Fide Master VS Rathanvel scored a sensational victory over top rated Grandmaster Le Quang Liem of Vietnam in the first round of Abu Dhabi Masters chess tournament that got underway on Wednesday.
The opening day saw many upsets but Rathanvel was a class act in demolishing the Vietnamese GM rated 2727. The close to 400 rating difference did not deter the Indian to go for the kill when it mattered the most and his bravery was duly rewarded.
For the record, it was a Caro Kann advance where the Vietnamese played black and the tense middle game saw Rathanvel sacrificing his rook for a minor piece for central dominance.
Liem faced a predicament in the middle game when there was an unconditional repetition of moves on offer and he chose to play what looked like an inferior endgame.
Rathanvel shattered the king’s position with a timely blow and his queen and Bishop combined to net him his biggest victory thus far. The game lasted 59 moves.
Young Sankalp Gupta also came out with a good effort to hold local star A R Salem Saleh to a creditable draw. Saleh probably missed a win with his clock ticking away but Sankalp found his defense when he needed it.
Highest rated Indian Abhijeet Gupta, meanwhile, scored a regulation victory over compatriot Shailesh Dravid out of a King’s Indian defense game. Abhijeet gave a lesson in manoeuvring to his younger opponent trapping a lone knight that invaded his camps.
On the flip side, Grandmaster Murali Karthikeyan suffered a setback as he could only get a draw with Iranian lady Mitra Hejazipour. Karthikeyan tried hard for breakthroughs in the endgame but Mitra ensured that her pieces saved the day.
Women Grandmaster Bhakti Kulkarni had a good day as she drew with Romanian GM Parligras Mircea-Emilian in a keenly contested game while Parnali Dharia also had a good result to boast when she split the point with her Maharashtra state-mate Grandmaster Abhimanyu Puranik.
The Indian Grandmasters in the fray generally had a decent start otherwise as Aravindh Chithambaram, S L Narayanan, M R Lalith Babu and Aryan Chopra coasted to expected victories.
In other big upsets caused by Indians, V S Raahul and Dinesh Kumar Sharma came up with splendid results winning against Iranian Grandmaster duo of Idani Pouya and Amin Tabatabaei respectively.
Top Indian Results Round 1 (Indians unless stated): VS Rathanvel beat Le Quang Liem (Vie); Wang Hao (Chn) beat Sidhant Mohapatra; Padmini Rout lost to Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus); Gabriel Sargissian (Arm) beat Siva Mahadevan; Koustav Chatterjee drew with Sanan Sjugirov (Rus); Anton Korobov (Ukr) beat Mithil Ajgaonkar; Aronyak Ghosh lost to Nigel Short (Eng); Sammed Jaykumar Shete lost to Martyn Kravtsiv; Parligras Mircea-Emilian (Rou) drew with Bhakti Kulkarni; A R Salem Saleh (Uae) drew with Sankalp Gupta; Mary Ann Gomes lost to Adly Ahmed (Egy); Abhijeet Gupta beat Shailesh Dravid; Murali Karthikeyan drew with Mitra Hejazipour (Iri); Idani Pouya (Iri) lost to V S Raahul; D K Sharma beat Amin Tabatabaei (Iri); Aravindh Chithambaram beat Nisha Mohota; Jubin Jimmy lost to S L Narayanan; Nihal Sarin beat Niranjan Navalgund; Aryan Chopra beat V Pranavananda; Lalith Babu beat Vantika Agrawal; Erigaisi Arjun beat Dushyant Sharma; Parnali S Dharia drew with Abhimanyu Puranik; Javokhir Sindarov (Uzb) lost to Rakshitta Ravi.