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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

World Jr Chess: India Starts Well

Pune: India's Vidit Santosh Gujrathi got off to a flying start by quickly winning the first round of the World Junior Chess Championship which commenced at Hotel Hyatt on Monday, defeating compatriot Ritviz Parab.

Second seed Robin Van Kampen also quickly won his game against Jan Rindlisbacher of Switzerland with black pieces in 28 moves after adopting the Sicilian Defence.

FM Rakesh Kumar Jena, rated 2164, created a flutter when he held higher rated and 10th seed GM Grigoryan of Russia to a draw after 30 moves of a Sicilian Defence.

Vidit, the fourth seed, playing with black pieces, opted for a super sharp Sicilian defence against the King Pawn Opening. 





"I had decided to play aggressively and I am happy that my gamble played off as I managed to get an advantageous position early on," said Vidit.

A tentative and timid pawn push in the centre on the 15th turn by Ritviz had Vidit immediately pushing his pawn more boldly in the centre to get advantage.

Another wrong queen move on the next turn had Vidit smelling victory and his queen, rook and knight soon swung into action to decide the game in his favour after 23 moves. 


India's Padmini Rout obtains easy win over Turkova Karolina of Slovakia.
Iranian FM Amir Kousarania (2331) missed his flight and hence was not paired in the first round. He will begin his campaign from the second round. 

The highlight of Day 1
Ten-year old Nihal Sarin, the freshly crowned World-Under 10 champion, stole the limelight with a 94-move victory over higher ranked IM Jonathan Westerberg of Sweden as the LIC-sponsored World Junior Chess championship got underway here Monday.
Nihal said: "Obviously, today's match was a very tough as it lasted so many moves, but there was no tension and I enjoyed it very much."

Interestingly, it was the very first time that Nihal played against a titled player though his handling of two pieces for his opponent's rook in a Bogo Indian Defence defied his age and experience.

Collectively, it was a good day for Indians with GM Sahej Grover, GM Ankit Rajpara, IM Aravindh Chithabamram, IM Diptayan Ghosh and IM Sayantan Das, IM Shardul Gagare scoring victories over their lesser rated opponents.

Top two seeds Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia and Aseed Robin Van Kampen also scored effortless victories even as favourites fumbled in the very first round which is very unusual in a Swiss League tournament of this magnitude

FM Rakesh Kumar Jena, rated 2164, created a flutter when he held higher-rated and 10th seed GM Grigoryan of Russia to a draw after 30 moves of a Sicilian Defence.

Untitled Sai Vishwesh also rose to the occasion and held 14th seed GM Nijat Abasov of Azerbaijan to a draw in a Spanish Opening game which lasted 50 moves.
The biggest upset of the day was the loss of 19th seed IM Murali Karthikeyan (2499) who went down to his Tamil Nadu state-mate Siva Mahadevan.

The Girls section was a sedate affair with most of the higher rated players cruising through with victories. Padmini Rout, the highest rated Indian in fray, scored over Karolina Turkova. WIM Zhao Mo of China defeated WFM San Diego Marie Antoinette. -- Agencies

Important Round One results (Indians unless specified):
Boys: Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus) bt M Chakravarthi Reddy; Jan Rindlisbacher (Sui) lost to Robin Van Kampen (Ned); Wei Yi (Chn) bt A Muthaiah; Parab Ritviz lost to Vidit Santosh Gujrathi; Cori Jorge (Per) bt Konstantinos Megalios (Gre); Pranav Shetty lost to Duda Jan-Krzysztof (Pol); Benjamin Bok (Ned) bt Erik Ronka (Fin); Utkal Ranjan Sahoo lost to Karen Grigoryan (Arm); Aleksandar Indjic (Srb) bt Samir Sen (Usa); Rakesh Kumar Jena drew with Grigoriy Oparin (Rus); Vladislav Kovalev (Blr) bt Slaven Pastar (Bih); D Yashas drew with Kamil Dragun (Pol); Lu Shanglei (Chn) bt P Iniyan; C Sai Vishwesh drew with Nijat Abasov (Aze); Mikhail AAntipov (Rus) bt Fong Yit San (Mas); Rodrigo Mendoza (Bol) lost to Idani Pouya (Iri); Ankit R. Rajpara bt Rajdeep Sarkar; Yogesh Gautam lost to Diptayan Ghosh; Murali Karthikeyan lost to Siva Mahadevan; Sammed Jaykumar Shete lost to Ulvi Bajarani (Aze); Sahaj Grover bt A Abhishek.

