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Gupta aims to be a king in his own game

Indian grandmaster says it is tough to emulate Anand, but will be happy to get closer to him

Image Credit: Courtesy: Al Ain Chess
GM Abhijeet Gupta (left) plays GM Babu Lalith in the Al Ain Classic Chess tournament. Gupta isamong Indian players looked upon as the ‘Generation Next’ to emulate Vishwanathan Anand.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: India’s Abhijeet Gupta is among the new breed of Grand Masters (GM) who are being looked upon as the ‘Generation Next’ to emulate the legendary Vishwanathan Anand.

Gupta, who is the fifth seed at the ongoing Master’s Tournament of the Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival, says Anand is to chess what Sachin Tendulkar was to cricket.

All things considered, he believes that it is better to try and leave your own mark on the game rather than attempt to match him.

“You have to realise that you cannot produce another Anand,” he said. “He is one of a kind — just like there can only be one Tendulkar.

“If I can achieve something close to what he has, then that will be an accomplishment.

“Anand’s moves come so naturally. You will not understand why he is playing it but when you see the move you will feel like the sport is so easy,” added Gupta, who is the first player to win the title of Commonwealth Chess Champion four times.

Having posted one win and one draw, Gupta looks full of confidence with seven rounds remaining.

“I managed to draw the first game which is not the ideal way to start but the tournament is just starting and usually I don’t start well, so let’s see,” said the 27-year-old.

“It is always nice to come into the tournament with a success behind you and it was a nice runoff to this event” added Gupta who won a rapid event in Bengaluru before leaving for Abu Dhabi.

“But then you win some, you lose some, not thinking much on it as this tournament is totally different to that,

“I tend to play the stronger events so that is why this event was a nice change for me because I’m fifth seed here and also because there are about 50 Grand Masters. So, if I get a chance to get events like this I usually do attend,” said Gupta, whose sole aim is to focus on playing good, consistent chess.

Meanwhile, India’s Dronavalli Harika registered a stunning victory over third seed Rauf Mamedov from Azerbaijan to be in the mix of the front runners.

Twenty six-year-old Indian Grand Master (GM), Harika now shares the lead with compatriot GM S.P. Sethuraman and others — GM Mads Andersen of Denmark, GM Aleksandar Indjic of Serbia, GM Luka Paichadze of Georgia, GM Ivan Rozum of Russia, GM Deac Bogdan-Daniel of Romania, GM Kirill Stupak of Belarus, GM Pouya Idani of Iran and GM Dennis Wagner of Germany — all with two points in as many games.

However, other Indians in the tournament had mixed luck. International Masters (IM) Eesha Karavade and Tania Sachdev went down fighting to their higher ranked opponents, while GM Neelotpal Das, GM Aryan Chopra, GM Murali Karthikeyan, IM Abhimanyu Puranik and IM Vignesh N.R. drew their respective games.

Local favourite GM Salem A.R. Saleh (UAE) was held to a draw in his second-round game by IM Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan.

The 24-year-old from Sharjah is ranked 31st in this tournament and had a good start with a win over Woman Grand Master Gu Xiaobing of China in the first round.