Isle of Man chess tournament: Raunak Sadhwani stretches Anand

Kidambi holds Kramnik, Krishna draws with Wesley So as Indians shine.

Thirteen-year-old Raunak Sadhwani gave several anxious moments to Viswanathan Anand. (File Picture)   -  HINDU ARCHIVES

Thirteen-year-old Raunak Sadhwani gave several anxious moments to Viswanathan Anand while Vladimir Kramnik, Wesley So, Richard Rapport and Le Quang Liem failed to get past Indian rivals during an eventful first-round action of the Isle of Man International chess tournament here on Saturday.

On a day when five among the top-10 seeds, including Anish Giri and Hikaru Nakamura, were held by far lesser-rated rivals, the depth of Indian talent was in full view in what is considered one among the toughest Swiss League events in the world.

Sixth seed Anand, playing black, battled an inferior position after capturing a pawn on the 18th move, to beat back the challenge of Sadhwani in 74 moves. After the hard fought victory in Ruy Lopez, Anand was all praise for his young rival — rated 2438 against his own 2771 — and described him as “ridiculously underated.”

Kidambi, a seasoned Grandmaster, played white against Kramnik, seeded four, and stayed in control to draw in 77 moves while C. R. G. Krishna raised his game to hold fifth seed Wesley So in 46 moves. Raja Harshit and Arjun Kalyan also made a mockery of rankings to hold Hungary’s Richard Rapport and Vietnam’s Le Quang Liem, both rated above 2700.

Other victorious Indian Grandmasters were, Vidit Gujarati, S. P. Sethuraman, B. Adhiban, Vaibhav Suri, Abhijeet Gupta, Nihal Sarin, Debashis Das, Abhimanyu Puranik, R. Praggnanadhaa, M. Shyam Sundar and Vishnu Prasanna.

The formidable field, comprising 165 players from 35 countries, has attracted 75 Grandmasters and 44 International Masters.

Important first round results, involving Indians:

S. Kidambi (2445) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2779); Wesley So (US, 2776) drew with C. R. G. Krishna (2445); Raunak Sadhwani (2438) lost to Viswanathan Anand (2771); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2760) bt Soumya Swaminathan (2423); Richard Rapport (Hun, 2725) drew with Raja Harshit (2420); Arjun Kalyan (2408) drew with Le Quang Liem (Vie, 2715); David Howell (Eng, 2689) drew with Rahul Srivastava (2395); Hemant Sharma (2393) drew with Gawain Jones (Eng, 2677); Alexie Shirov (Esp, 2636) drew with S. Ravi Teja (2357); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2622) drew with Juan Manual Bellon Lopez (Swe, 2342); R. Vaishali (2313) drew with Bogdan-Daniel Deac (Rou, 2594).