Sharjah Masters 07: The day the queens were deposed

by Albert Silver
3/30/2017 – A key round, as they all are so near the finish, with nerves taking their toll as was evidenced by several games suffering from irrecoverable catastrophes early on. The biggest game of the say was Wang Hao's victory over Adhiban with black, when the Indian unwittingly entered a line the Chinese player had prepared in detail with a student! He analyzes his win with Daniel King in this illustrated report.

All photos by Anastasiya Karlovich

Geoffrey Borg, the FIDE CEO, arrives to tournament

Before the round starts, Adhiban, Bok, and Saleh enjoy a friendly chat

It isn't often that a grandmaster's queen finds itself attacked with nowhere to hide, yet that is precisely what took place in not one, but two games.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek vs Benjamin Bok

 

Centralization is key strategical concept in chess, but to every rule there is an exception. Here, just 15 moves have been played, but after 16. Nb3! (oops!), the queen was caught smack in the middle of the board. Black played 16...a4, but eventually waved the white flag 15 moves later. (Note: You can move the pieces on the diagram)

Top seed Wojtaszek probably could not believe his good fortune to find himself winning the queen after just 16 moves

Matthias Bluebaum vs Vishnu Prasanna V

 

In this game, Black only did better by one move, and after 17. Qb2! resigned in view of the inevitable 18. Nb3! winning the black queen

The queen related tragedies did not stop there, and even decided the top board and the top spot.

Baskaran Adhiban vs Wang Hao

 

It was a crucial game for the standings, and Wang Hao admitted he had planned to not push hard for tournament strategy reasons, only to find his opponent had other ideas. The opening play seems very offbeat, but little did the Indian know, Wang Hao had analyzed it all in detail.... with one of his students! Daniel King is astonished to learn that an active elite player such as Wang Hao is also a teacher.

When asked how he spent his free days in such events, Wang Hao said he is very relaxed and usually spends it watching anime (Japanese cartoons) or playing video games

Although the chance for a GM norm is no longer on the table, 11-year-old Praggnanandhaa will nevertheless add some Elo points to his already impressive 2455 rating.

Aditya Mital vs Nodirbek Abdusattorov

 

We are treated to a game between to very young fighters: Aditya Mittal, 11 years old, and Nodirbek Abdusattorov, 13, and already clearly of strong IM strength. The young Uzbeki shares his win with Daniel King.

16-year-old WGM Zhansaya Abdumalik has had a challenging event and stands at 4.0/7

Official photographer Maria Emelianova

The very likable Gawain Jones suffered another setback in round seven, and after a 4.0/4 start, has now lost two straight games

Vasanta Wettasinha is 60 years old, and rated a very modest 1718, but the incredibly out-giving player teaches children chess for free in Sri Lanka.

Saleh Salem vs Viani Antonio Dcunha

Top UAE player, Salem Saleh, rated 2652, reached a powerful position against his Indian opponent, but as he explains to Daniel King, who agreed, how he could break through was not at all obvious. He then hit upon a powerful plan, which he executed to eventually convert his advantage to a win. A fascinating video.

After his first round 'slip' when he drew 11-year-old IM Praggnanandhaa, Arkadij Naiditsch is now well on track with 5.5/7 and 5th in the standings. It will all come down to the last two rounds.

French GM Laurent Fressinet is also on 5.5/7 and 6th in the standings

Standings after seven rounds

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
 TB 
rtg+/-
1 5 GM Wang Hao CHN 2683 6,0 26,5 12,3
2 21 GM Kravtsiv Martyn UKR 2641 6,0 23,5 12,9
3 6 GM Adhiban B. IND 2682 5,5 26,5 6,8
4 17 GM Amin Bassem EGY 2660 5,5 26,5 3,9
5 4 GM Naiditsch Arkadij AZE 2702 5,5 25,0 0,8
  16 GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2662 5,5 25,0 5,5
7 22 GM Bluebaum Matthias GER 2632 5,5 25,0 0,9
8 1 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2745 5,5 25,0 -1,7
9 47   Xu Yinglun CHN 2540 5,5 24,5 10,8
10 15 GM Mareco Sandro ARG 2664 5,5 24,0 1,8
11 23 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2629 5,5 24,0 4,0
12 31 GM Gledura Benjamin HUN 2588 5,5 24,0 7,5
13 2 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2708 5,5 24,0 0,8
14 36 GM Maghsoodloo Parham IRI 2576 5,5 21,5 7,5
15 11 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2675 5,0 28,5 -2,1
16 7 GM Areshchenko Alexander UKR 2682 5,0 25,0 -3,7
17 20 GM Oleksiyenko Mykhaylo UKR 2643 5,0 25,0 -5,3
18 45 GM Pichot Alan ARG 2556 5,0 24,0 5,8
19 64 IM Narayanan Srinath IND 2472 5,0 24,0 13,1
20 13 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2666 5,0 24,0 -6,4
21 28 GM Adly Ahmed EGY 2593 5,0 23,5 6,6
22 12 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2673 5,0 23,5 -4,1
23 80 GM Laxman R.R. IND 2403 5,0 23,0 19,6
24 46 GM Schroeder Jan-Christian GER 2543 5,0 23,0 2,8
  54 IM Xu Xiangyu CHN 2503 5,0 23,0 7,0
26 57 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. IND 2483 5,0 22,5 9,8
27 72 FM Abdusattorov Nodirbek UZB 2429 5,0 22,5 6,4
28 18 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2652 5,0 22,0 -10,1
29 48 GM Harika Dronavalli IND 2539 5,0 21,0 5,3
30 142 WFM Srija Seshadri IND 2166 5,0 19,0 44,0

Click for complete standings

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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