Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta spiced up the AICF-AAI Cup by defeating tournament leader Anton Korobov of Ukraine in the seventh round that concluded here.
Gupta’s first victory threw the tournament wild open as Korobov remained on four points following his first defeat. The Indian can look forward to an improved finish after a rather sedate start and two back to back loses coming in round five and six.
Krishnan Sasikiran avenged his second round defeat against compatriot Parimarjan Negi in a one-sided affair while Evgeny Alekseev of Russia signed peace with top rated Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland in the other game of the day.
With just three rounds to come in the category-18 double round-robin tournament, Alekseev joined Korobov in lead on four points while Sasikiran now shares the third spot along with Wojtaszek on 3.5 points. Negi and Gupta are now at the bottom of the tables with three points from seven games in the Rs. 1.2 million prize money tournament.
Abhijeet Gupta was seen struggling with his form right through the course of the tournament but against Korobov he showed his true mettle. The opening was a pleasant surprise as Korobov went for the English defense, something that is rarely seen in top level chess.
Abhijeet got a stable advantage by move ten and Korobov soon faltered and blundered a pawn that was happily accepted. Korobov worked and got his counter play in the later stages of the middle game but by then the Ukrainian also ran short of time. Abhijeet clinched the issue with a positional finesse in just 27 moves.
Sasikiran defeated Negi out of a Torre attack that resembled more of a King’s Indian and Ruy Lopez when the middle game arrived. Negi felt the heat in the middle game when he was saddled with a passive position and Sasikiran did not give many chances. Negi finally reached an endgame with a couple of pawns less that did not offer many chances. The games lasted 45 moves.
Alekseev and Wojtaszek were involved in a theoretical discussion in the English attack from a Sicilian Najdorf and it was clear that both players were well armed. Following existing theory Wojtaszek welcomed complexities and Alekseev sacrificed his queen for two pieces to force matters. The Polish had to find some precise moves and he did not make any mistakes. The end result was a draw through repetition.
Results round 7: Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind, 3.5) beat Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 3); Abhijeet Gupta (Ind, 3) beat Anton Korobov (Ukr, 4); Evgeny Alekseev (Rus, 4) drew with Radoslav Wojtaszek (Pol, 3.5).
Pairings round 8: Negi – Alekseev; Korobov – Sasikiran; Wojtaszek – Gupta.
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