Shiven Khosla holds top seed Baklan

Groningen: Khosla held top seeded Grandmaster Vladimir Baklan of Ukraine to a creditable draw in the first round of Groningen International Open chess tournament here.

Playing white on the top board, it was a chance-less effort by Shiven who played solidly right through to deny the
top seed a first round victory.

On a day that saw handful of upsets, Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta survived a scare at the hands of FIDE Master Toms Kantans of Latvia.

Two Indian International Masters in the fray had an easy outing in the opener with Sahaj Grover outplaying Nick Bijlsma of Holland and Ashwin proving too good for local hopeful Julian Van Overdam.

Vahe Baghdasaryan of Armenia caused a major flutter defeating Grandmaster and fourth seed Mark Bluvshtein of Canada. The Armenian was in his element right through the game and stunned the Canadian with black pieces to open his account in style.

Amongst other important results in the day, Grandmaster Friso Nijboer of Holland also dropped a half point against compatriot Wim Heemskerk while defending champion Illya outplayed Alexander Donchenko to start his campaign on a positive note in this 56-players strong open event.

Shiven employed the Alapin Sicilian and Baklan, knowing that the opening nearly fizzles out to be completely level after correct play by black, went for one of the complicated middle game position that has lots of pieces on the board.

Shiven was undeterred in the middle game as he retained a small advantage while Baklan could not make any headways other than going for trading of pieces at regular intervals.

Both the players reached a level heavy pieces endgame and after Shiven traded the rooks the outcome of the game was never in doubt. Shiven forced the draw vide perpetual checks.

Abhijeet Gupta survived a rare scare when he blundered from a winning position in the middle game.

Playing the white side of a Grunfeld defense, it was not a good start by Abhijeet who had to recover after he accidentally played a hand move only to realise that he will have to play with a stranded king in the centre for the remaining part of the game.

Kantans made an early mistake though and Abhijeet was on top with precise calculations. The Latvian sacrificed a piece which was another error giving Abhijeet a winning position instantly till disaster struck and he blundered the piece back. It was a long drill and a longer path to recovery.

Kantans went for an erroneous plan again and handed the point in a study-like finish.

Sahaj Grover was not stretched in a Sicilian defense game by Nick Bijlsma and won in just 25 moves while Ashwin had to work harder for a sweet victory in the end.

Important and Indian Results:
(Round 1) (Indians unless stated): Shiven Khosla drew Vkladimir Baklan (Ukr); Abhijeet Gupta beat Toms Kantans (Lat); Ullrich Krause (Ger) lost to Ernst Sipke (Ned); Mark Bluvshtein (Can) lost to Vahe Baghdarsayan (Arm); Afek Yochanan (Isr) lost to Zaven Andriasian (Arm); Friso Nijboer (Ned) drew Wim Heemskerk (Ned); Christian Hess (Ger) lost to Jan Werle (Ned); Dejan Bojkov (Bul) beat Olga Stjazhkina (Rus); Mark Lyell (Eng) lost to Arkadij Rotstein (Isr); Julian Van Overdam (Ned) lost to Ashwin Jayaram.