Lake Sevan 2015: A player’s perspective (2)

by ChessBase
8/10/2015 – In this final part of his articles Vidit Gujrathi tells us about his experience of playing at this exciting event. His favourite game was a crazy battle with 14½-year-old chess phenom Samuel Sevian! Vidit has annotated it with great enthusiasm, giving us insights into the thinking of 2600+ player. His report includes pictures, personal experiences and Bollywood music in this huge report.

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The Chess Academy of Armenia, under the auspices of Armenian Chess Federation, organized the annual “Lake Sevan 2015” International Chess Tournament from 11 to 21 July, 2015 in Martuni, Armenia. It was a FIDE category 15 ten player round-robin event with an average Elo of 2617. The games started every day at 3 p.m. local time. Tournament director was GM Smbat Lputian, Chief Arbiter IA Norayr Kalantaryan, time control Fisher Time.

Martuni is a town located on the southern shore of Lake Sevan in Armenia

Lake Sevan 2015: A player’s perspective (2)

By Vidit Gujrathi

In my previous report I described what it was like for me, the defending champion, to blunder into a shocking mate in one in a better position –and how I managed to come back to win the next round! Before I delve into the way the tournament ended for me, let us look at the efforts of some of the other players – starting with Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, against whom I had scored an important point in round seven.

Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, the only man to beat final tournament winner Jan Krzysztof Duda

Samvel has a limited repertoire. He was playing some good chess, but in most of the games he had bad positions out of the opening. He turned out be the only person who could beat the tournament winner. And what crazy game it was! The white king ran from g1 to b1 in search of safety, and when he found it, the endgame was already lost!

[Event "Lake Sevan 2015"] [Site "Martuni ARM"] [Date "2015.07.14"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"] [Black "Ter-Sahakyan, Samvel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D45"] [WhiteElo "2632"] [BlackElo "2593"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "148"] [EventDate "2015.07.12"] {Samvel is a big expert in the Slav Defence, which he almost exclusively plays. In this game against Duda, his favourite opening performed exceptionally.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 a6 10. Rd1 b5 11. Bd3 Qc7 12. Bd2 c5 13. Ne4 c4 14. Nxd6 Qxd6 15. Be2 Bb7 {Black already has a very comfortable position with excellent development and extra space on the queenside.} 16. b3 Rfc8 17. Qb2 Rab8 18. Rac1 Ng4 19. h3 Bxf3 20. Bxf3 Qh2+ 21. Kf1 {Duda sees that his king is in no danger from the lone black queen raiding the position.} Ngf6 22. bxc4 $6 (22. Ke2 $14 {White doesn't have anything to be worried about.}) 22... e5 $1 {This is exactly what Samvel was looking for. With the queen on h2 he has to create complications or just be worse.} 23. c5 $2 (23. cxb5 $1 e4 24. Rxc8+ Rxc8 25. Bg4 Qh1+ 26. Ke2 Qxg2 27. Rc1 $13 {With mutual chances.}) 23... e4 $1 24. Bg4 Nxg4 25. hxg4 Nf6 $1 {Bringing another piece into the attack. Now White has an extra pawn but has no play at all. This is a pretty one sided position with excellent attacking chances for Black.} 26. Ke2 Nxg4 27. Rg1 Rc6 $1 {The rook is swinging over to f6.} 28. Rcf1 Rf6 {The threat is Rxf2 followed by picking up the g1 rook.} 29. Kd1 (29. Qb1 Re8 {Qh4 is threatend and f2 is bound to fall, say after} 30. Qe1 Qh5 $19) 29... Rxf2 30. Qb3 Qg3 31. c6 Rc8 32. d5 Ne5 33. Kc1 Nd3+ 34. Kc2 Qxe3 35. Rxf2 Qxf2 $19 {Black is completely winning.} 36. Rd1 Qc5+ 37. Kb1 a5 38. a4 bxa4 39. Qb7 Rf8 40. c7 a3 (40... Qc4 $1 {was a difficult move to find, but once made everything becomes clear. Qc6 is met with Qb3 and hence you cannot to do anything against the pawn push a3-a2.} 41. Rh1 a3 42. Bxa5 e3 $1 $19) 41. Qc6 Qxc6 42. dxc6 Rc8 43. Bxa5 Kf8 44. Rh1 ({ After the game the players met for dinner and were discussing this position and thinking what would happen if this natural check is given. The variation is fascinating.} 44. Bb4+ Ke8 45. Bd6 f5 $1 {The king will make his way from f7-e6. But now it is a race.} 46. Ka2 Kf7 47. Rb1 {The white rook threatens to come to b8.} Ke6 48. Rb8 (48. Bg3 f4 $19) 48... Kxd6 $1 49. Rxc8 Kxc6 50. Kxa3 Kb7 51. Rg8 Kxc7 52. Rxg7+ Kc6 {and now the beautiful point of the variation: the white king cannot approach the pawn because b2 and b4 are covered,} {and if he plays} 53. Kb3 (53. g3 Kd5 54. Rxh7 e3 55. Re7 Ne5 $19) 53... e3 {then after} 54. Re7 e2 $19 {the pawn cannot be taken because of the Nc1+ fork!}) 44... Ke7 45. Rxh7 Ne5 46. Ka2 Nxc6 47. Bb6 Nb4+ 48. Kxa3 Nd5 49. Bf2 Rxc7 $19 {The rest is not very difficult.} 50. Bh4+ Ke6 51. Rxg7 Rb7 52. Rg8 Ne3 53. g4 Nc4+ 54. Ka4 Ke5 55. Bg3+ Kd4 56. g5 Kc3 57. Be1+ Kd3 58. g6 fxg6 59. Rxg6 e3 60. Re6 Rb1 61. Bh4 Rh1 62. Bg3 Rg1 63. Bh4 Rg4 64. Be1 Nd2+ 65. Kb5 Ke2 66. Re8 Rg1 67. Bh4 Nf3 68. Be7 Kd3 69. Bb4 Rb1 70. Kc5 Rc1+ 71. Kd5 e2 72. Re4 Rb1 73. Bc3 Rb5+ 74. Kc6 Rb3 0-1

