2015 Indian Premier Championship

by Priyadarshan Banjan
12/25/2015 – The 53rd edition of India’s National Premier Championship was held from 15 November 2015 to 28 November 2015 at Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu. The 13 round all-play-all with a rating average of 2501 was the strongest Indian tournament of the year, and the tournament was won by sixteen-year-old grandmaster Murali Karthikeyan. Illustrated report with GM analysis.

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Chess has metamorphosed into a young man’s game. If solidity is the key to winning tournaments, some players like Murali Karthikeyan believe otherwise. Of course, he feels terrible when he loses. Any grandmaster of sixteen would. He is overjoyed when he wins – he called up his parents, who then made a six-hour bus journey on the night before the tournament ended to witness their son’s moment of glory. All he needed was a draw to become India’s National Premier Champion.

Murali Karthikeyan qualified to play in the National Premier by picking up his spot at the National Challenger’s Championship held at Nagpur, India in August. His performance in the World Juniors was lackluster, to put it mildly. When the National Premier began, he was already staring at a humongous deficit, as his aggregate score after two rounds read 0/2. Understandably, Karthikeyan would just retreat to the silence of his hotel room after the rounds. The lad preferred to stay alone, rather than be with his parents, so he could focus better. His tournament situation painted a bleak mask on his face.

It was as if he were forced to box with Muhammad Ali with one hand tied behind his back,
and GM M. Karthikeyan (2498) wasn’t happy

GM S.P. Sethuraman (2651)

The tournament was a fourteen player round robin, and there is much that could be written about the players themselves, their moments of joy and sorrow. Much could be said about Sethuraman’s memorable comeback in the second half of the tournament or Vidit Gujrathi’s methodical assault at the national title.

GM Vidit Gujrathi (2651)

Vidit was eager to stamp his mark in the history of India’s National Championships, and all throughout the tourney, he displayed in-depth preparation, which won him many a game. In the second round, he entered a variation that his opponent has been playing for more than a decade, and managed to surprise him. A surprised player is half beaten.

Vidit-Rathnakaran (Analysis by FM Nihal Sarin)

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.16"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"] [Black "Rathnakaran, K."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A31"] [WhiteElo "2651"] [BlackElo "2447"] [Annotator "Nihal Sarin"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nf3 {transposing to english opening.} cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 d5 6. cxd5 Bc5 {The Vaganian Gambit.} 7. N5c3 (7. d6 Ne4 8. Nc7+ Qxc7) 7... O-O 8. g3 Qb6 9. e3 Bg4 10. Be2 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 e4 {Black has some compensation.} 12. a3 Re8 13. Nd2 Qc7 14. g4 $1 {A great move. White is going to attack on the kingside.} h6 $2 (14... Qe5 {was better.} 15. Nc4 Qg5 16. h4 Qxg4 17. Qxg4 Nxg4) 15. h4 Qe5 16. Nc4 Qc7 17. g5 Nh7 18. gxh6 g6 19. b4 $18 Bf8 20. Bb2 Na6 21. d6 Qd7 22. Rd1 {White simply has a fantastic position.} Rad8 23. Nd5 b5 24. Ne5 Qxd6 25. Ng4 $1 {The final tactic. Black could not control f6} Qxd5 26. Rxd5 Rxd5 27. Qc2 Re6 28. O-O Be7 29. Rd1 Nc7 30. Rxd5 Nxd5 31. Qc8+ Bf8 32. Bg7 Ne7 33. Qa8 Rc6 34. Bxf8 Rc8 35. Qxe4 Kxf8 36. Qd4 1-0

Thus, Vidit was off to a stellar start with two quick victories, but he was not alone…

… IM P. Karthikeyan (2441) started with two victories as well, as he first defeated…

… GM M.R. Venkatesh (2464) with a tactical shot on the middle of the board.

P. Karthikeyan-Venkatesh (Analysis by FM Nihal Sarin)

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.15"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Karthikeyan, P."] [Black "Venkatesh, M.R."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A11"] [WhiteElo "2441"] [BlackElo "2464"] [Annotator "Nihal Sarin"] [PlyCount "99"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 {An interesting choice.White delays d4 to prevent the main lines.} Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. b3 {White will try to keep his king in the centre or castle queenside, and play Rg1 followed by g4} Bd6 6. Bb2 Nbd7 7. Qc2 a6 $1 (7... e5 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. Nb5 Bb8 10. Rc1 O-O 11. Ba3 Re8 12. Nd6 Bxd6 13. Bxd6 {White has a good position.}) 8. Be2 b5 (8... e5 $5) 9. g4 $1 {White shows his intentions of attacking on the kingside.} h6 10. Rg1 {Intending h4.} g5 $2 {Black makes his first mistake. Instead he could have played....} (10... e5) 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Nxd5 $3 {White does not miss his opportunity.} exd5 13. Qc6 Qc7 $1 {Black tries to trap the white queen on the corner of the board.} 14. Qxa8 O-O 15. Rc1 Nc5 16. b4 $6 ({Better was} 16. Bxf6 Nd3+ 17. Bxd3 Qxc1+ 18. Ke2 Qxg1 19. Qxd5 Bxg4 20. Qxd6 Qh1 21. Qg3 $18) 16... Bd7 17. Qxa6 $1 { Exploiting the fact that the knight on f6 is hanging.} Nxa6 18. Rxc7 Nxc7 19. Bxf6 Ra8 20. h4 Bxb4 21. hxg5 Ne8 {Black tries to eliminate the bishop} 22. Bd4 hxg5 23. Ne5 Bc8 24. Nc6 Bf8 25. Bxb5 Rxa2 26. Rh1 Bg7 (26... f6 $5) 27. Ne7+ Kf8 28. Bxg7+ Nxg7 29. Ng6+ $1 fxg6 30. Rh8+ Ke7 31. Rxc8 d4 $2 ({Better was} 31... Ne6 {with good chances of draw.}) 32. Rc7+ Kf6 33. Rf7+ $1 {This ending is won for White.} Kxf7 34. Bc4+ Kf6 35. Bxa2 Ke5 (35... dxe3 36. fxe3 $1 $18) 36. Ke2 Ne8 37. Bf7 Nf6 38. f3 Nd7 39. Bxg6 Nc5 40. Bf5 Nb3 41. Bc2 Nc5 42. Kf2 dxe3+ 43. dxe3 Ne6 44. Kg3 Nc7 45. f4+ Kf6 46. Bb3 Nb5 47. e4 Nd4 48. e5+ Ke7 49. Bc4 Nc6 50. Kf3 {A nice game in which both of them played well with many attractive tactics!} 1-0

In the second round, P. Karthikeyan took down his namesake GM M. Karthikeyan, who had lost the first game as well and now, was left marooned on an island of 0/2, along with GM Abhijit Kunte and GM Venkatesh, whom he was playing in the third round.

