NEW DELHI: Globally, there could not have been a better advertisement for the growing chess talent in the country than the one provided by the nine-year-old Hetul Shah.
He became the “youngest” in the world to beat a Grandmaster when he maintained an accurate continuation against Kazakh Nurlan Ibrayev and prevailed in 44 moves to pull off the opening round stunner in the seventh Parsvnath International Open chess tournament here on Sunday.
Further, if any evidence was needed of the depth of country’s chess strength, then Kozhikode’s 45-year-old O. T. Anil Kumar produced one by bringing down top seeded Ukranian Alexander Areshchenko in the second round to complete the biggest upset of the 10-round competition.
Hetul was the star of the day until Anil hogged the spotlight. In the Ruy Lopez game, Hetul benefitted from a generous pawn sacrifice by Ibrayev, rated nearly 600 points above. The GM then went on to sacrifice one more pawn but Hetul held on to the advantage and forced his unsuspecting rival to give up his queen in search of victory. Hetul, rated 1817, then pushed his central pawn menacingly and compelled Ibrayev to give up.
The All India Chess Federation treasurer and organiser Bharat Singh Chauhan said he had confirmation from the World Chess Federation (FIDE) that Hetul was indeed the youngest ever to beat a GM.
Hetul broke the Indian record of his ‘hero’ Parimarjan Negi. The Delhi-boy set the record when he scored over Switzerland’s Ivan Nemet in the Biel Masters in 2004 at the age of 11 years five months. Negi improved upon the record set in 1995 by Surya Shekhar Ganguly in the Goodricke Open at the age of 11 years 11 months.
The results (Indians unless stated):
Second round: Alexander Areshchenko (Ukr, 1) lost to O. T. Anil Kumar (2); Pradip Ghosh (1) lost to Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 2); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2) bt Vinoth Kumar (1); Manish Mehra (1) lost to Parimarjan Negi (2); Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 2) bt Vaibhav Suri (1); Rajkumar Apollosana (1.5) drew with Evgeny Gleizerov (Rus, 1.5); Abhijit Kunte (2) bt Tejas Ravichandran (1); K.V. Shantaram (1) lost to Anuar Ismagambetov (Kaz, 2); Saidali Iuldachev (Uzb, 2) bt Jitendra Kumar Choudhary (1); Javed Mohammad (Ban, 1) lost to Shukrat Safin (Uzb, 2); Mikhail Ulibin (Rus, 2) bt Shiven Khosla (1); Kiran Manisha Mohanty (1) lost to Petr Kostenko (Kaz, 2); S. Vinay Bhat (1) lost to G. V. Sai Krishna (2); Rupankar Nath (1) lost to Dibyendu Barua (2); Neelotpal Das (2) bt Shardul Gagare (1); Amrutha Mokal (1) lost to P. Magesh Chandran (2); R.R. Laxman (2) bt Maxim Ivanilov (Kaz, 1); Vinod Bhagwat (1) lost to M.R. Lalith Babu (2); M.R. Venkatesh (1.5) drew with Dushyant Das (1.5); M.G. Gahan (1.5) drew with P. Konguvel (1.5).
Important first round results: Dasharathi Sahoo lost to Areshchenko; Saripalli Niraj lost to Ganguly; Negi bt Vasantad Wettasinha (Sri); Gleizerov bt M. Natarajan; Anuar Ismagambetov bt S. Anjana Krishna; R. Sriram lost to Ulibin; Kostenko bt Aman Chahal; Johnharry Pereia (Sin) lost to Bhat; Magesh bt Ramesh Adhikari; Bheem Dutt Pandey lost to R.R. Laxman; Nandan Kumar lost to Venkatesh; Konguvel bt Kapil Gupta.