Sedate Start for Team India
by FI. Praful Zaveri
The 1st round of Asian Youth Chess Championship 2015, which got under-way here at Kyung Hee University, Suwon, South Korea witnessed a sedate start for team India as the players were trying to overcame a jet lag of more than 10-hours and the blues of time difference. And, the biggest casualty of this was none other than GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr who lost to FM Lee Jun Hyeok from the host nation. Arvindh, who was expected to make a clean sweep of U16 Open event, will now be required to press the accelerator hard in the remaining rounds to win the title. A similar result was witnessed in Girls U18 section as 2nd seeded, WFM Srija Seshadri lost her encounter against team mate, Smaraki Mohanty.
The trend of near upsets continued in the U16 Girl’s championship as the top-seeded, Riya Savant only managed to drew her game against the Malaysian, Koo Wei Xin Rosamund – a player rated nearly 400 points below her while the reigning world school’s champion, Dev Shah (4th seeding) also failed to break the defence of un-rated Mongolian Erkhes Bayarbat and had to contend with a draw.
On the luckier side, the reigning National Challengers Champion and the top-seed in Girl’s U14 event, WFM Vaishali R was lucky to score a full point against the Iranian player, Hashemi Seyede Fatemeh after a reckless play saw her blundering a piece.
The other results of top Indian players went along the expected lines as they won their respective encounters:
Savitha Shri (2nd seeded in Girls U8), WFM Divya Deshmukh & Rakshitta Ravi ( top-two seed in Girls U10), Mrudul Dehankar and Salonika Saina (the top-two seed in Girls U12), WFM R.Vaishali & WFM Tarini
Goyal (the top-two seed in Girls U14), Aakanksha Hagawane & WIM Sakshi Chitlange ((the 2nd & 3rd seed in Girls U16).
Bharath Subramaniyam (2nd seed in U8 Open),R. Praggnanandhaa, Raunak Sadhwani & CM Aditya Mittal (seeded 2nd to 4th in U10 Open), CM Nihal Sarin & FM Ram Aravind (2nd & 3rd seed in U12 Open) & 3rd seeded, N.R.Visakh (U16 Open).
Earlier, the event was inaugurated by Suk Hyun, President of the Korea Chess Federation in the wonderful setting of Kyung Hee University,Suwon. The tournament is being contested by 282 players from 15countries with India leading the player’s count with a whopping 68 players.
The contribution of Indians on the technical front is also huge, as the team of arbiters is headed by IA M.S. Gopakumar and is supported by IA Debasish Barua and IA A.C Joshi while the trainer’s team is lead by IM Atanu Lahiri, WGM R Aarthie, FI Lakshmi Priya TT & FI. Praful Zaveri.
The Head of the Indian delegation is Shri Ranjan Mohanty, who boosted the morale of all players through his inspirational speech.