The games had begun, the top seeds were comfortably seated on their boards. For the professional star players, it was yet another day at work. 14-year-old Koustav Chatterjee, rated 2288, was the only player waiting anxiously for his opponent. American GM Timur Gareyev, rated 2605, had missed the official car and had not reached the venue. The clock was ticking and the walkover time-limit of 30 minutes was fast approaching.
Already in the second round, the games began to become tougher than normal for all the top seeds. Azeri GM Arkadij Naiditsch, the top seed with a rating of 2701, had another normal day at the office as he managed to defeat Egyptian Adham Kandil, rated 2294. Third seed Arjuna Awardee GM Abhijeet Gupta rated 2610, also had a not so difficult time in dispatching FM Ankit Gajwa, rated 2284.
On the second table, unheralded Tamil Nadu youngster A.L. Muthiah rated 2291, managed to hold the second seed GM Amonatov Farrukh, rated 2636 to a draw. It was a Reti Opening in which Muthiah was applying steady pressure on the queenside with the white pieces. Around the 40th move, the Indian had a chance to keep up the pressure and go to an endgame a pawn up. But with less time on the clock, Muthiah decided to repeat his position and take the draw instead.
Meanwhile, Timur Gareyev did reach the venue, but not on time. He was three minutes late. The chief arbiter Vasanth BH decided to award the point to the young Koustov Chatterjee. It could have been sensational.
Chatterjee, however, did not want to miss the chance to score a GM or an IM norm for which he would require to play the game to make sure he has the required average rating. Playing a 2600+ player would have boosted his chances by a mile. Apart from the motivation to score the norm, the young Bengali player is an ardent student of the game and would have loved to take the chance to play a higher rated player. In the interests of protecting the sporting spirit of the tournament, Vasanth allowed the players to play the game, even though the result would not have changed.
As expected, Timur Gareyev managed to win the game after quite a fight, but the point went to Chatterjee. Chatterjee will not get count this game in his fight for the norm. (For scoring an IM norm, you need to perform at 2450+ elo against a player of a certain rating average. In this case, Gareyev’s rating won’t be counted in the average of Chatterjee’s opponents’ rating).
Gareyev commented, “I was in the process of changing the rooms in my hotel and hence, was delayed. The kid played a nice game and it was probably drawish but he blundered in the end and lost.” Gareyev sportingly decided to put the incident behind him and to focus on playing well in the rest of the tournament.
The tenth-seeded GM Diptayan Ghosh, rated 2556, was playing Odisha’s Rajesh Nayak, rated 2247. Diptayan had a completely winning position with the white pieces but a hasty 36.f5 break, which turned out to be a blunder, meant that he had to settle only for a draw.