Pandya downs Javakhishvili, Harika holds Sargissian

Kavala: Young Indian Karma Pandya
scored a big upset in the first round of Kavala International
Open Chess tournament by defeating International Master Lela
Jevakhshvili of Georgia, here.

The memorable victory for Pandya against a much
experienced opponent came rather quick and easy as the Indian
went for the closed Ruy Lopez and kept his cards close to his
chest for the major part of the game.

In trying to seize the initiative Javakhishvili went for
a tactical inaccuracy in the late stages of middle game and
had to pay heavy dividends after Pandya sacrificed a rook for
knight. The Georgian could find temporary solace in giving a
piece but the endgame was just lost after sometime.

Pandya, however, could not keep up the momentum ticking
in his favour and lost to American Grandmaster Joshua Friedel
in the second round match later in the day.

Meanwhile, former World Junior girls` champion D Harika
held top seeded Grandmaster Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia to
an easy draw in the second round to stake her claim for the
second Grandmaster norm.

Playing the black side of a King`s Indian defense, Harika
did not give any leeway to Sargissian, who offered a draw in
the middle game itself when he could not find a worthy plan to
continue the match.

Earlier, the Indian had to sweat hard before she could
finally dent the position of her opponent Halil Osmanoglou of
Greece. Playing white, Harika was on the defensive in the
middle game but a mistake by her opponent helped her turn the
tide in the round one match.

The Indian contingent was off to a flier in the first
round as 2008 World Junior champion Abhijeet Gupta made short
work of Women International Master Ekaterina Fakhiridou of

Playing the white side of a Czech Benoni Abhijeet was in
his element as he followed routine theory and when opportunity
arose, the Indian came out with an ingenious plan to score in
under two hours of play.

In the second game of the day Abhijeet was held to a draw
by compatriot International Master Sahaj Grover.

After the lone double round of the tournament on the
first day, Vishnu Prasanna and Grandmaster Tejas Bakre are
among the 10 leaders in this strong 94 players` tournament.
There are 29 Grandmasters in all and the total number of
titled players exceed 50 per cent.

The pick of the Indian among leaders was Prasanna, who
defeated Yaroslav Zinchenko of Ukraine in the second round
after accounting for Grapsa Georgia of Greece in the opener.

Bakre scored over two lower ranked players to be in the
leading group.


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