Salem Saleh (above left next to Tigran Petrosian at the opening ceremony) has been my very good friend for quite some time now. We both had a common grief in this tournament – losing good positions. He has a very enterprising style of play, he loves to attack and he creates complications almost out of nowhere. With such a style, sometimes things go his way and sometimes everything goes wrong. But as he told me after this event, he had never had such a bad tournament with six losses. He wasn’t playing badly at all, but he made many mistakes in time pressure, and that affected his results.

Hovhannes Gabuzyan had a solid tournament with two wins, two losses and five draws

Hovhannes has a very unorthodox style which is in complete contrast to my own. He takes his chances but at the same time gives opportunities to his opponent. Draw becomes an almost impossible result. That’s one of the main reasons why I enjoy playing against him. In our battle over here he played this idea with Qh4 followed by g4, which was very new, but maybe just a little bit too original for it to be good! He outplayed Salem quite easily, but I guess the most representative game of his style was the one against Tigran Petrosian.

[Event "Lake Sevan 2015"] [Site "Martuni ARM"] [Date "2015.07.18"] [Round "7.5"] [White "Gabuzyan, Hovhannes"] [Black "Petrosian, Tigran L"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "2589"] [BlackElo "2630"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "145"] [EventDate "2015.07.12"] 1. g3 g6 2. Bg2 d5 3. c4 c6 4. Qa4 d4 5. d3 Bg7 6. Nf3 h5 $5 {Ultra original play with Nh6-f5.} 7. Nbd2 Nh6 8. Ne4 Nf5 9. Bf4 Nd7 10. h3 Qb6 11. O-O-O {Who castles long after a move like 1.g3?!!} Nh6 12. Qa3 c5 13. Qa4 Kf8 14. Kb1 a5 15. a3 Ra6 16. Rdg1 {[%csl Gg1,Rg3,Gh1,Rh3] Don't the rooks need to be on open files?} e5 17. Bc1 Nf6 18. Nxf6 Bxf6 19. Ng5 Qd8 20. Ne4 Be7 21. g4 $1 {Fixing the e4 outpost.} f5 22. gxf5 gxf5 23. Nd2 {The g1 rook proves it's worth. The black king is just too exposed and weak.} Nf7 24. Bd5 Bd7 25. Qd1 $1 Be6 26. Bxb7 {A pawn is a pawn!} Rb6 27. Rg6 $1 Bf6 28. Bd5 Bxd5 29. cxd5 Qxd5 30. Nc4 $18 {The knight is a complete monster on this square.} Ra6 31. Rhg1 a4 32. R1g2 (32. Qc2 {with the idea of e4 would have been very strong.}) 32... f4 33. Qg1 Ke7 34. f3 Qd7 35. Bd2 Qxh3 36. Be1 h4 $2 37. R6g4 $1 {The queen is trapped.} Nh6 38. Rh2 Qxh2 39. Qxh2 Nxg4 40. fxg4 $18 {White is a piece up and went on to win with ease.} h3 41. Bf2 Bg7 42. Bg1 Rg6 43. Qh1 Rxg4 44. Qb7+ Kf6 45. Bh2 Rg2 46. Qc6+ Kg5 47. Qd7 Bf6 48. Nd2 Kg6 49. Nf3 Rxe2 50. Qg4+ Kf7 51. Ng5+ Bxg5 52. Qxe2 Kf6 53. Qe4 Rh6 54. Qc6+ Kf5 55. Qd7+ Re6 56. Kc2 c4 57. Qf7+ Rf6 58. Qxc4 f3 59. Qc8+ Kg6 60. Bxe5 f2 61. Bxf6 f1=Q 62. Qg8+ Kf5 63. Qxg5+ Ke6 64. Qe5+ Kf7 65. Qe7+ Kg6 66. Qe8+ Kf5 67. Bxd4 Qg2+ 68. Kc3 h2 69. Qf7+ Kg4 70. Qg6+ Kf3 71. Qc6+ Kg3 72. Be5+ Kh3 73. Qxg2+ 1-0

Samuel Sevian (above) is so very young! Just fourteen and half years and already 2578! He is super talented, and has the right backing and guidance, so I think he has every chance to become one of the best players in the world. I thought that his style was very aggressive and concrete, but he was playing openings like the Marshall (where his opponents played the Anti-Marshall) and Arkhangelsk. I was surprised by his opening choices. Sicilian would be right kind of opening for a player like him.

Samuel was very resourceful in the tournament and held a few inferior positions, but he just couldn’t put pressure on his opponents. He didn’t create many chances, but when pushed against the wall he came up with the goods. Check out this cute little mating idea against Hovhannisyan.

Samuel Sevian – Robert Hovhannisyan

What should White play? See if you can find the winning plan.

