Kateryna Lahno wins Amity Challenge

by ChessBase
12/25/2006 – It was the European Women's Champion vs Indian boy wonder grandmaster, 16 years vs 13, from December 17-25 in New Delhi. And contrary to most expectations it was the Ukrainian girl who won all three sections, classical, rapid and blitz, to clinch an overall 11:7 victory on Christmas day. Final illustrated report by Vishal Sareen.

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The Amity Grandmasters Challenge

The Amity Grandmasters Challenge between Parimarjan Negi and Kateryna Lahno took place from December 17 to 25, 2006 in Delhi, India. There were six games under FIDE time control, then six rapid games and finally six blitz games. The winner was decided on the basis of accumulated results. The prize fund was Rs. 300,000 for the winner and Rs. 200,000 for the loser (which translates to a total prize fund of just over US $11,000 or € 8,500).

Day two of Rapid Chess games

Parimarjan strikes back twice, reduces lead

World's youngest Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi struck back, scoring two victories in three rapid games against former European Women Champion Kateryna Lasno in the Amity Grandmaster Challenge, at Russian Cultural Centre on Sunday. Despite winning two games, Parimarjan will have a tall task on hand on the final day as Kateryna still leads the Rs. 500,000 prize money event by 7.5-4.5, needing just 2 points in the final six blitz games slated on Monday. If Parimarjan has to win this match he will have to score heavily on the final day.

Kateryna in India (with a bindi, a forehead decoration common in South Asia)

The long awaited victory for Parimarjan came, but not before Kateryna had struck her fourth blow on the trot, in the first game of the day, leaving Parimarjan in a must win situation. Things appeared quite gloomy for the Delhi star even as he tried a new opening – the Scotch – for the first time in the match. The beginning was good as Parimarjan also tried to match Kateryna in speed, rattling out the moves without hesitation. However, as the Ukrainian maintained a balanced position till the end, Parimarjan's woes started in a double rook ending, where a draw was for the asking. Trying too hard did not yield dividends as Kateryna won a pawn and romped home in 55 moves.

Negi,P (2538) - Lahno,Kateri (2459) [C45]
Amity GM Challenge Rapid New Delhi IND (10), 24.12.2006
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qf3 dxc6 7.Bc4 Be6 8.Qxf6 Nxf6 9.Bxe6 fxe6 10.f3 e5 11.Ke2 Kf7 12.Be3 Bxe3 13.Kxe3 g5 14.Nd2 h5 15.Rad1 Ke6 16.Nf1 h4 17.Ke2 g4 18.Ne3 Rag8 19.Rdf1 gxf3+ 20.Kxf3 Rg5 21.g3 h3 22.g4 Nxg4 23.Nxg4 Rf8+ 24.Kg3 Rfg8 25.Rf6+ Ke7 26.Kxh3 Rxg4 27.Rhf1 Rxe4 28.Rf7+ Kd6 29.R1f6+ Kc5 30.Rxc7 Re3+ 31.Kh4 Rg2 32.Rxb7 Rxh2+ 33.Kg4 Rxc2 34.Rxa7 Rxb2 35.Ra6 Rb6 36.Rxb6 Kxb6 37.Kf5 Kc5 38.Re6 Kd5 39.Re8 Rf3+ 40.Kg4 Ra3 41.Rd8+ Ke4 42.Rc8 Rxa2 43.Rxc6 Rg2+ 44.Kh3 Rg8 45.Rc7 Ke3 46.Kh2 e4 47.Rf7 Ke2 48.Re7 e3 49.Rd7 Kf2 50.Rf7+ Ke1 51.Rd7 e2 52.Kh3 Rg5 53.Kh4 Rg1 54.Kh3 Kf2 55.Rf7+ Ke3 0-1. [Click to replay]

Luckily for Parimarjan, Kateryna missed a winning combination in the second game and succumbed to some fine tactical tricks thereafter. For the records it was a Sicilian Najdorf by the Indian as black that gave Kateryna a huge advantage after a bad exchange sacrifice on move 14. Missing out on a difficult combination that would have won her another game, Kateryna just succumbed to enormous pressure created by Parimarjan's queen and knight.

The coming Indian superstar: 13-year-old GM Parimarjan Negi

Lahno,Kateri (2459) - Negi,P (2538) [B92]
Amity GM Challenge Rapid New Delhi IND (11), 24.12.2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bf3 Nbd7 10.a4 Nb6 11.Nd2 Be6 12.Re1 Rc8 13.Nf1 Re8 14.Ne3 Rxc3 15.bxc3 Bd7 16.a5 Na4 17.Nf5 Bf8 18.Nxd6 Re6 19.Nf5 Qxa5 20.Bg5 Qc7 21.c4 Nb2 22.Qd2 Nxc4 23.Qc3 a5 24.Red1 Bb4 25.Qb3 b5

