Sharjah Masters 01: Upsets and Walkovers

by Priyadarshan Banjan
3/24/2017 – The Sharjah Masters 2017 was off to a rollicking start with about 180 players competing. While there were many upset draws, the one thing that stood out was the number of no-shows. The biggest upsets of the day were scored by the Indians—Viani Antonio Dcunha, Vignesh NR and Nihal Sarin. Illustrated report with video analyses by Daniel King.

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Sharjah Masters 01: Upsets and Walkovers

Photos by Maria Emelianova

The Sharjah Masters 2017 began with 230 players. But the picture after the round began was strange—40 of the 230 players never arrived to play! This included six Indians and 15 grandmasters.

To make matters very interesting, the officials decided to enforce the accelerated pairings system in the first three rounds. This saw 2450 players take on the 2700s in the very first round. In the top 15 boards, there were 8 draws, 4 walkovers.

The time control is 90 minutes with 30 seconds increment for the full game. This promised a lot of fighting chess.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2745) is the top seed but already in the first round....

...he was held to a draw by Ukraine's Valeriy Neverov (2477).

GM Eltaj Safarli was held to a draw by IM Shyaamnikhil P.

GM Gawain Jones managed to defeat WGM Zhansaya Abdumalik.

IM Praggnanandhaa R. landed in a soup with the black pieces against Arkadij Naiditsch (2702).

But in typical Praggu style, he fought back and held a draw, despite the ticking clock almost crushing him. Nerves of steel, indeed. But this is not surprising—his fighting spirit is what makes him so strong and special.

Playing his last few moves with seconds on the clock, Praggnanandhaa held Naiditsch to a draw.

[Event "1st Sharjah Masters 2017"] [Site "Sharjah"] [Date "2017.03.23"] [Round "1"] [White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Black "Praggnanandhaa R"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C48"] [WhiteElo "2702"] [BlackElo "2455"] [Annotator ""] [PlyCount "134"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. d3 a6 {C48: Four Knights: 4 Bb5, replies other than 4.. .Bb4} (5... O-O 6. O-O h6 7. a3 Re8 8. h3 Bc5 9. Be3 Nd4 10. Bc4 c6 11. Re1 Nxf3+ 12. Qxf3 Bxe3 13. fxe3 {1/2-1/2 (37) Harikrishna,P (2766)-Carlsen,M (2840) Wijk aan Zee 2017}) 6. Ba4 O-O 7. a3 b5 8. Bb3 Bc5 9. h3 Bb7 10. O-O h6 11. Be3 $146 (11. Nd5 Nd4 12. Nxd4 Bxd4 13. c3 Ba7 14. Nxf6+ Qxf6 15. Kh1 c5 16. f4 exf4 17. Bxf4 Qg6 18. Qd2 {0-1 (55) Jonkman,H (2520) -Sokolov,I (2647) Leeuwarden 2002}) 11... Nd4 12. Nxe5 Nxb3 13. cxb3 Bxe3 14. fxe3 d5 15. exd5 Nxd5 16. Qd2 Qe7 (16... c5 $14) 17. d4 $16 c5 18. Rae1 Rad8 19. Nd3 Nf6 20. b4 (20. dxc5 Ne4 21. Qc2 Nxc3 22. bxc3 Be4 $15) 20... cxd4 21. exd4 Qd6 22. Nc5 Bc6 23. Rf2 Rfe8 24. Rxe8+ Rxe8 25. Qf4 Re1+ 26. Kh2 $1 Qe7 { [#]} 27. Nd3 $1 (27. Nxa6 $6 Nh5 28. Qc7 (28. Qb8+ $2 Kh7 29. Nc5 Qe3 $19) 28... Qe3 29. Qxf7+ Kh8 30. Qf8+ Kh7 31. Qf5+ Kh8 $11) 27... Re6 28. Qb8+ Kh7 29. Ne5 Nd7 30. Nxc6 Rxc6 31. Qg3 Re6 32. Nd5 Qf8 33. Ne3 Nf6 34. d5 Re8 { White must now prevent ...Ne4.} 35. Rf5 ({White should play} 35. Rf3 $16) 35... Ne4 $11 36. Qf4 (36. Qc7 $5 {seems wilder.} Qd6+ 37. Qxd6 Nxd6 38. Rf3 Re5 39. g4) 36... f6 $1 {with the idea...g6.} 37. Ng4 Qd6 38. Qxd6 (38. Nf2 $5 { is interesting.} Qxf4+ 39. Rxf4 Nxf2 40. Rxf2 Rd8 41. Re2) 38... Nxd6 {Endgame KRN-KRN} 39. Rf3 f5 40. Nf2 Re5 41. Rd3 Kg6 42. h4 f4 ({Black should try} 42... Re2 $11 43. Rc3 Rxf2) 43. Rf3 Rxd5 44. Nd3 Kh7 45. Nxf4 Rd2 (45... Re5 $14) 46. Rd3 $16 Rxd3 47. Nxd3 {KN-KN} Nc4 {[#]} 48. Kg3 ({Better is} 48. h5 $1 $16) 48... Kg6 $14 49. Kf4 (49. Kg4 $16) 49... Kh5 $1 $11 50. g3 g5+ $1 51. hxg5 hxg5+ 52. Kf3 Nd2+ $1 53. Kg2 {Hoping for Nc5.} Nc4 54. Kh3 g4+ $1 55. Kg2 Kg5 56. Kf2 Kf5 57. Ke2 Ke4 (57... Nd6 $11) 58. Nf2+ $16 Kd4 59. Nxg4 Nxb2 60. Ne3 Nd3 ({But not} 60... Nc4 $2 61. Nxc4 Ke4 62. Nb2 $18) 61. Kd2 (61. Nf5+ $16 Ke4 62. Nd6+ Kd4 63. Nf5+ Ke4 64. Nd6+ Kd4 65. Nf5+) 61... Ne5 $11 62. g4 Ke4 { The position is equal.} (62... Nf3+ $5 63. Ke2 $8 Ne5 $11) 63. Ke2 Kf4 64. Kd2 Ke4 ({Don't go for} 64... Nxg4 $2 65. Nxg4 Kf5 66. Ke3 $18) 65. Ke2 Kf4 66. Nc2 Nxg4 67. Kd3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

