The 12 player Indian contingent comprising 8 men and 4 women had a smooth sailing, with 11 out of 12 Indians sailing to the round 2. The 15 year old prodigy D.Gukesh will play the tie-breaks after the classical portion of his match against IM Polish, Teclaf, who is also just 18 years old ended at 1-1.
In the Open section, Vidit and Harikrishna were directly seeded to round 2. ‘The Beast’ Adhiban won his matchup with relative comfort even though there were moments when his position looked messy. However, Adhiban’s fans were never really worried as everyone who follows him knows that ‘The Beast’ thrives under chaos on the chessboard.
The incumbent national champion Aravindh Chithambaram defeated IM Concio from Philippines 2-0. Nihal Sarin continued his fine run and went on to win 1.5-0.5 against Ugandan IM Ssegwanyi, although his opponent put up spirited and admirable resistance. Praggnandhaa won with the same scoreline of 1.5-0.5 against IM Bersamina from Philippines.
Iniyan, who qualified from the Indian qualifiers for the world cup won in fine style against the higher rated GM Bogner,Sebastian 1.5-0.5 to advance to round 2. The 18 year old GM from Erode hasn’t had much opportunities to increase his FIDE rating due to lockdown and looks under-rated, but has used every opportunity that came his way admirably to earn his place here and continue on to round 2.
In the Women section, Harika was seeded directly to Round 2. Bhakti Kulkarni’s opponent Anastasia Paramzina was unable to turn up to the tournament. Bhakti advanced to round 2 by default. Padmini Rout had a smooth sailing against Fataliyeva from Azerbaijan, winning with a score of 2-0. India’s top junior Vaishali also won with relative comfort against Zhou,Qiyu, who is a popular streamer, also known as ‘Nemo’ with a scoreline of 2-0. All the Women advanced to round 2 without dropping even half a point so far.
The Indian Women’s coach GM Abhijit Kunte was pleased with the performance and commented “All the players are in good form, Vaishali and Padmini’s 2-0 victories was very important as the players were playing an OTB event after almost 1.5 years”
Indian pairings for round 2(Players on the left will have White for game 1)
|Quesada Perez, Yasser(CUB)||Harikrishna, Pentala|
|Fier, Alexander/Pechac,Jergus||Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi|
|Adhiban, Baskaran||Delgado, Ramirez/Murshed, Niaz|
|Abdusattorov, Nodirbek(UZB)||Aravindh, Chithambaram|
|Nihal Sarin||Sjugirov, Sanan(RUS)|
|Praggnanandhaa, Rameshbabu||Sargissian, Gabriel(ARM)|
|Harika, Dronavalli||Aulia, Medina Warda(INA)|
Report by GM N Srinath