In this battle of the zero pointers, M. Karthikeyan was able to score his first victory of the
tournament. He was on the scoreboard, finally.

GM Neelotpal Das (2475)

Then, in the fourth round against GM Neelotpal Das, he played a game that was simple by its nature, yet elegant in its execution.

Murali-Neelotpal (Analysis by IM Srinath Narayanan)

[Event "53rd National Premier ch-IND"] [Site "Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.18"] [Round "4"] [White "Karthikeyan, Murali"] [Black "Neelotpal, Das"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C68"] [WhiteElo "2498"] [BlackElo "2475"] [Annotator "Srinath Narayanan"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Qe7 {Played after a 19 minute think. It's curious what was going on in Neelotpal's mind. I would be a little amazed if Neelotpal was caught by surprise here considering that Karthikeyan has played that line more than once in the recent past.} 6. d4 f6 $6 {I already can't find this move played anywhere.} 7. dxe5 fxe5 8. Qd3 Nf6 9. Nbd2 Bg4 10. Nc4 Nd7 11. Qc3 Bxf3 12. Qxf3 Qe6 13. Qc3 Bc5 (13... Bd6 14. Be3 O-O) 14. Be3 Bxe3 15. Nxe3 O-O-O {White just has a pleasant edge here, but it's not as big as it appears. Black's pawn structure is of course inferior to White's, but with the queen's on board and the opposite side castling, it's not the only factor in operation.} 16. a4 Nf6 17. f3 Rd4 18. b4 (18. Nf5 Rd7 19. b4 b6 {transposes to the game}) 18... b6 19. Nf5 (19. b5 {is coolly met with} cxb5 20. axb5 a5) 19... Rd7 20. Ne3 Rd4 21. Qe1 Kb7 22. Nd1 g5 23. a5 { With pawns on b6 and a6 and the opposition pawns on a4-b4 it's usually quite common to counter a5 with b5 and b5 with a5.} g4 $2 {It seems to me that it was important not to allow pathway to a6. After this move, Black was reduced down to a minute and hell breaks loose in all sectors of Black's position.} ({ Better was} 23... b5 $5 24. Nf2 Qc4 25. Nd3 (25. Qe3) 25... Nd7 26. Rf2 h5 { holds the balance}) (23... Rhd8 {Doesn't manage to prevent pressure on a6} 24. axb6 cxb6 25. Ne3 Rd2 26. Qc1 $16 {with the idea of Qa3.}) 24. axb6 cxb6 25. c3 Rd7 26. fxg4 Nxg4 27. Qe2 Ra8 $2 {The decisive mistake according to the computer. However with just a minute remaining, it's not easy to play a move like b5 without calculation, since it permanently weakens c5.} ({Better was} 27... b5 28. h3 Nf6 29. c4 {with the idea of freeing the a2 square} (29. Nf2 Rhd8) (29. Nb2 Rhd8 30. Qe3 Qe7) 29... Ra8 30. Nc3 $40 {looks very unappealing to a human player}) 28. Nb2 Nf6 29. Na4 Rg7 $4 {Black loses the game in a straightforward way now.} (29... Rd6 {just defending against the double attack. Black's position is unenviable, but there's nothing straightforward yet.}) 30. Qf2 Nd7 31. Qxb6+ Kc8 32. Qe3 Kb7 33. Rad1 Rag8 34. Rxd7+ 1-0

Then came another win for M. Karthikeyan, this time over GM Deep Sengupta (2589)

After punching three straight victories, he settled for a draw with GM M. Shyamsundar (2481) and…

…FM Praneeth Surya (2413), the last seed, who has gained more than 200 points in a space of five tournaments in 2015.

Although Vidit wiped him out in the first round, Praneeth played some excellent chess throughout the tournament. What he lacked in opening preparation and experience, he made up with excellent calculations and by maintaining a calm head under time-pressure. He downed a number of grandmasters, but the biggest catch was undoubtedly the defending champion, who out rated him by 234 points.

Praneeth-Sethuraman (Analysis by FM Praneeth Surya)

