Big finish expected for the 2014 Dubai Open

by Vishal Sareen
4/15/2014 – After eight from nine rounds French GM Romain Edouard is leading, with 7.0/8 points. Half a point behind is his main contender, former Juniour World Champion Abhijeet Gupta of India, and six players still have chances at 6.0/8. Everthing will be decided on the final day (Tuesday). We bring you a big pictorial report with three games annotated by GM Gupta, who has just launched a new web site.

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16th Dubai Open Chess Championship

It is the strongest Open tournament in the Middle East and one of the most popular chess events on the world calendar. The tournament, which goes from 7th-15th April, is held in the Dubai Chess and Culture Centre, which is the biggest than most modern dedicated chess club in the world.

The event has attracted 148 players from 39 countries, including 79 titled players. There are 38 GMs in the field and the average rating of the tournament is 2214. The time control is one hour 30 mins + 30 seconds increment per move. The first prize for the event is US $10,000, with the total prize fund of $50,000.

Big finish – eight players in contention

Report by Vishal Sareen

Four rounds into the tournament former World Junior Champion Abhijeet Gupta from India had chalked up four victories and was the sole leader in the 16th editon of the Dubai open. Then came the disastrous fifth round, where he missed a few winning chances and ultimately lost to French GM Romain Edouard. All this was narrated in the previous ChessBase report.

In round five Edouard took the sole lead, and followed that up with a victory over highly regarded Vladimir Akopian in round six. Gupta was lucky to beat Pavel Kotsur. In the seventh there were draws by Edouard and Gupta, one quick and one in which the Indian was the lucky one, as he escaped against Yuriy Kuzubov. Chess is a leveler: a wining game lost results in an extra point in next two games.

Meanwhile German turned Swiss Sebastian Bogner and Kazakh Anuar Ismagembetov caught up with Gupta with two rounds still to go.

The start of the round eight top game Romain Edouard vs Anuar Ismagembetov

In the eighth round Edouard beat Ismagembetov, while Gupta outwitted Bogner. The last round is on Tuesday. A half point separates Edouard (7) and Gupta (6.5). We are witnessing a very tight race.

Abhijeet Gupta (right) ready to play the do-or-die game against Sebastian Bogner

And dont forget the wolf-pack of those who are on six. The world cup semifinalist Anton Korobov was found in a pensive mood in the mid-rounds. This was obviously because of inevitable draws. The top seed however is back on the top board following a fine victory over Axel Bachmann of Paraguay. He will take on Edouard in the decider and we are sure this will be fought very hard.

Venezuelan Eduardo Itturizaga has come back hunting too. He plays against Gupta in the last round. In round eight Itturizaga defeated Goran Dizdar of Croatia.

Aleksandr (trivia: how many ways are ther to spell this simple name?) Rakhmanov,
the defending champion, soared back in contention with a victory in round eight

Last year's champion Russia's Aleksandr Rakhmanov is back in the groove too but the real comeback has been staged by English Gawain Jones.

He's back in contention after a shaky start: GM Gawain Jones

Jones started the Dubai open with two draws against players with 2100+ ratings. He was in fact lucky to survive the opener against Azeri girl Narmin Khalafova! Since then, its been a steady ride that puts him in contention for a podium finish. There are six contenders in all: one on seven, one on 6.5, and four on six. There will be bloodshed.

Niusha Afsar – I met her at the World Youth Chess Championship
2013 in Al Ain. She is a very friendly person with looks to kill.

Ninth World Chess Champion Tigran Petrosian – no, wait, he's
a contemporary namesake from Armenia, who is a 2627 GM.

Smart and elegant: GM Sahaj Grover, one of the darlings of the crowd

Sahaj's round eight opponent M R Lalith Babu, who won their game

Another young talent from India, a grandmaster in the making: Diptayan Ghosh

Abhishek Kelkar, rated 2300, from India

WGM Elena Partac, rated 2101, from Moldova, is having a good tournament

V. Karthik, rated 2250, has done pretty well so far with 4.5/8

Pure determination: GM Petr Kostenko from Kazakhstan, rated 2506

Dorsa Derakhshani, an Iranian talent who seems to be doing
fine, with a victory over strong Indian IM Swapnil Dhopade

