Transit problems after the Scottish & Commonwealth Chess Championship in Glasgow recently, has denied Grandmaster Sahaj Grover from Delhi a participation in the 44th National Open Junior (U-19) Chess Championship, which got under way at the Balewadi Sports Complex here on Thursday.
"He has just sent an e-mail stating that he will be missing the championship," said Niranjan Godbole, an official at the venue.
This has left the championship with five International Masters in the fray. Among them, is Maharashtra's IM Shradul Gagare, who is likely to bag his first national title in his home state. The other four IMs are Aravind Chidambaram, Murali Kartikeyan, G Akash and SL Narayanan.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra players began on a bright note with Gagare and Abhimanyu Puranik opening their campaign with wins.
Maharashtra girls, however, faced reverses as Bhagyashree Patil lost to PV Nandhidhaa with white pieces.