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Friday, June 14, 2013

Indian Chess Talent B Adhiban Praised by Vishy Anand, Qualifies for World Cup

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

Here is a cool chess feature for all fans of Indian chess. Recently, B. Adhiban qualified for the World Chess Cup, to be held in Norway from August 5, and the youngster is determined to make the opportunity count, writes P. K. Ajith Kumar in the Sports Star.

In an interview after winning his fifth World chess championship, in Moscow last year, Viswanathan Anand was asked to name India’s most promising chess players. On top of Anand’s list was B. Adhiban. For those following the Chennai youngster’s career, it was hardly a surprise.

He is a natural. He is easily one of India’s more talented kids on the 64 squares. He has won the World Under-16 championship and been part of an Indian team that won the bronze in the World team championship.

Recently, Adhiban, 21, qualified for the World Cup, to be held in Norway from August 5. He made the cut from the Asian championship in Manila. He was placed fifth in the tournament when the tie-breakers were applied; on points he was ranked second. He had 6.5 points, half-a-point behind the champion, Li Chao of China.

To meet the qualifying mark, he had to defeat John Paul Gomez of the host nation in the final round. “It was a comfortable win for me, as I had a strong attack on the king-side,” said Adhiban. “I was pretty relieved with that victory as I had badly wanted to qualify for the World Cup. Looking back, I feel I should have done even better; I drew far too many games, five of them. If I could have converted one of those draws into a win, I could have won the title.”

It is this desire to win that set him apart from most of his contemporaries, as an upcoming talent. It was refreshing to watch a young Adhiban, still at school, playing imaginative chess, game after game, always wanting to win.

His rise was meteoric after he won his first National title, the Under-13 championship in Kolkata in 2006. He won the silver in the Asian Under-14 championship in Iran that year.

The following year he became the Asian Under-16 champion in Uzbekistan and helped India clinch the gold at the World Youth Olympiad in Singapore. Then in 2008, he won the World Under-16 title in Vietnam. He was also the National ‘B’ champion that year, his first success in the senior men’s event.

A year later, at 17, he won the National ‘A’, rechristened as National Premier, in Mumbai. Then in 2010, he became a Grandmaster. He had secured his third and final Grandmaster norm from the Olomouc International tournament in the Czech Republic; he had won the round-robin event, something no Indian had done for quite a while.

Adhiban, a grade A officer at Indian Oil Corporation, Chennai, may have slowed down a bit over the last year or so, and the Manila showing should do his confidence a world of good. He is determined to make the opportunity he got to play at the World Cup count. “I won’t be playing in another tournament before that,” he said. “I will be working hard on my preparations. The World Cup is a knock-out event and it is going to be my first ever tournament in that format. I feel the knock-out format is an exciting one, for the players and the spectators.”

Adhiban’s coach K. Visweswaran feels the World Cup has come at the right time. “It is an event that will feature 128 of the world’s strongest players and the experience of competing in it will be valuable for Adhiban,” he said. “He has been working harder than ever on his chess, as he has realised that the preparation off the board too is very important, especially now when so much information is available, because of the internet. The talent has always been there, and with hard work, he could become a much stronger player.”

Later this year, Adhiban’s hometown will host the World championship match between his idol Anand and Magnus Carlsen of Norway. “It is great that Chennai is hosting the biggest event in chess,” he said.

“Though Carlsen may be stronger of the two players at the moment, I think Anand could win the title; he knows how to handle a championship match. Yes, I felt on top of the world when he spoke those nice things about me last year. You cannot think of a bigger compliment than that.”

Adhiban wants to prove Anand right. And he has the game to do it.

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