[Event "IND-ch 53rd"] [Site "Thiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.19"] [Round "5"] [White "Praneeth, Surya K"] [Black "Sethuraman, SP."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2413"] [BlackElo "2651"] [Annotator "Praneeth Surya"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] [EventCategory "11"] 1. e4 c5 {Sethuraman obviously has a wide repertoire & before the round I expected a Modern but he surprised me with Sicilian.} 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 {So over the board I also decided to counter surprise him!} Nc6 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. Qe2 e5 $5 {An interesting move brought into lime light by Caruana!} 6. O-O Be7 7. c3 O-O 8. d3 Re8 9. Na3 Bf8 $6 (9... h6 $142 {Black must stop Bg5 before playing Bf8}) 10. Bg5 $1 {After the exchange, White will have very strong control over the light squares in the centre which makes d5 break difficult for Black. The bishop on f8 also remains passive.} h6 11. Bxf6 Qxf6 12. Nc4 d6 13. Ne3 $14 { I was pretty happy with my position. I normally play such structures with Black and it was the first time playing with White, that too I had to handle against 2600!} Ne7 {with this move the queen cannot retreat and is misplaced} ( 13... Be6 $5) 14. Nd2 {Threatening to play f4} g5 $6 {A huge positional mistake though it was the idea behind Black's previous move. This shows clearly that things went very bad for Black.} 15. Kh1 {I had a very good position that simply I didn't know what to play, there were many options and I just wanted to play a kind of waiting but useful move} (15. Bf3 $5 {I was also thinking to play Bf3 but later decided to wait}) 15... Bg7 16. c4 $1 {With the idea Nb1-c3, I wanted to exchange Black's knight and bring Good Knight vs Bad Bishop scenario. If he doesn't exchange then I leave a disturbing knight on d5! } Bd7 17. Nb1 Nc6 (17... Qg6 {I was expecting him to play Qg6 to create some counterplay with f5 or sometimes with h5} 18. Bf3 {for which I planned to reply with Bf3 and White is better but still would have been a good choice for Black}) (17... b5 {basing on his previous move, I thought maybe he was planning to create some counterplay on the queenside but instead he played Nc6 quickly}) 18. Nc3 Nd4 19. Qd1 Rad8 20. Ne2 $1 {I liked this move very much during the game, just nutralizing his activity as he cannot exchange} Nc6 21. Rb1 $1 {Protecting b2 before f4, killing counterplay for my opponent} Qg6 22. f4 {My pieces are well arranged and I felt the time has come} exf4 {We should always be careful as after the break Black's bishops get in to the game especially the dark square bishop which has no counterpart} 23. gxf4 Qh5 $2 { A very good idea but has a sort of tactical refutation} ({After the game we thought Black should play gxf4} 23... gxf4 24. Nxf4 {Still White is clearly better}) 24. Bf3 $1 {A cute line and also a forcing one to keep the advantage for White. Without this Black might be even slightly better.} Qh4 25. Ng2 $1 Qh3 26. Ng1 $1 (26. f5 $4 {with the idea to trap Black's queen fails to} Be5 $1 {and White can resign}) 26... Qe6 27. f5 $16 {Black is stuck again} Qe7 28. Ne3 {Regrouping pieces back} Nd4 $2 29. f6 $1 $18 {And now White has a decisive advantage, after the game Sethuraman admitted to have missed it} Bxf6 30. Nd5 Qe5 31. Bh5 Bg7 (31... Re6 32. Nf3 $1 Nxf3 33. Qxf3 Kg7 34. Rf2 $1 {Black is completely lost}) 32. Bxf7+ Kh8 33. Bxe8 Qxe8 (33... Rxe8 34. Nf3 $18) 34. Nf6 $1 Bxf6 35. Rxf6 {White is clearly winning and I wanted to just make sure not to play a blunder in time trouble} Bc6 {Black is still not without any threats as my pieces are clearly misplaced, for ex} 36. Rf2 {I wanted to coordinate pieces} (36. Rxh6+ $4 Kg7 {White pieces are badly misplaced especially the b1 rook} 37. Rh3 Bxe4+ $1 38. dxe4 Qxe4+ 39. Nf3 Nxf3 {White cannot recapture with a queen} 40. Rxf3 (40. Qxf3 Qxb1+) 40... Rf8 $17) 36... Kg7 37. Qg4 Rd7 38. Rbf1 Re7 39. Nf3 Ne6 40. Nh4 {The rest is simple but still I had to workout some lines during the game} Kh7 41. Nf5 h5 42. Qg3 h4 43. Qg4 Rd7 44. Ne3 Rg7 45. Rf6 Nf4 46. Nf5 Rg6 47. Rxf4 1-0

Position after 47.Rxf4!

IM K. Rathnakaran (2447) is famous in Indian chess circles for his fiery aggression over the board

Sethuraman-Rathnakaran

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.20"] [Round "6.4"] [White "Sethuraman, S.P."] [Black "Rathnakaran, K."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A31"] [WhiteElo "2651"] [BlackElo "2447"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r1rbk1/1p3ppp/p4n2/N2P1q2/1P2N3/P3PnP1/4QPKP/B2R1R2 b - - 0 22"] [PlyCount "5"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 22... Nh4+ 23. gxh4 Rxe4 24. Bxf6 $4 (24. f3 Rxh4 25. Bxf6 Qxf6 26. Nxb7 $14) 24... Rc2 $3 0-1

Sethuraman looked up to the heavens, ‘Eli! Why have you forsaken me?’

Rathnakaran was black against GM Murali Karthikeyan in the eighth round, and the latter smashed him out of the park…

…but good ol’ Rathnakaran wasn’t to be dissuaded from doing what he does best in the
very next game, against Praneeth Surya.

Praneeth-Rathnakaran (Analysis by FM Nihal Sarin)

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.27"] [Round "12.7"] [White "K., Praneeth Surya"] [Black "Rathnakaran, K."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C10"] [WhiteElo "2413"] [BlackElo "2447"] [Annotator "Nihal Sarin"] [PlyCount "66"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nc6 {An interesting idea. Black immediately develops his knight, blocking his c pawn but attempts to challenge the centre by playing f6.} 4. e5 f6 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. Nf3 Qe7 {Black is planning to transfer the Queen to f7.} 7. O-O Qf7 8. Re1 Nge7 9. Bf4 O-O-O 10. Rb1 f5 11. Qd3 (11. h4 $5 h6 12. Qd2 $11) 11... h6 12. Na4 g5 {Black gains space by pushing his g pawn.} 13. Bc1 g4 14. Nd2 {Very passive.} (14. Nh4 {was better.}) 14... Nb4 15. Bxd7+ Rxd7 {Black's French Bishop is eliminated.} 16. Qb3 (16. Qb5 $5 {Leads to interesting complications.}) 16... Nec6 17. c3 Nd3 18. Rd1 f4 19. Qc2 Nxc1 20. Rdxc1 f3 21. g3 $2 (21. gxf3 $1 gxf3 (21... h5 $1) 22. Kh1) 21... h5 {White is very cramped. Black lauches a very powerful attack by playing only simple and logical moves.} 22. Nf1 h4 23. b4 Qh5 24. Nb2 Bh6 25. Rd1 Rf7 $19 {Crushing White!} 26. Nd3 Ne7 27. Qa4 hxg3 28. fxg3 Be3+ $1 29. Nf2 Nf5 30. h4 Nxg3 31. Nxe3 Qxh4 32. Nexg4 Ne4 33. Kf1 Qh1+ $1 0-1

33…Qh1+! Talk about finishing in style

His swashbuckling style of play has won him a legion of admirers in India

Round 8: S.P. Sethuraman (2651) vs. Vidit Gujrathi (2651)

The classical French between these two titans turned into a crazy affair as Sethu launched himself on the kingside with his pawns while Vidit returned the punches on the other flank, where White’s King stood. The game was further complicated when Vidit bombed the center with 26…e5, initiating a complicated series of exchanges embedded with a queen sacrifice, en-passant. All this happened while both players were grappled by serious time-trouble.

