Chalkida: The 12-member Indian contingent got off to a flier in the first Negroponte International Chess tournament here as everyone scored a victory in the opener.
The Indian challenge is spearheaded by Surya Shekhar Ganguly who is the highest rated Indian in the fray and started as the second seed behind Denis Khismatullin of Russia.
Playing the black side of a Sicilian Scheveningen in the first round, Ganguly had to work hard but he eventually coasted over Georgios Tzolas of Greece. Ganguly arrived here immediately after the Politiken Cup tournament in Denmark where a last round loss against Pavel Eljanov put him out of top honours.
Third seed Grandmaster Sandipan Chanda who finished third in the strong Arctic Chess Challenge just a couple of days back, had no problems in tackling Panagiotis Galopoulos of Greece who played black.
Sandipan won a pawn early and then cruised to an easy victory in the endgame.
Fresh from his joint first finish in the Kavala International Open Chess tournament, Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta was a bit complacent to start with against his Greek opponent Panagiotis Michelakos but once the latter came out with some fine defensive moves, the former world junior champion from India was glued to his chair.
Finding moves that would trouble his opponent Abhijeet also scored an emphatic victory.
All the Indians in fact played against lower rated players and did not have much troubles except International Master Sahaj Grover who was closed to drawing his game against Serafim Tsounis of Greece.
Tsounis, the son of the organiser of this tournament, gave a tough fight and could have drawn from the black side of a Sicilian defense had it not been for the ticking clock that gave little time to think in the decisive moments of the game.
In the end, Grover won in the rook and pawn ending by marching his pawns to glory.
Amongst other Indians in the fray, GM norm holder Vaibhav Suri had it easy against Georgios Kalogridakis from the white side of a king pawn game while double GM norm holder D Harika started her quest for the final GM norm at the expense of Greek Georgios Nikolaidis.
J Deepan Chakkravarthy scored an encouraging victory over Konstantinos Anagnostopoulos while M Shyam Sundar, Tania Sachdev Vishnu Prasanna and Soumya Swaminathan defeated their Greek opponents in contrasting fashion. Young Karma Pandya was lucky to beat Abbas Ismail of Egypt.