Girls: Aleksandra Goryachkina (Rus) bt Parnali S Dharia; Karina Azimova (Rus) lost to Meri Arabidze (Geo); Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri) drew with Gu Tianlu (Chn); Liu Manli Chn (Chn) lost to Daria Pustovoitova A(Rus); Zhai Mo (Chn) bt Marie Antoinette San Diego (Phi); Karolina Turkova (Svk) lost to Padmini Rout; Ni Shiqun (Chn) drew with P Bala Kannamma; Angelina Fransson (Swe) lost to Nguyen Thi Mai Hung (Vie); Lisa Schut (Ned) lost to Madhurima Shekhar; Ani Krumova (Bul) drew with Anna Iwanow (Pol); Marina Brunello (Ita) bt Solenn Afraoui (Fra); Mitzy Mishe Caballero Quijano (Per) lost to Sabina Ibrahimova (Aze); Klara Varga (Hun) bt Rutuja Bakshi; Larissa Ichimura Barbosa (Bra) lost to Irina Petrukhina (Rus); Sarvinoz Kurbonboeva (Uzb) drew with Jessica Bengtsson (Swe).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Poker Masters Chess in Isle of Man

Grandmaster and former world junior chess champion Abhijeet Gupta got off to a good start, crushing Kolbus Dietmar of Germany in the first round of Poker Masters Isle of Man International chess tournament here.

Seeded 10th in a very strong line-up that includes world number 12 Michael Adams of England and number 13 Maxime Vachier Lagrave of France, Gupta played out a chanceless game with his black pieces to show signs of good form in the 18000 pound sterling prize money tournament.

The other Indian in the fray, Grandmaster D Harika also made a good beginning as she got full points against Eddie Luiz Sant Anna of Brazil.

Harika, fresh from her bronze medal performance in the last women’s Grand Prix at Sharjah, got the point with black pieces.

The opening day in one of the strongest open tournament in recent UK history was not devoid of upsets as third seeded Grandmaster Laurent Fressinet was held to a draw by Simon Ansell of England.

Fressinet, a member of the 2700 ELO rating club, did not get many chances to convert his slightly superior position in the endgame and seasoned Ansell deserved all credit for pocketing a half point against one of the leading players in the tournament.

Gupta came up with his pet Grunfeld defence to counter the queen pawn opening by Kolbus and the German was out of his book quite early when the Indian decided to give a slightly better position rather than go for a simplified and equal endgame.

The strategy paid off as Kolbus was saddled with the task of handling a complicated position in which Gupta excelled with a timely attack on the white king.

Kolbus lost a pawn while trying to wriggle out of his problem and that was enough for the Indian to transpose to a winning endgame.

“I think he had his chances when I allowed a trick inadvertently, but we both failed to spot it thankfully, it was a nice game for an opening round in the end,” Gupta said after the game.

Adams is not a regular customer in open events but that uneasiness did not show in his clean victory against compatriot Mark Fergusson. The English opening gave England’s highest ranked player an edge and he nurtured it easily to win in 37 moves.

The event is being played under FIDE’s Swiss rules with nine rounds in all. The winner’s purse is 6000 pounds sterling. -- PTI

Important results after round 1: Michael Adams (ENG) beat Mark Ferguson (ENG); Alina L’Ami (ROU) lost to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA); Laurent Fressinet (FRA) drew with Simon Ansell (ENG); Marcel Peek (NED) lost to Gabriel Sargissian (ARM); Julio Granda Zuniga (PER) beat Gerard Welling (NED); Stephen Mannion (SCO) lost to Sergei Tiviakov (NED); Gawain Jones (ENG) beat Christopher Wallis (AUS); Alan Tate (SCO) lost to David Howell (ENG); Nigel Short (ENG) beat Chris Duncan (ENG); Dietmar Kolbus (GER) lost to Abhijeet Gupta; Sant Anna, Eddie Luiz lost to D Harika.

World Junior Chess begins in Pune

Grandmasters Vidit Santosh Gujarathi and Padmini Rout are among the hot favourites for the title in the World Junior Chess Championships commencing here Monday.

Gujrathi, who has had a phenomenal run for the last one year in International chess, starts as a strong contender and is one of the five super Grandmasters (Rating above 2600) in fray.

