China breaks India twice

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/8/2015 – China was able to win round five with an excellent win from their top player, Ding Liren, who bested India's number one Krishnan Sasikirian. Even though the Indians struck back with a win by their top-performing player, Sethuraman, Zhou Jianchao gave China the win with a victory over Adhiban Baskaran. Unlike previous rounds India did not recover in the next one, instead suffering another defeat, 3-1!

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India and China will face off in a Scheveningen Match on four boards at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad from March 1-10.

Round Five

Video from Vijay Kumar

by Arvin Aaron

The second phase of The India-China Chess Summit for the Komatireddy Prateek Reddy Trophy, organized by Telangana State Chess Association on behalf of the All India Chess Federation, started today after a free day. It was the resurgent Chinese who delivered and won the 5th round with the minimal margin of 2.5 – 1.5 points. China leads the match with 10.5 – 9.5.

Round five under way

The first game to finish  was the one between Lalith Babu and Wei Yi. Unwilling to take risks both played out a quick draw in 30 moves from a Queen pawn fianchetto. A flurry of exchanges from the 9th to the 19th move left each with a rook and three pawns and nothing to play for.

China took the lead when Ding Liren beat Sasikiran of India. The popular Berlin defense of the Ruy Lopez was the topic of their game. Ding chose to move his to Bishop to the g5 square instead of the routine Nbd2. A good control over the e file gave Ding enough to penetrate with a rook on the 7th rank. Sasi used his queen to counter attack and was busy picking up a few of white's pawns. When the clock was ticking around one minute, Sasi faltered by moving his bishop and allowed a strong attack by the Chinese player. Ding Liren, the youngest ever to win the Chinese Championship, went on to hunt the black king successfully and wrap up the game in 46 moves. Sasikiran is not in good shape, as he has lost a hat trick of games so far.

[Event "IND-CHN Summit 2015"] [Site "Hyderabad IND"] [Date "2015.03.07"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "Sasikiran, Krishnan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2755"] [BlackElo "2682"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "91"] [EventDate "2015.03.02"] {The duel of titans! The two strongest players from each team fight it out in rounds five and six. Ding Liren is the first one with the white pieces,} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 {The anti-Berlin; better get used to the lines stemming from this move as we will see if a lot more in the future.} d6 5. O-O Bd7 6. c3 g6 {This solid way of development has been popular for quite a while. White has had plenty of problems trying to break this setup.} 7. Re1 Bg7 8. Bg5 (8. Nbd2 {is indeed the more common move.}) 8... O-O 9. Nbd2 Qe8 $5 {A common idea. The point is that Nh5 is now playable and Black does not want to weaken his kingside with h6.} 10. Nf1 Nh5 11. Ne3 f6 12. Bh4 Kh8 13. a4 a6 14. Bc4 Nd8 15. d4 Ne6 16. Nd5 Rc8 17. a5 {Black is extremely solid and has control over f4, but the advantage and slightly greater central control gives White a slight edge.} Nef4 18. Nd2 Nxd5 19. Bxd5 Rb8 (19... c6 20. Bb3 {leaves both b6 and d6 vulnerable to a knight jump to c4.}) 20. Bb3 Be6 21. Nf1 Bxb3 22. Qxb3 f5 {These kind of breaks always have to be calculated properly. DIng Liren has many captures that open up the position, and he chooses the correct one.} ( 22... exd4 23. cxd4 Qf7 $11) 23. dxe5 $1 (23. exf5 gxf5 24. dxe5 dxe5 {is tempting at first, in order to play against the somewhat weakened pawns, but the activity granted by them is not to be underestimated - a common motif in hanging pawn situations.}) 23... Qxe5 (23... dxe5 24. Rad1 $14 {Here White can take his time before taking on f5.}) 24. exf5 Qxf5 25. Ne3 Qd7 26. Nd5 c6 27. Re7 $1 {This is the point, White does not retreat immediately and instead harasses the queen out of any useful square.} Qg4 28. Ra4 Qf5 29. Ne3 Qb1+ 30. Qd1 Qxb2 {Picking up the gauntlet, Black destroys the pawns on the queenside, but this comes at a risk: White is very active.} 31. Nc4 Qxc3 32. Nxd6 Qc5 33. h3 {A small prophylactic move before engaging in further aggression. Black doesn't have many moves.} Bf6 34. Rc4 $1 Qa3 (34... Qxa5 35. Bxf6+ Nxf6 36. Rh4 $1 {with strong threats on the kingside.}) 35. Bxf6+ Rxf6 (35... Nxf6 36. Qd4 $18 {the threat of Nf7+, among others, is deadly.}) 36. Nf7+ Kg7 37. Qd7 {It's clear that this queen move spells disaster for the Indian player. The seventh rank is too weak, the king too exposed and Ding Liren just has to mop up from here.} Kf8 38. Rce4 Qa2 39. Re8+ Rxe8 40. Rxe8+ Kg7 41. Ne5+ Kh6 (41... Rf7 42. Nxf7 Qxf7 43. Qxf7+ Kxf7 44. Rb8 {is utterly hopeless.}) 42. Ng4+ Kg5 43. Re5+ Kh4 44. g3+ Nxg3 45. fxg3+ Kxg3 {Black threatens checkmate, but White has the greatest advantage of all in chess: the power to move.} 46. Re3+ {Black will be mated very shortly.} 1-0