And it is this fighting spirit that differentiates the best from the rest. IM Nihal Sarin was playing with black against German GM Matthias Bluebaum (2632).

Nihal is becoming well-known for his unique ability to switch styles at will. Here, instead of playing a solid positional game with black, he chose to play a sharp Vienna leading to a double-edged middlegame. His plan was clear--the one who would go wrong first would most likely lose. A street fight ensued...

With both Bluebaum and Nihal under time-pressure, it was the German who went wrong first and the 12-year-old finished the game swiftly.

Daniel King analyzes the game with Nihal.

[Event "1st Sharjah Masters 2017"] [Site "Sharjah"] [Date "2017.03.23"] [Round "1"] [White "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Black "Nihal Sarin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D24"] [WhiteElo "2632"] [BlackElo "2386"] [Annotator ""] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bxc4 {4 D2: Queen's Gambit Accepted: 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3} Nxe4 7. O-O Nxc3 8. bxc3 Be7 (8... Bd6 9. Bg5 Be7 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Ne5 Nd7 13. Nxf7 Nb6 {1-0 (49) Nakamura,H (2779) -Caruana,F (2823) Saint Louis 2016}) 9. Ne5 O-O 10. Qg4 Nc6 {LiveBook: 77 Games} 11. Re1 f5 12. Qf3 Nxe5 13. Rxe5 Kh8 14. Bf4 $146 g5 15. Bd2 Bd6 16. Rae1 (16. Re2 $11) 16... Bxe5 $15 17. Rxe5 c6 18. h4 gxh4 19. Bf4 Rg8 20. Bxe6 Bxe6 21. Rxe6 {[#] And now Be5+ would win.} Rg6 (21... Rf8 $2 22. Be5+ Kg8 23. Qh5 $18) 22. Qe3 {Be5+ is the strong threat.} Kg8 ({But not} 22... Qd5 $2 23. Re8+ (23. Be5+ Kg8 24. Rxg6+ hxg6 $14) 23... Rxe8 24. Qxe8+ Qg8 25. Be5+ Rg7 26. Qd7 $18 (26. Bxg7+ Kxg7 27. Qe7+ Qf7 28. Qg5+ Qg6 29. Qe7+ Qf7 30. Qg5+ Kf8 $11)) 23. Rxg6+ hxg6 $11 {Endgame KQR-KQB} 24. Qe6+ Kg7 25. Be5+ Kh6 26. Qf7 { White wants to mate with Qg7+.} Qg8 27. Qxb7 Rf8 28. Qxc6 f4 29. c4 Qf7 30. Qe4 {White has compensation.} g5 $36 {Black is pushing.} 31. c5 Qg6 32. Qe1 {[#]} ( 32. f3 $11) 32... f3 $1 $17 33. d5 $2 (33. Bd6 $17 Re8 34. Be5) 33... fxg2 $19 34. c6 h3 {Strongly threatening ...Re8.} 35. d6 $2 (35. Kh2 $19) (35. c7 Re8 ( 35... Qf5 36. Kh2 Kg6 $19) 36. f4 (36. Kh2 $11) 36... Qd3 $19) 35... Rb8 { Black mates.} 36. Kh2 Rb1 37. Bg7+ Kh7 0-1

 

Joining Praggnanandhaa and Nihal at the 'prodigy party' was Uzbek IM Nodirbek Abdusattorov, also a 12-year-old wunderkind, who held Vladimir Akopian (2675).