Padmini, the most medal-decorated girl in Age Categories, will also be a favourite, especially after a glittering gold medal performance in the recently concluded World Chess Olympiad. Incidentally, Padmini is also amongst the top five highest rated girls in fray.

The organisation is in full gear by now. The Facebook (www.facebook.com/WorldJuniorChess2014) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/MCL_CIS) handles of the event are already busy, creating a buzz before the event, not to forget the official website. An impressive array of titled players of the state of Maharashtra have been lined for live web video commentary during the event - former world junior girls champion WGM Soumya Swaminathan along with IM Sagar Shah, IM Prathamesh Mokal, and WGM Swati Ghate.

The last time that India hosted the championship here in 2008, Abhijeet Gupta and Dronavalli Harika clinched the titles. Incidentally, it was the first and only time in the history of the game that two players from the same country had won the title.

The event is spread over 15 days and will comprise of 13 rounds with more than 200 players from 45 countries confirming their participation.

The Government of Maharashtra and Life Corporation of India (LIC) are the main sponsors while ONGC, Amanora, Jain Irrigation and Everstone are the other sponsors.

Vladimir Fedoseev (2661) of Russia, currently ranked 88th in the World, is the top seed followed by Robin van Kampen (2641) of the Netherlands, Yi Wei (2641) of China, Gujarathi (2635) and Jorge CoriA (2612) of Peru.

It is expected to be a close contest amongst these super GMs. The other Indians to be watched out for in this section are GM Ankit Rajpara, GM Sahej Grover, IM Aravindh Chithambaram, IM Shardul Gagare, IM Murali Karthikeyan and IM R. Prasanna among others.

In the girls section, WGM Alexandra Goryachkina (2430), the defending champion is the highest rated player in fray and is followed by Meri Arabidze (2409).

Interestingly, there is a wide rating gap between these two girls as other strong contenders are rated 2300 plus. Padmini, after an indifferent showing in the National Women's Challenger has lost a few precious points.

Gujarathi has gained around 30 rating points from the recent Rating List released on October 1 which is a clear-cut indication of him gaining strength in the build up to this event.

He recently won a strong Category-16 tournament in Armenia and would be definitely wanting to elevate his performance from bronze at the last edition to a gold.

"I am happy that the event is being conducted in Pune, as there is nothing better than home advantage and most importantly, food advantage," he said.

Orissa-based Padmini is also very upbeat on the event and confessed: "I really love Pune and am looking forward to putting up a good show here. It has been a lucky venue for me as I won the best woman player award in both editions of the Maharashtra Chess League (MCL) and the organization of chess events in Pune has always been excellent." -- IANS

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dubai Chess R4: Abhijeet in Sole Lead

Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta, the highest rated Indian in the fray, shot into sole lead, defeating Hatim Al-Hadarani of Yemen in the fourth round of 16th Dubai International open chess tournament on Friday.
 


The victory with black pieces turned out to be fourth in a row for Gupta and his clean slate helped him annex the sole lead on four points. It was a clean effort by the Indian as Hatim Al-Hadarani fell prey to some finely crafted manoeuvres in the endgame.

As many as six players — Axel Bachmann of Paraguay, Eduardo Itturizaga of Venezuela, Zaven Andriasian of Armenia, Constantin Lupulescu of Romania, Anuar Ismagambetov of Kazakhstan and Romain Edouard of France — remain on the heels of the leader with 3.5 points apiece. With five rounds still to come in the $50,000 prize money tournament, another 32 players are in close pursuit with three points each.

However, the day belonged to Gupta as he made the most of opportunities against Hatim Al-Hadarani who played an irregular queen pawn game. Playing black, Gupta obtained a complicated middle game and then pounced on a killer stroke that netted him a pawn without any counter play. As the game progressed, Al-Hadarani fell under time pressure and the ensuing rook and pawns endgame was no respite.

Grandmaster M.R. Lalith Babu also came up with a good result although he was not quite satisfied with the draw against highly regarded Vladimir Akopian of Armenia as the Indian felt he held good chances in the middle game and then in the endgame.

For the record, it was a Slav defence wherein Akopian got in to some difficulties and the liquidation also resulted ina worse endgame.

Resourceful as he is, Akopian fought on to get the equality he was looking for and the peace was signed in 54 moves.

