The vagaries of the Swiss League – where the top-half of the draw plays the bottom-half in the opening round — unexpected results are always at a premium. But some little-known players have the knack of seizing their moments when pitted against overwhelming favourite.
Soham Datar is one such player who pulled it one more time to provide the biggest opening-round surprise of the Delhi International Open chess tournament here on Tuesday.
Rated a modest 2032, Datar battled from a one-pawn deficit and held 10th seeded Ukrainian Adam Tukhaev to a 40-move draw following perpetual checks.
Datar, rated way below Tukhaev’s 2570, lost a pawn on 13th move but kept fighting to force a creditable draw. In fact, even in the 2016 Chennai International Open, Datar made a mockery of ratings by holding Russian GM Vladimir Belous. At that time, Datar was rated 1961 against Belous whose rating stood at 2556!
Some of the other players, including two Grandmasters, found the going too tough for their liking.
Playing on adjacent boards, unheralded duo of Ustab Chatterjee (2005) and Karthik Kumar Pradeep (2004) scored over lower-rated GMs, Russia’s Andrei Deviatkin and Himanshu Sharma. Chatterjee, playing black won in 45 moves before Karthik prevailed in 67 moves.
Among the International Masters, Uzbek Javokhir, Australia’s Rishi Sardana and home-grown talent P. Iniyan were held. In the last game to get over, Woman Grandmaster Mary Ann Gomes settled for a 121-move draw with young Mohammad Anees.
Results (Indians unless stated):
V. Varshini lost to Arkadij Naiditsch (Aze), Farrukh Amonatov (Tjk) bt A. Balkishan; Likht Chilukuri lost to Abhijeet Gupta; Timur Gareyev (USA) bt Harshal Shahi; Manish Hamal (Nep) lost Ivan Rozum (Rus); Saptorshi Gupta lost to Sergei Tiviakov (Ned); M. Karthikeyan bt Niladri Bhattacharya; Adam Tukhaev (Ukr) drew with Soham Datar; Aryan Polakhare drew with Suat Atalik (Tur); Andrei Deviatkin (Rus) lost to Utsab Chatterjee; Karthik Kumar Pradeep bt Himanshu Sharma; Sambit Panda drew with P. Iniyan; Jalpan Bhatt drew with Javokhir Sindarov (Uzb); Surbir Lamba drew with Rishi Sardana; Mohammad Anees drew with Mary Ann Gomes.