Sethuraman-Vidit (Analysis by FM Nihal Sarin)

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.23"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Sethuraman, S.P."] [Black "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C11"] [WhiteElo "2651"] [BlackElo "2651"] [Annotator "Nihal Sarin"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 {The Classical French.} 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2 O-O 9. dxc5 Nxc5 10. O-O-O a6 11. h4 Qa5 12. Kb1 b5 13. Bd3 b4 14. Ne2 Nxd3 15. Qxd3 Qb5 $1 {The exchange of queens favours Black.} 16. Qd2 a5 {Black has the bishop pair, and should attack on the queenside. White should seek his chances on the kingside.} 17. Ned4 Nxd4 18. Nxd4 Qc4 19. g4 f6 20. exf6 Bxf6 21. h5 a4 22. h6 g6 {Black is slightly better.} 23. Rhe1 Bd7 24. Bf2 Rfe8 {Rae8 also was considerable} 25. Nf3 b3 26. Bd4 e5 $5 {A sharp fight begins!} 27. fxe5 Bxg4 $2 {A wrong move, but White fails to exploit it.} 28. exf6 bxc2+ 29. Qxc2 Bf5 30. Qxf5 gxf5 31. Rg1+ $2 {Missing a win by.....} (31. Ng5 Re4 (31... Kf8 32. f7 Rxe1 33. Rxe1 Qd3+ 34. Ka1 Qxd4 35. Ne6+ Kxf7 36. Nxd4 $18) 32. f7+ Kf8 33. Rxe4 dxe4 34. Bc5+ Qxc5 35. Ne6+ Kxf7 36. Nxc5 $16) 31... Kf8 32. Ng5 Re2 33. Nxh7+ Ke8 34. a3 (34. f7+ $5 Kxf7 35. Rg7+ Ke6 36. Ng5+ Kd6 37. Nf7+ Ke6 38. Ng5+ Kd6 39. Nf7+ Ke6 40. Ng5+ $11) 34... Rb8 35. Ka1 {Still possible was......} (35. f7+ Kxf7 36. Rg7+ Ke8 37. Nf6+ Kf8 38. Bc5+ Qxc5 39. Nd7+ Ke8 40. Nxc5 Rbxb2+ 41. Ka1 Ra2+ 42. Kb1 Rab2+ 43. Ka1 $11) 35... Rb3 36. f7+ $1 Kxf7 37. Rg7+ Ke8 38. Nf6+ Kd8 {[#]} 39. Rg8+ $2 {losing the game!} ({White could have played} 39. Bb6+ $3 Rxb6 40. h7 Rh2 41. Rg8+ Ke7 42. Nxd5+ Qxd5 43. Rxd5 Rxh7 44. Rxf5 {A variation very difficult to calculate}) 39... Ke7 40. Nxd5+ Qxd5 $2 ({Missing the win with.} 40... Kf7 $1 41. Rg7+ Kf8 42. Nb4 Rxa3+ 43. bxa3 Qb3 44. Bc5+ Ke8 45. Rg8+ Qxg8 46. Nd5 Qh8+ 47. Bd4 Qxh6 ) 41. Bf6+ Kxf6 42. Rxd5 Rexb2 43. Rg1 Rh2 44. Rf1 Rxa3+ 45. Kb1 Rb3+ 46. Ka1 Ra3+ 47. Kb1 Rb3+ 48. Ka1 Ra3+ 1/2-1/2

Practically, it is next to impossible to calculate all the details accurately, especially with mere seconds left per move. Sethu and Vidit did miss chances galore, but see the game and tell us, are you not entertained?

IM P. Shyaamnikhil (2436)

While Vidit was running away with the title and Sehu was slowly resurrecting himself after a disastrous first half, Murali Karthikeyan scored yet another victory in the ninth round, and his victim was IM P. Shyaamnikhil.

Shyaamnikhil-Karthikeyan (Analysis by GM Murali Karthikeyan)

