Aeroflot round four – Najer leads, twelve follow!

by Sagar Shah
3/5/2016 – Four rounds have been completed at the Aeroflot Open and only one grandmaster is on 3.5/4 – Evgeniy Najer. Twelve other players are right on his heels with 3.0/4. This goes to show how keenly contested this tournament is. With five rounds to go and Boris Gelfand finding his form, things are going to get really interesting. We have some nice portraits and in-depth game analysis from Moscow.

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AEROFLOT round four – Najer leads, twelve follow!

Report from Moscow by Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal

The 13th edition of the Aeroflot Open 2016 is being held in Moscow, Russia from the 29th of February to 10th of March 2016. The official hotel of the event is Cosmos and the playing venue is also located at the same place. There are three tournaments that are simultaneously taking place: The A Group (2550 and above); the B Group (2300 and above), and the C Group (below 2300).

Four rounds into the Aeroflot Open 2016, things are beginning to heat up. The number of mini-upsets have started to dwindle and the top seeds are slowly showing their true mettle. As a spectator, be it online or in person at the venue, one cannot help but notice the utter strength of the tournament. For example the young Indian talent GM Aravindh Chithambaram lost his first two games, but in the third he faced yet another 2600 in the form of David Anton Guijarro. The tournament is simply unrelenting! Talking about things that are unrelenting, one of them definitely would be the Moscow weather (this video was taken from our room in the 15th floor of the Hotel Cosmos).

It would be unpleasant to have to walk to the tournament hall in wet snow. However the saving grace for the all players is that the accommodation as well as the playing venue is located at the same place – Hotel Cosmos, which was built to serve the XXII Summer Olympic Games held in Moscow in 1980. It has 1,777 rooms – 1,718 standard, 53 double room suites and 6 four-room suites. That makes Cosmos the largest hotel in Russia

There are various kinds of shops in the hotel like this one containing trinkets and shawls

There are many restaurants as well as cafés in the hotel premises. This one is right outside
the tournament hall and is used by many players to grab refreshments during the game

The tournament playing hall with the fourth round in progress

Evgeny Najer was the sole leader with 3.0/3. He drew his game against Maxim Matlalov
and still maintained his lead, as many of the top boards split the point.

Only two games had a decisive result amongst the top ten boards. One of them was the victory of the top seed Boris Gelfand over Lu Shanglei. It seems as if Gelfand is slowly shifting gears at the event. After drawing his first two games he won a tactical fight against Anton Demchenko in the third round. And in the fourth, he played a sublime positional game against the 2014 World Junior Champion Lu Shanglei.

