Indian Grandmaster M Shyam Sundar achieved the best result of his career when he held former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to a creditable draw in the second round of Qatar Masters International Open chess tournament.
Kramnik, who also drew his first round game with Stelios Halkias of Greece, met with a very unusual opening treatment from Shyam Sundar, who found difficult moves before steering the game to a level endgame.
The Reti opening by the Russian stalwart saw Sundar opting to develop and part with both his Bishops early, and although Kramnik could claim to be better, the complexities always remained in a rather wild game. The peace was signed after 41 moves.
GM P Harikrishna maintained a clean slate by defeating Alezander Ipatov of Turkey. With his second victory in as many games, Harikrishna has emerged as the only Indian with a perfect score after two rounds. He is now sharing a 14-way lead in the strongest open tournament of the world.
Harikrishna was in his elements in a one sided contest out of a Queen’s gambit declined. Playing white, the Indian put pressure in the centre in the middle game and Ipatov was forced to part with a piece for two pawns. The technique by Harikrishna thereafter was exquisite as he wrapped up the game in 46 moves.
Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly also came up with a good result in his second game, holding third seed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan to a draw. This one was an Italian game wherein Mamedyarov came up with an early surprise leading to a balanced rook and minor piece endgame where the draw was signed when the repetition was imminent.
Among other Indians in the fray, first round heroes Ankit Rajpara and Neelotpal Das continued with their fine form to draw with higher ranked Daniel Naroditsky of United States and Milos Perunovic of Serbia, respectively. Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta was held to a draw by Xu Jun from China in a game where the Indian got no chances with his black pieces, while B Adhiban suffered his second loss in a row succumbing to Iranian Ahmad Asgarizadeh from a position of strength.
With seven rounds still to go in over $ 1,00,000 prize money tournament, Harikrishna will meet Mikhailo Oleksienko of Ukraine in the third round.