[Event "National Premier chess championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.11.24"] [Round "9"] [White "Shyaam Nikil, P."] [Black "Karthikeyan, Murali"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B04"] [WhiteElo "2434"] [BlackElo "2498"] [Annotator "Murali Karthikeyan"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 c6 (5... O-O 6. e5 dxe5 7. dxe5 Nd5 8. O-O) 6. e5 Nd5 7. h3 (7. Bxd5 cxd5 8. Qb5+ Nc6 9. Qxd5 Be6 (9... dxe5 10. Qxd8+ Kxd8 {is also possible}) 10. Qb5 dxe5 11. dxe5 (11. Nxe5 O-O 12. Nxc6 (12. c3 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Qc7) 12... bxc6 13. Qxc6 Qxd4 $17) 11... O-O 12. O-O Qd5 $15) 7... O-O 8. O-O Qc7 $5 (8... dxe5 9. dxe5 {Nearly transposes with not much pressure for White} (9. Nxe5 Nd7)) (8... b5 $5 9. Bd3 (9. Bxd5 cxd5 10. Nc3 (10. Qxb5 dxe5 (10... Ba6 11. Qxd5)) 10... dxe5 (10... b4 11. Nxd5 dxe5 12. Qe4 (12. Nxb4 a5) 12... Nc6 $5 (12... Bf5 13. Nxe7+ Qxe7 14. Qxa8) 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Bb7 15. Nf6+ Bxf6 16. Qxb7 Bxe5 17. Qxb4 Rb8 18. Qc5 Bxb2 19. Bxb2 Rxb2 20. Qxa7 Rxc2 $14) 11. Nxe5 (11. dxe5 b4 $17) 11... b4 $15) (9. Bb3 a5 10. c3 (10. a4 bxa4 11. Rxa4 Ba6 12. c4 (12. Bc4 Nb6) 12... Nb6 13. Ra1 dxe5 14. dxe5 N8d7 $132) (10. c4 bxc4 11. Bxc4 Nd7 $132) 10... a4 11. Bc2 Nd7) 9... dxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7) (8... Bf5 {But White will get a slight edge here.} 9. Nc3 $5 (9. Re1 dxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7) 9... Nxc3 10. bxc3 $14) 9. Bb3 (9. Bxd5 cxd5 10. Nc3 dxe5 (10... Qc6 11. Bf4) 11. dxe5 Be6 (11... e6 12. Nb5)) (9. exd6 exd6 (9... Qxd6 10. Nc3 Nd7 $132 (10... Bf5 11. Re1)) 10. Bxd5 cxd5 11. Nc3 Be6 (11... Qc6 12. Bf4 (12. Qb5 Bf5) 12... Na6 $14) 12. Bf4 a6 $132) (9. Nc3 dxe5 10. dxe5 Nxc3 11. bxc3 b5 12. Bb3 a5) (9. Re1 $5 dxe5 10. dxe5 $14) 9... Bf5 $6 (9... Na6 10. c4 Nb6 11. Nc3 $14) (9... dxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7 11. e6 fxe6 (11... Nc5 12. exf7+ Rxf7 13. Ng5) 12. Qxe6+ Kh8 $13) 10. Re1 $6 (10. c4 Nb4 11. Qd2 (11. Bd2 Bd3 (11... c5 $5) 12. Qe3 Bxf1 13. Bxb4 a5) (11. a3 Nd3 12. g4 (12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 dxe5) 12... Nxc1 13. Rxc1 Bxb1 14. Raxb1 dxe5 $11) (11. exd6 exd6 12. Rd1 ( 12. Bf4 Bd3 (12... Qd7 13. Rd1) 13. Qd2 Bxf1 14. Kxf1 c5 (14... N4a6 15. c5) 15. dxc5 $44) 12... d5 13. cxd5 Nxd5 14. Nc3 $14) 11... Nd3 12. g4 Nxc1 13. Rxc1 Be4 $15) (10. g4 $5 Be6 11. c4 Nb6 12. Bf4 {could have been played}) 10... dxe5 11. dxe5 (11. Nxe5 Nd7 12. Nf3 (12. Nxd7 Bxd7 $11) 12... e5 $5 13. dxe5 ( 13. Bxd5 cxd5 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Rfe8) 13... Rfe8) 11... Nd7 12. Bd2 (12. c4 Nb4) (12. Nd4 Qxe5 $15 13. Qxe5 Bxe5) (12. Nc3 Nxc3 13. bxc3 Nc5 14. Nd4 Bc8 15. Ba3 {was a good way to try}) (12. g4 Be6 13. Nd4 (13. c4 N5b6) 13... Bxe5 14. Nxe6 fxe6 $15) (12. Bxd5 cxd5 13. Nc3 Nb6 {Although White has slight edge here, it is difficult for White to consider the exchange of bishop for the knight.} (13... e6 14. g4 Be4 15. Nxe4 dxe4 16. Qxe4)) 12... Nc5 13. Nd4 (13. Nc3 Nb4 (13... Nxc3 14. Bxc3 Rfd8 15. Nd4) 14. Nd4 (14. Nb5 cxb5 15. Bxb4 a5 16. Bxc5 Qxc5 $11) 14... Nxb3 15. cxb3 Qd7) (13. c4 Bd3 14. Qd1 Nb6 15. Be3 Nxb3 16. axb3 $15) (13. Bxd5 cxd5 14. Nc3 Rad8 $11) 13... Be4 (13... Ne4 14. Nc3 (14. Nxf5 gxf5 15. f4 Rad8) 14... Ndxc3 (14... Bxe5 15. Nxf5 gxf5 16. Nxe4) 15. Bxc3 Nxc3 16. bxc3 Bc8 17. f4 $14) (13... Bc8 14. Bxd5 (14. c4 Nxb3 15. Nxb3 Nb6 $132) 14... cxd5 15. Nc3 $11) 14. f4 $6 (14. Qc4 Qb6 (14... Qxe5 15. Qxc5 Qxd4 16. Qxd4 Bxd4 17. c3 (17. Rxe4 Bxb2) 17... Bxb1 18. cxd4 Bf5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Rxe7 $14) (14... Nxb3 15. axb3) 15. Nc3 Nxc3 16. Bxc3 Bd5 $11) (14. c4 Bxe5) (14. Bxd5 $5 cxd5 15. f3 Bxe5 16. Nb5 Qb6 17. fxe4 Bxb2 (17... Nxe4+ 18. Be3) 18. N1c3 {White should have opted for this} Nxe4+ 19. Be3 Nxc3 20. Nxc3 Qa5 21. Nb5 Bxa1 22. Rxa1 a6 {requires precise play from Black}) (14. Nc3 Bxe5 15. Nxe4 Bxd4 16. Nxc5 Bxc5 $15) 14... Qb6 15. Qf2 (15. Kh1 Rad8 $15 (15... Nxb3 16. Nxb3 Bxc2 17. Ba5 $1)) 15... f6 (15... Rad8 16. Bxd5 cxd5 17. Nc3 $11 Qxb2 18. Rab1 Qa3 19. Ndb5) 16. Nc3 (16. Be3 $5 {leads to complicated play} Nxb3 (16... fxe5 17. Ne6 Nxe3 18. Nxc5+ $18) 17. axb3 (17. Nxb3 Nxe3 18. Rxe3 Bxc2 $15) 17... fxe5 (17... Nxe3 18. Qxe3 fxe5 19. Ne6 {transposes}) 18. Ne6 Nxe3 19. Qxe3 (19. Rxe3 Bxc2 20. Nxf8 exf4) 19... Qxe3+ 20. Rxe3 Bxc2 21. Nxf8 exf4 22. Re2 (22. Rxe7 Bxb2 23. Ra2 Bd4+ 24. Kh1 Bxb1 25. Rd2 Bc5) 22... Bd3 ( 22... Bxb1 23. Nd7) 23. Rd2 Bxb1 $17) (16. exf6 Bxf6 {is nothing} 17. Nc3 Nxb3 18. Nxb3 Bxc2) (16. Bxd5+ cxd5) 16... fxe5 (16... Nxb3 17. cxb3) 17. Ne6 $2 ( 17. Nxe4 exd4 (17... Nxe4 18. Rxe4 exd4 19. Rxe7 $11) 18. Nxc5 Qxc5 19. Re6 $15 ) 17... Nxe6 18. Nxe4 $6 (18. Qxb6 $5 axb6 19. Nxe4 {is tenacious but most likely will transpose to our game where Black wont have an additional e5 pawn} (19. Rxe4 Nc5 (19... Nexf4 20. Bxf4 exf4 (20... Rxf4 21. Nxd5 cxd5 22. Bxd5+ Kh8 23. Bxb7) 21. Nxd5 cxd5 22. Bxd5+ Kh8 23. Rxe7 {Must be equal}) 20. Nxd5 cxd5 (20... Nxe4 21. Nf6+) 21. Bxd5+ Kh8 22. Re2 (22. Ree1 Rad8) 22... Rad8 $15 ) 19... Nd4 (19... Nexf4 20. c4) 20. fxe5 Nxb3 21. axb3 Bxe5 $17) (18. Rxe4 Qxf2+ 19. Kxf2 Nc5) 18... Nd4 (18... Nexf4 19. Qxb6 axb6) 19. c4 (19. Be3 exf4) 19... Nxb3 20. axb3 Nxf4 (20... Qxf2+ 21. Nxf2 Nxf4 22. Be3) 21. Qxb6 axb6 22. Rxa8 Rxa8 23. Be3 Ra2 24. Rb1 (24. Rd1 Rxb2 25. Rd8+ Kf7 26. Ng5+ Kf6 27. Nxh7+ Kf5) 24... Ne2+ 25. Kf2 Nd4 26. Nc3 (26. Bxd4 exd4 27. Ke2 Rxb2+ 28. Rxb2 d3+ 29. Kxd3 Bxb2 $17) 26... Ra8 27. b4 Kf7 (27... b5 $5 {is equally good.} 28. cxb5 cxb5 (28... Nxb5 29. Nxb5 cxb5 30. Rc1) 29. Ne4 (29. Bxd4 exd4 30. Nxb5 Ra4) 29... Rc8) 28. Ne4 h6 29. Bd2 (29. Bxd4 exd4 30. Ke2 Ra4 31. Kd3 Rxb4 32. b3 c5 {And the rook will escape.}) 29... b5 30. c5 (30. cxb5 Nxb5 31. Bc3 Nd6 $17) 30... Ke6 31. Ke3 Rd8 (31... Kd5 32. Bc3) 32. Bc3 Nc2+ 33. Ke2 (33. Kf3 Nxb4 34. Bxb4 Rd3+ 35. Kf2 Rd4 $19) 33... Nxb4 34. Ng5+ hxg5 35. Bxb4 e4 36. Bd2 Bf6 (36... Bf6 37. Ra1 Bxb2 38. Ra7 Bf6 39. Rxb7 Kd5) 0-1

