Aeroflot Open: Sasikiran to lead Indian challenge

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran will spearhead the Indian challenge in the Aeroflot International Open chess tournament, 2005.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran will spearhead the Indian challenge in the Aeroflot International Open chess tournament, 2005, which gets underway in the Russian capital from today. The biggest open event in the world will see over 500 players in action in various categories designed to suit high level of competitive chess and provide norm possibilities to aspirants. The events have been classified as 'A1', 'A2', 'B' and 'C' and the total prize is USD 175000 (Rs 77 lakh approx). The 'A1' is the highest category and the first prize in this pool is USD 30,000. In all, barring last minute inclusions and withdrawals, there are 80 participants in this section and as many as 77 of them are Grandmasters. The magnitude of the event can be gauged by the simple fact that Sasikiran, with an ELO rating of 2657, is likely to start as 14th seed while the top billing is given to French Etienne Bacrot, 2715, once the youngest Grandmaster of the World. Bacrot, in fact, is not the only player above 2700 in this event as Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine is giving him company in that club. Top honours Once the finalist of the World Championship, Ivanchuk makes his first appearance in Aeroflot open and starts as one of the favourties for top honours. After a rather lackluster performance in the recently concluded Gibraltar open wherein Sasikiran lost as many as 10 ELO rating points, he would be keen to set things right for himself. And if past results are anything to go by, Sasikiran comes out stronger every time he is down. Apart from Sasikiran, much can be expected from National champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly and his Kolkata city-mate Sandipan Chanda who are also taking part in 'A1'. Sandipan comes to the event from Germany wherein he was playing a few Bundesliga (German league) matches while Ganguly will make his first appearance in rating event since he won the National 'A' a few months back. In the 'A2', GM Tejas Bakre is the Indian favourite and he too is back to competitive chess after a long hiatus. Besides Bakre, International Master Sunderrajan Kidambi will be the other Indian in the fray. Former Asian Junior girls' champion Tania Sachdev and country's latest Women Grandmaster Eesha Karvade will make their debut in the 'B' group. For Tania the tournament is quite important as she is gunning for her final Women Grandmaster norm that already looks long overdue. Eesha will be looking for an IM norm. Another young gun running for his IM norm in this section will be Parimarjan Negi who recently turned twelve. Fresh from his encouraging results in the last Corus 'C' tournament, Parimarjan used the in-between period to train under GM Ruslan Scherbakov of Russia at the latter's residence in Chelyabinsk. If everything fits right for him, Negi has shown time and again that he can already take on many stronger players. International Master Dinesh Kumar Sharma is the other Indian in 'B' group who will try to make an impression with an eye on the top prize of USD 5000. (PTI)

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