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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

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