Chess | ‘Beast’ in a position to strike once more


Viswanathan Anand once called him the ‘beast’.

B. Adhiban played like one at the simultaneous chess display on Saturday night to generate funds for India’s fight against the coronavirus.

He won all his 18 games in the event conceived by Anand and organised by chess.com. The only player to finish with a cent per cent record, Adhiban completed his games sooner than the others (Anand, Koneru Humpy, Vidit Gujrathi, P. Harikrishna and D. Harika).

It may have only been an exhibition event, and his rivals may not have been Grandmasters, but his performance has made him happy.

Not in good form

Adhiban hasn’t been having a great time since becoming only the fifth Indian to cross the magical 2700-mark in FIDE rating in 2019.

Last April, he had reached a career-high world-ranking of 38, with 2701 Elo points. A year on, his rating is down to 2659.

He is still India No. 4 and is ranked 82nd in the world. “It felt nice to do so well in the online simultaneous event. I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Adhiban told The Hindu.

“When Anand told me about this, I agreed to be a part of it straightaway. I thought it was great that India’s strongest players were coming together for a noble cause.”

The 27-year-old from Chennai lived up to his reputation as an attacking and entertaining player, as he gambled in his openings, with King’s, Morra and Danish gambits.

“It was Vidit who suggested that I try those openings,” revealed Adhiban. “I am happy that I listened to him. I have great respect for him and admire his consistency.”

Adhiban said that [consistency] was something he wanted in his game. He added he could not retain his 2700 rating because of some poor tournaments during the last one year. “Two of those were in China; you see, the coronavirus caught hold of me before anybody else!” he joked.

The ‘beast’ was confident of regaining his Elo points. “I know where I went wrong. I was concentrating too much on the rating,” he said. “I was also making avoidable mistakes against lower-rated opponents.”

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