GM B. Adhiban destroyed IM Swayams Mishra's king in a neat attack.

Daniel King analyzes with Adhiban

White to play

But probably the most beautiful game of the day was IM Viani Antonio Dcunha's crushing victory against Argentine GM Sandro Mareco (2664). A beautiful little gem with a sparkling sacrifice.

Daniel King analyzes with Viani.

[Event "1st Sharjah Masters 2017"] [Site "Sharjah"] [Date "2017.03.23"] [Round "1"] [White "Viani Antonio Dcunha"] [Black "Mareco, Sandro"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B92"] [WhiteElo "2410"] [BlackElo "2664"] [Annotator ""] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. O-O Be7 9. f4 b5 {6 B92: Sicilian Najdorf: Be2} (9... exf4 10. Bxf4 Nc6 11. Nd4 Nxd4 12. Qxd4 O-O 13. Rad1 Qa5 14. Kh1 Rad8 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Rfe8 17. Bd2 Qc5 18. Qd3 {1/2-1/2 (38) Smirin,I (2647)-Arnold,M (2529) Philadelphia 2012}) 10. a4 b4 11. Nd5 Nbd7 {The position is equal.} 12. Be3 Bxd5 13. exd5 Nb6 ( 13... O-O $11) 14. fxe5 $16 dxe5 $146 (14... Nfxd5 15. Bd4 dxe5 16. Bxe5 Ne3 17. Qxd8+ Rxd8 {1-0 (29) Calzetta Ruiz,M (2100)-Galvez Extremera,F Cordoba 1994 }) 15. d6 $1 Bxd6 {[#]} 16. Rxf6 $1 gxf6 17. a5 Nc8 {[#]} 18. Bf3 $1 {White has strong compensation.} Rb8 $2 (18... Ra7 {was worth a try.}) 19. Bc6+ $18 Ke7 20. Qf3 {Threatening mate with Rf1.} Rg8 (20... Kf8 $2 21. Bh6+ Ke7 22. Bg7 Bc5+ 23. Nxc5 Qd4+ 24. Kh1 $18) 21. Nc5 b3 (21... Bxc5 $2 22. Bxc5+ Nd6 23. Rd1 $18) 22. c3 ({Weaker is} 22. cxb3 Rg6 23. g3 (23. Rd1 Qxa5 24. Rc1 Nb6 $16) 23... Rb4 $16) (22. Nxa6 bxc2 23. Rf1 Rg6 $18) (22. Nxb3 Rg6 $16) 22... Rb5 ({ But not} 22... Bxc5 23. Bxc5+ Ke6 24. Rf1 $18) (22... Rg6 $142 23. Nxa6 Kf8 24. Nxb8 Bxb8) 23. Bxb5 {White is clearly winning.} axb5 24. Rd1 Qxa5 25. Qb7+ Qc7 26. Qxc7+ ({Inferior is} 26. Qxb5 Na7 27. Qc4 Nc8 $11) 26... Bxc7 27. Rd7+ Ke8 28. Rxc7 1-0
 

Salem AR Saleh started with a lot of positivity. He had a great position, against IM Vignesh NR...

Until 41.Re7? when he loses to a one-mover that Vignesh found easily.

Daniel King looks at some other positions...

 

 

 

 

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Round 02:

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan 1   1 Kryvoruchko Yuriy
Karthikeyan P. 1   1 Wang Hao
Deepan Chakkravarthy J. 1   1 Adhiban B.
Narayanan Srinath 1   1 Jones Gawain C B
Asgarizadeh Ahmad 1   1 Fressinet Laurent
Oleksiyenko Mykhaylo 1   1 Xu Xiangyu
Kravtsiv Martyn 1   1 Viani Antonio Dcunha
Sethuraman S.P. 1   1 Kanter Eduard
Lalith Babu M R 1   1 Rathnakaran K.
Gledura Benjamin 1   1 Sindarov Javokhir
Halkias Stelios 1   1 Siva Mahadevan
Idani Pouya 1   1 Kulkarni Rakesh
Vignesh N R 1   1 Svane Rasmus
Saeed Ishaq 1   1 Fier Alexandr
Pichot Alan 1   1 Kulkarni Bhakti
Xu Yinglun 1   1 Saurabh Anand
Mamedjarova Turkan 1   1 Harika Dronavalli
Vishnu Prasanna. V 1   1 Gukesh D
Nihal Sarin 1   ½ Naiditsch Arkadij
Wojtaszek Radoslaw ½   ½ Pascua Haridas
Areshchenko Alexander ½   ½ Neverov Valeriy
Praggnanandhaa R ½   ½ Safarli Eltaj
Anton Guijarro David ½   ½ Abdusattorov Nodirbek
Akopian Vladimir ½   ½ Nitin S.
 
 


Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.
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