VISAKHAPATNAM: The focus was on young IM Abhijeet Gupta after all his three senior Grandmasters were earlier engaged in drawn encounters.
And he rose to the expectations of his camp by wriggling out from a difficult position to hold GM Jianchao Zhou and consequently deny the top-seeded China a clear win as the tie ended in a two-all draw in a fourth round game of the Vizag Steel Asian team chess championship at the Swarna Bharathi Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.
In Grunfeld Defence, Abhijeet salvaged a draw from being apparently down after the opening game as the opponent was a pawn up. “Somehow, he missed some moves and I just hung on to force the game into a rook-bishop and rook-knight ending,” he remarked later.
Interestingly, even as the Indian was engaged in a serious thought of his next move in the end-game, it was his captain Krishnan Sasikiran who called him aside and told him to offer a draw which the Chinese player accepted without any hesitation.
Earlier, GM Sasikiran (ELO 2677) was locked in a draw with the highest-rated player in the event GM Yue Wang (ELO 2698) in a Petroff Defence.
After the mutual exchange of pieces to develop the structure, the Indian’s two rooks on e-file looked to pose a serious threat. But with the end-game slipping into a complicated one, the two agreed for a 31-move draw.
GM Abjijit Kunte settled for a draw against GM Hao Wang despite the opponent having a weak isolated e-pawn.
In another game, GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly forced a draw from the Chinese captain Xiangzhi Bu in another Grunfeld Defence. “He got some advantage in the opening and was soon pawn up. And even in the queen-pawn ending, he was in a winning position being a pawn up. But somehow he missed some moves and that helped me force a draw once I entered my queen to his kingside,” explained Ganguly later.
The results: Fourth round: Men: Afghanistan lost to Uzbekistan 0-4 (Farazi Khaiber lost to Timur Gareev; Sharify Aziz lost to Anton Filippov; Anit Tahah lost to Saidali Iuldachev; Fedaee Habibullah lost to Marat Dzhumaev).
India Reds drew with China 2-2 (Krishnan Sasikiran drew with Yue Wang; S.S. Ganguly drew with Xiangzhi Bu; Abhijit Kunte drew with Hao Wang; Abhijeet Gupta drew with Jianchao Zhou).
Iran lost to Vietnam 1.5-2.5 (Ehsan Maghami Ghaem drew with Truong Son Nguyen Ngoc; Morteza Mahjoob lost to Liem Quang Le; Shojaat Ghane drew with Dung Nguyen Anh; Amin Nasri drew with Hai Dao Thien).
India Blues bt Sri Lanka 3.5-0.5 (J. Deepan Chakravarthy bt Madushanka Telge Peiris Gayan; G. Rohit bt R.M.C.M. Rajapakshe; S. Arun Prasad drew with M.K.A. Russell; Sunil Mokal Prathamesh bt G.C. Anuruddha).
Women: India Reds bt Sri Lanka 3-0 (Nisha Mohota bt B.D.G. Umesha; Tania Sachdev bt A. Rajapaksha; Aarthie Ramaswamy bt G.K. Herath).
China bt Uzbekistan 3-0 (Zhao Xue bt Yulduz Hamrakulova; Qian Huang bt Nafisa Muminova; Yang Shen bt Iroda Khamrakulova).
India Greens lost to Vietnam 0-3 (N.L.V. Anusha lost to Tu Le Thanh; Y.G. Sriharika lost to An Thanh Nguyen Thi; Kanuri Tejaswi lost to Tyram Hoang Thi Bao).
India Blues drew with Iran 1.5-1.5 (Swathi Ghate lost to Atousa Pourkashiyan; Soumya Swaminathan drew with Shadi Paridar; Amruta Mokal bt Shirin Navabi).