26.c3? Kateryna could have won her fifth game in a row with the Fritz-combination 26.Bxf6! Rxf6 (26...gxf6 27.Bh5+–) 27.Qxb4!! axb4 28.Ra8+ Bc8 29.Ra7 Qb6 30.Ne7+ Kf8 31.Nxc8 Qc6 32.Rd8+ Qe8 33.Rxe8+ Kxe8+–. With the text move she got herself into trouble. 26...Bc5 27.Qc2 h6 28.Bh4 Bc6 29.Nd4 exd4 30.cxd4 Bxe4 31.Bxe4 Nxe4 32.dxc5 Qxc5 33.Kh1 Qh5 34.Rd8+ Kh7 35.Bg3 Qg6 36.Qb3 Qf6 37.Rdd1 Nxf2+ 38.Bxf2 Qxf2 39.Qxb5 Ne3 40.Qd3+ Rg6 41.Rd2 Qf4 42.Re1 Ng4 43.g3 Nf2+ 44.Rxf2 Qxf2 45.Re8 Qc5 46.Rb8 a4 47.h4 a3 48.Kh2 Qf2+ 49.Kh3 a2 50.Ra8 h5 51.Ra5 Kh6 52.Qb3 Qf1+ 53.Kh2 a1Q 54.Qe3+ Kh7 55.Rxh5+ Rh6 56.Qe4+ g6 57.Rxh6+ Kxh6 0-1. Kateryna resigned, giving Parimarjan his first victory in the match. [Click to replay]

The third game of the day proved to be a real cakewalk for Parimarjan who was fully charged after his first win. A renewed vigor had Kateryna's Spanish in a quick soup and Parimarjan also found the right answers in quick time. Kateryna was fighting a lost cause after making her first blunder of the match, as she conceded a bishop without any compensation on the 17th move. Shocked by her own amiss, a smiling Kateryna played a few more mechanical moves and gave up on 26th move, giving Parimarjan his second and shortest win of the event.

Negi,P (2538) - Lahno,Kateri (2459) [C78]
Amity GM Challenge Rapid New Delhi IND (12), 24.12.2006
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Bc5 6.c3 b5 7.Bc2 d5 8.a4 dxe4 9.axb5 Bg4 10.Bxe4 Nxe4 11.bxc6 Qd5 12.h3 Bh5 13.d4 exd4 14.cxd4 Bd6 15.Qe1

15...0-0? 16.Ra5 Qxc6 17.Rxh5 Rfe8 18.Be3 Rab8 19.Qc1 Qb6 20.Nc3 Nf6 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.Rxd5 Red8 23.Ne5 Qb3 24.Ra5 Rb6 25.Qc4 Ra8 26.Qxb3 Rxb3 1-0. [Click to replay]

The exiting menu on the final day, offers six blitz games between the two young Grandmasters. A big treat to the local fans is in store and one can expect a no hold barred contest tomorrow.

Blitz final

Woman Grandmaster Kateryna Lahno of Ukraine emerged winner in the Amity Grandmaster Challenge, scoring an 11-7 victory over world's youngest Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi at Russian Cultural Centre, here Monday.

The win fetched Kateryna Rs.300,000 (Rupees Three lakhs = US $6,760 or € 5,150) while the runner-up Pariamarjan got Rs.200,000 (US $4,510 € 3,430) as prize money, apart from a glittering trophy. The prizes were awarded by Mr. Ashok Chauhan, Founder President AKC group pf Companies and Dr. Mrs. Amita Chauhan, Chairperson Amity. Mr. Atul Chauhan, Chancellor Amity University and Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan, Hon. Secretary Delhi Chess Association were also present during the prize giving ceremony.

The end of the marathon match in Delhi

13 and 16, and headed for stardom

Kateryna was a worthy winner on all counts, as she defeated Parimarjan in all the three time controls. The Ukrainian won the FIDE time control 3.5-2.5, Rapid by 4-2 and finally the blitz by 3.5-2.5 to come up triumphs in the first edition of the event. More good news poured in for the chess buffs soon after the event as Amity announced that the second Amity Grandmasters Challenge will be held sometime next year.

The two players at the closing ceremony...

... and the press conference at the Amity GM Challenge

In the set of six blitz games played on the third and final phase of the event, Kateryna went one-up on Parimarjan in the first game, and won the third one also to seal a comfortable victory in the match. For the records, Kateryna won two, lost one and drew three blitz games for her overall victory.

Katya with her trainer and second GM Ruslan Scherbakov

Starting the day with a 7.5-4.5 score, Kateryna never relinquished her vice like grip on the match. She dictated the terms right away, putting Sunday's double loss behind her. Continuing their argument in Ruy Lopez theory, the first Kateryna-Parimarjan went through expected lines, but an over enthusiastic Parimarjan gave up too much material right into the middle game and lost the game in 34 moves.

Receiving the trophy from Dr. Ashok Chauhan, Founder President Amity

...and special gifts from Dr. (Mrs.) Amita Chauhan, Chairperson Amity

Something for the trainer

Needing just a win to clinch the title, Kateryna played it cool in the Sicilian Kalashnikov as white in the next game, survived a few threats in the double rook and pawn ending and was happy to take the required draw to reach an impregnable nine points.

Parimarjan had his chances in the third game with his back to the wall, but the 13-year old crumbled under pressure giving Kateryna another victory. The remaining three games were of academic interest and Parimarjan impressed scoring 2-1 in them.

In a post match brief, Kateryna said, "Parimarjan was quite strong, and I had to work hard for the victory". In the prize giving Dr. Ashok Chauhan assured that Amity Group would continue to promote chess in a big way. "This event we are sure has propelled many young players to take up the game, chess brings in some very fine qualities in a human being, yes we will continue to support the game in a bigger manner", said Dr. Chauhan.

Parimarjan was not much perturbed after the loss. "This is my first match and a great learning experience," he said. "I hope to come out stronger after this event". Parimarjan is next going to play in the Corus Grandmaster chess tournament in Wijk Ann Zee, the Netherlands.

Classical Chess

Rapid Chess


Final score

Reports and pictures provided by Vishal Sareen


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