India strikes, China equalizes

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/5/2015 – It seems as if neither team can put a real dent on the other; India was able to take round three with a narrow victory 2.5-1.5 in a day full of surprises: Lalith Babu beat Ding Liren with the black pieces, while Wang Chen did the same against Sasikirian! The top players from both teams losing with white. China struck back in the fourth rounds Wang Chen beat Sasikirian again!.

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India and China will face off in a Scheveningen Match on four boards at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad from March 1-10.

Round Three

Video from Vijay Kumar

by Arvin Aaron

India took the lead over China at the end of the third round in the Summit Match at Hyderabad on March 4, 2015. Round three saw three higher rated players lose and one of them made a draw. None of the higher rated players won on either side!

India's 2.5-1.5 win in round three gave the home team an overall slender 6.5-5.5 lead in the four board double-Scheveningen match. Five rounds or 20 games remain to be played. Andhra's Lalith Babu was the hero of round three as well. He shocked World No.14 Ding Liren with the black pieces. His endgame display was sufficient to defeat the strongest Chinese player in a marathon rook ending. Posting back to back wins, Lalith Babu has turned the fortunes in favor of the home country. He is leading with a big 2.5/3 personal score among all eight players.

Lalith Babu with a big 2.5/3

Adhiban shocked Wei Yi with the white pieces. The Chinese player went for the poisoned pawn variation of the Najdorf Sicilian. Adhiban finished him off with a knight sacrifice to win a miniature game.

India expected Sasikiran to win at the start of this round. He is the highest rated Indian and his opponent, Wang Chen was the lowest rating Chinese. Pawn advances indicated that the Indian was going for risky play, and these don't always pan out! Wang Chen trooped his minor pieces and won a rook for knight which gave China their lone win in a day of upsets.

Wei Yi waiting for his teammates

All three lower rated players winning thus far, the lone higher rated who did not lose the game was Indian champion Sethuraman. He thwarted the passed pawn threat with a well posted knight to draw Zhou Jianchao in 48 moves. India won the round 2.5-1.5. In round four, the same players meet with the colors reversed. The Olympic champions, China would be seeking revenge for the double defeat suffered in a row.

Surprise! Sasikirian fell to Wang Chen, and with the White pieces

Round Four

Video by Vijay Kumar

by Alejandro Ramirez

And revenge they got! Another day with only one draw, and also full of relatively unexpected results. Ding Liren got his sweet vengeance on Lalith Babu. The Chinese player chose a risky strategy; foregoing his king safety in favor of material as the Indian player forced his opponent to have his king on e7 very early on in the game. However, he was unable to do so and when the queens came off it was clear that Ding Liren had consolidated and would bring home the win.

Sagar Shah brings us full analysis:

