India Takes Lead After Round Three

India Takes Lead After Round Three
By Arvind Aaron

India took the lead over China at the end of the third round in the Summit Match at Hyderabad on March 4, 2015. Round three saw three higher rated players lose and one of them made a draw. None of the higher rated players won on either side!

India’s 2.5-1.5 win in round three gave the home team an overall slender 6.5-5.5 lead in the four board Scheveningen match. Five rounds or 20 games remain to be played.

Andhra’s Lalith Babu was the hero of round three as well. He shocked World No.14 Ding Liren with the black pieces. His endgame display was sufficient to defeat the strongest Chinese player in a marathon rook ending.

Posting back to back wins, Lalith Babu has turned the fortunes of the home country. He is leading with a big 2.5/3 personal score among all eight players.

Adhiban shocked Wei Yi with the white pieces. The Chinese player went for the piosoned pawn variation of the Najdorf Sicilian. Adhiban finished him off with a knight sacrifice to win a miniature game.

India expected Sasikiran to win at the start of this round. He is the highest rated Indian and his opponent, Wang Chen was the lowest rating Chinese. However, pawn advances indicated that the Indian was going for the risk. Wang Chen trooped his minor pieces and won a rook for knight which gave China their lone win in a day of upsets.

All three lower rated players winning thus far, the lone higher rated who did not lose the game was Indian champion Sethuraman. He thwarted the passed pawn threat with a well posted knight to draw Zhou Jianchao in 48 moves.

India won the match 2.5-1.5. In round four, the same players meet with the colours reversed. Olympic champions, China would be seeking revenge for the double defeat suffered in a row.