Vidit was a point ahead of Murali Karthikeyan when the two met in the tenth round…

Murali Karthikeyan – Vidit Gujrathi

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.25"] [Round "10.4"] [White "Karthikeyan, Murali"] [Black "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C07"] [WhiteElo "2498"] [BlackElo "2651"] [PlyCount "125"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. dxc5 Nf6 5. exd5 Qxd5 6. Ngf3 Qxc5 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. O-O Qc7 9. c4 Be7 10. b3 b6 11. Bb2 Bb7 12. Qe2 Rd8 13. Rad1 O-O 14. Ne4 Nh5 15. Qe3 Nf4 16. Bb1 f5 17. Nc3 Bc5 18. Nb5 Bxe3 (18... Qb8 {would have been simply better for Black.}) 19. Nxc7 Bxf3 20. gxf3 Bc5 21. Bc1 $1 Ne2+ 22. Kg2 Nxc1 23. Nxe6 Ne2 24. Rd2 Nd4 25. Nxd8 Rxd8 26. b4 {The move Vidit may have missed originally.} Nxf3 27. Rd5 $1 $16 (27. Kxf3 Ne5+ 28. Ke2 Rxd2+ 29. Kxd2 Bxb4+ $14) 27... Nh4+ 28. Kg3 Bxb4 29. Kxh4 Be7+ 30. Kh3 Nc5 31. Rxd8+ Bxd8 32. Rd1 Bf6 33. Bxf5 g6 34. Bc2 Kf7 35. f4 Be7 36. Kg4 Kg7 37. h4 Kf7 38. Rd5 Kg7 39. Rd1 Kf7 40. h5 Kf6 41. Rd2 gxh5+ 42. Kxh5 Ne6 43. Kg4 h6 44. Kf3 Bc5 45. Rg2 Nd4+ 46. Ke4 a5 47. Rh2 Nf5 48. Bd1 Nd6+ 49. Kd5 Nf5 50. Kc6 Ne3 51. Be2 Kf5 52. Rxh6 Kxf4 53. Kb5 Ke5 54. Rxb6 Bxb6 55. Kxb6 Kd4 56. Kb5 a4 57. c5 Nd5 58. Bf3 Ne7 59. c6 a3 60. c7 Kc3 61. Bg4 Kb2 62. Be6 Kb1 63. Kc5 1-0

At this point, Vidit knew that something had gone wrong…

26.b4! The critical move that eventually won Karthikeyan the game

Therefore, after ten rounds, Vidit and M. Karthikeyan were in the joint lead. Vidit took on GM Neelotpal Das and was narrowly able to hold a draw. Meanwhile, M. Karthikeyan faced no difficulties in holding…

…GM Abhijit Kunte (2515), who was the third player to begin the tournament with 0/2

Although he was nowhere in contention, the following tactic is surely a memorable one:

Arghyadip Das-Abhijit Kunte

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.23"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Das, Arghyadip"] [Black "Kunte, Abhijit"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B41"] [WhiteElo "2456"] [BlackElo "2515"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "br4k1/3r1pp1/3p1n1p/pPp1q3/2B1P3/P1N1Q3/5RPP/3R2K1 w - - 0 32"] [PlyCount "16"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 32. Rf5 $4 {White played this as if it were the most natural move in the world, however he failed to spot Black's devious idea.} Qxh2+ $1 33. Kxh2 Ng4+ 34. Kg1 Nxe3 35. Be2 Nxd1 $19 36. Bxd1 Re8 37. Bf3 Re5 38. Rxe5 dxe5 39. Na4 c4 0-1

In the penultimate round, Vidit was only able to draw with GM Deep Sengupta, and M. Karthikeyan took full advantage of this opportunity to beat GM Swapnil Dhopade, and steal the lead!

