Grandmaster Pendyala Harikrishna started his campaign with a fine victory over compatriot WGM Nisha Mohota in the first round of the Masters' section of the US$16000 14th Abu Dhabi Chess Festival.
Former British Open champion GM R B Ramesh used his superior skills to beat Iran's budding talent Atousa Pourkashiyan while the country's latest GM, Tejas Bakre defeated former Asian Junior girls' champion Tania Sachdev to announce his arrival on the big stage.
Among the other Indians in the fray in this nine-round annual event, International Master S Kidambi, fresh from his victory in the Olumouc International Chess tournament in the
Czech Republic, started on a positive note with an easy victory against local Mohamed Hossein.
However, IM Neelotpal Das had to settle for a draw with Saleh Najueb of UAE while WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy tasted defeat in the first round, going down to GM Dmitry Bocharov of Russia.
In an unexpected outcome, top seed and a long-time trainer of the Indian team, GM Evgeny Vladimirov of Kazakhstan was held to a draw by Sergey Kayumov of Uzbekistan while third seed Artyom Timofeev of Russia could not get past Turkey's Kivanc Haznedaroglu.
For Harikrishna, it was a normal day at the office in the Catalan variation as white as he gradually grinded Mohota with awesome ease. After getting into a position that demanded patience in the middle game, Mohota went for unwarranted action and was soon saddled with inferior pieces.
Starting with a flurry of exchanges, Harikrishna led the game to a won Bishop endgame and the technical part was no problem.
The game lasted 49 moves.
Ramesh was in for a surprise against Pourkashiyan as the latter came with some imaginative moves in the middle game to push the Indian to the wall. Coming from one of the popular variations of the Petroff, Pourkashiyan had her sights trained to get Ramesh's king with black pieces after both players castled on opposite flanks.
However, Ramesh took advantage of a big oversight and cashed in with a couple of pawns and a Bishop in quick time. Pourkashiyan resigned on move 54.
Tania Sachdev fell under time pressure and squandered away an otherwise playable position against Bakre who enjoyed a slightly better position for the major part of the game with his white pieces.
Complete Results Round 1 (Indians unless specified):
Evgeny Vladimirov (Kaz) drew with Sergey Kayumov (Uzb); Alexander Raetsky (Rus) lost to Mikhail Kobalia (Rus); Artyom Timofeev (Rus) drew with Kivanc Haznedaroglu (Tur); Zeinab Mamediarova (Aze) lost to Pavel Kotsur (Kaz); P Harikrishna beat Nisha Mohota; Abdullah Hassan (Uae) lost to Mikhail Ulibin (Rus); Konstantin Chernyshov (Rus) beat Firuza Velikhanli (Aze); Nezad Husein Aziz (Qat) drew with Artashes Minasian (Arm); Ashot Anastasian (Arm) beat Nabil Saleh (Uae); Aarthie Ramaswamy lost to Dmitry Bocharov (Rus); Hichem Hamdouchi (Mar) drew with Adina-Maria Bogza (Rom); Elshan Moradiabadi (Iri) drew with Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (Iri); Saidali Iuldachev (Uzb) beat Jasim A.R.Saleh (Uae); Evgeny Gleizerov (Rus) beat Illijin Neboisa (Rom); Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb) beat Jasper Lauridsen (Den); Tahir Vakhidov (Uzb) beat Eesha Karavade; Tejas Bakre beat Tania Sachdev; Bistric Faruk (Bih) beat Suhail Tayeb (Uae); Ramil Hasangatin (Rus) beat Shadi Paridar (Iri); R B Ramesh beat Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iri); Safin Shukhrat (Uzb) beat Amer Mohamed (Egy); Taleb Moussa (Uae) beat Julia Mashinskaya (Rus); Mahjoob Morteza (Iri) beat James Coleman (Eng); Sundararajan Kidambi beat Mohamed Hossein (Uae); Hakki Imad (Syr) beat Al-Tamimi Hamad (Qat); Neelotpal Das drew with Saleh Najueb (Uae); Yahya Mohamed Saleh (Uae) lost to Gozzoli Yannick (Fra); Tissir Mohamed (Mar) beat Khalil Ibrahim (Uae).