Tromso, Norway: Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran kept himself in the hunt by holding Sergey Karjakin of Russia to a draw in the first game of the second round of World Chess Cup here.
After beating Romanian Constantin Lupulescu in the tiebreak games, Sasikiran took it easy in the first encounter of the two-game mini-match and gave little chance to Karjakin, ranked ninth in the world currently.
Grandmaster B Adhiban, however, could not make use of a good advantage and drew with Brazilian GM Alexander Fier after an opening tussle.
After a few surprises in the opener, most of the higher ranked players got off to a good start in the first game of second round in this USD 1.6 million knock-out event.
The day saw top players like Alexander Morozevich and Alexander Grischuk of Russia, Gata Kamsky of United States, Anish Giri of Holland and Fabiano Caruana of Italy registering victories over lower rated opponents.
Julio Granda Zuniga of Peru, however, sprang a major surprise defeating Hungarian Peter Leko.
Former national champion, Sasikiran surprised Karjakin by going for the King's Indian attack as white.
Karjakin spent more time in the opening but it was clear that the Russian was well-prepared and was only trying to remember the best moves. As the middle game approached, Karjakin got his counter play rolling on the queen side and Sasikiran had to play a bit cautiously to avoid giving any leeway.
The minor pieces changed hands and when Karjakin traded the queens after which there was nothing left to fight for.
The Russian proposed the draw that was accepted. The game lasted 44 moves.
Adhiban missed out on gaining the lead. Fier came up with the Noteboom variation where the Indian opted for the razor-sharp Marshall Gambit. Very early in the opening, Fier decided to part with his rook for a minor piece. In established theory that was quite unplayable and the Brazilian was soon under pressure.
The game, however, took a different route and Adhiban as a result spent a lot of time in the middle game, thereby falling a little under time pressure. Sensing trouble, the Indian proposed a draw after just 20 moves which Fier gladly accepted.
The World Chess Cup is a part of the next World Championship cycle. The event started with 128 players but half of them were knocked out after the first round, including Parimarjan Negi and G Akash of India.
Each round, except the final, is a mini-match of two games followed by encouters of shorter duration in case of tied result.
Important and Indian results of Round 2 game 1: Igor Lysyj (RUS) drew with Levon Aronian (ARM); Evgeny Tomashevsky (RUS) beat So Wesley (PHI); Alexander Morozevich (RUS) beat Rafael Leitao (GER); Gata Kamsky (USA) beat Aleksandr Shimanov (RUS); Alexei Shirov (LAT) drew with Wei Yi (CHN); Alexander Grischuk (RUS) beat Dariusz Swiercz (POL); Krishnan Sasikiran (IND) drew with Sergey Karjakin (RUS); Fabiano Caruana (ITA) beat Yu Yangyi (CHN); Julio Granda Zuniga (PER) beat Peter Leko (HUN); Anish Giri (NED) beat Li Chao (CHN); Leinier Dominguez Perez (CUB) beat Alexander Onischuk (USA); Ray Robson (USA) lost to Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR); Hikaru Nakamura (USA) beat beat Eltaj Safarli (AZE); B Adhiban (IND) drew with Alexandr Fier (BRA); Anotn Korobov (UKR) beat Baadur Jobava (GEO).