Nihal Sarin leads at the Silver Lake Open

by André Schulz
6/30/2021 – After eight of nine rounds the young Indian Grandmaster Nihal Sarin leads at the Silver Lake Open Veliko Gradiste with 7.0/8 and is half a point ahead of his countryman Raunak Sadhwani and the Serbian GM Branko Damljanovic, against whom Sarin has to play with Black in round nine. | Photos: Rupali Mullick

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The Silver Lake Chess Festival (23-30 June) takes place in the municipality of Veliko Gradiste in Serbia and is organised by the VGSK Chess Club in cooperation with Danubia Park Hotels and the Central Serbia Chess Union.

The town of Veliko Gradiste (population 6200) is situated on a tributary of the Danube, which was dammed and separated from the Danube in the 1990s, creating a lake, the "Srebrno jezero" (Silver Lake). The chess festival is named after it. Veliko Gradiste is one of the warmest places in Serbia, with an average annual temperature of 25 degrees. The chess festival serves to make the place even more attractive for tourists.

The festival includes two open tournaments and a blitz tournament. 130 players start in the A-Open, top seeds are the two Armenians grandmasters Samvel Ter-Sahakyan and Manuel Petrosian. Then Nihal Sarin follows as the best player in a ten-strong Indian delegation.

After eight of nine rounds Nihal Sarin leads with 7.0/8 and is half a point ahead of the young Indian GM Raunak Sadhwani (born 2005) and the Serbian GM Branko Damljanovic (born 1961) who follow with 6.5/8.

Raunak Sadhwani (on the left, with White)

So far, Nihal Sarin, who will turn 17 on 13 July, has a rating performance of 2787 and has good chances to win the tournament. However, in round 9 he has to play with Black against Damljanovic.

In round 8 Nihal Sarin drew against Abhimanyu Puranik, but in round 7 he showed his defensive skills in a crucial game against Denis Makhnev.

Nihal Sarin (on the left, with Black)


The chances are about equal. White now starts an attack against Black's king.

20.Ne5?! Another idea was 20.Bc2!? and after 20...Rxc3? 21.Qxc3 Qxc3 22.Bh7+ Kxh7 23.Rxc3 White's rook is better than the two black minor pieces.

20...Nxe5 21.dxe5 Bxe5


22.f4? A rather brutal approach. White wants to open files against Black's king but objectively better was 22.Qh7+ Kf8 23.Ne2.

22...gxf4 23.Qh7+ Kf8 24.Bg6 That was White's idea...

24...fxg6 25.Rxf4+ Bxf4 26.Rf1 Qxc3 Black shows no fear.

27.Rxf4+ Ke8


28.Kh2 The white king wants to escape a check on e3. 28.Qf7+ Kd8 29.Qf8+ Kc7 30.Qf7+ Kb8 or 28.Qxg6+ Kd7 29.Rf7+ Kd6 yield nothing for White.

28...Qc7 Pinning the rook on f4.

29.Qxg6+ Kd7 30.Qg7+ Kd6 31.Rf7 Qd8 White resigned. His attack came to an end but he is still material down. 0–1

Standings after round 8

Rk.     Name Typ FED Rtg  TB1   TB2  Rp rtg+/-
GM Nihal Sarin U18 IND 2620 7,0 38,5 2787 14,0
GM Sadhwani Raunak U18 IND 2555 6,5 39,5 2685 13,5
GM Damljanovic Branko S60 SRB 2501 6,5 28,5 2512 3,6
GM Puranik Abhimanyu   IND 2589 6,0 38,5 2549 -1,7
IM Radovanovic Nikola   SRB 2395 6,0 38,0 2606 22,3
GM Sadikhov Ulvi   AZE 2490 6,0 36,5 2529 4,9
IM Makhnev Denis   KAZ 2480 6,0 36,0 2507 3,6
IM Raja Harshit   IND 2459 6,0 35,0 2516 6,8
IM Kourkoulos-Arditis Stamatis   GRE 2485 6,0 35,0 2508 2,7
GM Perunovic Milos   SRB 2567 6,0 34,5 2536 -1,3
IM Agmanov Zhandos   KAZ 2404 5,5 37,0 2455 6,0
IM Megalios Konstantinos   GRE 2390 5,5 36,5 2438 6,3
GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel   ARM 2644 5,5 36,5 2534 -8,6
IM Boskovic Drasko   SRB 2451 5,5 35,5 2494 5,9
GM Sedlak Nikola   SRB 2519 5,5 35,5 2488 -1,8
GM Strikovic Aleksa S60 SRB 2469 5,5 33,5 2441 -1,2
FM Stukan Martin U18 RUS 2376 5,5 33,5 2398 6,8
FM Djokic Mihailo   SRB 2129 5,5 33,0 2376 50,6
FM Vetokhin Savva U18 RUS 2324 5,5 32,5 2424 22,0
FM Kalogeris Ioannis   GRE 2307 5,5 31,5 2329 7,4
IM Markovic Zoran S   SRB 2315 5,0 37,0 2421 12,3

130 players




André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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