Nisha Mohota, Neeraj Mishra register wins

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Nisha Mohota beat GM Niel Mcdonald in 1st round of Challengers tournament in Hastings International Chess Congress.

Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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International Woman Master Nisha Mohota scored a sensational victory over Grandmaster Niel Mcdonald of England in the first round of the Challengers tournament in Hastings International Chess Congress. International Master Neeraj Kumar Mishra and double WGM norm holder Aarthie Ramaswamy were the other two to cause upsets beating English GM Keith Arkell and GM Colin Mcnab of Scotland. Otherwise, the Indians had a mixed day yesterday as GMs Dibyendu Barua and Pravin Thipsay scored easy victories over Bragi Thorfinnsson and FIDE Master Alexander Vikoulov of Russia respectively. But GM norm hopefuls IMs Lanka Ravi and D V Prasad tasted defeat against top seed GM Vitaly Tsheshkovsky of Russia and Jochen Kountz of Germany. The other Indian woman WGM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi started her campaign in style, outclassing Joerg Wegerle of Germany quite easily with the black pieces. IWMs Saheli Dhar-Barua and Meenakshi Subbaraman drew their games while IWM Bhagyashree Thipsay and Swati Ghate lost. Playing black Nisha punished Mcdonald for his over-ambitious attitude in the middlegame. Nisha fought the opening well and though she had to play precise defensive moves in the complications, Mcdonald did not get much. In the end, Nisha played a fine tactical stroke to romp home. Neeraj Mishra was in his element getting the better of Arkell from the white side of a Queen pawn game. Mishra tackled the opening well and emerged with a slight advantage. Arkell fought back in the later stages of the game but an oversight cost him dearly. Looking for her final WGM norm, Aarthie had a field day as she capitalized on a weak plan by highly regarded Mcnab who is seeded 16th here. Playing black, Aarthie got her pieces rolling on both flanks and a finely crafted manoeuvre got the desired result. The tournament has 139 participants including nine Grandmasters vying for the top honours. The main event of the Festival, Hastings Premier starts later today. Defending champion Grandmaster K Sasikiran is the star attraction in the 10 players all-play-all event that also has India's youngest Grandmaster P Harikrishna in the fray. (PTI)

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