Grandmaster Sahaj Grover put his loss against Abhijeet Gupta aside and scored an easy victory over compatriot Harshal Shahi. The Taimanov Sicilian by Shahi did not yield desired results as Grover got an opening advantage that he nurtured well enough to score his third victory in the tournament.

M. Shyam Sundar and Diptayan Ghosh came out with good results drawing with Aleksandr Rakhmanov of Russia and Csaba Balogh of Hungary respectively while Debashish Das and Swapnil Dhopade ended on the losing side. -- PTI

Important and Indian results round 4 (Indians unless specified): Romain Edouard (Fra, 3.5) drew with Axel Bachmann (Par, 3.5): Anuar Ismagambetov (Kaz, 3.5) drew with Eduardo Iturrizaga (Ven, 3.5); Hatim Al—Hadarani (Yem, 3) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (4); Anton Korobov (Ukr, 3) drew with Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (Iri, 3); M R Lalith Babu (3) drew with Vladimir Akopian (Arm, 3); Aleksandr Rakhmanov (Rus, 3) drew with M Shyam Sundar (3); Zaven Andriasian (Arm, 3.5) beat Debashis Das (2.5); Swapnil Dhopade (2) lost to Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 3); Solak Dragan (Tur, 3) beat Sayantan Das (2); Cicak Slavko (3) beat Aniruddha Deshpande (2); Sahaj Grover (3) beat Harshal Shahi (2); V Karthik (2) lost to Jahongir Vakhidov (Uzb, 3); Marina Makropoulou (Gre, 2) lost to Ashwin Jayaram (3); S Ravi Teja (2.5) beat Mayed Al—Rashedi (2); Prince Bajaj (2.5) beat Al Badani Abdu (1.5); Moayed Obied (1.5) lost to Abhishek Kelkar (2.5); N Raghavi (2.5) beat Harikrishnan Samyuktha (1.5); Sultan Ibrahim (2) drew with Ivana Maria Furtado (2); C R G Krishna (2) beat Ahmed Holi Ali Moawia (1); Felix Tuomainen (1) lost to Pratyusha Bodda (2); Assaubayeva Bibissara (Kaz, 1.5) drew with Nishant Malhotra (1.5); Faranka Khaled (1) lost to Nimmy George (2); Marcos Marvin (Phi, 2) beat Akshay Halagannavar (1); A K Elnaami Hashem (1) lost to Siva Mahadevan (2).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dubai Chess R3: Gupta Keeps Joint Lead

Dubai Chess Open 2014 Round 3 - Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta got the better of Grandmaster Sahaj Grover to stay in joint lead after the end of the third round of 16th Dubai International Open Chess tournament on Thursday. 
 


It turned out to be another good day for Gupta, who played almost flawless chess to score his third victory in as many rounds in this USD 50000 prize money tournament.

With six rounds to go, its a six-way tie at the top with Eduardo Romain of France, Axel Bachmann of Paraguay, Anuar Ismagambetov of Kazakhstan, Eduardo Itturizaga of Venezuela, Hatim Al-Hadarani of Yemen and Gupta sharing the honours with a perfect score.

Indian Grandmasters -- M R Lalith Babu, Debashish Das, M Shyam Sundar -- and International Master Diptayan Ghosh are among those who have 2.5 points and this list is topped by highest ranked Anton Korobov of Ukraine.

In all there are 18 players sharing the seventh spot on 2.5 points each and they are followed by a pack of 43 hopefuls, including Sahaj Grover with two points apiece.

Gupta played a fine game to beat Grover from the white side of a Queen's Indian defense. Grover tempted Gupta in to an exchange sacrifice that was hard to judge and the latter took the bait to reach a tense endgame.

The right defense would have yielded a draw but Grover could not find it with his clock ticking away and ended up losing a handful of pawns that proved decisive.

After a sedate start, Lalith Babu came back in reckoning after scoring over Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakshtan. The Nimzo Indian defense by Lalith Babu came good as he won queen in a favourable position against two rooks.

While Saduakassova tried to work her counter play, the damage was done as Queen and Knight proved to be a lethal combination. The game lasted 52 moves.

Among other Indians in the fray, Debashish put up a perfect defense to hold higher ranked Csaba Balogh of Hungary in a long drawn endgame. Das was down a knight but his two pawns kept him in contention and some fine calculations towards the end saved the day.