Top final ranking after eight rounds

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB2   TB3 
1 3 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2670 7.0 40.5 37.0
2 12 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2630 6.5 39.5 37.0
3 16 GM Stevic Hrvoje CRO 2607 6.0 40.5 37.0
4 1 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2698 6.0 40.5 36.5
5 15 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr RUS 2610 6.0 39.0 35.5
6 8 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2639 6.0 38.5 35.5
7 10 GM Iturrizaga Eduardo VEN 2635 6.0 38.5 35.5
8 7 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2650 6.0 34.5 31.5
9 35 GM Ismagambetov Anuar KAZ 2493 5.5 43.0 39.0
10 17 GM Andriasian Zaven ARM 2603 5.5 40.5 37.5
11 24 GM Brkic Ante CRO 2568 5.5 39.5 37.0
12 27 GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan IRI 2556 5.5 39.5 36.5
13 4 GM Istratescu Andrei FRA 2667 5.5 39.0 35.0
14 6 GM Balogh Csaba HUN 2656 5.5 38.5 35.0
15 14 GM Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2627 5.5 38.5 34.5
16 39 GM Shyam Sundar M. IND 2481 5.5 38.0 35.5
17 22 GM Bogner Sebastian SUI 2587 5.5 38.0 35.0
18 11 GM Solak Dragan TUR 2635 5.5 38.0 34.0
19 9 GM Amin Bassem EGY 2637 5.5 37.5 34.5
  54 IM Ahmadinia Ebrahim IRI 2353 5.5 37.5 34.5
21 28 GM Jankovic Alojzije CRO 2554 5.5 37.5 34.0
22 13 GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil GEO 2628 5.5 36.0 32.5
23 21 GM Lalith Babu M.R. IND 2594 5.5 35.5 32.5
24 36 GM Carlsson Pontus SWE 2486 5.5 35.0 32.0

Game commentary by GM Abhijeet Gupta

We asked our friend Abhijeet for some commentary on his games in Dubai, and to our surprise received them while the event is still running. Unprecedented! We are grateful to share his comments with our readers. And wish him luck for the final round – although Romain Edouard is also a great friend who has sent us some wonderful commentary in the past.

[Event "Dubai Open 2014"] [Site "Dubai Chess Club"] [Date "2014.04.12"] [Round "6.6"] [White "Gupta, Abhijeet"] [Black "Kotsur, Pavel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A50"] [WhiteElo "2630"] [BlackElo "2557"] [Annotator "Gupta,Abhijeet"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r3k1/Q4pp1/4p2p/1p2n3/1P6/P2R1PP1/5P1P/q4BK1 w - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:01:01"] [BlackClock "0:01:04"] {It all started around here. I had a small opening advantage that gradually faded away, and here I was staring at some uncertainties.} 30. Re3 Rc1 31. Qb8+ Kh7 32. Qxb5 {I had seen black's next move and I didn't pay much attention. It was easier to call it a bad day since it was a double round on Saturday. (Strange - in the Dubai Open they have a rest day on which the blitz is organised, and then there is a double round day). To make matters worse, I had lost to Romain Edouard in the morning round. Every time I looked at that game later, I found a new win.} Nc4 {Okay, so White will have to part with an exchange now. However, it does not look too bad: there is a pawn, and the king is safe.} 33. Re1 Rxe1 34. Qxc4 Qxa3 35. Kg2 Qc1 36. Qd3+ {Trade queens and worry about new technicalities was the first thought that crossed my mind.} f5 37. b5 Qc5 {There, having played quite well thus far, Pavel shows first sign of nervousness. The b-pawn has barely started moving!} 38. Qb3 Qb6 {Now this is a baddie. What is the queen is doing on b6 is trying to stop promotion of a pawn.} 39. Bc4 Re5 40. h4 {Keeping an eye on the future. I believe White has no risk now.} h5 41. Qd3 Qc5 42. Qb3 Qb6 43. Qd3 Qc5 44. Qb3 Qb6 {Okay, repeat and take the half point. But Pavel had less time.} 45. Qb2 $1 {The exclamation is for creating that small little disturbance.} Rc5 46. Qe2 Qd6 47. f4 g6 48. Bxe6 Qc7 49. Qd3 Qb7+ 50. Kh2 Rxb5 51. Qd8 {With the clock ticking away, Pavel blundered here. Black still has a few ways to force a draw.} Kg7 52. Qg8+ Kf6 ( 52... Kh6 53. Bf7 {The ouch moment...}) 53. Bc4 1-0

[Event "Dubai Open 2014"] [Site "Dubai Chess Club"] [Date "2014.04.13"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Kuzubov, Yuriy"] [Black "Gupta, Abhijeet"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D80"] [WhiteElo "2639"] [BlackElo "2630"] [Annotator "Gupta,Abhijeet"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:09:47"] [BlackClock "0:08:23"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. d4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bg5 Bg7 5. Bxf6 Bxf6 6. cxd5 c5 7. dxc5 Nd7 { This one is one of the latest fashion in the Bg5 Grunfeld. However, after this game I think I need to analyse it more.} 8. Nf3 O-O 9. e3 Nxc5 10. Nd4 {All this is consistent.} Qa5 11. Bb5 a6 12. Be2 Bd7 {My computer likes White a lot here already, but I doubt the assessment a little.} 13. O-O Rac8 14. Rb1 Na4 15. Ne4 Bg7 16. Bf3 Rfd8 17. Qb3 Qb6 18. Qa3 Nc5 19. Nd2 Bb5 20. Rfc1 Bxd4 {It was almost forced to play this.} 21. exd4 Nd3 22. Rxc8 Rxc8 23. Qxe7 Qxd4 24. Qe3 Qxe3 25. fxe3 Ne5 26. Nb3 Rd8 $2 {The spoiler} (26... Kf8 27. Nd4 Bd3 28. Rd1 Ke7 29. Kf2 f5 {is game on, although White may still fancy his chances with an extra pawn.}) 27. e4 f5 {Played after a long thought. We chess players do not realize we are making mistakes, and then spend our life trying to cover them up!} 28. Rc1 b6 29. Nd4 fxe4 30. Bxe4 {This is what they call a HEALTHY extra pawn.} Bd3 31. Nc6 Rd6 32. Ne7+ Kf8 33. Nc8 Rd8 34. Bxd3 Nxd3 35. Rf1+ Ke8 36. Nxb6 Nxb2 {Okay, it's still an extra pawn with some technical issues.} 37. Re1+ Kf7 38. Re3 (38. a4 Nd3 39. Rd1 Ne5 40. Rc1 {And White is well on top. }) 38... Rb8 39. Rf3+ Ke7 40. Re3+ Kf7 41. Nd7 Rd8 42. Nb6 {And here I sighed in relief. It's a three fold repetition. Yuriy did not realise it!} 1/2-1/2

