Chess World Cup: Winning start for Anand; Hari, Karthikeyan lose

Anand now needs at least a draw with white pieces in the second game of Round One to advance in the premier competition.

Viswanathan Anand made a winning start in the Chess World Cup at Tbilisi, Georgia. (File Image)   -  Special arrangement

As expected, Viswanathan Anand made a winning start in the World Cup but country’s second-best player P. Hari Krishna crashed to a stunning loss on a mixed day for the Indians here on Sunday.

Playing black, Anand needed 66 moves to tame Malaysian teenager Li Tian Yeoh in their Sicilian game. In the middle game, Yeoh chose to trade his queen for a rook and a knight but failed to get enough compensation. Eventually, Anand’s queen proved too strong in the end game. He managed to push his queen-rook pawn to the seventh rank. At this point, Yeoh gave up.

Anand now needs at least a draw with white pieces in the second game of Round One to advance in the premier competition. All other Indians, barring Hari and National champion M. Karthikeyan, drew their opening games.

Earlier, Hari lost to Cuba’s Yuri Gonzalez Vidal in 36 moves. He faces a must-win situation on Monday in the second game with white pieces.

In an equal battle, Hari’s decision to go for a kingside pawn on the 20th move turned the scales dramatically in favour of Yuri. He saw the precise continuation and, in the endgame, involving queens and a rook each, moved within three moves of delivering a checkmate when the Indian resigned on the 36th turn.

Karthikeyan battled hard against Span’s Francisco Vallejo Pons until the players were left with a rook and two pawns each. Vallejo offered his rook to ‘queen’ and soon, the Indian gave up after 64 moves.

Deep Sengupta came up with a creditable draw against higher-rated Chinese Wang Hao in 34 moves. Vidit Gujrathi could not get much with white pieces against Paraguay’s Neuris Delgado Ramirez and settled for a draw in 32 moves.

B. Adhiban, playing black, signed peace in 15 moves with Vietnam’s Ngyuen Ngoc Truong Son while S. P. Sethuraman took a move more to reach a similar agreement with Ruslan Ponomariov.

The results:

Round One: Game One (involving Indians):  Li Tian Yeoh (Malaysia, 2478) lost to Viswanathan Anand (2794); Yuri Ganzalez Vidal (Cuba, 2547) bt P. Hari Krishna (2741); Vidit Gujrathi (2702) drew with Neuris Delgado Ramirez (Paraguay, 2614); Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vietnam, 2629) drew with B. Adhiban (2670); Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2694) drew with S. P. Sethuraman (2617); Deep Sengupta (2589) drew with Wang Hao (China, 2701); Francisco Vallejo Pons (Spain, 2717) bt M. Karthikeyan (2574).