India’s chances of having a participant in the fourth round of the Fide Chess World Cup hang in the balance after both P Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi lost their respective third round opening games in Khanty-Mansiysk on Monday.

Harikrishna, playing black against lower-ranked Kirill Alekseenko, suffered his first loss of the tournament as the Russian built on the Italian Opening to tighten the noose against the Indian and won in 52 moves.

In the other match, Gujrathi tried his best to prolong the inevitable from slightly inferior rook-pawn endgame to go down in 93 moves against Wesley So of USA.

The two will now need to win the second game with white pieces to force the third round into a tiebreak.