Indian Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi and B Adhiban had a tough day in office as both were ousted from the World Cup of Chess after the first set of tiebreak games. (P Harikrishna Aims For Good Start in World Cup of Chess)
However, the biggest casualty of first round was Isreal's Boris Gelfand who was shown the exit door by little known International Master Cristobal Villagra Henriquez of Chile. Gelfand drew the first and went down in the second game of rapid tiebreak.
While Adhiban was ousted by Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia after losing the first and drawing the second game under rapid chess rules, Gujrathi blundered into a checkmate in one in a level position in the first game against Lazaro Bruzon of Cuba and later lost the second game too.
With the ouster of these two along with Surya Shekhar Ganguly and MR Lalith Babu who had lost under normal time control in round one, the Indian challenge here is now limited to P Harikrishna and SP Sethuraman. Interestingly, the two clash in the next round.
The World Cup is played on a knock-out basis and started with 128 players through various qualification processes. Each round has two games except the final which will have four games in all. In case of a tied result, games of shorter duration are played to determine the winner in each round.
It was heartbreak for Adhiban who put up a good show in the first game of rapid tiebreaker against Fedoseev.
The Indian was looking good in the middle game out a Semi Slav defense game till he fell for a simple tactic while going for a pawn grab on the queen side. Fedoseev was in control and never let the opportunity slip.
In the return game, Adhiban tried to put pressure with his white pieces but Fedoseev was also up to the task in finding the right reposte.
As it happened, the exchanges became inevitable and Adhiban was forced to take the draw once the endgame was unavoidable.
Gujrathi blundered into a checkmate in just some time back during a tournament in Armenia and today was the second time when the generally composed Indian suffered from what was a typical case of chess-blindness.
After fighting well with black pieces, Gujrathi had a tenable endgame on board with his pieces well placed for an imminent counter-play.
However, Gujrathi took his king to the centre of the board and then placed his knight on the only escape square. Lazaro found the move in no time.
In the second game, Gujrathi did try hard but could not get past the solid defences of Lazaro. Finally, the Indian allowed a dangerous attack on his own king and lost the second game in a row.
Indian Results after round 1 (Indians unless stated):
SP Sethuraman beat Sanan Sjugirov (RUS) 2-0; P Harikrishna beat Max Illingworth (AUS) 1.5-0.5; Surya Shekhar Ganguly lost to Vladislav Artemiev (RUS) 0.5-1.5; M R Lalith Babu lost to Radoslav Wojtaszek (POL) 0.5-1.5; Vidit Gujrathi lost to Vruzon Lazaro (CUB) 1-1, 0-2; B Adhiban lost to Vladimir Fedoseev (RUS) 1-1, 0.5-1.5.