[Event "16th Dubai Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.04.14"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Gupta, Abhijeet"] [Black "Bogner, Sebastian"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D15"] [WhiteElo "2630"] [BlackElo "2587"] [Annotator "Gupta,Abhijeet"] [PlyCount "85"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. e3 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Qb3 Qc7 8. cxd5 Nxe5 9. dxe5 Nxd5 10. Nxd5 cxd5 11. Bd2 e6 12. Rc1 Qd7 13. Be2 Be7 14. Ba5 Rc8 15. Rxc8+ Qxc8 16. Kd2 O-O 17. Rc1 Qa8 18. Qc3 h6 19. a3 f6 {What feels good in a situation when it's 90 minutes plus 30 seconds increment and single time control? One hour thirty eight minutes on the clock, and your opponent is thinking... And no, I did not have that extra time. Sebastian had it! While I was thinking what went wrong in my preparation, I suddenly realised that its anyway do or die. Why worry.} 20. Bb4 {I felt kind of good playing this. I saw what was coming – I had seen the 25th move here.} d4 21. exd4 Bxb4 22. Qxb4 fxe5 23. g4 {Get away from the e6 pawn. This was a part of calculation. Black is not worse and in fact the centralised (?!) white king in gives some hopes.} Bg6 24. Qd6 exd4 25. Rc7 {This is what I had in mind when I played Bb4. Let the king be unsafe in the middle of the board, but the rook on seventh? Isn't that good? It was down to basics here.} b5 {The beginning of the spoiler for Black.} 26. Qxe6+ (26. f3 {Was probably better} Bf7 27. Rd7 {A move that is hard to find over the board.} e5 28. Qxe5 Rd8 29. Rxd4 {If I could see this, I would have played it.}) 26... Bf7 27. Qf5 Qd5 {Humm, endgame now. The rook is still on the seventh. All sorts of adages related to chess were crossing the mind already.} 28. Bd3 Qxf5 29. Bxf5 Bc4 30. f3 h5 31. h3 h4 {Already White is looking good. Sebastian thought of generating counterplay, but it all falls flat.} 32. Be4 Bf1 33. Rc5 $1 {I was really pleased with this effort.} Rf6 34. g5 Rf4 35. g6 $6 {Not so good here, but I was excited.} (35. Rd5 Bxh3 36. Rxd4 Rf8 $8 37. Bd5+ {I would have had to convert this into a point.} Kh7 38. Rxh4+ Kg6 39. Rxh3 Rd8 40. f4 Rxd5+ 41. Rd3 Rf5 42. Ke3) 35... Bxh3 $2 (35... Kf8 { And I would have been left thinking about what to do. The position is different now, Black gets enough counter play to survive.}) 36. Re5 Bd7 37. Re7 Rxe4 38. Rxe4 h3 39. Rxd4 Be8 40. Rh4 Bd7 41. Ke3 Kf8 42. Kf4 Ke7 43. Kg5 1-0

GM Abhijeet Gupta

Abhijeet has won many laurels for his country, winning 23 medals in all in various World, Asian and Commonwealth Chess Championships, in Sub Junior, Junior and Senior Category. Abhijeet became National Junior Under-19 Chess Champion at the age of 13 years and 10 days in 2002, a record unsurpassed until 2011. He got his GM title in 2007, and in 2008 he won the World Junior title and became the third Indian after V. Anand and P. Harikrishna to achieve this. After many successes in 2013 Abhijeet won the Commonwealth chess championship and ended the year on a high by winning the Al-Ain Classic open.

Visit Abhijeet's new web site and blog

Video reports by Vijay Kumar

Round seven: Dubai Open Chess Championship 2014

Round eight: Dubai Open Chess Championship 2014


The games are being 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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Having played chess and achieved the title of International Master, Vishal Sareen has hung up his boots as a player, and enjoys his life as a teacher. He works as a chess trainer, writer and consultant, and is one of the prominent coaches of the country. He is currently building the Dakshin Institute of Chess Excellence in Chennai.


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