Chinese atop the summit

For Indian players who face a major handicap of not having the chance to play in big Grandmasters tournaments at home, the first-ever Indo-China Chess Summit 2015 in Hyderabad recently presented a huge opportunity to analyse their strengths and weaknesses. It was a 32-game match, spread over eight rounds, with each Indian taking on his Chinese counterpart twice (once with white and next with black pieces). Each team comprised four players.

The Indian team, with the exception of Parimarjan Negi, who is pursuing his studies in the United States, was the same as the one that won the historic bronze medal at the Olympiad last year.

The Chess Summit, which China won comfortably by 18-14 game points and 11-5 match points to claim the Komati Reddy Prateek Reddy Trophy and with it a purse of Rs. 6 lakh, was significant for the Indian team, which is preparing for the World Team Championship in Armenia in April. India’s S. P. Sethuraman and China’s Ding Liren won special awards for ‘superlative performances’. They scored 5 points out of 8 each.

GM Bhaskaran Adhiban had a disappointing 2.5/8, while the highest-rated Indian and captain Krishnan Sasikiran scored 2/8.

“The event gave us a chance to plan better. We have to take a critical look at our games, find out what went wrong here and learn from the mistakes made here. Overall, Sethu really played well,” said K. Sasikiran (Elo 2682).

Sethuraman (Elo 2682) had a memorable outing, scoring some creditable wins. Even Lalith Babu (Elo 2556) notched up some impressive wins.

China’s highest-ranked player at the event, Ding Liren (Elo 2755), was impressed with the way the Telangana Chess Association had organised the event. “It was not easy to face the Indians. These are the kind of events we need to prepare for the World team event. We are glad that we won, but more than that it was a great experience,” he said.

The other members of the Chinese team were Wei Yi (Elo 2706), Zhou Jianchao (Elo 2578) and Weng Chan (Elo 2500). Looking ahead, Ding said China was hoping to win the World team event. He also said that Russia posed the biggest challenge for them.

The players were all praise for the chief arbiter, R. Anantharaman, and the way he conducted the event. “A lot of credit for the success of this event goes to him. It is important to have someone who knows the game and what the players look for, and he just filled that role admirably,” said Lalith Babu.

V. V. Subrahmanyam