Sharma holds Harikrishna in Gibraltar Chess opener

Playing the white side of an English opening, Sharma gave little away to Harikrishna and the resulting middle game was equal after exchange of queens.

Harikrishna got a minuscule advantage optically but frequent exchanges led to a level rook and opposite coloured Bishops endgame.   -  FIDE

Making a mockery of rating and seedings, International Master Hemant Sharma (rated 2348) held fifth-seed P. Hari Krishna (2745) in 88 moves and another Delhi-player 13-year-old Prithu Gupta
(2373) proved equal to sixth seeded Vietnamese Le Quang Liem (2737) in 51 moves in the opening round of the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters chess tournament at the Caleta Hotel here on Tuesday.

The 10-round event, which offers the winner GBP 25,000, has attracted participation from 50 countries. In all, 276 players, consisting of 208 titled players, including 92 Grandmasters and 58 International Masters, are part of the field. Hari Krishna heads the Indian contingent comprising 28 players.

In two other interesting results, involving Indians, Raunak Sadhwani (2321) held U.S.’s Varuzhan Akobian (2647) and Nisha Mohota (2269) split the point with G. N. Gopal (2593).

On a day when top seed Levon Aronian (2797) drew with Hungarian IM Anita Gara (2350) in 42 moves, Nigel Short, Emil Sutovksy and Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli also settled for draws. Ivan Cheparinov, seeded
13th, was the highest ranked player to lose.

From the Indian perspective, the progress of prodigies R. Praggnanandhaa and Nihal Sarin will be watched with added interest. Praggnanandhaa is aiming for his second GM as he seeks to become the
world’s youngest Grandmaster before March 8.

Important and Indian results after Round 1 (Indians unless specified)

Anita Gara (HUN) drew with Levon Aronian (ARM); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) beat Felix Blohberger (AUT); Alan Tate (SCO) lost to Hikaru Nakamura (USA); David Navara (CZE) beat Thomas Paehtz (GER); Hemant Sharma drew with P Harikrishna; Le Quang Liem (VIE) drew with Prithu Gupta; Maxim Devereaux (NOR) lost to Nikita Vitiugov (RUS); David Anton Guijarro (ESP) beat Padmini Rout; Inigo Lopez Mulet (ESP) lost to SP Sethuraman; De Francesco Klaus (GER) lost to Abhijeet Gupta; Nisha Mohota drew with G N Gopal; Sandipan Chanda drew with Michal Lercel (POL); Oskar Oglaza (POL) lost to S L Narayanan; P V Nandhidhaa lost to Jules Moussard (FRA); Barraza Caracuel Ignacio (ESP) lost to M R Lalith Babu; Swapnil S Dhopade beat Ioulia Makka (GRE); Pascal Verneuil (FRA) lost to Nihal Sarin; R Praggnanandhaa beat Dick De Graaf (NED); Villar Reymundo Juan Antonio (PER) lost to Debashis Das; Shardul Gagare beat Ashley Stewart (ENG) ; Cholleti Sahajasri lost to Xu Yi (CHN); Tejaswini Sagardrew with Almagro Llamas Pablo (ESP); Hewson Brian (ENG) lost to Prasanna Raghuram Rao; Alek Safarian (AUS) lost to M R Venkatesh; Ralf Akesson (SWE) drew with Shalmali Gagare; Vilarnovo Caamano Jose (ESP) lost to Swayams Mishra; Dev Shah drew with Henderson De La Fuente Lance (ESP); Mayank Pal drew with David Martinez Martin (ESP); Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh beat Francois-Haugrin Said (FRA); Cherigui Mourad (MAR) drew with Harshit Raja.

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