GM Swapnil Dhopade (2497)

Meanwhile, S.P. Sethuraman was completing a remarkable comeback after a bad start to the tournament

Venkatesh-Sethuraman (Analysis by GM S.P. Sethuraman)

[Event "53rd ch-IND 2015"] [Site "Thiruvarur IND"] [Date "2015.11.27"] [Round "12.1"] [White "Venkatesh, M."] [Black "Sethuraman, S."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A05"] [WhiteElo "2464"] [BlackElo "2651"] [Annotator "S.P. Sethuraman"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. d3 d5 5. Nbd2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. e4 O-O 8. Re1 e5 9. exd5 Nxd5 {A reversed Fianchetto in Kings Indian.} 10. Nc4 f6 11. Nfd2 Be6 12. Ne4 Qe7 13. f4 exf4 14. gxf4 (14. Ned6 f3 (14... Qd7 $5) 15. Qxf3 Ne5) 14... Rad8 15. Qf3 Nd4 16. Qf2 Nb4 17. Na3 (17. Ne3 Ndxc2 18. Nxc2 Nxd3 19. Qf1 Nxe1 $17) 17... h6 {Since the knight was stuck on a3 I thought it was not necessary to enter the position with two pieces for rook with 17....Ndc2} ( 17... Ndxc2 18. Nxc2 Nxd3 $17) 18. Be3 f5 19. Ng3 b5 20. Rad1 Nxa2 21. c3 b4 22. Nb1 Nb3 23. Qc2 a5 24. Bc6 (24. c4 Nd4 25. Qa4 b3) 24... Qf6 25. Ba4 Na1 { Dominating Knights on a2 and a1!} 26. Qf2 Bb3 $19 27. Bb5 Bxd1 28. Bc4+ Kh7 29. Rxd1 bxc3 30. bxc3 Nxc3 31. Nxc3 Qxc3 32. Qa2 Nc2 33. Rc1 Rfe8 34. Bf2 Nb4 35. Rxc3 Nxa2 36. Ra3 Nb4 37. Rxa5 Nxd3 0-1

Murali Karthikeyan needed a draw with Arghyadip Das to become the 2015 National Champion of India. In case he happened to lose, it would open up doors for both Vidit and Sethuraman. The only way Vidit would win the tournament is by winning with the white pieces against Shyam Sundar M. and at the same time, M. Karthikeyan lost with black to Arghyadip. Sethuraman would join the race if he managed to win and M. Karthikeyan lost while Vidit drew or lost his game. In such a case, since Karthikeyan had beaten Vidit but lost to Sethuraman, while Sethuraman had drawn with Vidit as well, Sethuraman would be the winner!

The pressure had reached a boiling point in the final round as Vidit took on…

…GM Shyamsundar M. (2481)

Vidit-Shyamsundar (Analysis by FM Nihal Sarin)

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.28"] [Round "13.3"] [White "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"] [Black "Shyam, Sundar M"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2651"] [BlackElo "2481"] [Annotator "Sarin,Nihal"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 dxc4 5. Nf3 Bb4+ 6. Nbd2 b5 {Black is trying to save his extra pawn.} 7. O-O a5 8. a3 Be7 9. b3 cxb3 10. Qxb3 O-O 11. Qxb5 c5 $5 {Black challenges the centre immediately.} 12. dxc5 Ba6 13. Qb2 Nd5 $6 (13... Nc6 $5) 14. Ne4 Nd7 15. c6 N7f6 16. Nd4 $1 {Protecting the c6 pawn, keeping thefuture in mind.} Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Bf6 18. Rd1 h6 19. Qc2 Bxe2 $1 { The best practical chance to complicate the matters.} 20. Nxe2 Bxa1 21. Nf4 Be5 22. Bxd5 $6 (22. Nxd5 $16 {would have been better.}) 22... exd5 23. Nxd5 Rc8 { White has a strong passed pawn on c6. White has only one pawn for the exchange, but the passer provides more than sufficient compensation for the exchange.} 24. Be3 Qe8 25. c7 (25. Qc5 $5 Kh8 26. Ne7 Rc7 27. Qxe5 Rxe7 28. Qc5 $16) 25... Qe6 26. Bb6 h5 27. Bxa5 h4 28. Qe4 hxg3 29. hxg3 Rfe8 30. Bb4 $2 (30. Kg2 $5 Bxg3 $2 31. Qxe6 fxe6 32. Kxg3 exd5 33. Rxd5 $18) 30... Bxg3 $1 {Now the position is very drawish. (Played with less than one minute on the clock.)} 31. Qxe6 fxe6 32. Ne7+ (32. Nb6 Bxc7 33. Nxc8 Rxc8 $11) 32... Rxe7 33. Bxe7 Bxc7 34. Kg2 Bb6 35. Rd2 Rc4 36. Rd6 Kf7 37. Rd7 Kg6 38. Rb7 Bd4 39. Rb4 Rxb4 40. axb4 Kf7 41. Bc5 Bxc5 42. bxc5 Ke7 43. Kf3 Kd7 44. Ke4 Kc6 45. Kd4 e5+ 46. Kxe5 Kxc5 47. f4 Kc4 48. f5 Kd3 49. Kf4 Kd4 50. Kg5 Ke4 51. Kg6 Kf4 52. Kxg7 Kxf5 1/2-1/2

Vidit had a serene advantage when Shyamsundar decided to stir the pot 19… Bxe2. The game eventually ended in a draw.

Meanwhile, M. Karthikeyan was beaten soundly!

The man who spoiled his party was IM Arghyadip Das (2456)

Arghyadip Das-M. Karthikeyan (FM Nihal Sarin)