[Event "Lake Sevan 2015"] [Site "Martuni ARM"] [Date "2015.07.14"] [Round "3.5"] [White "Sevian, Samuel"] [Black "Hovhannisyan, Robert"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2578"] [BlackElo "2611"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "131"] [EventDate "2015.07.12"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 d5 6. exd5 Qxd5 7. Bc4 Qd6 8. b4 Bb6 9. Ba3 e4 10. b5 Bc5 11. dxe4 Bxa3 12. Qxd6 Bxd6 13. bxc6 Nxe4 14. Bd5 Nc5 15. cxb7 Bxb7 16. Bxb7 Nxb7 17. Nbd2 O-O-O 18. O-O-O Rhe8 19. Rhe1 Bc5 20. Ne4 Rxd1+ 21. Kxd1 Bb6 22. Re2 f6 23. g4 Kd7 24. Nh4 Nc5 25. Nxc5+ Bxc5 26. Rd2+ Kc6 27. Nf5 g6 28. Nd4+ Kb7 29. h3 Re4 30. Rd3 Bb6 31. f3 Re5 32. Nb3 h5 33. Kd2 f5 34. c4 Kc6 35. gxh5 gxh5 36. Rd8 Be3+ 37. Kd3 Bf2 38. Nd4+ Kc5 39. Nc2 f4 40. Rf8 Bg3 41. Rf7 Kb6 42. Rf6+ Kb7 43. a3 c6 44. Kd2 a5 45. Kd3 Kb6 46. Kd2 Kb7 47. Rf7+ Kb6 48. Rf6 Kc5 49. Kd3 Bh2 50. Rg6 Kb6 51. Kd4 Re8 52. c5+ Kb5 53. a4+ $1 Kxa4 (53... Ka6 54. Rxc6+ Kb7 55. Rb6+ Kc7 56. Kd5 $18) 54. Rg2 $1 {Attacking the bishop. If it is saved then Kc4 leads to a devastating mate threat.} (54. Kc4 $2 Re2 $1 $11) 54... Rd8+ (54... Bg3 55. Kc4 $1 Rb8 (55... Bh4 {loses but stops the direct mate:} 56. Rg1 Bf6) 56. Rg1 Rb4+ 57. Nxb4 axb4 58. Ra1#) 55. Kc4 Rd1 56. Rxh2 {The rest is very easy.} h4 57. Re2 Rc1 58. Rd2 Rf1 59. Rd3 Ra1 60. Rb3 Ra2 61. Rc3 Ra1 62. Nd4 Rf1 63. Nxc6 Rxf3 64. Nd4 Rxc3+ 65. Kxc3 f3 66. Kd3 1-0

And last but not the least I have to show you my game against Samuel. A crazily complicated encounter which was a slugfest of tactical ideas, patterns, promotions and under-promotions and what not! Though the result was not exactly in my favour, this was still my favourite game from the tournament.

