While the tournament opener saw a smooth sailing for seeded players, the organisers Sunway Sitges from Spain and chess.com heaved a sigh of relief after they successfully solved the two-day technical glitch.
In the nine-round, 10-day international competition 15 Grandmasters and 21 IMs are among the 72 title holders vying for honours in the A and B groups of the 5980 Euro prize fund tournament. Of the participating 427 players, 58 withdrew from the meet before the start of the opening round. After 15th seeded IM Krishna CRG withdrew from the meet, Bharath Subramaniyam is leading the charge of 60 Indian participants.
In the opening round, top seed and 2629 Elo Grandmaster Vitaly Bernadskiy from Ukraine took 41 moves to outclass Indian youngster Adarsh Tripathi in a closed Sicilian game. On the following board, former World Junior champion Ahmed Adly defeated Spain’s Cecillia Guillo in a positional masterpiece. Defending with the black pieces, Adly posted victory in 47 moves in an opening of Queen’s Gambit Exchange.
In contrast, fourth seeded Ukrainian GM Kirill Shevchenko kept his cool with his black pieces to garner a point in a nice technical endgame arising out of a Sicilian Najdorf defence. He took 59 moves to win a point.
ROOM ALONE, NAGPUR’S AARIT FIGHTS FOR 3.5 HOURS
In the absence of Maharashtra’s youngest GM Raunak Sadhwani, unseeded Aarit Thakur is the only Nagpur participant. The nine-year-old played the opening round from his Tilak nagar, Nagpur, residence sitting alone in a room.
In the group B, Aarit, however, fought well for over 3.5 hours before going down to 1542 Elo Martin Ramos Hector of Spain in a marathon contest of 61 moves.
With his white pieces, Aarit started with the regular King pawn opening as Martin opted for the Sicilian Scheveningen defence. After a blunder with his pawn in the opening, Aarit got an exchange in a good calculative move to bring parity in middle game.
The city boy got trapped in the tactics of his senior opponent to lose a pawn and in a bishop end-game resigned after 61 moves.
In the second round, Aarit will defend with black pieces against Belgium’s 1364 Elo Bharathi Mugilan Dhanyadh.
RESULTS (Round 1):
Vitaliy Bernadskiy (1) bt Adarsh Tripathi (0), Guillo Longares Cecilia (0) lost to Adly Ahmed (1), Ilandzis Spyridon (0) lost to Shevchenko Kirill (1), Thybo Jesper Sondergaard (1) bt Badillo Ramos Steve (0), Shoshin Kirill (0) lost to Fier Alexandr (1), Nasuta Grzegorz (1) bt Ansh Shah (0), Thrish Karthik (0) lost to Tsydypov Zhamsaran (1), Sindarov Javokhir (1) bt Namitbir Singh Walia (0).