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Sasikiran's second win lights up India's day

MOSCOW, FEB. 20. Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran recorded his second straight victory humbling Grandmaster Mahamad Al-Modiahki of Qatar in the fifth round of the Aeroflot International Open chess tournament here today. The victory helped Sasikiran to a fifty per cent score after he started off with two losses and a draw.

However, it turned out to be a bad day for the other two Indians in the strongest open event of the world. In the `A1' section, National champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Sandipan Chanda suffered setbacks against Arkaditsch Naiditsch of Germany and Zoltan Gyimesi of Hungary respectively.

Meanwhile, a tactically agile Emil Sutovsky of Israel crushed Ukrainian Alexander Areshchenko to join overnight leader Andrei Kharlov of Russia who drew his game with Moldavian Viktor Bologan, a former champion of the event.

In the US $30,000 first prize tournament, both Sutovsky and Kharlov have 4.5 points apiece and are followed by Russian Sergey Volkov and Bologan who have 4 points each in their kitty. A pack of 14 players are next in line with 3.5 points from five games while another 20 are queued up next on 3 points with four rounds still remaining.

In the `A2' section, Grandmaster Tejas Bakre put it across International Master Ashot Nadanian of Armenia to take his tally to an impressive 3.5 points. The lead in this section is currently held by as many as 11 players who have four points each and Bakre is in a pack of 21 players who are on the heels of the leaders.

The other Indians in `A2' did well, barring youngster Parimarjan Negi who lost an engrossing battle against Dmitry Andreikin of Russia. S Kidambi was in his elements defeating Russian Dmitri Sokolov who played black. Getting a subtle advantage in the middle game, Kidambi had it easy right till the very end to move to 2.5 points.

Woman Grandmaster Eesha Karavade recorded another fine performance from an Indian perspective as she beat Russian grandmaster Petr Tishin who was at his wits end to find the right manoeuvres against some fast and correct play by the Indian. Also emerging victorious was former Asian Junior girls champion Tania Sachdev who drew with another Russian, Konstantin Mesropov, also an International Master. After three straight losses in the preceding rounds, Sachdev got some consolation and she still has some chances of getting her final Woman Grandmaster norm.

In the `B' group, played simultaneously, International Master Dinesh Sharma drew with Maria Kursova of Russia. After 6 rounds in this section, Elmir Guseinov of Russia emerged as the sole leader on 5.5 points while Sharma is on 3.5.

Sutovsky was a class act in cruising past Areshchenko. It was a Sicilian Nazdorf and Areshchenko's safety-first approach did not make things easy for him as Sutovsky guided almost all the pieces against the enemy king and won a piece after a tactical oversight by his opponent. The rest was easy as the Israeli romped home in 47 moves. Kharlov and Bologan drew a tense game, while in other important clash of the day Volkov outclassed Dutchman Loek Van Wely.

The results (fifth round):

`A1' section: Viktor Bologan (4) drew with Andrei Kharlov (4.5); Alexander Areshchenko (3.5) lost to Emil Sutovsky (4.5); Alexander Khalifman (3.5) drew with Etienne Bacrot (3.5); Vassily Ivanchuk (3.5) drew with Pavel Eljanov (3.5); Vladimir Akopian (3.5) drew with Mikhail Kobalia (3.5); Sergey Volkov (4) bt Loek Van Wely (3); Ni Hua (3.5) drew with Alexander Motylev (3.5); Konstantin Sakaev (3.5) bt Aleksei Lugovoi (Rus, 3); Vladimir Malakhov (3.5) bt Gabriel Sargissen (2.5); Tigran Petrosian (3.5) bt Pavel Smirnov (Rus, 2.5); Zahar Efimenkov (3.5) bt Alexander Beliavsky (2.5); Valerij Fzagpov (3.5) bt David Alberto (2.5); Dmitry Bocharov (3) bt Robert Kempinski (2); Evgeniy Najer (3) bt Vasilios Kotronias (2); Arkadij Naiditsch (3) bt Surya Shekhar Ganguly (Ind, 2); Sandipan Chanda (Ind, 2) lost to Zoltan Gyimesi (Hun, 3); Mohamad Al-Modiahki (Qat, 1.5) lost to Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind, 2.5).

`A2' section: Arsen Yegiazarian (4) drew with Alexei Iljushin (Rus, 4); Evgeny Vorobiov (4) drew with Rauf Mamedov (4); Wang Hao (3.5) drew with Sergei Dyachkov (3.5); Denis Khismatullin (3.5) drew with Jaroslav Ulko (3.5); Anton Filippov (3) lost to Vladimir Otkin (4); Dzhakay Dzhakaev (3) lost to Vyacheslav Ikonnikov (4); Konstantin Lerner (4) bt Alexander Slizhevsky (3); Boris Savchenko (3) lost to Leonid Yurtaev (4); Akhmetov Artiom (3) lost to Ildar Kharullin (4); Sergey Zagerbelny (4) bt Igor Z Aitsev (3); Ashot Nadanian (2.5) lost to Tejas Bakre (3.5); Dmitry Andreikin (3) bt Parimarjan Negi (2); S. Kidambi (Ind, 2.5) bt Dmitri Sokolov (1.5); Petr Tishin (1.5) lost to Eesha Karavade (2.5); Tania Sachdev (Ind, 1.5) drew with Konstantin Mesropov (1.5) — PTI.

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