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Battle to rule 64 squares on board
- From title winners to amateurs, there are more than 200 participants

Bhubaneswar, June 3: The battle to rule the 64-square chessboard are on in full-swing in the city among grandmasters (GMs), international masters (IMs) as well as non-rated young and old players.

More than 200 players from all over the world have come to take part in the third Orissa International Grandmaster Open Chess Tournament organised by the All Orissa Chess Association on the KIIT University Campus.

People of all ages, including international title winners and amateurs are taking part in the tournament. You could find a 10-year-old pitted against a 60-year-old or a woman GM playing against a male opponent here.

“I have been practicing chess at a local centre since I love the game. I wish to follow the footsteps of Vishwanathan Anand,” said a 10-year-old participant who was playing against a veteran chess lover.

The star of Bangladesh chess, female international master Rani Hamid, was also seen enjoying her game against a young player on Friday.

“Kids are really talented and must never be underestimated when it comes to chess,” said the septuagenarian who believed she was involved in a challenging contest.

Among the top matches today for the eighth round were that of GM Mchedlishvili from Georgia against GM Panchanathan Magesh Chandran from Karnataka and former world junior champion and recent Dubai Open champion GM Abhijeet Gupta versus Delhi based IM Sahaj Grover.

“It was thrilling to win in Dubai last month. I have performed consistently here and put in my best. Here, it has been very competitive,” said Gupta, a former world junior champion who represents the petroleum team.

While Oriya chess prodigy WGM Padmini Rout is in Bangalore for a national tournament, all eyes are on WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty, who is at 4.5 points so far. However, Mary Ann Gomes of Bengal is leading the chart among women as of now.

Among men, IM Debasish Das and Md Ashraf are leading the Orissa contingent with 5 points each while Swayansu Satyaprgyan is lagging behind with two losses.

Fourteen Grandmasters, 30 International Masters and 24 international players are taking part in the tournament.

“We had begun with 240 players and now we have 220 players with round eight in progress. Top players from Bangladesh, Nepal, Belarus, Armenia, Brazil and Georgia are participating in the event,” said Manoj Kumar Hota, an official.

The tournament, which began on May 27, would continue till June 6.

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