Chess: Sasikiran stunned by Gabriel Sargissen

Rediff, India
Jan 30 2004

Sasikiran stunned by Gabriel Sargissen

January 31, 2005 21:23 IST

Overnight joint-leader Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran slipped to
joint 10th spot after a shocking defeat at the hands of GM Gabriel
Sargissen of Armenia in the sixth round of the master’s section in
the Gibtele.Com chess festival in Gibraltar.

With four rounds still to come in the event, Sargissen emerged the
sole leader with five points. He is followed by top seed Alexei
Shirov of Spain, Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, Kiril Georgiev
of Bulgaria, Levon Aronian of Armenia, Alexey dreev of Russia, Zahar
Efimenko of Ukraine, Vasilios Kotronias of Greece and the Israeli duo
of Emil Sutovsky and Boris Avrukh, who all have 4.5 points apiece.

Sasikiran is next in line with four points and giving him company
among others are Ian Rogers of Australia, Alexander Areshcheko of
Ukraine and Kevin Spraggett of Canada.

The highest-rated Indian after Viswanathan Anand will meet Sweidish
GM Pia Cramling in the next round and a victory there can still put
Sasikiran back in the race for the title.

Sasikiran was a little over-ambitious in the middle game against
Sargissen. Playing the Neo-Grunfeld opening as black, Sasikiran had a
balanced position in the middle game and he tried to create imbalance
with quite original planning and it was on the 28th move that the
game took a decisive turn as Sargissen went ahead with complications,
accepting a temporary pawn sacrifice by his opponent.

Sasikiran had optical advantage for some time during the game when he
found fine attacking manoeuvres to leave Sargissen in trouble.

However, as the position simplified, Sargissen emerged on top as
Sasikiran was subjected to a typical case of divided forces, with
little co-ordination. Sasikiran still gave a tough fight but the dye
was already cast. The game lasted 64 moves.

Interestingly, apart from Sargissen, Greek Vasilios Kotronias was the
only winner on the top 10 boards while all the remaining games ended
in draws.

Kotronias defeated Bragi Thorfinnsson of Iceland in a fine positional
game arising out of a Sicilian defence.

Kotronias got a vice-like grip right after the opening and consistent
play thereafter netted him the full point after 37 moves.

It was a tame affair on the top board as former World junior champion
Kiril Georgiev of Bulgaria played it safe against
Latvian-born-Spaniard Alexei Shirov. Playing just too safe against
the Slav, Georgiev employed a tested variation and had no troubles in
maintaining the balance in this 30-move encounter.

United States’ champion Hikaru Nakamura drew with Levon Aronian of
Armenia in an interesting game. Playing white, Nakamura accepted the
Marshall gambit and then showed resourceful play in the middle game
to come out a little better. However, Aronian was quite up to the
task in defence and after tactical manoeuvring, ensured the draw.

In other important games of the day, Alexei Dreev was held to a draw
by Avrukh while Emil Sutovsky had to share the point with Efimenko.

Important results round 6:

Kiril Georgiev (Bul, 4.5) drew with Alexei Shirov (Esp, 4.5); Alexey
Dreev (Rus, 4.5) drew with Boris Avrukh (Isr, 4.5); Hikaru Nakamura
(Usa, 4.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 4.5); Emil Sutovsky (Isr,
4.5) drew with Zahar Efimenko (Ukr, 4.5); Gabriel Sargissen (Arm, 5)
beat Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind, 4); Pia Cramling (Swe, 4) drew with Ian
Rogers (Aus, 4); Kevin Spraggett (Can, 4) drew with Colin Mcnab (Sco,
4); Vasilios Kotronias (Gre, 4.5) beat Bragi Thorfinnssson (Isl,
3.5); Evgeny Postny (Isr, 4) drew with Hamad Al-Tamimi (Qat, 4); A.
R. Saleh Jasim (Uae, 4) drew with Jonathan Speelman (Eng, 4);
Kateryna Lahno (Ukr, 4) drew with Peter Wells (Eng, 4); Stefan
Kristjansson (Isl, 3.5) drew with Mohamed Al Sayed (Qat, 4); Joanna
Dworakowska (Pol, 3) lost to Alexander Areshchenko (Ukr, 4); Juan
Manuel Bellon Lopez (Esp, 3) lost to Hicham Hamdouchi (Mar, 4);
Sergey Erenburg (Isr, 3.5) drew with Richard Pert (Eng, 3.5); Mark
Hebden (Eng, 3) lost to Sergio Estremera (Esp, 4); Gabriel Del Rio
(Esp, 4) beat Bjorn Thorfinnsson (Isl, 3).