[Event "Lake Sevan 2015"] [Site "Martuni ARM"] [Date "2015.07.16"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Sevian, Samuel"] [Black "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C07"] [WhiteElo "2578"] [BlackElo "2643"] [Annotator "Vidit Gujrathi"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "2015.07.12"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 $5 {He had only played Nc3 until now.} c5 4. Ngf3 cxd4 5. exd5 Qxd5 6. Bc4 Qd6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Nb3 Nc6 9. Nbxd4 Nxd4 10. Nxd4 a6 11. Re1 Qc7 12. Bb3 Bd6 {Here my opponent thought for more than half hour and played the complicated line. A risky decision. I don't think it is wise to enter such complications if you don't remember all the analysis.} 13. Nf5 Bxh2+ 14. Kh1 O-O 15. Nxg7 Rd8 (15... Kxg7 16. Qd4 $1 $16) 16. Qf3 Kxg7 17. Bh6+ Kg6 18. c3 Nh5 {Everything was pretty much forced until now. Here White has a choice with Re4, Bc1 and the Be3. Unfortunately all the moves lead to a forced draw.} 19. Be3 f5 20. g4 (20. Rad1 $5) 20... Nf6 21. gxf5+ exf5 22. Qg2+ (22. Rg1+ { doesn't work:} Bxg1 23. Rxg1+ Ng4 24. Rxg4+ fxg4 25. Bc2+ Kg7 26. Bh6+ Kxh6 27. Qf6+ Kh5 {Black just takes all the material and is very safe on h5.}) 22... Ng4 23. f3 {In this position sadly there was a powercut for 15-20 minutes – not something you want when your opponent is already below 20 minutes.} b5 $1 { Five games had reached this position before, so all this crazy tactical complications were not new to me.} 24. Bd4 {A new move for me – I had only analyzed Bc2. Here I sank into deep thought for 45 minutes trying to figure out all the complications.} (24. Bc2 $1 $11 {is the only way to draw} Kf6 $1 25. Bd4+ Rxd4 26. cxd4 Bb7 27. Bxf5 Nf2+ 28. Qxf2 Qf4 29. Bh3 Bg3 30. Qe3 Qxf3+ 31. Qxf3+ Bxf3+ 32. Bg2 Bxg2+ 33. Kxg2 Bxe1 34. Rxe1 $11) 24... h5 $5 {Engines show 0.00 for a while, but later they change their minds. White was already threatening fxg4 Bb7 and gxf5. So the point was to have the h7 square for the king.} (24... Kg5 $1 {This looked very interesting and this is where I spent most of my time, but I was scared to make such a move. Here's a crazy line:} 25. Be6 Bg3 26. Bxf5 Bxf5 27. fxg4 Bc8 $1 $19 {This is clearly winning, but do you think it could be found over the board?}) 25. fxg4 {Now we have a forced sequence of moves.} Bb7 26. gxf5+ Kh7 27. Re4 Rg8 28. Bxg8+ (28. Qf3 {I was more worried about this move during the game. It is better to have the b3-bishop, because in the game the b7-bishop was just too powerful.} Rg4 29. Rae1 Re8 30. Bg8+ $1 Rexg8 31. Re7+ R8g7 32. Qxb7 Qxb7+ 33. Rxb7 Rxb7 34. Kxh2 $17) 28... Rxg8 29. Qf3 {Engines still show 0.00 here, but White is just lost. The king on h1 is trapped and all his pieces are stuck.} Rg4 30. Rae1 Bd6 { Preventing Re7+.} 31. f6 {All the variations after this position are very pretty.} Qf7 $1 {I wasted all my time on this move and was down to one minute after it.