Ghosh also did well to hold Russian GM Aleksandr Rakhmanov to a draw. -- PTI

Important and Indian results of Round 3 (Indians unless specified): Ante Brkic (Cro, 2.5) drew with Anton Korobov (Ukr, 2.5); Pavel Kotsur (Kaz, 2) lost to Romain Edouard (Fra, 3); Debashis Das (2.5) drew with Csaba Balogh (Hun, 2.5); Anuar Ismagambetov (Kaz, 3) beat Amin Bassem (Egy, 2); Eduardo Iturrizaga (Ven, 3) beat Pontus Carlsson (Swe, 2); Abhijeet Gupta (3) beat Sahaj Grover (2); Diptayan Ghosh (2.5) drew with Aleksandr Rakhmanov (Rus, 2.5); Axel Bachmann (Par, 3) beat V Karthik (2); Al-Hadarani Hatim (Yem, 3) beat Rinat Jumabayev (Kaz, 2); Viorel Iordachescu (Mda, 2.5) beat S Ravi Teja (1.5); Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, 1.5) lost to M R Lalith Babu (2.5); Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 2.5) beat Prince Bajaj (1.5); Nimmy George (1.5) lost to Adrien Demuth (Fra, 2.5); Ashwin Jayaram (2) beat Nishant Malhotra (1); Swapnil Dhopade (2) beat Marvin Marcos (Phi, 1); Siva Mahadevan (1) lost to Amirreza Pourramezanali (Iri, 2); Sayantan Das (2) beat Alattar Rakan (Jor, 1); Harshal Shahi (2) beat C R G Krishna (3); Abhishek Kelkar (1.5) drew with Sultan Ibrahim (Uae, 1.5); Aniruddha Deshpande (2) beat Hamed Mohamed (Sud, 1); Ahmed Fareed (Uae, 1.5) drew with N Raghavi (1.5); Harikrishnan Samyuktha (1.5) drew with E Momeni (Iri, 1.5); Ivana Maria Furtado (1.5) beat Guliyev Gasan Alipasha (Aze, 0.5); Pratyusha Bodda (1) drew with Assaubayeva Bibissara (Kaz, 1); Akshay Halagannavar (1) beat Ahmed Al Khatib (Jor, 0).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dubai Chess R2: Abhijeet in Joint Lead

Dubai Chess Open 2014: Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta continued with his winning ways as he defeated Nezad Husein Aziz of Qatar to remain in joint lead with two points after the end of the second round of Dubai International Open chess tournament on Wednesday. 
 
GM Abhijeet Gupta with black versus IM Nezad of Qatar. Jobannie Tabada of the Philippines looks on.

On what turned out to be a tough day, Gupta had to sweat it out with his black pieces against Aziz who had done a good home work. The Grunfeld defense met with an opening surprise and the Indian had his back to the wall and only some deft defense allowed him to stay in the game.

Aziz missed his chances when the endgame arrived and allowed counterplay when he could have avoided that. Gupta, from a pawn less, came up with an extra pawn when the dust subsided and the rest was easy.

Young Indian V Karthik stole the honours in the second round while Siva Mahadevan came out with another fine performance. Karthik defeated Athanasios Mastrovasilis of Greece with white pieces showing depth of understanding in the endgame while Mahadevan drew with Gawain Jones of England in a game with wild complexities.

Another good result was achieved by Prince Bajaj who got a half point against higher ranked Grandmaster Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova.

With seven rounds still to come in the $50000 prize money tournament, as many as 27 players remain in joint lead with a perfect score.
Apart from Gupta, Grandmasters Debashish Das, M Shyam Sundar and Sahaj Grover are among the pack of leaders and other Indians enjoying a clean slate are Karthik and Diptayan Ghosh.

Karthik showed his endgame skills against Mastrovasilis out of a Ruy Lopez opening as white. The Brayer variation by the Greek Grandmaster gave Karthik a small advantage and he posted his knight on the sixth rank to cause the damage once the queens got traded.

Mastrovasilis could only watch as the Knight created havoc and won a couple of pawns without any compensation. The game lasted 58 moves.

