Millennium Post

Gupta, Negi shocked in Asian chess

The two highest rated Indian Grandmasters -- Abhijeet Gupta and Parimarjan Negi -- suffered major setbacks as they lost their second round ties in the Asian Chess Championship here.

The two Indians lost in contrasting fashion with Abhijeet bowing to Chinese Wang Chen with white pieces while a delayed defence did not prove enough for Negi who could not salvage the day against John Paul Gomez of Philippines.

Having drawn the first game, Abhijeet was under some pressure and it showed as he could not make use of a better position and missed some simple continuations that would have guaranteed a victory. Instead, the reigning Indian champion miscalculated in the final stages of the first time control and was forced to resign.

Negi first equalised but later fell into a bad position against Gomez out of a Ruy Lopez opening where the latter played black. After being pushed, Negi did well to stay in the game by finding some excellent defensive moves but towards the end missed a tactical stroke that cost him his queen and the game soon after.

The losses left Abhijeet on just a half points while Negi remained on one following a first round victory. The two will have a lot of catching up to do in the remaining seven games.

Meanwhile at the top of the tables, Yu Yangyi of China maintained his winning run to keep a perfect score. While it's a four-way tie at the top, B Adhiban, Vidit Gujarathi, S P Sethuraman and M R Venkatesh are among those who have 1.5 points after two games.

Among other Indians in the fray, Grandmaster Deepan Chakkravarthy had another good day after holding Abhijeet in the opener as he proved equal to Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam while G N Gopal bounced back after a defeat by outwitting Andita Pitra of Indonesia.

International Master Nisha Mohota played a highly entertaining game and drew with top seed Zhao Xue of China in the Women's Championship being played simultaneously.

Out of a queen pawn game, Nisha took the initiative to launch an offense on the queen side with her white pieces and Zhao Xue had no choice but to open the other flank for her counter play. A Minor inaccuracy by the Chinese led to a better position for Nisha but it turned to be enough for a draw only vide repetition of moves.

Eesha Karavade remained as one of the joint leaders after defeating Indonesian Medina Warda Aulia who played black. The Indian shares the lead with five others.

In other women's ties, Padmini Rout went down fighting against Nafisa Mumminova of Uzbekistan while B Pratyusha caused another upset at the expense of fellow Indian Kiran Manisha Mohanty. Mary Ann Gomes and Tania Sachdev ended on the winning side against lower ranked opponents while Swathi Ghate opened her account after signing peace with Ni Shiqun of China.

There are seven rounds still to go in the premier Asian event which is also a qualification event for the next world Championship cycle.

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