} (31... Kg6 $1 {was also very strong.} 32. R1e2 {[%cal Ye2g2] This was the move I was afraid of. The idea is to play the rook to g2 and then break the pin on the long diagonal. I couldn't find anything for this during the game.} (32. Rg1 Bg3 $19) 32... Qh7 $3 {[#]Suggestion of Ganguly. Engines don't show this move at all, but now White is totally helpless. The threat is to simply play Kf7 next.} (32... Bxe4 $5 {I was not ready to give up this strong bishop just for a rook!} 33. Rxe4 Rg3 {The king has defended the h5 pawn and Black is just winning.} 34. Qf2 (34. Qe2 Qc6 $1 $19) 34... Qc6 $1 $19) 33. Bg1 {Prophylaxis: this avoids the Qb1 check in many lines.} (33. Rg2 Kf7 $1 34. Re7+ Kf8 $1 {Almost everything on the board is en prise! All the variations seem to work out for Black.} 35. Qxb7 (35. Qxg4 Qb1+ 36. Bg1 hxg4 37. Rxb7 Qd3 $19) 35... Qb1+ 36. Rg1 Rh4+ 37. Kg2 Rh2+ 38. Kf3 Qf5+ 39. Ke3 Qf4+ 40. Kd3 Rd2#) 33... Be5 $1 {Now the rook is denied entry to 7th rank} 34. Qd3 Rxe4 35. Rxe4 Qd7 $3 {[%cal Gh7d7] [#]A really pretty move to make :)} 36. Qf3 (36. Qxd7 Bxe4#) 36... Qf5 $1 $19) 32. Qf5+ Kh8 $1 {[%cal Yg4h4] This looked scary because if the queen moves from f7 then f6-f7-f8 is just a queen. In that respect Kg8 would have been safer, but it doesn't work.} ({It was very important to play Kh8 and not Kg8 because after the latter} 32... Kg8 33. Rg1 $1 Bg3 34. Rxg3 Rxg3 35. Kh2 $1 {Breaking away from the pin with a tempo.} Bxe4 36. Qc8+ $11 {followed by picking up the g3 rook is just a draw.}) 33. Be5 { This is the only way to get out for the king. Black was already threatening Rh4 check :)} Bxe5 34. Qxe5 {Kh2 getting out of the pin is threatened now.} Rh4+ $2 (34... Qd5 $1 {was the winning move, and now the lines are very interesting. I just couldn't calculate the consequences of the checks in under one minute.} 35. Qe8+ (35. f7+ {looked scary to me during the game} Qxe5 36. f8=Q+ Kh7 37. Qf7+ Qg7 38. Qxh5+ Qh6 $19 {[%cal Gh6h1,Gb7h1] Everything is pinned!}) (35. Qb8+ Kh7 36. Qc7+ Kh6 37. f7 Rh4+ $1 (37... Qf5 $6 38. Qd6+ Kh7 39. f8=N+ $3 {underpromotion in real game is so rare :)} Kg8 40. Qe6+ Qxe6 41. Nxe6 $13) 38. Kg2 Qd2+ $8 39. Kg1 Qg5+ $19) 35... Qg8 36. f7 Rh4# $1 {So many pins!}) 35. Kg2 Bxe4+ 36. Rxe4 Qg6+ 37. Kf3 {Here my original intention was to play Rh3+. Isaw that after Ke2 it was a winning position, but I just missed Kf2. It was a simple move, but after you have been calculating for such a long time you often miss simple moves.} Rxe4 (37... Rh3+ 38. Kf2 $1 $18 (38. Ke2 Qg2+ $19)) 38. Qxe4 Qxf6+ 39. Qf4 Kg7 40. Kg3 Qxf4+ 41. Kxf4 Kf6 42. b3 $1 { Last important move. White now just plays a4 next and the white king reaches c1 in time.} a5 43. a4 bxa4 44. bxa4 Ke6 45. Kg5 Kd5 46. Kxh5 Kc4 47. Kg4 Kb3 ( 47... Kxc3 48. Kf3 Kb4 49. Ke2 Kxa4 50. Kd1 Kb3 51. Kc1 {As they say, "chess is a tragedy of one tempo" :)}) 48. Kf3 Kxa4 49. Ke2 Kb3 50. Kd2 a4 51. Kc1 Kxc3 1/2-1/2

