Asian champion Parimarjan Negi snatched half a point as he drew with top seed Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland with black pieces in the AICF-AAI Cup category-18 chess tournament at the AAI Officers Institute, Safdarjung Airport, here on Friday.
Negi had made an error in the end game following the Grunfeld defence, but wriggled out, thanks to his strong preparation.
“I played a home-cooked idea which worked quite well for me in the middle game as I equalised. It should have been an easy draw but I made the error that gave Radek some chances”, said Negi.
The Polish GM tried hard but ran short of time, and a draw was agreed after 50 moves.
Abhijeet Gupta played an exciting game, but failed to capitalise on the advantage, after exchanging a knight for a light bishop against the higher ranked K. Sasikiran.
“'I was thinking that I was perhaps slightly worse but his plan allowed me to get a level position just when I was a little worried”', conceded Sasikiran.
Gupta had an easy draw, but got into trouble as he blundered a rook for a minor piece.
“I just did not notice I was losing the rook and by now we were also both running short of time.
“I thought it was over but just hung on and then Sasi did not play precisely”, said Gupta.
Sasikiran sacrificed the extra material to remain a pawn ahead, but the game had reached an opposite colour bishops ending. Gupta was under pressure but gave another pawn to wriggle out of problems and the players agreed for a draw after 52 moves.
The third match between Anton Korobov of Ukraine and Evgeny Alekseev of Russia also ended in a draw, as the players repeated the same position three times, in the 42-move encounter.
Alekseev had an extra pawn, but Korobov handled the game nicely to force the draw.
The results (first round): Radoslav Wojtaszek (Pol) drew with Parimarjan Negi; Abhijeet Gupta drew with K. Sasikiran; Evgeny Alekseev (Rus) drew with Anton Korobov (Ukr).