[Event "ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Champi"] [Site "Hotel Kasi's Inn,Tiruvarur"] [Date "2015.11.28"] [Round "13.6"] [White "Das, Arghyadip"] [Black "Karthikeyan, Murali"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B09"] [WhiteElo "2456"] [BlackElo "2498"] [Annotator "NIhal Sarin"] [PlyCount "181"] [EventDate "2015.11.15"] [EventRounds "13"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 Nf6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. e5 dxe5 7. fxe5 Nd5 8. Bc4 Be6 9. Bxd5 Bxd5 10. Nxd5 Qxd5 11. Qe2 e6 12. c4 {White has a space advantage and the better centre control. Black will play c5 and try to challenge the centre. White will try to maintain his pawn on e5,and lock the black bishop on g7.} Qd7 13. Bf4 c5 14. dxc5 Na6 $6 (14... Qc7 $5 15. O-O Qxc5+ 16. Kh1 Nc6 $11 ) 15. O-O Qc7 16. a3 Nxc5 17. b4 Nd7 18. Rac1 Nb6 (18... a5 $5 {was better.}) 19. Be3 Rfc8 20. Bc5 $16 Nxc4 $2 21. Rxc4 $6 (21. Qxc4 $1 b6 22. Ng5 bxc5 23. Nxf7 Qe7 24. Nd6 Rf8 25. Qxc5 Rxf1+ 26. Rxf1 $16) 21... b6 22. Ng5 $1 {White sees that he can win a pawn.} bxc5 23. Rxf7 Qb6 24. bxc5 Rxc5 25. Rxg7+ $1 Kxg7 26. Nxe6+ (26. Rxc5 $4 Qxc5+ $19 {It is a check, so White cannot play the Nxe6 fork.}) 26... Qxe6 27. Rxc5 Qb6 28. Qb5 h5 29. a4 Rd8 (29... Qd8 $5) 30. Qxb6 axb6 31. Rc7+ Kh6 32. e6 $1 Re8 33. Rc6 Ra8 34. e7 Kg7 35. Rd6 Re8 36. Rxb6 Rxe7 37. Rb1 $1 {The rook must go behind the pawn according to theory.} Ra7 38. Ra1 Ra5 39. Kf2 Kf6 40. Ke3 Ke5 41. Kd3 Kd6 42. Kc4 Kc7 43. Ra2 Kb6 44. Kd4 { The king goes to the kingside to capture the pawns.} Rg5 45. a5+ Ka6 46. Ke4 Rf5 47. Rd2 $1 {White is winning here. Black will lose both of his pawns.} Rxa5 $4 (47... Kxa5 $2 48. Rd5+ Rxd5 49. Kxd5 Kb4 50. Ke5 Kc3 51. Kf6 Kd4 52. Kxg6 h4 53. Kg5 $18) (47... Rf6 $1 {would have made White's task more difficult.}) 48. Rd6+ Kb7 49. Rxg6 h4 50. h3 $2 (50. g4 $1 Ra2 51. h3 Ra3 52. Rh6 Rxh3 53. g5 Kc7 54. Kf5 Kd7 55. Kg4 Rh1 56. Rxh4 Rg1+ 57. Kh5 Ke6 58. Rf4 Ke5 59. Rf2 $18) 50... Rh5 51. Kf4 Kc7 52. Kg4 Rh8 53. Kg5 Kd7 54. Kf6 Ke8 55. Rg5 Kf8 $2 ( 55... Rf8+ 56. Ke6 Rh8 57. Rg7 Rh6+ 58. Kf5 Rh5+ 59. Kg4 Rh8 $14) 56. Ra5 Rh6+ 57. Kg5 Rc6 58. Kxh4 $18 {White is simply winning.} Kg7 59. Ra3 Kg6 60. g4 Rb6 61. Kg3 Rc6 62. h4 Rb6 63. h5+ Kh6 64. Kh4 Rb4 65. Ra5 Rc4 66. Re5 Rb4 67. Re6+ Kg7 68. Kg5 Rb5+ 69. Kf4 Rb1 70. Kf5 Rf1+ 71. Kg5 Ra1 72. Re7+ Kg8 73. h6 Ra6 74. Kh5 Rb6 75. g5 Rb5 76. Kg6 Rb8 77. Rg7+ Kh8 78. Rf7 Kg8 79. Rf5 Rb6+ 80. Kh5 Rb1 81. g6 Rh1+ 82. Kg5 Rg1+ 83. Kf6 Rg2 84. Rd5 Rf2+ 85. Kg5 Rg2+ 86. Kf5 Rf2+ 87. Ke4 Re2+ 88. Kf3 Re8 89. Kf4 Ra8 90. Kg5 Rb8 91. h7+ 1-0

Nevertheless, as it so happened, both Sethuraman and Vidit were only able to draw their games, and Murali Karthikeyan was crowned the champion anyway.

You may gauge how much love the state of Tamil Nadu, the birthplace of Vishy Anand, has for chess and their players!

Anand is a sporting and cultural icon in this part of India

Hotel Kasi’s Inn, Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu in India was the host of the tournament

Murali Karthikeyan with his proud parents

Special thanks to FM Nihal Sarin for analyzing the games in this report.

All photos by Priyadarshan Banjan

Final standings

Rk
Ti.
Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
Pts.
 TB2 
1
GM
Karthikeyan Murali
*
1
0
0
0
1
½
½
½
1
1
1
1
1
8.5
50.50
2
GM
Vidit Santosh G.
0
*
½
1
1
1
1
½
1
½
½
½
½
½
8.5
53.75
3
GM
Sethuraman S.P.
1
½
*
½
1
0
0
1
½
0
1
1
½
1
8.0
50.75
4
IM
Karthikeyan P.
1
0
½
*
½
½
1
0
½
½
½
½
1
1
7.5
46.25
5
IM
Das Arghyadip
1
0
0
½
*
½
1
½
0
½
1
1
½
½
7.0
43.75
6
IM
Rathnakaran K.
0
0
1
½
½
*
1
½
0
½
½
0
1
1
6.5
39.75
7
FM
K. Praneeth Surya
½
0
1
0
0
0
*
1
1
½
½
1
0
1
6.5
40.50
8
GM
Shyam Sundar M.
½
½
0
1
½
½
0
*
1
½
0
½
1
½
6.5
41.25
9
GM
Kunte Abhijit
½
0
½
½
1
1
0
0
*
1
½
½
½
0
6.0
39.25
10
GM
Neelotpal Das
0
½
1
½
½
½
½
½
0
*
½
0
1
½
6.0
38.75
11
GM
Sengupta Deep
0
½
0
½
0
½
½
1
½
½
*
½
½
½
5.5
34.25
12
IM
Swapnil S. Dhopade
0
½
0
½
0
1
0
½
½
1
½
*
1
0
5.5
34.00
13
IM
Shyaamnikhil P
0
½
½
0
½
0
1
0
½
0
½
0
*
1
4.5
28.50
14
GM
Venkatesh M.R.
0
½
0
0
½
0
0
½
1
½
½
1
0
*
4.5
28.25

Annotation:
Tie Break1: Direct Encounter (The results of the players in the same point group)
Tie Break2: Sonneborn-Berger-Tie-Break variable
Tie Break3: Greater number of victories (variable)


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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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ubernomics ubernomics 12/26/2015 03:29
An excellent article. A few comments, though: (1) the article is really long - maybe better to have in two parts?! - I am nitpicking, of course. (2) The final chart should show the ratings of the players, since many are not well known outside of India. (3) Maybe it's a good idea to show their ages as well, since India has a bounty of interesting young players. A 30-year old who is 2550 is not interesting, but several 17 or 18 y.o.s at the same rating still are, may have untapped potential.

Also would be interesting to know how the medal winners at previous Youth Olympiads play out. Whether they continue in chess, or go into private career, etc.
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