The first round started with a last minute pairing change owing to a few withdrawals but this did not deter most of the Indians from cruising to easy victories in the opener.

The lone shocker came from highly regarded Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly who went down to Iranian girl Mitra Hejazipour after enjoying a commanding position for the major part of the game. Fenil Shah was another Indian to go down but he faced a much tougher opponent in Amin Baseem of Egypt.

On the other hand, Indian Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi, M R Lalith Babu, G N Gopal, Vaibhav Suri, Ankit Rajpara, Sahaj Grover and M Shyam Sundar started their campaign with wins in this 85 players, nine-round tournament being played under FIDE's Swiss rules.

It was also business as usual for the higher seeds. Rating favourite Hao Wang of China outplayed Oliver Demakiling of Philippines, while Mohammad Sahir of Syria and Mohamed Tissir of Morocco proved no match for the Ukrainian duo of Yuriy Kryvoruchko and Alexander Areshchenko, respectively.

Gupta found minutes before the game that he was slated to play black against Zendan Al-Zendani instead of earlier declared white against another opponent.

It was a Sicilian defense by the Indian wherein the Al-Zendani came up with an inspired performance to bring the game close to a draw.

For the records it was an extra pawn for Gupta in a rook and opposite coloured Bishops endgame that was hard convert. However, relentless display forced Al-Zendani to the back foot and Gupta forced resignation after 68 moves.

M R Lalith Babu had a relatively easier outing against Osama Zayan of Egypt out a Pirc defense game. Playing black, Babu knocked down a pawn in the middle game and later won more material to open his account in style.

Among other Indians in the fray, young Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi, Vaibhav Suri and Sahaj Grover were also at the top of their games.

Kazbek Primbetov found the going tough against Gujrathi, Suri accounted for Abdulla Gadimbayli while Grover showcased his attacking skills to get the better of compatriot L N Ram Arvind.

Important and Indian results round 1 (Indians unless specified): Wang Hao (Chn) beat Oliver Dimakiling (Phi); Mohammad Samir (Syr) lost to Yuriy Kryvoruchko (Ukr); Alexander Areshchenko (Ukr) beat Mohamed Tissir (Mar); Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iri) lost to Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr); Zendan Al-Zendani (Yem) lost to Abhijeet Gupta; Fenil Shah lost to Amin Bassem (Egy); Surya Shekhar Ganguly lost to Mitra Hejazipour (Iri); Kazbek Primbetov (Kaz) lost to Vidit Santosh Gujrathi; Osama Zayan (Egy) lost to M R Lalith Babu; G N Gopal beat Vita Kryvoruchko (Ukr); Abdulla Gadimbayli (Aze) lost to Vaibhav Suri; Ayyad Maher (Brn) lost to Ankit Rajpara; Sahaj Grover beat L N Ram Aravind; Diptayan Ghosh beat Janahi Zeyaad (Brn); Abdulwahab Marwan (Uae) lost to P Shyam Nikil; M Shyam Sundar beat Majid Laabi Chian (Iri); Mayed Al-Rashedi (Uae) lost to Murali Karthikeyan; Aydan Hojjatova (Aze) lost to Shardul Gagare; Ramnath Bhuvanesh beat Joemarie Villadelgado; Al-Kaabi Abdulla (Uae) lost to Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan; V A V Rajesh beat Zayed Ali Al-Hamed (Uae); Mansour Abbas (Uae) lost to Eesha Karavade; P Iniyan beat Mohammed Tarig Elther (Sud).

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