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Nagpur, 1ST JUNE: Vidit Gujrathi was at his sparkling best in the first game of the Maharshtra Challenge Match against Peter Svidler, pocketing a win effortlessly after 30 moves. Vidit takes a three -point lead in the 16 game Match where four classical, four Rapid and 8 Blitz games will be played. A victory is worth 3 points in Classical games. A visibly excited Vidt quipped “ This is quite simply one of my best games in recent times and it gave me joy”.

Within minutes Raunak Sadhwani also denied birthday boy Nigel Short any gift, checkmating with ease in 28 moves and also opened his points tally with 3 points. It was a good day for both the top Indian Grandmasters as they exhibited growing Indian chess strength. “The position was complicated but I had an advantage throughout” summed a happy Raunak.

Vidit surprised Svidler with the very first move, opting for an English Opening and surprisingly the queen were the first pieces to be exchanged on the 7th move itself. How-ever with Vidit castling on the queen-side and Svidler refraining from castling, an attacking game was anticipated.

A brilliant pawn sacrifice on the 15th turn by Vidit allowed his pieces to occupy strategic squares and target Svidler’s un-castled King. Svidler had to sacrifice his rook for a bishop to blunt out the attack on the 19th turn but then Vidit craftily advanced his pawns on the King-side. Faced with a disadvantageous position Svidler resigned on the 30th turn.

The majestic hall of the Naivedhyam North-star saw some interesting tussles and major upsets in the very first round, a rarity in Swiss league events. It was bad day for quite a lot of titled and higher rated players. Fifth seed GM G Akash rated Elo 2483 lost to Arya Bhakta rated Elo 2103. National Under 12 Champion Goutham Krishna beat GM Federov Alexei ranked 11th.

Arjun Tiwari held 9th seed GM Vorobiov Evgeny to a draw while 11-year-old Ethan Vaz of Goa creating a flutter by holding 12th seed IM Szpar Milosz, rated almost 400 Elo points above him to a draw.

IM Viani AntoniaDcunha ranked 15th here also had to split the point against Aniruddh Chatterjee, ranked almost 400 points below him. Among the first to end on the winning side was second seed Zakhartsov Viacheslav defeating Aanjaneya after quick 37 moves in a King’s Indian defence game

Szpar and Ethan hardly ventured out of the Sicilian-Alapin opening and eked out a technical draw by threefold repetition without exchanging a single piece. Explaining the draw, Ethan said” He was forced to either repeat the moves or lose the game”.

Due to a delayed start quite a few games were in progress at the time of going to press.

Nigel Short celebrating his 58th Birthday opened up with the King pawn and Raunak Sadhwani opted for the sharp Sicilian Defence. Short too wielding whites preferred queen-side castling


GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (2731) – 3 bt Peter Svidler (2683)-0

GM Nigel Short (2597) -0 lost to Raunak Sadhwani (2627)-3


Pawar Harshit (0) lost to GM Boris Savachenko(1) ;

GM Zakhartsov Viacheslav (1) bt Phatak Aanjaneya (0) ;

Singh Arvinder Preet(0) lost to GM Paichadze Luka (1) ;

GM Vladimir Burmakin (1) bt IM Anup Deshmukh(0) ;

Arya Bhakta (1) bt GM Akash G (0);

Kishan Gangoli (0) lost to GM M R Venkatesh (1) ;

GM Aleksandrov Aleksej (0) lost to Kedar Morvekar(1) ;

Arjun Tewari (0.5) drew GM Vorobiev Evgeny(0.5) ;

IM Nitish Belurkar(0) lost to Nagare Kaivalya Sandip (1);

IM Szpar Milosz (0.5) drew Vaz Ethan (0.5);

Sreyas Payyapat (0.5) drew IM Neelash Saha (0.5) ;

Aniruddh Chatterjee (0.5) drew IM Viani Antonio Dcunha (0.5) ;