It's quite easy to spot GM Alexey Dreev in the crowd of Grandmasters. His height and his confidence set him apart from the rest.
Dreev has come a long way from the time when as a six year old he was introduced to chess by his father. He became a GM at 21 and 17 years later he admits he is not too much committed to the game any longer. “I have a family now. So, I do not spend as much time practicing as I used to in my early days,” says Dreev.
Dreev is a player who has adapted to the changing times quite well and believes the game has changed a lot over the years. "When I started off, there were no computers and chess was not as tough. With technological advancements, there are more ways of playing the game now," he avers.
The remarkable ease with which the Russian has adjusted and managed to maintain an ELO rating of 2658 is indeed praiseworthy. But the modest Dreev brushes it off by saying: "You need good memory to play chess and I do not have it."
Memory or not, Dreev is clearly the strongest player in the Parsvnath International Tournament. He drew with Uzbekistan's Shukhrat Safin in the seventh round on Friday. "I could not play very well because I wasn't too well today," he said.
In the other major results on Friday, Delhi's Wajih Nassir beat GM Abhijeet Kunte and GM Dibyendu Barua lost to G Rohit. Nassir played a close Sicilian opening and Kunte tried to secure a draw but ended up losing the game. "I don't know where I went wrong. I pressed for a draw but could not manage it," said Kunte.
Rohit pulled off one of the biggest wins of his career under time pressure when he beat former National champion Barua. The young Chennai player is now set for his first GM norm as he had beaten GM SS Ganguly earlier in the tournament.
Rohit had offered a draw after 20 moves, but Barua refused. Soon, Rohit went one pawn up and secured the match finally. After Round Seven, nine players —Alexey Dreev, Shukhrat Safin, Adley Ahmed, Deepan Chakravarthy, Neelotpal Das, Praveen Thipsay, S Arun Prasad, G. Rohit and Abhijeet Gupta — share the lead with six points.
Alexey Dreev (Rus) dr. with S Safin (Uzb), Arun Prasad drew with Y Drozdovskij (Ukr), A Ahmed (Egy) bt Poobesh Anand, Deepan Chakkravarthy bt Arghyadip Das, Neelotpal Das bt S P Sethuraman, Praveen Thipsay bt Nikil Shyam, G Rohit bt Dibyendu Barua, Abhijeet Gupta bt Shashikant Kutwal.