P.K. Ajith Kumar

MUMBAI: For a few seconds, S. Meenakshi did not know why her opponent, Ziaur Rahman stopped the clock. Then, it occurred to her that the fourth seed from Bangladesh was conceding the game; he had just blundered a rook.

This was not long after another Grandmaster R.B. Ramesh blundered a piece and lost against C. Praveen Kumar.

The third round of the ONGC-LIC Commonwealth chess championship at Eskay Resorts here on Wednesday also saw third seed Sandipan Chanda being held to a draw by G.N. Gopal, Wu Shaobin of Singapore losing to N. Sudhakar Babu and Dibyendu Barua sharing a point with Shashikant Kutwal. It wasn't especially a good day for the GMs.

No stopping Short

But there was no stopping the top two seeds, Nigel Short of England and Surya Shekhar Ganguly, India's best bet. While Short made short work of an erratic Saptarshi Roy, Ganguly played a fine game against S. Satyapragyan.

Rahman resigned straight after giving up the rook in a King's Indian Defence game, which lasted 22 moves. Ramesh's misadventure in Nimzo-Indian Defence also ended in 22 moves. "I had miscalculated," said Ramesh.

Ganguly, though, calculated his moves precisely to carve out a 39-move win after employing French Defence. He won in style, sacrificing two exchanges. "This was indeed one of the better games I have played of late," said Ganguly.

Short, playing from the white side of a Sicilian Dragon, did not have to do anything as spectacular. Saptarshi made things easier for him, offering a pawn and then a piece early on. "Interestingly, the games are getting easier for me here by each day," said the former World No.3.

"The higher my opponents' ratings, the worse they are playing. But I know I will get stronger rivals from now on."

Drawn game

The Sicilian Defence game between Chanda and Gopal lasted 103 moves before reaching a rook-pawn rook ending. The two eventually agreed to sign the peace treaty in a theoretically drawn position.

Important results: Third round (Indians unless specified):

Nigel Short (Eng) 3 bt Saptarshi Roy 2; S. Satyapragyan 2 lost to Surya Shekhar Ganguly 3; Sandipan Chanda 2.5 drew with G.N. Gopal 2.5; S. Meenakshi 3 bt Ziaur Rahman (Ban) 2.5; Praveen Thipsay 3 bt Prathamesh Mokal 2; C. Praveen Kumar 3 bt R.B. Ramesh 2; Neelotpal Das 3 bt M.S. Thejkumar 2; Aswin Jayaram 2 lost to Abhijeet Gupta 3; Shashikant Kutwal 2.5 drew with Dibyendu Barua 2.5; M.R. Venkatesh 3 bt K. Priyadarshan 2; Sundararajan Kidambi 3 bt R. Weerawardane (SL) 2; Saimeera Ravi 2 lost to Tejas Bakre 3; Akshayraj Kore 2 lost to P. Karthikeyan 3; G.V. Sai Krishna 2 lost to Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury 3; Abhijit Kunte 2.5 bt Ramkrishna Kashelkar 1.5; Abhishek Das 1.5 lost to J. Deepan Chakravarthy 2.5; Wu Shaobin (Sin) 1.5 lost to N. Sudhakar Babu 2.5; M.K.A. Russell (SL) 1.5 lost to Niaz Murshed (Ban) 2.5; Mary Ann Gomes 1.5 lost to S. Arun Prasad 2.5; S. Vijayalakshmi 2.5 bt Ravi Hegde 1.5; K. Ratnakaran 2 drew with Akshat Khamparia 2; Himanshu Sharma 2.5 bt Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 1.5; C.S. Unni 2 drew with Swati Ghate 2.

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