India’s Abhijeet Gupta suffered a shock defeat but young D Gukesh held highly-regarded Grandmaster Vladimir Akopian of Armenia to a creditable draw in the second round Abu Dhabi Masters chess tournament on Thursday.
Highest-rated Indian Grandmaster, Abhijeet went for the French defence and made a costly middle game error to eventually go down to Gumay Mammadzada of Azerbaijan.
However, it turned out to be a good day for young Indian players as Raunak Sadhwani also put up an excellent contest to draw with Egyptian Grandmaster Ahmed Adly, while Arjun Kalyan, who is fresh from his maiden GM norm, split the point with Andrei Istratescu of Romania.
FIDE master V S Rathanvel also continued with his dream start to hold higher-ranked Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan.
Rathanvel had caused the biggest upset of the opening round, defeating top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam in this super-open where 88 Indians are participating out of a total 158 participants.
With seven rounds still to go in one of the strongest open of Asia, Vishnu Prasanna, Aravindh Chathambaram, S L Narayanan, Nihal Sarin remain in the leading group with a perfect score. As many as 20 players share the lead.
The third round will see some fine clashes lined up as Narayanan will meet highly-rated Wang Hao of China, Chathambaram will fancy his chances against Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia while Vishnu Prasanna has set up a contest with FIDE Presidential candidate Nigel Short of England, a former world championship contender.