Second seed Krishnan Sasikiran was held to a draw by Oliver Barbosa of the Philippines in the first round of the ongoing Asian Individual Chess Championship in Mashhad, Iran.
Fresh from his exploits in the Dubai [ Images ] International Open, where he finished second, Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi scored a thumping victory over Lou Yiping of China to start on a positive note.
Another Indian to start well was former World junior champion, P Harikrishna, who defeated compatriot International Master Vidit Gujarathi, while Abhijeet Kunte scored over local hopeful Saeid Arabi.
At the top of the table former World champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov split the point with Dao Thein Hai of Vietnam while highly-regarded Chinese Bu Xiangzhi scored over Lu Shanglei.
Amongst other Indians in the fray, former national champion B Adhiban conceded a half point to Debashish Das, while in the shocker of the day, Grandmaster GN Gopal had to call it a day against Iran's Alavi Sayed Javad.
GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly too could muster just half a point against M Shyam Sundar and so did S P Sethuraman against Mohammad Miran Khademi.
Double GM norm holder and top seed D Harika started off with a fine positional victory against compatriot Swathi Ghate in the women's championship.
Defending champion Atousa Pourkashiyan of Iran found her nemesis in fast improving country-mate Mitra Hejazipour after a keenly contested game while Guliskhan Nakhbayeva of Kazakhstan downed former World junior girls' champion Soumya Swaminathan.
International Master Eesha Karavade romped home against Yulduz Hamrakulova of Uzbekistan but local talent Sarasadat Khademalsharieh took a half from WGM Padmini Rout.
Minoo Asgarizadeh was the other Iranian who made merry, holding higher ranked Mary Ann Gomes to a draw.
Sasikiran played the black side of a King's Indian and did not find much in the middle game arising out a Saemisch variation. In the middle game Barbosa made some strides on the queen's wing and Sasikiran took a draw vide perpetual checks.
Negi played a fine game with white to beat Yiping. It was a French defense by the latter in which Parimarjan went for the Winawer variation and seized the initiative with excellent attacking moves in the middle game.
Yiping lost a piece under pressure and it was child's play for the Indian thereafter.
The Asian championships are part of the next world championship cycle with nine rounds in each section. There are four seats up for grabs in the open section while the champion in the women's will find her way to the next World Cup.
The total prize fund is US $65000 with US $6000 reserved for the winner in the open section.
Important and Indian results after round 1 (Indians unless specified):
Men: Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzb) drew with Dao Thien Hai (Vie); Oliver Barbosa (Phi) drew with Krishnan Sasikiran; Wesley So (Phi) drew with Anuar Ismagambetov (Kaz); Vidit Gujrathi lost to P Harikrishna; Bu Xiangzhi (Chn) beat Lu Shanglei (Chn); Pouria Darini (Iri) lost to Yu Yangyi (Chn); Surya Shekhar Ganguly drew with M Shyam Sundar; Parimarjan Negi beat Lou Yiping (Chn); Zhou Weiqi (Chn) beat Vaibhav Suri; GN Gopal
lost to Alavi Sayed Javad (Iri); Debashis Das drew with B Adhiban; S P Sethuraman drew with Mohammad Miran Khademi (Iri); Saeid Arabi (Iri) lost to Abhijit Kunte.
Women: D Harika beat Swathi Ghate; Tan Zhongyi (Chn) drew with Nguyen Thi Mai Hung (Vie); Ghader Pour Shayesteh (Iri) drew with Huang Qian (Chn); Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iri) lost to Mitra Hejazipour (Iri); Guliskhan Nakhbayeva (Kaz) beat Soumya Swaminathan; Irine Kharisma Sukandar (Ina) beat Olga Sabirova (Uzb); Eesha Karavade beat Yulduz Hamrakulova (Uzb); Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri) drew with Padmini Rout; Minoo Asgarizadeh (Iri) drew with Mary Ann Gomes.