Indian challenge in the World Chess Cup ended abruptly after three of their Grandmasters wilted under pressure and lost their must-win games in Khanty Mansiysk (Russia).
Grandmasters Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Krishnan Sasikiran and Sandipan Chanda lost their return games with identical 0-2 margins against their respective opponents to bow out of the prestigious event.
All the three Indians out of the seven that started the tournament had lost the first game and needed victories in their return games to remain in the fray.
Sandipan Chanda went for the King's Indian defense but it did not turn out be a good tactic against Russian Dmitry Jakovenko who seized the initiative early in the middle game.
Chanda tried in vain for counterplay by sacrificing a pawn but ended up losing another in quick time. The Russian gave no chance to the Indian thereafter and wrapped up the game.
Asian champion Ganguly faced the Chabonenko Slav against Wang Hao of China who played black.
The opening saw the Indian relishing a little advantage that was quickly neutralized by Hao through the exchange of queens in the middle game.
An error forced Ganguly to part with a pawn and his Chinese opponent seized the opportunity to get the upper hand. The final endgame was with two Bishops and pawns in which Ganguly's lack of material had the decisive say.
Krishnan Sasikiran could have possibly agreed to a draw against Etienne Bacrot of France but the Indian took the practical approach and tried hard to level scores from a Botwinnink Slav.
Sasikiran had two pieces against white's rook and a pawn out of the opening but the versatile position of his king was a matter of concern. The Indian went for a queen side counter that was sufficient to equalise but when he tried for more, Bacrot's tactical tricks gave him full points.
The biggest upset of the Cup was, however, recorded by Philippino teenager Wesley So when he showed stalwart Vassily Ivanchuk the exit door.
Having won the first game with black, Wesley was clinical in his approach and got an easy draw to move to the third round.
Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan and Russian Alexander Morozevich were the other stars who will have to pack their bags.
Radjabov drew and went down 0.5-1.5 against compatriot Konstantine Sakaev while Morozevich lost against Viktor Laznicka for the second day running.