Chennai: India`s FIDE Master VAV Rajesh stunned top seed Russian Grandmaster Matlakov, holding him to a hard-fought draw in a first round match of the 50th World Junior Chess Championship on Tuesday.
Two other Indian players, R Ashwath and young talent SL Narayanan, also hogged the limelight holding their respective Grand Master rivals to draws.
Rajesh, playing white, faced the Grunfeld defence offered by the Russian Grandmaster Matlakov and enjoyed a slight edge throughout the match. Though Rajesh took a lot of time to enter the Middle game phase, he handled the position impeccably.
Matlakov, who is 370 rating points ahead of Rajesh, could not find any leeway and realising that he could not force his opponent into making any mistakes, even in time trouble, offered truce on the 40th move.
On an adjacent table, Ashwath also played white against his Armenian rival Grandmaster Robert Hovhanningan and adopted his typical brand of solid chess to hold the Grandmaster to a draw, while Narayanan held Grandmaster S P Sethuraman to a creditable draw on the fifteenth table.
The second seed Russian Grandmaster Sanan Sjugirov, however, started on a victorious note putting it across FM Julian Antonio Rojas Alarcon of Mexico in a Petroff game, while another top Grandmaster Ivan Lopez Salgado of Spain had no difficulty in defeating Deepak Aaron of USA.
In the 29th World Junior Girls Chess Championship held simultaneously, India`s main hope WGM Padmini Rout scored a smooth win over Roberta Brunello of Italy and top seed WGM Nazi Paikidze hoisted a smooth win over Maria Gevorgyan in 33 moves in a Nimzo Indian game.
Paikidze controlled the whole board effectively and delivered the finishing punch with a central break. She then doubled her rooks on the seventh rank to force resignation, while WGM Cori Deysi of Peru handled the Catalan game in the classical way to score a full point over Pratyusha Bodda of India in 31 moves.
Another young Indian star, Michelle Catherina mishandled the `Fantasy Variation of the Caro Kann` defence against WGM Olga Giriya of Russia in losing her match, while Candidate Master Bhakti Kulkarni of India managed to hold WIM Guo Emma of Australia.