Teenagers called the shots as Grandmaster D. Gukesh jolted Surya Shekhar Ganguly to join International Master R. Raja Rithvik in the lead with three straight victories on the opening day of the AICF World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.
On a day when 18-year old GM P. Iniyan punished a winless B. Adhiban, none of the top four seeds played to their seedings.
Gukesh, 14, warmed up with wins over Rahul Singhania and C.R.G. Krishna before checkmating Ganguly in a topsy-turvy battle.
Rithvik, 17, started the day by nailing GM Vishnu Prasanna. Rithvik went on to beat Singhania and Krishna for a hat-trick of wins.
Adhiban struggled with his time-management in all three games. In the opening round against Aditya Mittal, 14, Adhiban drew by perpetual checks. The pressure from the clock saw him lose to Iniyan.
In the third round, Adhiban was down to less than a minute against S.L. Narayanan’s over six minutes when the game ended following a three-fold repetition of moves.
In Wednesday’s rounds, S. Nitin, Ganguly and Rahul Srivatshav received a bye, in that order.
Standings (after Day One): 1-2. D. Gukesh, R. Raja Rithvik (3 points); 3-5. P. Iniyan, Aditya Mittal, Saravana Krishna (2.5 each), 6-8. S.P. Sethuraman, S. L. Narayanan, Deep Sengupta (2 each); 9-12. B.Adhiban, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Rahul Srivatshav, S. Nitin (1 each); 13. Soumya Swaminathan (0.5); 14-17. C.R.G. Krishna, Vishnu Prasanna, Vatsal Singhania and M. Vinay Kumar (0 each).