Dubai: Top seeded Grandmaster K Sasikiran warded off some initial resistance from Australian Vladimir Feldman to open with a comfortable win in the 13th Dubai International Open Chess Tournament.
National champion Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly did not have any difficulties in tackling Yann-Michael Guidez of France either while it was smooth sailing for GM Parimarjan Negi against Al Razi Naji Mohd Saeed of UAE as well.
Former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta opened his account against Amir Kowsarinia of Iran and the other two Indian GMs in the fray - B Adhiban and R R Laxman – also coasted to easy victories in the USD 45000 tournament.
With a total of 41 Grandmasters in fray, including six Indians, this year`s Dubai Open is the strongest ever.
In terms of participation, India (42) is way ahead of hosts UAE which has 22 players in the event.
Expectations are high from Sasikiran as it is the first time that an Indian has been given top billing in the event.
However, this itself may not be very important for Sasikiran as he was also top seed in the Corus (Now Tata) tournament of 2009 and the Indian had finished last.
Putting that behind, Sasikiran started his campaign on a positive note. Playing white against Feldman, the Indian went for a Queen pawn opening and got slightly better prospects in the middle game.
Feldman felt the heat with pieces disappearing off the board as Sasikiran had an extra pawn. The rook endgame that ensued was child`s play and the game lasted 72 moves.
Ganguly faced the Sicilian defense against Yann-Michael Guidez. In a typical middle game arising out of the opening, Ganguly created a central bind and initiated a queen side attack which Guidez found too difficult to handle.
Ganguly picked up a pawn at will and went for the trading of queens to force matters in the endgame.
Parimarjan Negi won a miniature. Up against the French defense of Saeed, the second youngest ever Grandmaster in the history of the game went for the kill following lacklustre play by his opponent.