Showing his class at the Aeroflot Open: Boris Gelfand

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.03.04"] [Round "4.5"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Lu, Shanglei"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2735"] [BlackElo "2620"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "91"] [EventDate "2016.03.01"] {After two draws at the start Gelfand won his third round game against Demchenko. While that was a tactical win, his fourth round victory against Lu Shanglei was more positional in nature.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 c5 6. O-O Nc6 7. Qa4 Bd7 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc3 $5 {This move has been played by Caruana at the Dortmund Super GM tournament in 2015. The idea seems to be to stop Black from going c4.} (9. Qd3 {is the main move but then Black has the option of directly playing c4.}) 9... cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 Rc8 12. Bf4 Bc5 13. Qd3 Qb6 14. Nd2 O-O 15. Ne4 {Until now the players were following the game between Caruana and Naiditisch from Dortmund 2015. Here the German GM had played Nd5. But Lu Shanglei goes for an inferior move.} Bc6 $6 { Voluntarily accepting kingside weakness doesn't seem to be a great idea.} 16. Nxf6+ gxf6 17. Bxc6 Qxc6 18. Rfd1 Bb6 19. Rac1 Qb7 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Bh6 $1 { We now understand why gxf6 was not such a good idea. The back rank weakness is permanent and Black cannot so much about it.} b4 22. e4 $1 {An important move which fixes the pawn on f6. If this pawn cannot move then the pawn on f7 is immobile, and if those guys cannot move then the king on g8 is trapped forever! } Kh8 23. Qd7 $5 {A very interesting decision by Gelfand to go into the rook+bishop endgame. The fact that Black had kingside weaknesses would have motivated many players to keep the queens on the board, but Gelfand goes for simple play.} (23. Qf3 $5 f5 24. Qh5 Qe7 (24... Qxe4 $2 25. Qxf7 $18) 25. exf5 $16) 23... Qxd7 24. Rxd7 {White's advantage is beyond any doubt. Black's rook is permanently nailed to the back rank and the king is trapped in the corner. White on the other hand can play with all his forces. The only slightly difficult task is to find the most appropriate way to break through.} Kg8 25. Rb7 Bc5 26. b3 Ra8 27. Rb5 Be7 (27... Bf8 28. Bxf8 Kxf8 29. Rxb4 $16) 28. Kf1 a5 29. Bf4 Bd8 (29... a4 30. Rb8+ {It would seem that after the rook exchange the white king comes to c4 and the b4 pawn falls. But things are not so simple as Black tries to create counterplay on the kingside. A quick initial analysis shows that White should win, but a deeper investigation may reveal something different.} Rxb8 31. Bxb8 axb3 32. axb3 Kg7 33. Ke2 Kg6 34. f3 f5 $1 35. e5 f6 36. Kd3 Bc5 37. exf6 Kxf6 38. Kc4 Bg1 39. h3 Bh2 40. Kxb4 e5 41. Kc5 $16) 30. Ke2 Kf8 31. Kd3 Rc8 32. Be3 Rc3+ 33. Kd2 Ke7 34. Bd4 Rc6 35. f4 Rd6 36. Ke3 Rc6 37. Kd2 Rd6 38. Kd3 Kd7 39. Kc4 Rc6+ 40. Rc5 Be7 {It seems that leading upto the 40th move White has lost the bulk of his advantage. But Gelfand shows that with the a5-b4-and f6 pawns fixed on the same colour as the black bishop, the defence is not at all trivial.} 41. Rxc6 Kxc6 42. f5 $1 {Fixing the f6 pawn.} Bd8 43. Bc5 h5 44. Bf8 Kb6 45. Bd6 Kc6 (45... Bc7 46. Be7 Be5 47. Bd8+ Ka6 48. Kc5 $18) 46. Bc5 $18 {Black is in zugzwang and will lose either his f6 or a5 pawn.} 1-0

Lu Shanglei is a strong tactical player but was given absolutely no opportunity to show his skills

Dmitry Bocharov came to the board and prepared himself for the game. But no amount of preparation would have helped him to get ready for what he was going to face against the talented Russian youngster…

…Vladimir Fedoseev, who surely played the game of the day

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.03.04"] [Round "4.12"] [White "Fedoseev, Vladimir"] [Black "Bocharov, Dmitry"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B92"] [WhiteElo "2664"] [BlackElo "2595"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2016.03.01"] {Wonderful things happen in this game. Let's have a look as to why Fedoseev is considered as one of the best upcoming players in the world.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Be3 Nbd7 (9... Be6 {is the main move here.}) 10. a4 b6 11. Bc4 $5 {White takes control of the d5 square and aims for a long manuevre with his b3 knight as we shall see in the game.} Bb7 12. Nd2 Qc7 13. Qe2 Nc5 14. Rfd1 $1 {The e4 pawn cannot really be touched right now.} Rfd8 (14... Ncxe4 $6 15. Ndxe4 Nxe4 (15... Bxe4 16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Bd5 $16) 16. Nd5 $1 $16) 15. Bxc5 $1 {The first unusual move of the game. In the Sicilian we are taught that the dark squared bishop is extremely important and we shouldn't part with it so easily. But here the battle is for the d5 square and the bishop on e3 doesn't really fight for it. Hence, this is a very logical move.} Qxc5 16. Nf1 $1 {The knight gets ready to go to e3 to control the d5 square.} b5 17. Bb3 bxa4 $6 (17... b4 {looked more natural, although after} 18. Nd5 Nxd5 19. Bxd5 Bxd5 20. Rxd5 $16 {White is clearly better.}) 18. Rxa4 Bc6 19. Rc4 Qb6 20. Ne3 a5 {White is better, there is no doubt about that. But how to increase your advantage?} 21. g4 $1 { An unusual move but once again extremely logical. The knight on f6 will be kicked away and the white knights will enjoy itself on the d5 square.} Qb7 22. g5 Nd7 23. Rxc6 $1 {A tactical sequence but it is not so easy to spot what is going on. The real weakness that Fedoseev has spotted like an eagle is the f7 square.} Qxc6 24. Nf5 Bf8 (24... Re8 25. Qh5 g6 26. Bxf7+ Kxf7 27. Qxh7+ Ke6 28. Ng7+ Kf7 29. Nh5+ Ke6 30. Qxg6+ $18) 25. Qf3 $1 {Surprisingly it is extremely difficult to meet Nh6+.} Kh8 26. Nh4 Nc5 27. Bxf7 Qd7 28. Ng6+ $1 { Not so difficult for a player like Fedoseev but nonetheless very beautiful.} hxg6 29. Bxg6 {There is just no way to prevent the mate on h5. You have to agree that it was simply a terrific game by the Russian youngster.} 1-0