India's Sasikirian could not hold back Ding Liren's attack

Zhou Jiancho extended the lead for China when he beat Adhiban in 65 moves from a game arising out of semi-Tarrasch defense. Adhiban chose to sacrifice a pawn on the 24th move to gain some access on White’s King which backfired. Zhou digested the pawn successfully by exchanging major pieces and entered a pawn up rook endgame. Zhou notched his first win of the tournament in 65 moves.

Zhou Jianchao has had a great performance for China

Sethuraman turned out to be the savior once again, at least to reduce the deficit in game points. Sethu gained more space out of the Alekhine defense chosen by Wang Chen. An earlier queen exchange offered by the Chinese must have been a part of a strategy to play the game safe. Sethu expanded on the queen side and was able to win a rook for his knight and a pawn on the 36th move. With the Chinese IM putting a good resistance, the win was far from easy. Chen faltered with couple of moves in the time pressure of the second time control and Sethu won the game in 68 moves.

Sethuraman has been India's top scorer

Round Six

Video from Vijay Kumar

by Arvin Aaron

China extended their lead to 2 match victories by scoring an emphatic 3-1 win over India at the end of the 6th round of the India – China Summit for the Komatireddy Prateek Reddy Trophy, organized by Telangana Chess Association, on behalf of All India Chess Federation at the Marriott Hotel, Hyderabad. With two rounds still to go, the home team has the difficult task of winning the remaining matches to be on par with China. They also need to win one match with a margin of at least 3–1.

Ding Liren-Sasikirian mini-match favored the Chinese 2.5-1.5

Zhou Jianchao defeated Adhiban for the second consecutive time – in the fifth and sixth rounds. He used his dark colored pieces well to beat Adhiban quickly to put the Chinese team in a commanding position. In the Sicilian game, white's bishop got struck on black's queen side and the plan to retrieve it cost him dearly.

