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Rahman cuts Nigel short

Calcutta: Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman, by his own admission, was left surprised by the day’s proceedings.

A game against someone of the calibre of Nigel Short was always going to be a tall order for the Bangladeshi. But at the end of the day, it was Ziaur who took the honours, making short work of the top seed.

Deepan Chakravarthy, Abhijit Kunte, Vidith Santosh Gujrathi and another Bangladeshi Abdulla Al-Rakib share the lead with three points apiece at the end of Round III of the ongoing 6th Kolkata Open Chess tournament, organised by the Alekhine Chess Club, on Thursday. But the day belonged to none other than Ziaur who hogged the limelight with what has so far been the biggest upset in the tournament.

Ziaur deviated from the regular Nimzo Indian Defence to exchange the queens as early as in eighth move. He capitalised on some weak moves by Short to position his rooks strongly. Fearing the loss of further materials, Short resigned after 28 moves.

“For sure, this is the best win so far in my career,” an elated Ziaur said later. “This is the first time I’ve beaten Nigel Short. Till today’s game, I had only drawn twice with him. I don’t think any other Bangladeshi has the distinction of beating this Englishman.

“But to be honest, I was really taken aback by the way he played today. If you ask me, I would say that some of his moves were very juvenile.

“Yes, Nigel’s not going through a very good patch at present. But having said that, looking at how Nigel played especially towards the end, you don’t really expect a top player to put in this kind of a performance. “Nonetheless, for my part, I need to carry on being consistent,” he added.

Bangladesh certainly had a field day as Grandmaster Al-Rakib defeated Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia. In a Benoni Defence on the top board, Levan had to forego his rook, getting only a bishop in compensation from Abdulla. In the resultant queen and rook versus queen and knight ending, Abdulla used his extra pawn to register a win in 62 moves.

Meanwhile, former under-14 world champion Vidith launched a severe attack on the king side with his queen, rooks and bishop, adopting a Nimzo Indian Defence, against Debashis Das. When Vidith sacrificed his bishop by playing Bxh3, Debashis realised the danger and gave up the fight immediately after 22 moves.

In a Slav Defence, former Asian junior champion Deepan sacrificed his bishop on the 13th move against M.R. Lalith Babu. To save his queen from being cornered, Lalith had to return the piece after seven moves, bringing parity. Deepan gained a pawn in the endgame and his connected pawns at the centre were vital to force a win in 60 moves.

Young Diptayan Ghosh drew with Grandmaster Oliver Barbosa of Philippines in a Slav Defence game, getting closer to earning the GM-norm. But Deep Sengupta suffered a setback, losing to former national champion Kunte in Sicilian Defence.