Alexander Rakhmanov has been slowly but steadily climbing the rating charts. He has a current rating of 2650. With a +2 score in this event he is already gaining 6.5 Elo points. Although Rakhmanov is famed for his positional feel, his game against Matthias Bluebaum shows how he is equally adept at tactical play.

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.03.04"] [Round "4.14"] [White "Bluebaum, Matthias"] [Black "Rakhmanov, Aleksandr"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A53"] [WhiteElo "2605"] [BlackElo "2650"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2016.03.01"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nf3 g6 4. Nc3 Bf5 5. Nh4 Bd7 6. e4 e5 7. Nf3 exd4 8. Nxd4 Bg7 9. Be2 O-O 10. Be3 Nc6 11. O-O Re8 12. f3 Nh5 13. Nc2 Be5 14. Nd5 Ne7 15. Bg5 f6 16. Be3 Nxd5 17. Qxd5+ Be6 18. Qd2 f5 19. f4 Bxb2 20. Rab1 Bg7 21. Bxh5 gxh5 22. Bd4 b6 23. Rb3 h4 24. Ne3 Bxd4 25. Qxd4 c5 26. Qd2 Qf6 27. Rd3 fxe4 28. Rxd6 Rad8 29. f5 Qg5 (29... Rxd6 30. Qxd6 Qd4 $5 $11) 30. Re1 Bf7 31. Rd7 h6 32. Qd6 Rxd7 33. Qxd7 Rd8 34. Qxa7 Qf4 {The game is pretty well balanced until this point. Bluebaum could have played Re2, stopping Rd2, and the position would have been round about equal. But he saw nothing wrong with the most natural move in the position - the knight jump to d5, and went for it. Do you see why it is such a huge mistake?} 35. Nd5 $2 (35. Qxb6 Rd2 $19) 35... Rxd5 $1 {As you near the time control (40 moves) such oversights are bound to happen.} (35... Bxd5 36. Qxb6 $1 $14) 36. cxd5 e3 $1 {Surprisingly there is just no way to deal with Qf2+.} 37. Kh1 (37. Rf1 Qd4 $1 {threatening e2.} 38. Kh1 (38. Qb8+ Kh7 $1 39. Qf4 e2+ 40. Qxd4 exf1=Q+ 41. Kxf1 cxd4 $19) 38... e2 39. Re1 Qd1 $19 {The a5 square is controlled by the pawn on b6 and the g3 square by the pawn on h4! There is no way that the white queen can help here!}) 37... Bxd5 $1 {Although it doesn't make a huge difference it is nice that the a8 and b8 both the checking squares are controlled by the black pieces.} 38. Rg1 h3 $1 {All of Black's pieces work in perfect unison.} 39. Qxb6 hxg2+ 40. Rxg2+ Bxg2+ 41. Kxg2 Qg4+ {With a quick mate. Very sharp tactical play by Aleksandr Rakhmanov.} 0-1

Francisco Vallejo Pons drew his fourth round game against Mateusz Bartel and is currently on 3.0/4. We have to point out that the Spaniard played a superb endgame in the second round to beat Boris Savchenko. Here’s the game:

[Event "Aeroflot Open A 2016"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2016.03.02"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Savchenko, Boris"] [Black "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2610"] [BlackElo "2677"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r7/2p5/2p1k3/1p1p1r1p/3Pp1pP/P1P1R1P1/1P3P2/4RK2 b - - 0 36"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2016.03.01"] {It is clear that Black has more space. He is the one who is pressing, but White is quite solid. In such positions it is important to begin with a mini plan. The first thing that seems like extremely important to make even an iota of progress is to get in the c5 break. That is what Vallejo does.} 36... Kd6 37. R1e2 c5 {Stage one of the plan is completed. Is White forced to capture on c5 and give Black a central majority? Of course accepting an isolated pawn on d4 is no fun, but could it have been better?} 38. dxc5+ (38. Rc2 c4 $1 $17 { Later on we can push a second pawn to c5. Besides the king can make his way all the way to b3 to put pressure on the b2 pawn. This looks pretty grim.} ( 38... cxd4 39. cxd4 {gives White some activity down the c-file.})) 38... Kxc5 39. Rd2 {Now the logical plan is to push the pawn to c5, get the king to e5 and try for the d4 break. But good players never rush. They lure their opponents into a false sense of security, and then break through.} c6 40. Ke1 Ra4 41. Kd1 Kd6 42. Ke1 Ke5 43. Rd1 Ra8 44. Re2 Rf3 45. Rd4 Rf7 46. Rd3 Raf8 47. Rd4 c5 $1 {After getting all the pieces in perfect location, Black finally goes for the breakthrough. And there is nothing White can do about it.} 48. Rd1 d4 49. cxd4+ cxd4 50. Red2 (50. Rc1 d3 51. Rd2 Kd4 {transposes to the game.}) 50... d3 51. Rc1 Kd4 52. Rc6 Rf6 53. Rc7 R6f7 54. Rc6 Rf5 55. b4 Rd8 56. Re6 Rf3 57. Kd1 Rdf8 58. Ke1 Rd8 59. Kd1 e3 $1 {And that move brings down the curtains.} 60. fxe3+ Rxe3 61. Rh6 Rxg3 {A very nice endgame by Vallejo, who showed the importance of making mini plans rather than grand schemes which are not so easy to formulate during the game.} 0-1

China’s Wen Yang can be pleased with his performance until now at the Aeroflot Open. After blowing Artemiev off the board in the second round he drew his next two rounds against Vallejo Pons and Ian Nepomniachtchi.

The hair is a big give-away, yet we will ask you: can you guess who this is?

Yes of course, none other than Gata Kamsky. The American employed his favourite Dutch Defence in the third round against Falko Bindrich to score his lone victory in the event. Currently he is on 2.5/4.

It doesn’t matter whether Tigran Petrosian wins or loses, one thing will remain
constant: you will be entertained!

UAE’s Salem Saleh is on 2.5/4 and a mouth-watering round five clash between him
and Ian Nepomniachtchi awaits us tomorrow

Playing in open tournaments has not been easy for Wei Yi. After his first round loss
to Potkin, he drew two more games and is currently on 2.0/4.

FIDE ex-World Champion Alexander Khalifman has been solid as a rock and has drawn all his four games. But he wouldn’t be happy with his performance as all his opponents were rated nearly 100 Elo points below him.

The best thing about Baadur Jobava is that it doesn’t matter whether he wins or loses,
he is always in good spirits. He is currently on 2.0/4.

