China Stretches Lead At Hyderabad
By Arvind Aaron
Two defeats in rounds five and six have given China a huge edge over India in the India v China Summit Clash at Hyderabad. The 2.5-1.5 defeat in round five was a normal score in this event but the sixth round defeat by 3-1 margin is both hurting to the morale of the team and the fans alike.
Two back-to-back wins in the fifth and sixth rounds have placed China in the driver’s seat in the Indo-China Summit Match that is taking place at Hyderabad.
China were favourites into this match and both Sethuraman and Lalith Babu have done well. With two rounds still remaining in the match, China are well placed with a 13.5-10.5 lead. They need just three points from the remaining two rounds or eight games to win the event which is played for the Komatireddy Prateek Reddy Trophy.
Among the Indians, Sethuraman (4/6) and M.R. Lalith Babu (3/6) are playing above their expected scores while Sasikiran (1.5/6) and Adhiban (2/6) are playing well below their known levels.
For China, World No.14 Ding Liren is performing to expectations with 4/6. Zhou Jianchao has hit a 2707 rating performance with 3.5/6. International Master Wang Chen (rating 2500) has scored 50% at 3/6 to play at 2620. The only Chinese who has not lived to expectations is Wei Yi with 3/6 and is playing at 98 Elo below his level.
The India-China Summit is for the Komati Reddy Prateek Reddy Trophy organised by the Telangana Chess Association. The prizes are Rs.600,000 to the winner and Rs.400,000 to the loser. It is sponsored by the All India Chess Federation.
Zhou Jianchao made a 2-0 score against Adhiban. Adhiban never obtained anything against the mixed ideas of the Najdorf Sicilian used by the Chinese player. Sethuraman was a pawn down but never in danger as opposite colour bishops ensured that he drew in 50 moves against Wang Chen.
Sasikiran faced the Benko gambit from Ding Liren. In the queen and rook ending that followed Sasikiran’s pawn storm, the players repeated the position and drew in 58 moves. Wei Yi obtained a two pawn advantage on the king side in the rook ending that gave him victory over Lalith Babu in 55 moves.
Round six: B Adhiban lost to Zhou Jianchao, Wang Chen drew with Sethuraman, Sasikiran drew with Ding Liren and M.R. Lalith Babu lost to Wei Yi.
The second half had started disastrously for the Indians. Zhou Jianchao beat Adhiban in a rook ending after winning a pawn. Ding Liren hunted down Sasikiran’s king in 46 moves after sacrificing two pawns and luring the black queen from its defensive role.
Sethuraman gave the Indians something to cheer about in his 68-move victory over Wang Chen. Sethuraman converted with an extra exchange against knight and pawn. Wei Yi offered a draw on move 30 which Lalith Babu accepted. The players were left with a rook and three pawns on the same side at that juncture.
Round five: Zhou Jianchao beat B Adhiban, Sethuraman beat Wang Chen, Ding Liren beat Sasikiran, Lalith Babu drew with Wei Yi.