Hangzhou, Sep 24 (IANS): The Indian men's and women's players started the Individual competitions in the Asian Games Chess by winning their respective first-round matches at the Hangzhou Qi-Yuan (Zhili) Complex here on Sunday.
With the chess competitions being held in rapid format and with two rounds scheduled in men's individual competition for the day, winning the first game comfortably bodes well for the players. On Sunday, Vidit Gujarathi, Arjun Erigaisi, Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika won their respective matches to start their campaigns on a winning note.
In the men's individual competition, India's Vidit Gujarathi defeated Fahad Mohammad Rahwman of Bangladesh with black pieces and Arjun Erigaisi got the better of Paulo Bersamina of the Phillippines in the first round of the nine-round competition being played on the Swiss League format.
The competition was reduced to a 34-player field after China's reigning classical world champion Ding Liren withdrew from the Individual competition as chess returned to the Asian Games for the first time after the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. A couple of days back, Ding Liren was scheduled to play in a men's individual competition along with Wei Yi. The official website of the Hangzhou Asian Games even published a report saying Ding Liren wants to win the Asian Games medal.
However, on Monday, Yi Wei along with Bu Xianzhi took the two spots reserved for China in the competition. While Yi Wei started with a win, Bu Xianzhi was held to a draw by Thailand's Prin Laohawirapap.
In the women's section, Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika won their respective matches. Ranked third in the field led by China's former World Champion Hou Yifan, Humpy defeated Iranian Woman Grandmaster Mohina Alinasabalamdari with white pieces.
Harika too started with a win as she defeated Rlouda Alali of the United Arab Emirates, who has a rating of 1915 as compared to Harika who is ranked 13th in the world with a rating of 2502 Elo.
The men will return in the evening to play the second round while the women will have their second round on Monday.