Asian Continental Chess Championship – 2015

 Indian GMs, WGMs share lead

Four Indian Grandmasters are in the lead pack after two rounds of the Asian Continental Chess Championship at the Hilton Hotel in Al Ain, UAE. Grandmasters Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Chanda Sandipan, Lalith Babu and Vishnu Prasnna lead with perfect two point slates together with four others. Tied at 2 points each are Chinese International Master Wang Chen, Uzbek GM Jahongir Vakhidov and Iranian GMs Idani Pouya and Darini Pouria.
In the women`s division three Indian women also have a share of the lead, namely IM Padmini Rout, IM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi and WGM Mary Ann Gomes. Tied at 2 points each are Indonesian WGM Aulia Medina Warda, Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan , WGM Zhang Xiaowen of China and Iranians Atousa Pourkashiyan and Raana Hakimfard.In the 2nd round game at left, Padmini played 22. Rxd6! Qxd6 23. Nxe5 Qc5 24. Nc4 e5 25. Bxd7+ Nxd7 26. Nd5 O-O-O 27. b4 Qa7 28. Bg1 b6 29. Ne7+ Kb8 30. Nc6+ and Mitra Hejazipour of Iran resigned 1:0.

Ganguly used the Classical variation of the French Defense to beat GM Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan of Mongolia. The Indian star embarked on a kingside pawn storm and sacrificed the Rook for Bishop exchange to penetrate and force resignation on the 42nd move.

GM Chanda Sandipan of India used the rare Dutch Defense to threaten mate on the 46th move against Tsegmed Batchuluun of Mongolia. GM Lalith Babu smashed the Gruenfeld Defense of Lou Yiping of China in a marathon 76 moves.

Wang Chen kept Chinese hopes alive as he used the Sicilian defense to beat Amin Tabatabaei of Iran in 67 moves. But Idani Pouya countered for  Iran as he essayed  the Queen`s Indian defense and controlled the center to reach a won endgame in 45 moves against Indian GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan. Iranian Darini Pouria also scored at the expense of local master Ishaq Saeed of the UAE in 58 moves of a Ruy Lopez game. Young Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan essayed the symmetrical English opening to beat K. Rahnakaran of India in 36 moves.

Local hero Saleh A.R Salem was held to a draw by the Sicilian defense of untitled Chinese Xu Yinglun in 46 moves of an opposite colored Bishop endgame. Salem and 18 others including top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam trail with 1.5 points each.

Six tournaments are scheduled with a top prize of $11,000 for first place in the Men`s and $6,000 first prize in the women`s championship. Rapid chess and blitz tournaments are scheduled in both the men`s and women`s divisions with a total of $12,000 in cash prizes. Tournaments will be conducted as 9 round Swiss System events. The top five advance to the World Cup next month in Baku, Azerbaijan. The women`s champion shall represent Asia in the FIDE Women`s World Championship. Top games are broadcast live for Men and Women, and are available for download in the official site with pairings in and livestream on youtube, facebook and instagram.