Standings after round four

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB2 
1 16 GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2664 3.5 2604
2 36 GM Wen Yang CHN 2609 3.0 2676
3 52 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2575 3.0 2656
4 8 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2677 3.0 2610
5 18 GM Zvjaginsev Vadim RUS 2662 3.0 2601
6 20 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr RUS 2650 3.0 2600
7 22 GM Grachev Boris RUS 2639 3.0 2592
8 13 GM Sjugirov Sanan RUS 2667 3.0 2590
9 1 GM Gelfand Boris ISR 2735 3.0 2588
10 15 GM Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2664 3.0 2559
11 27 GM Bartel Mateusz POL 2625 3.0 2516
12 25 GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2634 3.0 2515
13 6 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2682 3.0 2604
14 53 GM Antipov Mikhail Al. RUS 2573 2.5 2650
15 67 Predke Alexandr RUS 2508 2.5 2639
16 43 GM Dragun Kamil POL 2594 2.5 2635
17 7 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2677 2.5 2613
18 14 GM Swiercz Dariusz POL 2665 2.5 2607
19 82 FM Esipenko Andrey RUS 2445 2.5 2603
20 4 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2713 2.5 2597
21 31 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2615 2.5 2590
22 5 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2704 2.5 2588
23 10 GM Artemiev Vladislav RUS 2674 2.5 2578
11 GM Kamsky Gata USA 2673 2.5 2578
25 34 GM Savchenko Boris RUS 2610 2.5 2570
26 23 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2637 2.5 2568
33 GM Cordova Emilio PER 2610 2.5 2568
28 35 GM Bachmann Axel PAR 2609 2.5 2566
29 24 GM Hovhannisyan Robert ARM 2636 2.5 2557
30 26 GM Kobalia Mikhail RUS 2632 2.5 2540
31 32 GM Bok Benjamin NED 2611 2.5 2524
32 19 GM Motylev Alexander RUS 2655 2.5 2519
33 2 GM Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2724 2.5 2586
34 49 GM Wagner Dennis GER 2583 2.0 2698
35 48 GM Demchenko Anton RUS 2583 2.0 2689
36 46 GM Potkin Vladimir RUS 2585 2.0 2677
37 30 GM Lu Shanglei CHN 2620 2.0 2672
38 54 GM Lalith Babu M R IND 2573 2.0 2670
39 38 GM Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2607 2.0 2666
40 60 GM Alekseenko Kirill RUS 2554 2.0 2659
41 42 GM Bocharov Dmitry RUS 2595 2.0 2650
42 39 GM Bluebaum Matthias GER 2605 2.0 2645
43 64 GM Shyam Sundar M. IND 2523 2.0 2638
44 65 Xu Yinglun CHN 2518 2.0 2632
45 69 IM Pourramezanali Amirreza IRI 2506 2.0 2618
46 84 IM Martirosyan Haik M. ARM 2425 2.0 2617
47 44 GM Timofeev Artyom RUS 2593 2.0 2605
48 75 IM Swayams Mishra IND 2470 2.0 2602
49 63 GM Kotronias Vasilios GRE 2541 2.0 2595
50 12 GM Moiseenko Alexander UKR 2668 2.0 2573
51 37 GM Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2607 2.0 2556
52 3 GM Wei Yi CHN 2714 2.0 2546
9 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2676 2.0 2546
54 17 GM Safarli Eltaj AZE 2663 2.0 2539
55 28 GM Khalifman Alexander RUS 2624 2.0 2504
56 51 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2577 2.0 2486
57 47 GM Kunin Vitaly GER 2584 2.0 2483
58 41 GM Azarov Sergei BLR 2599 2.0 2470
59 59 GM Van Foreest Jorden NED 2557 2.0 2441
60 76 FM Igonin Temur UZB 2470 2.0 2583
61 56 GM Kovalev Vladislav BLR 2560 1.5 2666
62 55 GM Oparin Grigoriy RUS 2572 1.5 2652
63 62 GM Pichot Alan ARG 2542 1.5 2637
64 77 IM Shen Yang CHN 2466 1.5 2633
65 72 WGM Lei Tingjie CHN 2495 1.5 2604
66 71 IM Yuffa Daniil RUS 2502 1.5 2601
67 29 GM Khismatullin Denis RUS 2621 1.5 2589
68 40 GM Eliseev Urii RUS 2601 1.5 2477
69 73 Firouzja Alireza IRI 2475 1.0 2583
70 85 IM Karavade Eesha IND 2395 1.0 2575
71 58 GM Bindrich Falko GER 2557 1.0 2664
72 66 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra RUS 2509 1.0 2631
73 70 GM Gasanov Eldar UKR 2503 1.0 2620
74 68 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND 2506 1.0 2617
75 80 IM Lorparizangeneh Shahin IRI 2449 1.0 2609
76 74 GM Debashis Das IND 2471 1.0 2597
77 45 GM Socko Bartosz POL 2587 1.0 2589
78 83 IM Sarana Alexey RUS 2433 1.0 2578
79 79 IM Korchmar Vasiliy RUS 2450 1.0 2575
80 81 IM Wang Yiye CHN 2445 1.0 2565
81 78 IM Kovalevskaya Ekaterina RUS 2462 1.0 2563
82 61 GM Sivuk Vitaly UKR 2554 1.0 2527
83 50 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2578 1.0 2522
84 57 GM Maiorov Nikita BLR 2558 1.0 2458
85 21 GM Anton Guijarro David ESP 2641 0.5 2507
86 86 CM Erigaisi Arjun IND 2379 0.0 2549

It’s nice to see that many women players are participating at this year’s Aeroflot Open

Lei Tingjie is currently on 1.5/4, and that includes a win against Bartosz Socko

While her husband Radoslaw Wojtaszek is busy working for Vishy Anand’s upcoming Candidates, Alina Kashlinskaya is scoring one win after another at the B-group of the Aeroflot Open and is currently on 3.0/4

Runner-up of the Women’s Cup at the Moscow Open, Soumya Swaminathan, is on 2.0/4

Qiu Mengjie from China has an unusual taste when it comes to glasses

On a parting note I would like to leave the readers with a position that occurred in the fourth round game of the author of these lines.

