In keeping with their reputation, the teen-trio of D. Gukesh, R. Praggnanandhaa and Nihal Sarin eased into the third round of the FIDE World Cup in Baku, on Thursday when the Indian women had a highly fruitful outing.
Koneru Humpy, D. Harika, R. Vaishali and Divya Deshmukh advanced but Mary Ann Gomes impressed again by making light of a rating difference of over 200 points to hold Kateryna Lagno. Tie-break games will decide the fate of Mary on Friday.
Like Mary, Karthik Venkataraman also punched way above his weight to hold second seed Hikaru Nakamura for the second time.
Despite these sterling performances, the talking point was Gukesh’s second victory, over local Misratdin Iskandrov, that took him past his hero Viswanathan Anand in live rankings to the World No. 9 spot.
Gukesh now faces teammate S. L. Narayanan whose victorious game against Ukraine’s Yuriy Kuzubov was the day’s longest featuring an Indian.
Peter Svidler and Danill Dubov ended the campaigns of Abhimanyu Puranik and B. Adhiban following drawn encounters. Vidit Gujrathi and Arjun Erigaisi will join Karthik in the tie-break games.
Humpy, in a formidable position against teammate N. Priyanka, chose to draw following perpetual checks, Harika came close to check-mating Polish rival Michalina Rudzinska and Divya seized her chance to outwit veteran Hoang Thanh Trang. Vaishali easily gained the half-point needed to advance past French girl Pauline Gulchard.
The results (involving Indians):
Round 2: Game 2:
Men: S. L. Narayanan (2656, 1.5) bt Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 2628, 0.5); Misratdin Iskandrov (Aze, 2551, 0) lost to D. Gukesh (2744, 2); Peter Svidler (FIDE, 2688, 1.5) drew with Abhimanyu Puranik (2605, 0.5); Daniil Dubov (FIDE, 2716, 1.5) drew with B. Adhiban (2587, 0.5); Dimitrios Mastrovasilis (Gre, 2587, 1) drew with Vidit Gujrathi (2719,1); Alex Bachmann (Par, 2604, 0) lost to Nihal Sarin (2688, 2); Arjun Erigaisi (2710, 1) drew with Sergie Azarov (FIDE, 2589, 1); R. Praggnanandhaa (2690, 1.5) drew with Maxime Lagarde (Fra, 2599, 0.5); Karthik Venkataraman (2565, 1) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2789, 1).
Women: Pauline Gulchard (Fra, 2384, 0.5) drew with R. Vaishali (2431, 1.5); Kateryna Lagno (FIDE, 2552, 1) drew with Mary Ann Gomes (2326,1); N. Priyanka (2293, 0.5) drew with K. Humpy (2553, 1.5); D. Harika (2500, 2) bt Michalina Rudzinska (Pol, 2257, 0); Divya Deshmukh (2400,1.5) bt Hoang Thanh Trang (Hun, 2402, 0.5).
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