Niranjan Navalgund showed his true mettle and defeated Grandmaster Karen Movsziszian of Armenia in the second round of 15th Delhi International open chess tournament now underway here. A former Tamil Nadu State champion and a budding writer, Navalgund was in his elements against the experienced Movsziszian and it was an excellent display of counter attacking chess.
For the records, it was a Reti opening wherein Navalgund equalised without much ado and went about pushing further on the queen side. Movsziszian felt the heat once black’s pieces seized the initiative and the end came soon with a typical tactical blow. The game lasted 40 moves.
P C Akash Iyer was the other big gamer of the second round as he defeated Hungarian Grandmaster Adam Horvath. Akash Iyer showed immense maturity to convert his advantage.
While it was business as usual for most of the higher seeds, Alberto David of Italy was forced to split the point against Pratik Patel. The Sicilian Alapin is known to be a peaceful opening and it lived up to its reputation. David started with a lightly worse middle game and only managed to equalise as the pieces changed hands at regular intervals. Players reached a queen and pawns endgame soon after wherein a pawn sacrifice ensured repetition through perpetual checks. Local hopeful Nishant Malhotra also joined the party and held Grandmaster Atilla Czebe of Hungary to a creditable draw. Nishant in fact enjoyed some serious advantage but fell prey to some nice defense by Czebe. Highest rated Indian M R Lalith Babu played a fine game with black pieces to get the better of compatriot M Mahalakshmi while National Champion Murali Karthikeyan gave little hopes to S Jayakumar.
The 51 Lakh prize money chess festival also has parallel events running with the main International open. The ‘B’ Group has participation of over 600 players while the ‘C’ group will have over 800 players participating.
Top results round 2 (Indians unless specified): F Amonatov (TJK) beat Aradhya Garg; M. Mahalakshmi lost to M R Lalith Babu; Diptayan Ghosh beat Joydeep Dutta; Pratik Patil drew with Alberto David (ITA); Murali Karthikeyan beat S. Jayakumar; Vitaliy Bernadskiy (UKR) beat Anish Gandhi; Chilukuri Likhit lost to Vitaliy Sivuk (UKR); Gireman Ja drew with Adam Tukhaev (UKR); Spencer Masango (ZIM) lost to Vadim Malakhatko (BEL); Karen Movsziszian (ARM) lost to Niranjan Navalgund.