Indian Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi and S P Sethuraman bowed out of the Chess World Cup after defeats against Ding Liren of China and Anish Giri of Holland respectively in the tiebreak games of the third round. The ouster of the last two remaining Indians ended the challenge in the biennial event. Earlier, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, B Adhiban, P Harikrishna, Murali Karthikeyan and Deep Sengupta had lost in the knockout event.
Sethuraman was the closest to advancing to the pre- quarter-final but he was unlucky in the second game under normal time control.
After attaining a winning position, the Indian could not hold on to his nerves and allowed Giri to get away with a half point after some subtle defence.
It was a tough battle for Gujrathi in the rapid tiebreak games. After drawing the first game, the Indian was looking fine in the second rapid game but Ding Liren came up with a fine plan to win a piece.
While the position was still volatile, the Chinese was quite up to the task in converting his extra material into a full point. Gujrathi, who had been at the top his game thus far in this world cup, lost by 1.5-2.5 margin.
The third round, in fact, witnessed the biggest chunk of upsets in this World Cup as world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and highly regarded Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Hikaru Nakamura of United States bowed out of the competition.
For Carlsen it was a tough call to win with black on demand against BU Xiangzhi of China and the Chinese drew quite effortlessly to sail into the next round under normal game itself.
The shocker was the ouster of Kramnik at the hands of former star Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine who rose up just in time to remind the world that he cannot be ruled out.
Nakamura fell prey to some adventurous play against Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia.
Sethuraman was quite unlucky as he failed to convert a winning position against Anish Giri under normal time control.
Therapid tiebreaker was evenly matched as Giri won the first game and Sethuraman equalised but once it reached the 10-minute game, Giri was a cut above as he first won with the white piece and then was spot on to find the counter play and win another game as black.
The World Chess cup started with 128 participants including seven Indians under knockout format. There are two games under normal time control in each round followed by tiebreak games to determine the winner.
The total prize fund is USD 1.6 million and the top two players from here qualify to the next candidates' tournament.
The Indian challenge has ended but Anand can still find his place in the candidates' tournament if the Indian ace can get a wild card.
The Candidates tournament is scheduled to be held in Berlin to decide the challenger for Magnus Carlsen in the 2018 World Championship match.
Important results, Round 3 game 1:
Magnus Carlsen (Nor) lost to Bu Xiangzhi (Chn); Alexander Onischuk (USA) lost to Peter Svidler (Rus); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Anish Giri (Ned) beat S P Sethuraman (Ind);; Francisco Vallejo Pons (Esp) lost to Wesley So (USA); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) lost to Baadur Jobava (Geo); Maxim Rodshtein (Isr) w/o Anton Kovalyov (Can); Ding Liren (Chn) beat Vidit Gujrathi (Ind).