FIDE World Cup 2017: P Harikrishna bounces back in style to level score, Viswanathan Anand moves into Round 2

What do you do when you are trailing 1-0 in the match and your opponent is rated 150 points above you. Not only that, his rating is 2717 and you have never beaten a 2700+ player in your chess career. Sounds like a horrendous situation to be in, right? It might be the case with most of us, but not for a champion like Karthikeyan Murali. He rose to the occasion and scored a superb win over Grand Master Francesco Vallejo Pons to equalize the scores 1:1 and take the match to a tiebreaker.

"I just didn't take too much pressure," says Karthikeyan. "I told myself that this is not my last tournament and that there are many more events to come in future." This thought process helped the 17-year-old to fight against his much experienced opponent and emerge victorious.

Here's Karthikeyan Murali in conversation after his first win against a 2700-plus opponent:

 FIDE World Cup 2017: P Harikrishna bounces back in style to level score, Viswanathan Anand moves into Round 2

When you are in a must win situation, it is good to rely on classical openings. For Harikrishna, it was the Ruy Lopez. Image courtesy: Amruta Mokal

The game was very well played by Karthikeyan. He played with white against the accelerated Dragon and held a edge throughout the game. However, it was not sufficient to win. Vallejo seemed nervous as he made one inaccuracy after another and Karthikeyan converted the position without too many difficulties.

The Cuban Grand Master Yuri Gonzalez had created the upset of the day by beating Pentala Harikrishna in the first round. He had the chance of a lifetime to advance to round two. He came to the board early, filled up his scoresheet and spoke with his friend Bruzon Batista. Harikrishna on the other hand came to the board early. He sat down and adjusted his pieces. His friend David Navara came to greet him. Harikrishna shook hands, but it was clear that the Indian was in a no-nonsense mode. He wanted the game to begin and he wanted to crush his opponent.

Harikrishna had a new idea prepared in the Breyer. He retreated his bishop to d2, in a position where others had always played Be3. Gonzalez made some errors and gave the Indian Grand Master an outside a-passer. Harikrishna pushed his pawn right upto a7 and finally brought his opponent to his knees.

After the game, Harikrishna quickly moved out from the hall and went to his room. Interviews and questions could wait. He had a more important task to achieve – to win the tiebreaks on Tuesday. For sure, Harikrisha is the favourite to win in the shorter time controls.

Vidit Gujrathi qualified for the second round as he beat Neuris Delgado Ramirez with a score of 1.5-0.5. Image Courtesy: Amruta Mokal

Vidit Gujrathi qualified for the second round as he beat Neuris Delgado Ramirez with a score of 1.5-0.5. Image Courtesy: Amruta Mokal

After Viswanathan Anand had won the first game against Malaysia No 1 Yeoh Li Tian with the black pieces, it seemed as if his progression to the second round would be natural and easy. However, Anand found himself in grave difficulties in the middlegame and at some point was even lost. It was only through some tenacious defending and errors by his young opponent that he was able to salvage the half point. A clearly relieved Anand advanced to the second round, but Yeoh Li Tian was a happy young man. At the age of just 17 years, he held Anand to a draw from the better position. Now that's something not many can boast about.

Here's a short interview with Yeoh Li Tian after his excellent game against Anand:

Anand will face Grand Master Anton Kovalyov in round two.

Vidit Gujrathi was quite depressed after his draw in the first game against Neuris Delgado Ramirez. He came back in the second game with some excellent bit of endgame technique. He was able to completely outplay his opponent and win the endgame in style. Vidit will now face Grand Master Le Quang Liem in the second round.

Here's what Gujrathi had to say after he moved to the second round of the World Cup for the first time:

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AP Sethuraman opened the game with 1.e4 and Ruslan Ponomariov opted for the normal closed Ruy Lopez. The former FIDE World Champion surprised his opponent right on move 9 with 9...a5,

Sethuraman had never seen this move before and that makes his opening play even more creditable.

Sethuraman had never seen this move before and that makes his opening play even more creditable.

After playing some sublime chess, it seemed as if the young grandmaster from Chennai would easily win the game. But he started to falter. As he said after the game, perhaps it was the nervousness combined with time pressure that led him to make one mistake after another. At the end of the day, Ponomariov was also not playing his best chess and made many mistakes, which helped Sethuraman to clinch the victory.

Here's Sethuraman after he knocked out Ponomariov from the World Cup:

B. Adhiban made another tame draw against Nguyen Ngoc Truongson and now will face him in the rapid and blitz tiebreaks. In the interview after the game when Adhiban was asked whether he knew his opponent's blitz rating a few years ago was nearly 2800, the young Grand Master from Chennai replied, "Well then I have to beat him in the rapids!" Always positive - that's B Adhiban for you.

Here's what Adhiban had to say after his game against Nguyen Ngoc Truongson:

Results of Indian players:

White Rating Black Rating
Viswanathan Anand 2794 0.5-0.5 Yeoh Li Tian 2478
Harikrishna 2741 Jan-00 Yuri Gonzalez Vidal 2547
Neuris Ramirez 2614 0-1 Vidit Gujrathi 2702
Adhiban 2670 0.5-0.5 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2629
Sethuraman 2614 Jan-00 Ruslan Ponomariov 2694
Wang Hao 2701 Jan-00 Deep Sengupta 2589
Karthikeyan Murali 2574 Jan-00 Francisco Vallejo Pons 2717

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Updated Date: Sep 08, 2017 22:14:26 IST