[Event "IND-CHN Summit 2015"] [Site "Hyderabad IND"] [Date "2015.03.05"] [Round "4.2"] [White "Lalith, Babu M.R"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2556"] [BlackElo "2755"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2015.02.28"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. g3 Nbd7 6. Bg2 dxc4 7. O-O b5 8. e4 Bb7 9. e5 Nd5 10. Ng5 h6 $6 (10... Be7 {is what is usually played.}) 11. Nxe6 fxe6 12. Qh5+ Ke7 13. Ne4 {White has sacrificed a piece. The Black king looks extremely uncomfortable on e7. This should be sufficient compensation but the Chinese players prepare such lines in quite some depth.} Qe8 14. Bg5+ hxg5 ( 14... N7f6 15. exf6+ gxf6 16. Bxf6+ (16. Nxf6 Qxh5 17. Nxh5+ hxg5) 16... Nxf6 17. Nxf6 Qxh5 (17... Kxf6 18. Qe5+) 18. Nxh5 $14) 15. Qxh8 Kd8 (15... Qg6 16. Nd6 Ba6 (16... Rb8 17. Rae1 $1 {The idea of this move can be understood with the help of a null move.} (17. Be4 Qh6 18. Qg8 Qh5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 (19... exd5 20. Nf5+ $18) 20. f4 $16 (20. Rae1 g4 $13) 20... gxf4 21. Rxf4 Nxe5 22. dxe5 Qxe5 23. Nxb7 $18) 17... -- 18. Be4 Qh6 19. Qg8 Qh5 20. Bxd5 cxd5 21. f4 $18 { with the rook on e1 this is just crushing.}) 17. Be4 Qh6 18. Qg8 Qh5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Rae1 $1 $18 (20. f4 gxf4 21. Rxf4 Nxe5 22. Re1 $1 Kxd6 23. Rxe5 Qe8 24. Rxf8 Qxf8 25. Qxe6+ Kc7 26. Qxa6 $16)) 16. Qg8 $6 (16. Nxg5 $1 {This has to be the improvement in this position.} Qg6 (16... Kc7 17. Qg8 Kb6 18. Nxe6 $16) 17. f4 $1 {This position which is better for White was reached in Olszewski-Korobov.} Kc7 18. Be4 (18. Bh3 $2 {was played in the game which shows difficult such positions are.} Bc5 $1 19. Nxe6+ Qxe6 20. Qxa8 Bxd4+ 21. Kh1 Qxh3 $19) 18... Qe8 (18... Qh6 19. Qxh6 gxh6 20. Nxe6+ $18 Kb6 21. Bxd5 cxd5 22. f5 $18) 19. Qh3 $16) 16... Qg6 $1 {Black seems already fine according to the engine.} 17. Nc5 Kc7 18. Qxe6 (18. Nxe6+ Kb6 19. a4 a5 $1 $19 20. axb5 Be7 $19) 18... Qe8 $1 $15 {What a brilliant accurate move.} (18... Qxe6 19. Nxe6+ Kb6 20. Bxd5 cxd5 21. Nxg5 $11 {allows White to keep the balance.}) 19. Bxd5 (19. Qxe8 {was relatively the best.} Rxe8 20. Nxb7 Kxb7 21. Bxd5 cxd5 {I am not really sure if White can defend this endgame.} 22. f4 gxf4 23. Rxf4 Be7 $17) 19... Nxc5 20. Qxe8 Rxe8 21. Bf7 (21. dxc5 cxd5 $19) 21... Re7 22. Bg8 $2 (22. Bg6 {was the last chance to prevent the knight from coming to d3 but Black stands better after} Nd7 $17) 22... Nd3 $19 {White's position is beyond salvation.} 23. b3 c5 24. bxc4 cxd4 25. f4 gxf4 26. gxf4 g6 27. Rad1 Rg7 28. Bd5 bxc4 29. Bxc4 Nb2 30. Rc1 Kd8 31. Rf2 Nxc4 32. Rxc4 d3 33. Rd2 Rd7 34. Kf2 Bd5 35. Rc1 Ba3 (35... Ba3 {Lalith resigned at this point. After} 36. Rc3 Bb4 37. Rcxd3 Bxd2 38. Rxd2 Ke7 {should not be too difficult to win this.}) 0-1

The g3 Semi-Slav is an extremely complex opening that is certainly gaining popularity: for example look at the brilliant game Kramnik-Giri from Qatar of last year. Lalith Babu might have improved his chances in this game greatly had he taken only 60 minutes of his time and studied the following Fritztrainer:

Attacking the Semi-Slav with g3

by Robert Ris

Languages: English

Level: Advanced, Tournament player
€9.90

The Semi-Slav with 5.g3 offers White a simple but dangerous weapon to fight one of Black's most popular options against 1.d4. Rather than emphasizing on the loads of theory, the 60 min DVD thoroughly explains typical plans for White to develop his pieces effectively while keeping an eye on tactical traps. The first part features a comprehensive overview on setups where Black declines the challenge by not taking on c4. The second part shows how to successfully deal with the sharp variations after ...dxc4. All in all it should be understood that by approaching the Semi-Slav in Catalan style, White has all the chances to play for the initiative from the very beginning. Let your bishop on g2 do the job!

Attacking the Semi-Slav with g3 in 60 mins is available in the ChessBase Shop

Wei Yi found no way to put pressure against a rock solid Adhiban. The Indian forced simplifications into a rook endgame and held the draw without any problems.

The Chief Arbiter keeping everything in order

Sethuraman vs. Zhou Jianchao was a back and forth game. In a close Caro-Kann the Indian player obtained a strong queenside initiative, eventually netting him a passed pawn that should have won the game. However, the Chinese player found some cunning counterplay on the kingside and even had a complicated draw at a certain point, but missed his chance. Sethuraman transposed into a tricky opposite colored bishop endgame that Sagar Shah goes deeper into:

Sethuraman was able to best...