Sagar Shah - David Mirzoyan

Bxh6 looks like a very natural sacrifice here. Your task is to consider the possible
defenses for Black after that and to find the best continuation for White in every case.

[Event "Aeroflot Open B 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.03.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Sagar, Shah"] [Black "Mirzoyan, David"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E41"] [WhiteElo "2425"] [BlackElo "2241"] [PlyCount "39"] 1. d4 {Best by test, at least for me!} Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 { Much better known.} (4... Bxc3+ {My opponent had played this once which made me choose this line with white.}) 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 d6 8. O-O e5 {I must say that I have more experience playing the Huebner Wall setup (c5-d6-e5) with black than white. But overall it is a rich formation which can be worth playing from both sides.} 9. Nd2 $5 {The modern approach. More normal is to play e4 followed by d5. Remember the Spassky-Fischer 1972 match?!!} O-O $6 10. Rb1 {White tries to make as many useful moves as possible before clarifying the situation in the center.} cxd4 {A slightly premature release in the center. It would have been much better to play the waiting game with the move b6.} (10... b6 $5) 11. cxd4 exd4 12. exd4 Nxd4 $6 {This is just crossing the limits, opening up the position to the maximum for the opponent's bishops. A pawn is a small price to pay for that.} (12... d5 {is relatively better but here too White keeps an edge.}) 13. Ne4 $1 Nxe4 (13... Bf5 $5 {This could be a good defence.} 14. Nxf6+ (14. Bg5 Bxe4 15. Bxe4 Ne6 $11) (14. Ng3 Bxd3 15. Qxd3 $14) 14... Qxf6 15. Bb2 Qg6 $1 $15) (13... Ne6 14. Nxd6 $16) 14. Bxe4 {Two bishops on an open board and a lonely black king in the corner! Things do not looks so great for Black.} Ne6 15. Qh5 h6 $2 (15... f5 16. Bd5 $1 (16. Bxf5 $6 g6 17. Bxe6+ Bxe6 {gives Black some chances to defend although in the ensuing opposite coloured bishop position White has the better attacking chances.}) 16... Kh8 17. Re1 $40 {With a strong attack.}) (15... g6 16. Qh6 {It looks scary to weaken the dark squares but was the lesser evil.}) {[#]} 16. Bxh6 $1 { Of course this is as natural as a baby's smile, but I had to calculate a few details before playing it.} gxh6 17. Qxh6 Ng5 {This was the move that my opponent was banking on, but I had seen a bit further.} (17... f5 18. Qg6+ $1 ( 18. Bd5 $2 Qf6 $15) 18... Kh8 19. Bxb7 $1 {A nice little move that wins the house.} (19. Rb3 Qh4 $1) 19... Bxb7 20. Qh6+ $1 Kg8 21. Qxe6+ (21. Rxb7 { is stronger.}) 21... Rf7 22. Rxb7 $18) 18. Rb5 $1 {Rb3 is easy to see but fifth rank lifts are not so common. My opponent was surprised to see this move and rest of his time was spent on kicking himself for missing it.} f5 (18... Nxe4 19. Rh5 $18 {With a forced mate either on h7 or h8 is the neat point.}) 19. Bd5+ Rf7 (19... Ne6 20. Bxe6+ Bxe6 21. Qxe6+ Rf7 22. Rxb7 $18) 20. Re1 $1 { A silent move that shows how helpless Black is. My opponent thought for a while before stretching his hand out in resignation. It is always a nice feeling to win your game in twenty moves!} (20. f4 Ne6 21. Rf3 $5 {A nice idea suggested by Sasikiran when we were casually discussing the game (without a board).} (21. Bxe6 Bxe6 22. Qxe6 Qd7 23. Qg6+ Rg7 24. Qxf5 Qxf5 25. Rxf5 $18 { is the boring long way to win.}) 21... Qe7 (21... Rh7 $1 {The best defence which forces White to take on e6.}) 22. Rg3+ Rg7 23. Rbb3 $1 $18 {A nice idea by Sasi. There is no way to deal with Rxg7 followed by Rg3.}) (20. Re1 a6 ( 20... Bd7 21. Rxb7 {[%cal Gb7d7,Gd5a8]}) 21. Rb3 f4 22. h4 Ne6 23. Rxe6 Bxe6 24. Qxe6 Qe8 25. Qg6+ Kf8 26. Qh6+ Kg8 27. Rxb7 $18) 1-0

Pictures by Amruta Mokal


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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