Despite suffering a few jittery moments, Viswanathan Anand managed to get the better of Malaysia’s Li Tian Yeoh to book his place in the second round of the Chess World Cup on Monday. Another Indian SP Sethuraman has also moved to the round two with a win against former champion Ruslan Ponmariov.
Anand started off really well and was superior in all departments of the game. The Alapin opening by the Malaysian failed to test the Indian ace much as he gained easy equality early in the opening stages of the game. With the progression of the game, Anand got a slight advantage and once on top, the former World Champion destructed all possible counter-play as his Queen proved superior to the two pieces.
On the other hand, the second highest-rated Indian, P Harikrishna, suffered a defeat at the hands of Cuban Grandmaster Yuri Vidal Gonzales. The Indian played with the black and the opened with a Petroff defense, Harikrishna had to pay the price as Gonzales got on top with his fine play in the middle game. Harikrishna now needs to win the return match and then win the tie-breaker as well to keep his chances alive in the 128-player knockout event.
The other Indians in the fray also had a decent outing today. Grandmaster Vidit Gujarathi, who recently became the fourth Indian to break into the 2700 rating club, secured a draw against Neuris Ramirez Delgado of Paraguay.
Grandmaster B Adhiban played out a draw with Vietnam’s Nguyen Ngoc Troung Son while Deep Sengupta did well to hold Wang Hao of China. SP Sethuraman beat former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov 1.5- 0.5 while Murali Karthikeyan went down to the experienced Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain.
It is also worth noting that this World Cup is Anand’s last chance to be a part of the next World Championship cycle and he has to qualify for the final to be in contention for the next Candidate’s Tournament. The road is not expected to be that easy for the 47-year-old from round three onward when he is likely to meet