Chinese player Zhou Jianchao

[Event "IND-CHN Summit 2015"] [Site "Hyderabad IND"] [Date "2015.03.05"] [Round "4.4"] [White "Sethuraman, S.P."] [Black "Zhou, Jianchao"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2623"] [BlackElo "2578"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "126"] [EventDate "2015.02.28"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 c5 6. Be3 Qb6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. Na4 Qa5+ 9. c3 c4 10. b4 Qd8 11. O-O h6 12. Ne1 b5 13. Nb2 Nge7 14. a4 a6 15. g4 Bh7 16. Ng2 h5 17. f3 Ng6 18. Qd2 Be7 19. Nd1 hxg4 20. fxg4 Nh4 21. Nf4 Be4 22. Nh5 Rh7 23. Bf4 Ng6 24. Nf2 Nxf4 25. Nxf4 Bg6 26. Nxg6 fxg6 27. Qc2 Rh6 28. g5 Bxg5 29. Ng4 Ne7 30. Nxh6 Bxh6 31. Qa2 Nf5 32. axb5 Be3+ 33. Kh1 Qh4 34. Rf3 g5 35. Rxf5 Qe4+ 36. Bf3 Qxf5 37. Qg2 $6 (37. Qe2 $1 $18) 37... Ke7 38. Qe2 Bf4 ( 38... Rh8 $1 39. Qxe3 Rh3 40. Rf1 g4 41. bxa6 Rxf3 42. Rxf3 gxf3 43. Qf2 Qb1+ 44. Qg1 Qe4 $11) 39. Bg4 Qh7 40. bxa6 $2 (40. Rxa6 $1 $18) 40... Bxh2 $1 41. Kg2 Qh4 42. Qf3 Rf8 43. Qh3 Qf2+ 44. Kh1 Qb2 $2 (44... Bg3 45. a7 Qf4 46. a8=Q Rxa8 47. Rxa8 Qe4+ 48. Kg1 Qe3+ 49. Kh1 Qe4+ $11) 45. Rd1 Bf4 46. Rf1 Ra8 47. b5 Qxb5 $2 (47... Qc2 $1 $11) 48. Qh7 $1 $18 Rf8 49. Ra1 (49. Bh5 $1 {was the simplest win.}) 49... Qe8 50. Rb1 (50. Qxg7+ Rf7 51. Qh6 $18) 50... Rh8 51. Rb7+ Kd8 52. Rb8+ Kc7 {The game has been a completely topsy turvy affair. Sethuraman had a winning position on many occasions but was unable to capitalize on them. In this position White has to make a decision whether he would like to take on h8 or on e8. What do you think is the best move? Do you think only one move wins or both are winning?} 53. Qxh8 {This move also wins but only by a whisker.} (53. Rxe8 $1 {was the easier way to win.} Rxh7+ 54. Kg1 Kb6 55. Rxe6+ Ka7 56. Rc6 Rh8 57. Bf3 Bd2 58. Bxd5 Bxc3 59. Rxc4 Ba5 60. Bb7 $18) 53... Qxb8 54. Qxb8+ (54. Qxg7+ Kb6 {Should be defendible position for Black.}) 54... Kxb8 55. Bxe6 {Sethuraman assessed this position as winning and he wasn't wrong.} Bd2 $2 {Zhou Jianchao doesn't test Sethuraman to the fullest. } (55... Ka7 $5 {It was more important to eliminate the a6 pawn. The logic is not too difficult. In opposite coloured bishop endgames passed pawns separated by a few files are much more dangerous than connected pawns. Hence it was important to eliminate the a6 pawn.} 56. Bc8 $1 {This is the only winning move keeping the a6 pawn.} (56. Bxd5 $2 {surprisingly this move throws away the win. } Kxa6 57. Bxc4+ (57. e6 Bd6 58. Bxc4+ Kb6 59. Bf1 Kc7 60. c4 Bf4 61. c5 Be3 62. Bh3 Kd8 63. c6 Bf4 $11 {and everything remains under control.}) 57... Kb6 58. Bf1 Bd2 59. c4 Bc3 60. e6 Kc7 61. Bh3 Kd8 62. d5 Bb4 $11) 56... Bc1 57. e6 Ba3 58. Kg2 g6 59. Kf3 Be7 60. Bb7 Kb6 61. Bxd5 Kxa6 62. Bxc4+ Kb6 63. Be2 g4+ 64. Kxg4 Kc7 65. Kf4 $18) 56. Bxd5 Bxc3 57. e6 $1 Bb4 58. Bxc4 g4 59. Kg2 Bd6 60. Kf2 Ka7 61. Bf1 g3+ 62. Kf3 Kb6 63. Ke4 Be7 1-0

The big shock of the day came as Sasikirian lost again to Wang Chen. India's top rated player lost to the lowest rated Chinese player twice in a row! This allows the Chinese squad to even the score again at 4-4. It seems as if neither team can put a real dent on the other!

The Chinese hero in rounds three and four: Wang Chen

Photos from the official website

Replay Round three and four

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Topics China, India

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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eltollo eltollo 3/6/2015 09:48
What does Ris recommend on his much-praised DVD in the position after 10.. h6.
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