[Event "IND-CHN Summit 2015"] [Site "Hyderabad IND"] [Date "2015.03.08"] [Round "6.4"] [White "Adhiban, Baskaran"] [Black "Zhou, Jianchao"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B94"] [WhiteElo "2646"] [BlackElo "2578"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "76"] [EventDate "2015.03.02"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Bc4 Qb6 8. O-O $5 {An interesting pawn sacrifice, almost in the spirit of the poisoned pawn. Interestingly, Adhiban's teammate, Sethuraman, is one of the few people to who had employed it previously.} (8. Bb3 {is the normal continuation, with some big name matches here, including Vachier-Lagrave-Dominguez, Savchenko-Grischuk and Jobava-Wojtaszek, among others..}) 8... Qxb2 9. Nd5 Nxd5 10. Rb1 Qc3 11. Bxd5 Qc7 {A better try. Here Black keeps his material and threatens e6.} (11... e6 12. Bxb7 Bxb7 13. Rxb7 Nc5 14. Rb6 Nxe4 15. Be3 {led to plenty of compensation in Sethuraman-Al Sayed, 2014.}) 12. Re1 e6 13. f4 { of course White is in no mood to withdraw his pieces, especially when he does not have to.} (13. Bxe6 fxe6 14. Nxe6 Qc6 15. Nd8 $5 Qc5 16. Ne6 {might be some kind of strange draw, but it looks very artificial. Black might find a way out of the attack.}) 13... Nf6 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Bb3 {Black has no development and has some serious weaknesses that White can latch on to, especially with f5, but Zhou Jianchao shows wonderful understanding of this type of positions!} h5 $1 {Despite not developing any pieces yet, Black goes on the offensive with a single pawn! This move is important for two reasons, one of them is that it makes White's king uncomfortable, the other is that it does not allow White's queen into h5.} 16. Kh1 h4 17. h3 {allowing h3 wouldn't be to anyone's liking.} Bd7 18. f5 e5 {Of course it is important to keep the center closed, even if it means giving up d5.} 19. Ne2 Rc8 $1 {The key to Black's position, for now, is that Nc3 is not easy to accomplish. How important that pawn on b2 seems now!} 20. Bd5 b5 21. c4 Bh6 22. Nc3 Bg5 23. a4 Qa5 $1 {Black has consolidated all around the board. White keeps some pressure, but he already has to be careful not to be worse.} 24. Bb7 $2 {Too aggressive.} (24. Qd3 b4 25. Na2 O-O 26. Nxb4 $13) 24... Rxc4 25. Nd5 Rd4 26. Qf3 Rxa4 { Asking "so what". Black is now up three pawns nad White has to desperately try to prove some compensation.} 27. Bxa6 {getting one back, but this gives Black too much time.} Kf8 $1 (27... O-O 28. Bb7 {is not as effective for Black:} Qa7 29. Ne7+ $1 Kg7 30. Bc6 $17) 28. Bb7 Qa7 {Now White doesn't have Ne7 and his bishop is in real problems.} 29. Nc3 Ra3 30. Qd1 (30. Bd5 Bd2 $19) 30... Rxc3 31. Qxd6+ Ke8 {The king can take care of itself.} 32. Rxb5 {sheer desperation.} Bxb5 33. Rd1 Bd7 (33... Bd3 $19) 34. Qxd7+ Kf8 35. Qd6+ Kg7 36. Bd5 Rhc8 37. Kh2 Bf4+ 38. Kh1 Rc1 0-1

Sethuraman was unable to do the same magic like yesterday against IM Wang Chen who was determined to hold this game. The positional moves in the Closed Sicilian game chosen by Chen allowed less freedom to Sethu's minor pieces. A lifeless endgame appeared in the bishop's of opposite colors and they mutually agreed for a draw in 50 moves.

The third game to finish was between GMs Wei Yi and Lalith Babu. Wei replied with the advance variation against the Caro Kan defense of Lalith. Wei infiltrated with his Queen and Rook, thereby creating pressure on the e6 square. Lalith’s time pressure forced him to seek lesser alternative, which in turn handed the advantage to white. The ensuing tactics resulted in a two pawns deficit for Lalith, who resigned on move 55.

Wang Chen's 50% score after six rounds is well above his rating expectation

With two losses in three games and already the match point in the China's court, all the eyes were set on Sasikiran vs Ding Liren game. Ding sprang an early surprise by opting for the Benko gambit against the white pieces of Sasi. White’s strategy of invasion through the King file as well as holding of the Black’s Queen side counterplay did happen, much to the relief of the spectators. In a complex middle game Sasikiran probably missed a knight pseudo sacrifice on the 48th move to get closer to win. Ding seized the opportunity to get his defenses right and drew the game in 58 moves. It was unlucky for Sasi who came back well after three consecutive losses, only to let Ding off the hook.

Photos and info from the official website

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Topics China, India, Sasikiran

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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