Dubai: Grandmaster norm holder Akshayraj Kore showed character and fighting skills as he held second seed Grandmaster Loek Van Wely of Holland to a draw in the second round of the 14th Dubai International Chess Open here.
It was a big scene at the start as Van Wely and his compatriot Ivan Sokolov failed to turn up in time for the game and Kore and Tania Sachdev were awarded walkover by the arbiter.
Kore pleaded that he wanted to play but the arbiter did not relent. Tania left for her hotel but Kore hung in there with his request that was eventually granted after a meeting.
The start was obviously delayed a great deal and when Tania was informed it was her wish to play or not, it was already too late for the Delhi girl as the game might well have continued way past midnight.
Tania eventually declined to play as she also needed a lot of distance to cover to the tournament hall but Kore`s prayers for a game were granted.
For the records it was a Grunfeld defense that the Pune-based played with black pieces and started calling the shots very early after the trading of queens.
Van Wely had to equalise and game was finally drawn.
Meanwhile, Grandmaster Sandipan Chanda, G N Gopal, P Shyam Nikil, Swapnil Dhopade and Tania emerged as joint leaders with a perfect score.
The leading group has 26 players in all, including top seed Baadur Jobava of Georgia who defeated S Nitin after the latter`s king side attack fizzled out.
While Kore hogged the limelight, Vishnu Prasanna let go of a winning endgame and had to sign peace with defending champion Abhijeet Gupta.
It was a typical `miss` by Prasanna who conducted the Bogo-Indian defense efficiently and had two extra pawns with a winning position on board when disaster struck and Abhijeet liquidated to a drawn position.
You`re making it sound like I almost died and there was 10 sharks and I got attacked and I survived. And, you know, I saved a dolphin, as well.