It is a chess congregation like never before seen in the country.

For a casual follower of Indian chess, over 1,300 entries for a three-tier competition is a possibility only in a state like Tamil Nadu. Surprisingly, the National capital has managed to set a new benchmark for both quality and quantity of participation in the 12th Parsvnath Grandmasters’ International chess tournament that opened at the Ludlow Castle Indoor Hall here on Thursday.

Considering that Delhi is far removed from the country’s “chess culture” and the prevailing cold wave in the region, the response from the players for the Rs.23-lakh event has only reinforced the growing belief that organisationally and logistically, the Capital has no equal.

Encouraged by the presence of players from 12 countries, 57 titles players, including 22 Grandmasters, it did not take All Indian Chess Federation’s CEO Bharat Singh Chauhan to announce next year’s event with an enhanced prize-money of Rs.30 lakh.

The Capital’s strongest player in the field, Grandmaster Vaibhav Suri became the biggest casualty of the opening round.

Suri, seeded eighth, went down to N. Surendran in 66 moves in their Sicilian Najdorf game to be the second GM to fall on a day when most results followed the expected course.

Earlier, S. Arun Prasad’s poor form continued when he lost to Rajib Dhar in 56 moves.

The results: First round: Vinay Kumar Matta lost to Martyn Kravtsiv (Ukr); Levon Pantsulaia (Geo) bt K. K. Chatterjee; Ulugbek Tillyaev (Uzb) lost to Abhijeet Gupta; Oliver Barbosa (Phi) bt Vikramjit Singh; Anup Deshmukh lost to Lalith Babu; Alexander Evdokimov (Rus) bt Vijay Pranav; L. Imocha lost to Merab Gagunashvili (Geo); Vaibhav Suri lost to N. Surendran; G. B. Joshi lost to John Paul Gomez (Phi); Tornike Sanikidze (Geo) bt N. Niranjan; Bobir Sattarov (Uzb) drew with Deep Sengupta; M. R. Venkatesh bt Raghunandan Kaumandur; V. Karthik lost to Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb); Rajib Dhar bt S. Arun Prasad; Krishna Kayastha (Nep) bt Saptarshi Roy; Aradhya Garg drew with G. A. Stany; S. Kannan bt B. S. Shivananda; Pardeep Arora bt Padmini Rout; Harshal Shahi bt Aniruddha Deshpande.

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