Abhijeet Gupta defeated Osman Abdelgadir of Sudan while Grandmaster M.R. Lalith Babu was held to a draw by Elena Partac of Moldova in the first round of the 16th Dubai International Open chess tournament that got underway here on Tuesday.

Playing the white side of an English opening, Gupta got an early advantage and then spotted a simple tactic to earn a knight for just a pawn. The rest was easy.

Lalith Babu faced an early wake up call by Partac who matched the Indian move for move despite a huge disparity in ratings.

It was a Caro Kann defense by Babu wherein Partac employed a less played system and the game was always close to equal.

Babu fancied his chances in the rook and pawns endgame but Partac was equal to the task as she gave nothing away.

After 87 moves the draw was agreed to leaving both players on half point after the first round.

The opening day was not devoid of upsets. Highly regarded Grandmaster Tigran Petrosian went down to Mona Khaled of Egypt while Gawain Jones of England had to share point with Narmin Khalafova of Azerbaijan.

Amongst the Indians, Siva Mahadevan came out with a good result holding Russian Grandmaster Sergey Volkov to a creditable draw.

It was a typical hit-and-miss game as Mahadevan got a winning position after capturing Volkov’s queen for just two minor pieces but missed a simple blow that cost him a rook.

Volkov thought he had chances but the Indian fought back to win the rook for his passed pawn and the Russian was lucky to find a fortress. The game lasted 104 moves.

The Indian GMs had a good day apart from Lalith Babu.

Debashish Das got the better of compatriot Harshal Shahi, Niusha Afshar of Iran proved no match to Shyam Sundar while Sahaj Grover excelled at the expense of Ahmed Elgantiry of Egypt.

At the top of the tables, Anton Korobov scored over Asian junior girls’ champion Ivana Maria Furtado in a game where the Indian girl fought hard. Nishant Malhotra was the other Indian at the receiving end despite putting up a brave show against Grandmaster Stevic Hrvoje of Croatia.

The Dubai Open is one of the strongest Asian tournaments with $50000 as prize fund.

The tournament will be played over nine rounds.

Important and Indian results round 1 (Indians unless specified): Ivana Maria Furtado lost to Anton Korobov (Ukr); Vladimir Akopian (Arm) beat Marina Makropoulou (Gre); Narmin Khalafova (Aze) drew with Gawain Jones (Eng); Abhijeet Gupta beat Osman Abdelgadir (Sud);Pratyusha Bodda lost to Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Geo); Tigran Petrosian (Arm) lost to Mona Khaled (Egy); Stevic Hrvoje (Cro) beat Nishant Malhotra; Nimmy George lost to Zaven Andriasian (Arm); Siva Mahadevan drew with Sergey Volkov (Rus); Elena Partac (Mda) drew with M R Lalith Babu; Harshal Shahi lost to Debashis Das; Diptayan Ghosh beat Hamad Abdul Razzaq (UAE); M Shyam Sundar beat Niusha Afshar (Iri); Ahmed Elgantiry (Egy) lost to Sahaj Grover; Ashwin Jayaram beat Borsa Derakhshani (Iri); Swapnil Dhopade beat Felix Tuomainen (Swe); Sayantan Das beat Alattar Ghayda (Jor); Assaubayeva Bibissara (Kaz) drew with S Ravi Teja; Akshay V Halagannavar lost to C R G Krishna; Khaled Gahfer (Lba) lost to Prince Bajaj; Abhishek Kelkar beat Holi Sief Al Din (Sud); Aniruddha Deshpande beat Kamil Montaser (Sud); Al Zarooni Ahmed (UAE) lost to V Karthik ; N Raghavi lost to Nandu Gagarin; Gameel Mohamed (Yem) beat Harikrishnan Samyuktha.

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