India’s Vidit Gujrathi opened his campaign in the Masters event of the Prague Chess Festival with a win over Sam Shankland of USA.
P Harikrishna (ELO rating 2713), the other Indian player in the field, held Sweden’s Nils Grandelius to a 36-move draw in a Nimzo-Indian game late on Wednesday.
Vidit Gujrathi and Harikrishna are ranked two and three in the latest FIDE list behind the legendary Viswanathan Anand.
In the Vidit Gujrathi-Shankland match, the Indian cashed in on his opponent’s only mistake and proceeded to win in 32 moves, continuing his dominance over the American.
“In the opening I was spending lot of time, and I was not expecting this line so I had to improvise. The only problem was I was in time pressure as I had to calculate a lot,” the India No 2 with an ELO rating of 2721, said after the victory.
Top-seeds Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland and Nikita Vitiugov (Russia) were the other winners in the opening round. Duda had a relatively easy day in office, taking advantage of an off-day for the host nation’s David Navara.
Alireza Firouzja of Iran, the number one junior player in the world, who replaced Chinese GM Wei Yi owing to the coronavirus outbreak, was held to a draw by Markus Ragger (Austria) in his opener.
In the second round later on Thursday, Gujrathi faces David Anton Guijjaro while Harikrishna tackles the top-seeded Duda.
The 10-player tournament concludes on February 21.
Results: Round 1:
Vidit Gujrathi beat Sam Shankland; P Harikrishna drew with Nils Grandelius; Alireza Firouzja drew with Markus Ragger, Nika Vitiugov beat David Anton Guijjaro, Jan-Krysztof beat David Navara.