Khanty Mansiysk, Russia:Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran played out an easy draw with Polish GM Bartlomiej Macieja in the first game of the third round of the Chess World Cup in Russia.
After a lot of hard work in the first two matches that were stretched to the tiebreak stage, Sasikiran will look forward to an improved performance in the return game in the last 32 stage against Macieja, who has performed way above expectations.
The tournament started with 128 players including five Indians and Sasikiran emerged as the lone Indian survivor after the first round.
The biggest upset since the ouster of Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov came in the third round when Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria, more famous as second of compatriot former World champion Veselin Topalov, outplayed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.
The first day of the third round produced just four decisive games out of a possible 16. Besides, Cheparinov the other winners were Gata Kamsky of United States, Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia and Wang Yue of China.
Sasikiran, had little troubles with his black pieces as he used an idea introduced by fellow Indian P Harikrishna a few years back in the Slav defense.
While Harikrishna had used it effectively against Ivan Sokolov in the Essent tournament of 2005, Sasikiran found it tempting enough to get an easy half point yet again.
It was one of the most popular variation of the Slav wherein the pawn sacrifice comes.
Interestingly, white manages to reach an endgame soon after gobbling the pawn but the nature of the position gives black adequate compensation which was exactly the case when Macieja shared the point. The game lasted just 29 moves.
The victory with white leaves Cheparinov knocking on the pre-quarterfinal gates in this knockout championship and he is now just a draw away.
Kamsky had it easy against Bulgarian Kirl Georgiev, Jakovenko defeated Zoltan Almasi of Hungary while all Chinese duel between Wang Yue and Bu Xiangzhi ended in favour of the former. All the four winners of day one of third round go with a huge advantage in the return games.