Press Release: New Delhi, June 29: It seemed to be a day for revenge in the seventh round of the inaugural AAI Grandmasters Chess Tournament as Filipino Wesley So and China’s Hou Yifan avenged their earlier losses in the tournament against Czech Viktor Laznicka and India’s Parimarjan Negi respectively on Wednesday.
But in the third game which had a variation of the Kings Indian, Krishnan Sasikiran held the advantage for a good part of the game against tournament leader Fabiano Caruana, but the World Junior No. 1 hung in tenaciously and got himself a draw. Sasi said, “I was worse in the opening but then had a chance. But in the end I suppose I made some mistake I don’t know. I thought I was winning for a while, but it was a see-saw.” The game ended in a draw after 92 moves and seven hours.
Wesley beat Laznicka in 31 moves and Women’s world champion Yifan took 62 moves for her win over Negi. In the second round of this tournament, when the same players were paired against each other, the whites had won and the same happened on Wednesday in two of the games and in the third white (Sasi) held advantage. Sasikiran’s draw brought him to four points along with Wesley So and Laznicka, while Caruana stayed as the only unbeaten player in the tournament and he now has 5.5 points and his lead stretched to 1.5 points with three rounds to go.
Wesley So needed just 30 moves in a Semi-slav game against Viktor Lazincka to score his second win and it was the quickest decisive result of the tournament. That also pushed him into the second place with Laznicka and both have four points from seven rounds.
Laznicka’s first mistake may well have been playing c5 instead of castling on the 17th and then he compounded it on 25th move with Kh8. That almost sealed his fate. It was only a matter of time after that and he resigned on the 31st. The rain and the change in weather with much cooler temperatures not only brought a positive change in Wesley So’s mood but also changed his fortunes. “When I looked out of the window during the game it was raining for a while. I love the weather to be cool and it did change my mood,” said a laughing Wesley. “It was a long wait for a win after the first one in the first round. At that time I thought I had begun well. But then there was a loss to Viktor and then four draws. Winning after a gap felt very good. I finally managed to get something substantial from the opening. In the past games I was not able to make much headway, maybe I was not good enough. Maybe I was not well prepared for India. I came from Sweden and I had not spent much time,” said Wesley, who is World Junior No. 4. Asked if it felt satisfying to avenge his second round defeat at the hands of Viktor Laznicka, the smiling Filipino added, “It is always nice to avenge a defeat, but I kept thinking others were avenging their defeats against me.”
Yifan who had just half a point in first five rounds, seems to be making some ground in the second half. After a draw in sixth round against Wesley So, she beat Negi in the seventh. “I think the rest day did me good,” said Yifan, who went around the Capital with her coach on the rest day. She has two points and that pushed Negi (1.5) to bottom of the table. Negi continued to be out of form. The Indian National champion, who won his second round against Hou Yifan and then drew against Wesley So in third round, has now lost four games in a row and five in seven rounds. Yifan, who saw Negi opt for the Sicilian once again, this time in the Scheveningen variation, scored her first win of the tournament. “I played badly with too many mistakes in the first four games, but after that the mistakes have become less,” admitted the shy teenaged world champion. “In today’s game I had a better opening, but somewhere in the middle I made a mistake but my opponent missed the chances of a draw.”
There are three more rounds to go in the 10-round Category-17 tournament. The tournament comes to an end on Saturday. Points after seven rounds: 5.5 points – Caruana 4 – Sasikiran, Laznicka and Wesley So 2 – Yifan 1.5 – Negi Results of Seventh round: K Sasikiran drew with F Caruana; W So beat V Laznicka; H Yifan beat Negi P Draw for eighth round: F Caruana v H Yifan; Negi P v W So; V Laznicka v K Sasikiran
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