Vantika scores big upset downing GM Karthikeyan

Abhijeet Gupta was lucky to escape with a draw against Raja Rithwick on the second board

Murali Karthikeyan. (file photo)   -  RANJEET KUMAR

Young Woman International Master Vantika Agarwal produced the biggest upset of the day defeating two-time national champion and Grandmaster Murali Karthikeyan, in the second round of LIC Kolkata International Grandmaster Open Chess tournament on Tuesday. The other big upset came in the form of veteran D. V. Prasad defeating Grandmaster Deepan Chakkravarthy.

Former World Junior champion Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta was lucky to escape with a draw against teenager Raja Rithwick on the second board. The other creditable results of the day were by achieved by teenagers Sai Viswesh of India and Mohammed Fahad Rahman of Bangladesh, who held Grandmasters Adam Tukhaev and Rohit Lalithbabu to draws, respectively.

Playing the black side of a Kings Indian defence, Vantika went in for a pawn sacrifice on the 30th move which did not look sound enough. With both the players down to their last minute on the clock, she was rewarded for her risky play when Murali Karthikeyan blundered on the 36th move. Vantika kept her nerves to effect a simple combination involving a Knight fork and won material to force a win in 42 moves.

In the opening round, untitled K. Senthil Maran scored a shock victory over his fancied Tamil Nadu colleague and Grandmaster Vishnu Prasanna, while Karnataka’s Vinayak Kulkarni defeated Ukraining Grandmaster Valery Neverov. Grandmasters Farrukh Amonatov (Tajikistan), Andrei Deviatkin (Russia) and R. Laxman were the other prominent names who could not outplay their lesser rated rivals and had to settle for draws against Kushager Krishnater, Sohel Chowdhury and S.S. Manigandan respectively.

Important results (second round):

Nigel Short (Eng) 2 bt R. Vaishali 1, Raja Rithvik (1.5) drew with Abhijeet Gupta 1.5, Murali Karthikeyan 1 lost to Vantika Agrawal 2, Aravindh Chithambaram 2 bt Saurabh Anand 1, V. Pranav 1 lost to Ivan Rozum (Rus) 2, Sandipan Chanda 2 bt Ankit Gajwa 1, B. Sekar 1 lost to Deep Sengupta 2, Adam Tukhaev 1.5 drew with Sai Vishwesh 1.5, Mohammad Fahad Rahman (Ban) 1.5 drew with M. R. Lalithbabu 1.5, Vladimir Burmakin (Rus) 2 bt Vatsal Singhania 1, Aronyak Ghosh 1 lost to Narayanan Srinath 2, D. V. Prasad 2 bt Deepan Chakkravarthy 1.