Among other Indians in the fray, Sahaj Grover had an easy outing against Swede Gustav Halvarsson. The Four Knights opening by Grover as white led simplifications giving Grover a huge positional advantage and he won a piece with simple play. The game was dragged on but Grover gave no chances. -- PTI

Important and Indian results Round 2 (Indians unless specified): Anton Korobov (Ukr, 2) beat Jahongir Vakhidov (Uzb, 1); Gudmundur Kjartansson (Isl , 1.5) drew with Vladimir Akopian (Arm, 1.5); Romain Edouard (Fra, 2) beat Ashwin Jayaram (1); Constantin Lupulescu (Rou, 2) beat Swapnil Dhopade (1); Csaba Balogh (Hun, 2) beat Sayantan Das (1); Nezad Husein Aziz (Qat, 1) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (2); C R G Krishna (1) lost to Stevic Hrvoje (Cro, 2); Prince Bajaj (1) drew with Viorel Iordachescu (Mda, 1.5); Rinat Jumabayev (Kaz, 2) beat Abhishek Kelkar (1); Alojzije Jankovic (Cro, 2) beat Aniruddha Deshpande (1); V Karthik (2) beat Athanasios Mastrovasilis (Gre, 1); Debashis Das (2) beat Turar (Kaz, 1); Alshaeby Boshra (Jor, 1) lost to Diptayan Ghosh (2); Nandu Gagarin (1) lost to M Shyam Sundar (2); Sahaj Grover (2) beat Gustav Halvarsson (Swe, 1); Gawain Jones (Eng, 1) drew with Siva Mahadevan (1); M R Lalith Babu (1.5) beat Alipasha Guliyev Gasan (Aze, 0.5); S Ravi Teja beat Tarek Altaher Salman (Uae, 0.5); Niusha Afshar (Iri, 0.5) drew with Ivana Maria Furtado (0.5); Rafee Mohd Hayel (Syr, 0.5) drew with Pratyusha Bodda (0.5); Nishant Malhotra (1) beat AkshayHalagannavar (0); Elnaami Hashem (Lba, 0) lost to Nimmy George (1); Abdulla Al-Hamed (0) lost to Harshal Shahi (Uae, 1).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dubai Chess R1: Indians Start Well

16th Dubai Chess Open 2014: DUBAI (UAE): Highest ranked Indian in the fray Abhijeet Gupta (left) got off to a flier, defeating Osman Abdelgadir of Sudan, while Grandmaster M R Lalith Babu was held to a draw by Elena Partac of Moldova in the first round of the 16th Dubai International open chess that got underway on Tuesday.

It turned out to be a good day in the office for Gupta as he had to exert little for a maximum result against Abdelgadir. PLaying the white side of an English opening, Gupta got an early advantage and then spotted a simple tactic to earn a knight for just a pawn. The rest was easy.

Lalith Babu faced an early wake up call by Partac who matched the Indian move for move despite a hige desparity in ratings. It was a Caro Kann defense by Babu wherein Partac played a less played system and the game was always close to equal.

Babu fancied his chances in the rook and pawns endgame but Partac was equal to the task as she gave nothing away. After 87 moves the draw was agreed to leaving both players on a half point after the first round.

The opening day was not devoid of upsets usual for a strong tournament like the Dubai open. Highly regarded Grandmaster Tigran Petrosian went down to Mona Khaled of Egypt while Gawain Jones of England had to part with a half point against Narmin Khalafova of Azerbaijan.

Amongst the Indians, Siva Mahadevan came out with a good result holding Russian Grandmaster Sergey Volkov to a creditable draw. It was a typical hit-and-miss game as Mahadevan got a winning position after capturing Volkov's queen for just two minor pieces but missed a simple blow that cost him a rook. Volkov thought he had chances but the Indian fought back to win the rook for his passed pawn and the Russian was lucky to find a fortress. The game lasted 104 moves.

The Indian GMs had a good day apart from Lalith Babu. Debashish Das got the better of compatriot Harshal Shahi, Niusha Afshar of Iran proved no match against M Shyam Sundar while Sahaj Grover excelled at the expense of Ahmed Elgantiry of Egypt.

At the top of the tables, Anton Korobov scored over Asian junior girls' champion Ivana Maria Furtado in a game where the Indian girl fought hard. Nishant Malhotra was the other Indian on the receiving end despite putting up a brave show against Grandmaster Stevic Hrvoje of Croatia.

The Dubai open is one of the strongest Asian open with $50000 as prize fund. The tournament will be played over nine rounds.

