan and sacrificed a pawn for rapid development of his pieces to get substantial advantage in the middle game. Zhong gave Irina another lesson in the endgame as he capitalised on his better pawn structure to romp home in 69 moves from a Nimzo Indian defence while Hebden won his first game in the tournament, putting it across GM Petr Kiriakov of Russia in 67 moves. In the Challengers tournament, IM Zvonko Stanojoski of Macedonia shot into lead with a fine victory over IM John Shaw of Scotland. Stanojoski has 6.5 points from 8 games and is followed by a bunch of six players including top seed GM Vitaly Tseshkovsky with six points. (PTI)

For the latest Sports news , like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

  • Chess

Leave a comment