Tania Sachdev worked hard for a deserving victory over fifth-seeded Polish Grandmaster Dariusz Sweircz in 72 moves and Surya Shekhar Ganguly escaped defeat with a fine display of defensive skills against Ukrainian Zahar Efimenko in the third round of the Tata Steel chess tournament at Wijk aan Zee, in Holland on Monday.

In the elite Group ‘A’, American Hikaru Nakamura (2.5 points) squeezed out a hard-earned 93-move victory over Alexei Shirov for a half-point lead Viswanathan Anand, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Anish Giri.

Before Anand and Nepmniachtichi drew their games, Giri stunned world number one Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in just 22 moves. Anand, playing black against Dutch player Erwin L’Ami, settled for a 31-move draw in an insipid positional warfare. Much before Anand signed peace in an equal position, Carlsen resigned in just 90 minutes of playing some incredibly ordinary chess. With Giri not required to do anything special, Carlsen lost a knight and gave up.

In Group ‘B’, Ganguly effectively used his bishop against Efimenko’s rook in the endgame to salvage half a point and reached 1.5 points for a share of the fifth spot. England’s Luke McShane leads with three points.

In Group ‘C’, Tania scored her second unexpected victory after taking her time to find a winning plan against Swiercz. She held a two-pawn advantage in the endgame but needed to proceed precisely to complete an important triumph. She now shares the third spot with three others at two points. Italy’s Daniele Vocaturo and Ukraine’s Katerina Lahno jointly lead with 2.5 points.

The results (third round): Group ‘A’: Erwin L’Ami (Ned, 1.5) drew with Viswanathan Anand (2); Jan Smeets (Ned, 1.5) lost to Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr, 1.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1) lost to Anish Giri (Ned, 2); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 1.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 1.5); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 2) drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 1); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) drew with Wang Hao (Chn, 1); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2.5) bt Alexei Shirov (Esp, 0.5).

More In: Other Sports | Sport