Important and Indian results round 1 (Indians unless specified): Ivana Maria Furtado lost to Anton Korobov (Ukr); Vladimir Akopian (Arm) beat Marina Makropoulou (Gre); Narmin Khalafova (Aze) drew with Gawain Jones (Eng); Abhijeet Gupta beat Osman Abdelgadir (Sud);Pratyusha Bodda lost to Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Geo); Tigran Petrosian (Arm) lost to Mona Khaled (Egy); Stevic Hrvoje (Cro) beat Nishant Malhotra; Nimmy George lost to Zaven Andriasian (Arm); Siva Mahadevan drew with Sergey Volkov (Rus); Elena Partac (Mda) drew with M R Lalith Babu; Harshal Shahi lost to Debashis Das; Diptayan Ghosh beat Hamad Abdul Razzaq (Uae); M Shyam Sundar beat Niusha Afshar (Iri); Ahmed Elgantiry (Egy) lost to Sahaj Grover; Ashwin Jayaram beat Borsa Derakhshani (Iri); Swapnil Dhopade beat Felix Tuomainen (Swe); Sayantan Das beat Alattar Ghayda (Jor); Assaubayeva Bibissara (Kaz) drew with S Ravi Teja; Akshay V Halagannavar lost to C R G Krishna; Khaled Gahfer (Lba) lost to Prince Bajaj; Abhishek Kelkar beat Holi Sief Al Din (Sud); Aniruddha Deshpande beat Kamil Montaser (Sud); Al Zarooni Ahmed (Uae) lost to V Karthik ; N Raghavi lost to Nandu Gagarin; Gameel Mohamed (Yem) beat Harikrishnan Samyuktha. -- PTI

Dubai Chess Open 2014 Begins

DUBAI (UAE): Grandmaster and former world junior chess champion Abhijeet Gupta will start as the highest rated Indian in the strong Dubai International open chess tournament that gets underway here on Monday.

In the Photo: (Standing from left) Mahdi Abdulrahim Chief Arbiter, Ahmad Fardan General Secretary of Sharjah Sport Council, Ibrahim Al Bannai Chairman of Dubai Chess Club and President of Arab Chess Federation, Ibrahim Abdulmalik General Secretary of UAE sports and Youth, Sheikh Saud Al Moala Chairman of Sharjah Chess Club, Abdulaziz Khoury Vice president of UAE Chess Federation. Seated Players: WIM Ivana Maria Furtado from India versus top seed GM Korobov Anton from Ukraine



A winner of this tournament in 2011, Gupta recently won the Al-Ain Classic in UAE and the country remains one of his favourite grounds. The Indian is ranked 12th in one of the strongest open tournament in Asia.

Anton Korobov of Ukraine starts as the top seed. The semifinalist of the last world chess cup had also won the AICF-AAI cup in Delhi in December 2012 and remains a feared opponent.

Apart from Korobov, Vladimir Akopian of Armenia, French duo of Romain Edouarda and Andrei Istratescu, Romanian Constantin Lupulescu and Csaba Balogh of Hungary are other players above 2650 ELO rating in the tournament.

The tournament will be played under FIDE's Swiss rules and there will be nine rounds in all. The total prize pool is 50000 USD out of which the winner will take home 10000 USD.

As usual, the 16th edition of the Dubai open has attracted a variety of Indian players. There are 30 Indians in the fray in a list that boasts of 160 players currently but is likely to go up by the time the first round starts at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

There are as many as 40 Grandmasters in the fray apart from 22 International Masters, eight Woman Grandmasters and three Woman International Masters making the total number of titled players over 70.

Apart from Gupta, the Indian interest will revolve around Grandmasters M R Lalith Babu, Debashish Das, M Shyam Sundar and Sahaj Grover. International Masters Deeptayan Ghosh, Swapnil Dhopade and Ashwin Jayaram will be looking forward to a performance which will take them closer to the Grandmaster title while the other Indians are all IM norm aspiarants.

The event will be followed by Asian Continental championship in Sharjah and for Gupta and other Indian GMs it will be crucial to be in good shape for the real test that begins soon after the Dubai open.

"This tournament remains one of my favourite events across the world as the players are taken care off well and the playing conditions are excellent too," said Abhijeet Gupta while gearing up to play the first round late on Tuesday.

"And it goes without saying that it is indeed one of the strongest open tournament in the continent, all this makes up for an exciting contest that I have always liked to be a part off," he said. -- PTI


List of players

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