HOLLAND: Grandmaster and Asian champion Parimarjan Negi came back into the reckoning with a crushing victory over Thijs Roorda of Holland in the third round of the 6th Leiden International chess tournament here.
After drawing the second round game with white pieces against Sjef Rinaarts, Negi started as a huge favourite against Roorda and this time, his white pieces proved too much for the lower rated Dutch opponent.
The victory elevated Negi to joint fourth spot in the nine-round tournament. The lead is shared by seasoned Grandmaster Bortosz Socko of Poland, British hope David Howell and young Dutchman Benjamin Bok who all have three points each in their kitty from as many games.
Negi with 2.5 points shares the fourth spot along with 12 players including fellow Grandmasters S Kidambi and S Arun Prasad.
Kidambi could not really do much against local hopeful Herman Van Halderen and played out a draw playing black while Belgian Reinaert Verstraeten could not match the skills of Arun Prasad.
The other Indian GM in the fray – M R Lalith Babu continued with his comeback attempt after an indifferent start and downed Oscar Iturbide Arnedo of Spain to reach two points.
It turned out to be an easy day for Negi who faced the French defense. The Indian star went for the latest love – the Advance variation – and seized the control in quick time in the ensuing middle game.
By the 15th move itself, Roorda was facing a very difficult task and just a few moves later, Negi knocked down a pawn to exert more pressure. Roorda finally managed to trade a few pieces to ease the position but Negi picked up another pawn to romp home in just 35 moves.
Kidambi went for the Grunfeld defense as black against Halderen and faced a topical variation leading to dynamic play.
Halderen went for these complication at the cost of a wrecked pawn structure on the king side and his strategy paid off as Kidambi felt the heat and entered a slightly worse endgame after trading off the queens. The resulting position offered little chances to the Indian and peace was signed after 44 moves.
At the top of the table, Predrag Nikolic of Bosnia was held to a draw by Polish Michael Luch wherein the latter defended accurately. In other interesting games of the day, Holland’s Edwin Van Haastert went down to Socko while another Dutch Frank Erwich was beaten by David Howell.