Sandipan sure of 1st GM norm
Paes opens vs Tomashevic

Calcutta, Feb. 14: 
Sandipan Chanda confirmed his maiden nine-round GM norm in the Goodricke International Open chess meet at Gorky Sadan today.

The Goodricke National Chess Academy student beat T.S. Ravi in the eighth round which took his tally to 5.5. Even a defeat against Abhijit Kunte tomorrow will help the 16-year-old secure a GM norm.

Kunte, meanwhile, needs just a draw against Sandipan to become the fourth Indian GM after Viswanathan Anand, Dibyendu Barua and Pravin Thipsay.

Overnight leader Gregory Kaidanov of the US stretched his lead by a point with a 68-move victory against Evgeny Vladimirov. Kaidanov, with seven points, is followed by Chinese GM Peng Xiaomin and Viktor Korchnoi who have six each.

India�s K. Sasikiran, who went down to Xiaomin today will also clinch his third GM norm if he draws tomorrow. But the Tamil Nadu player, who has two norms in 18 games in the Swiss format, has to secure a 12-game norm before getting the title.

Also in the norm hunt is city youngster Surya Sekhar Ganguly, who needs to win his next game against IM P. Konguvel to confirm his IM title.

Former world under-10 champion P. Harikrishna stunned GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam in an interesting battle which emerged from the reversed Sicilian Paulsen. Harikrishna, too, is advancing towards his second IM norm.

Sandipan, playing with white pieces, opted for the Ruy Lopez against Ravi. Sandipan allowed Ravi to equalise quite easily from the opening. Ravi later made a surprising queen sacrifice to retain two rooks which put Sandipan under pressure. But he continued to find the best moves and won a piece after which it was curtains for Ravi.

Second seed Korchnoi quelled the challenge of Viorel Iordachescu in just 23 moves in a Nimzo Indian defence. Korchnoi launched a strong attack on the kingside as well as down the centre. Iordanescu resigned after reaching a hopeless position.

Harikrishna converted his c4 opening into a reversed Sicilian Paulsen and gained a tempo from the opening. Dao Thien Hai gave up the exchange to prevent Harikrishna from getting the two bishops. Harikrishna shattered the kingside of Dao Thien to win two pawns which was enough to force Dao�s resignation.

In another upset, G.B. Joshi beat GM Toni Najdoski � his fourth defeat in the meet � and IM Mathais Roeder beat GM lldar Ibragimov. S. Satyapragyan outplayed IM Ziaur Rehman of Bangladesh.


Evgeny Vladimirov (5.5) lost to Gregory Kaidanov (7); Jozsef Horvath (5.5) drew with Vladimir Akopian (5.5); Viktor Korchnoi (6) drew with Viorel Iordachescu (5); K. Sasikiran (5) lost to Peng Xiaomin (6); Abhijit Kunte (5.5) drew with Maxim Sorokin (5.5); Alexander Goloshchapov (5.5) bt Bogdan Lalic (5); Mathies Roeder (5.5) bt Ildar Ibragimov (4.5); P. Harikrishna (5.5) bt Dao Thien Hai (4.5); Sandipan Chanda (5.5) bt T.S. Ravi (4.5); Leonid Yurtaev (5) bt Amaud Payen (4); V. Saravanan (4.5) drew with Tahir Vakhidov (4.5); Andrew Webster (4.5) drew with Praveen Thipsay (5.5); S. Satyapragyan (5) bt Ziaur Rahman (4); G.B. Prakash (5) bt Reefat Bin Sattar (4); Tejas Bakre (4.5) drew with D.V. Prakash (4.5); Pavel Blatny (4.5) bt V. Koshy (4); Anup Deshmukh (4) drew with R.B. Ramesh (4); P.D.S. Girinath lost to (3.5) to S.S. Ganguly (4.5); Aarthie Ramaswamy (4) drew with Azer Mirzoev (4).


C.S. Gokhale (4.5) bt Suvrajit Saha (5.5); Shanker Roy (4.5) bt Koneru Humpy (3.5); Gurpreetpal Singh (3.5) drew with Saptarshi Roy (3.5); Saheli Dhar Barua (3) drew with S. Kidambi (3); Collas Didier (3) bt Dipanjan Das (2); Roktim Bandyopadhyay (2.5) drew with K. Gopalkrishna (2.5); Laltu Chatterjee (3) bt Tania Sachdev (1).    

Calcutta, Feb. 13: 
Leander Paes� quest for an improved singles ranking continues at the South Club which hosts the $25,000 Indian Oil-Servo Cup ATP Challenger from tomorrow. The top seed, coming off a disappointing week at the Dubai Open Tour meet, opens against Dmitri Tomashevic Tuesday.

�Grass suits me, plus I�ll be playing in my own backyard... I�m quite looking forward to the tournament,� Paes said after being drawn to meet the Uzbekistan journeyman in the first round.

A look at the draw suggests Paes� principal opposition this week will come from a clutch of players who have been regular visitors to this part of the world in recent years � Uzbek Oleg Ogorodov, Finn Tuomas Ketola and Italian Mose Navarra. But none of these highly-seeded men has the expertise to master grasscourts as quick as those at the South Club, as was seen last year when Paes beat Mahesh Bhupathi in the final.

The four wild cards have, predictably, all gone to Indians �Prahlad Srinath, Syed Fazaluddin, Mustafa Ghouse and Vishal Uppal. Fazal, though, has a tough draw, coming up against the fourth-seeded Navarra.


1. Leander Paes (Ind); 2. Oleg Ogorodov (Uzb); 3. Tuomas Ketola (Fin); 4. Mose Navarra (Ita); 5. Igor Gaudi (Ita); 6. Dejan Petrovic (Aus); 7. Hyung-Taik Lee (Kor); 8. Guillaume Marx (Fra).

Adjustment problems

Asked about his string of poor results in doubles this year (two losses in the first round and one in the second), Paes admitted that he was having problems adjusting to the ad-court.

�I�m having to find new partners every week and it�s not easy shifting from the right court to left court,� said Paes who has played three tournaments this year so far with three different partners (Byron Black, Sebastien Lareau and Nicolas Lapentti).

Hoping that he could return to his favourite right court position once Bhupathi is back in action, Paes refused to comment on his fellow-Davis Cupper�s optimism of playing the South Korea tie in April. �We�ll take it as it comes,� was all Paes would say.    


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