When playing such a grueling event it is good to indulge in some physical activity. Apart from staying fit you develop a good camaraderie with the other players in the tournament. Compared to last year I had improved quite a bit at table tennis, but Salem was simply too strong.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. It was a good idea to be on Salem’s team!

Salem beat all his opponents with absolute ease at table tennis. We used to play “winner to stay” and he just didn’t leave his spot for hours on end. But I guess this is where he wasted all his luck and had nothing left for his games in the tournament!

Robert Hovhannisyan has it all covered – in pool against Samuel Sevian!

The Armenian hospitality was just fantastic. They treat players with great respect, the people are very friendly and I love it over here. If you forget Rh3?? I have very positive memories to take back from this event. The official dinner after the closing ceremony was great fun.

Apart from the above fun and happening Anton performed a Spanish song while I sang a very famous Indian song called Tum Hi Ho. Everyone loved it, but Salem who follows Bollywood music and knew this song very well told me that he wanted to shoot himself while listening to me! I am glad there is no video of me out there! Here's one of a Canadian groom singing to his Indian bride:

Watch the bride's face! This video went viral – five million views is not something you get every day.

My special thanks to Smbat Lputian for organizing such an extraordinary event with great conditions. There is absolutely no doubt that if I am invited once again in 2016 I would love to go back to Lake Sevan.

The man who made this event possible: the President
of the Armenian Chess Federation GM Smbat Lputian

In order to get a feel of the entire event, you must have a look at this beautifully edited, fast-paced video made by the organizers.

Note: This Youtube video contains the background music "Fuego" by Bond (Google Play, AmazonMP3, iTunes), and is automatically blocked in some countries where copyright claims are imperious protected by national organisations – e.g. the accursed GEMA in Germany. You can get a regional spoofing addon to watch the video – it is well worth it, people.

Final standings of Lake Sevan 2015


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