Karthikeyan Murali: A queen sacrifice on move nine

by Johannes Fischer
6/11/2019 – Chances to sacrifice your queen after nine moves are rare. But in round five of the Asian Continental Championship in Xingtai, China, the Indian Grandmaster Karthikeyan Murali had such a chance. He used it to win a brilliancy against Alireza Firouzja and to take the lead in the tournament. | Photo: Amruta Mokal (Archive)

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A surprising queen sacrifice

Host of the Asian Continental Chess Championship 2019 is the Chinese Chess Federation. The Open Championship and the Women's Championship are played in parallel in Xingtai, a city with about 700,000 inhabitants in the Northeast of China.

Number one seed is the Indian Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi, who is the only player in the tournament who has a rating of more than 2700. However, the field is strong and among the favourites are players like Adhiban Baskaran from India, the two Iranian talents Parham Maghsoodloo and Alireza Firouzja or Le Quang Liem from Vietnam.

First move at the board of Vidit Gujrathi (right) | Photo: Chinese Chess Federation

With 3½/4 Alireza Firouzja, the world's best player U16, had a good start and was about to cross the 2700-mark on the Live-Rating list, when he had to play against Karthikeyan Murali, World Champion U12 2011 and World Champion U16 in 2013. After nine moves Karthikeyan sacrificed his queen for two pieces to create a masterpiece – and to become sole leader with 4½/5.


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Women's Tournament

In the women's tournament Dinara Saduakassova from Kazakhstan leads the rating-list.

Dinara Saduakossava | Photo: Chinese Chess Federation

36 players started in the tournament but a lot of well-known names are missing and even the Chinese Chess Federation, organiser and host of the event, did not send the best Chinese women to play.

After five rounds Kulkarni Bhakti from India leads with 4½/5. Dinara Saduakassova, Li Xueyi, and Irene Sukander follow half a point behind.








Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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