Adhiban keen to break third-round 'hoodoo'

He starts as the favourite against Malawi’s Chiletso Chipanga in the campaign-opener.

Nicknamed ‘the beast’ for his aggressive, uncompromising play, Adhiban is looking to become the first Indian, after Viswanathan Anand, to go past the third round.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Wildcard B. Adhiban heads a group of nine well-prepared Indians who begin as first-round favourites to join teammates P. Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi and D. Harika in the second round of their respective sections of the chess World Cup.

The action begins in Sochi, Russia, on Monday. Each round comprises a two-game mini-match on classical time-control. In case of a tie, players will be required to play a pair of games in rapid, blitz formats, followed by an Armageddon game, if necessary.

Nicknamed ‘the beast’ for his aggressive, uncompromising play, Adhiban is looking to become the first Indian, after Viswanathan Anand, to go past the third round.

ALSO READ | Anand beats Kasparov in Grand Chess Tour

After landing in Sochi, Adhiban recalled, “When I made my debut, in 2013, I reached the third round but never again in three more attempts. So I am keen to break that 'hoodoo' this time.”

He starts as the favourite against Malawi’s Chiletso Chipanga in the campaign-opener. “I cannot be complacent, though. I will have to take one game at a time and not get ahead of myself.,” said Adhiban, who considers himself lucky to get a wildcard.

Also present at the venue is the country's noted coach Grandmaster R. B. Ramesh. With three of his students - Aravindh Chithambaram, siblings R. Praggnanandhaa and R. Vaishali - taking part in the premier competition, Ramesh’s presence should immensely help the trio.

First-round pairings (involving Indians) -

Men:
B. Adhiban v Chiletso Chipanga (Mwi); Aravindh Chithambaram v
Michael Concio Jr. (Phi); Nihal Sarin v Arthur Ssegwanyi (Uga); R.
Praggnanandhaa v Paulo Bersamina (Phi); D. Gukesh v Pawel Teclaf
(Pol); P. Iniyan v Sebastian Bogner (Swi).

Women: Padmini Rout v Ulviyya Fataliyeva (Aze); Bhakti Kulkarni v
Anastasya Paramzina (Rus); R. Vaishali v Zhou Qiyu (Can).
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