Abu Dhabi Masters: Arjun holds Short

Little-known Indians Arjun Kalyan and D. Gukesh caused a flutter in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi Masters by holding the top two seeds – England’s Nigel Short and Egypt’s Amin Baseem – at the Dusit Thani Club here.

Nigel Short was held to a draw by lesser known Indian at the Abu Dhabi Masters.   -  File Photo

Little-known Indians Arjun Kalyan and D. Gukesh caused a flutter in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi Masters chess tournament by holding the top two seeds – England’s Nigel Short and Egypt’s Amin Baseem – at the Dusit Thani Club here on Monday.

Making a mockery of the rating difference – Arjun is rated 322 points below Short and Gukesh 315 points behind Baseem – the two provided the best advertisement for the growing Indian talent in the game. That was not all. Kumar Gaurav, rated 309 points below Valery Sviridov proved equal to the Russian while P. V. Nandhidhaa brought down an unsuspecting Australian Grandmaster Max Illingworth, rated 2506.

The strong field of 124 players, including 51 Indians, has 39 Grandmasters. Among the Indian GMs, Abhijeet Gupta and Shardul Gagare could not get off to winning starts while S. P. Sethuraman, national champion M. Karthikeyan, D. Harika, Aryan Chopra and Neelotpal Das, along with International Masters Eesha Karavade and Tania Sachdev won.

Abhijeet, who recently won the Commonwealth title for the third year in succession, was held by compatriot Raunak Sadhwani while Russia’s Fadeev Semen split the point with Gagare.

Important results (involving Indians):

First round (with ratings): D. Nigel Short (Eng, 2688) drew with Arjun Kalyan (2366); D. Gukesh (2365) drew with Amin Baseem (Egy, 2680); Abhijeet Gupta (2639) drew with Raunak Sadhwani (2359); Kumar Gaurav (2210) drew with Valery Sviridov (Rus, 2519); P. V. Nandhidhaa (2182) bt Max Illingworth (Aus, 2506); Srija Seshadari (2167) drew with Nihal Sarin (2485); Fadeev Semen (Rus, 2161) drew with Shardul Gagare (2467).