Pantsulaia wins Mumbai Mayor’s Cup 2014

by Sagar Shah
6/17/2014 – This strong GM Open had 18 grandmasters and an overall rating average of 2177. After the top players had had accidents in the first two rounds the road was clear for the third seed, Georgian GM Pantsulaia Levan, to forge ahead and take unshared first place. Our report from Mumbai contains a lot of interesting highlights from the games, presented by Sagar Shah.

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Levan Pantsulaia wins Mayor’s Cup 2014

By Sagar Shah

For the past few years the Indian chess circuit has been flooded with International Grandmaster Opens. Six to eight very strong events take place in the country every year. Amongst them, the Mumbai Mayor’s Cup is definitely one of the best-received tournaments in terms of participation of strong foreign Grandmasters. This year the tournament was held from the 2nd to 9th of June 2014 at the Thakur College, Mumbai under three different categories: the ‘A’ category for players above 2000 Elo, ‘B’ for those below 2000 and the ‘C’ category below 1600.

As the name of the tournament suggests, it has the strong financial backing from the Mayor of the city, with good amount of sponsors supporting it. No wonder it has a very handsome prize money of Rs 2,400,000 (approx. $ 40,000) for all the three categories.

The beautiful trophy and handful of money ($5000) was what everyone was playing for!

The A category was very strong, with 18 grandmasters, and an average Elo of 2177 amongst the 170 players from 17 different countries, including Russia, USA, Armenia and Georgia taking part. The top seed of the event was the very strong Georgian GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili.

Mikheil Mchedlishvili (2632) recovered well from his second round loss to finish fourth with a score of 7.5/10. Mchedlishvili, could have really fought for the top honours had he not been defeated in an extremely complicated Catalan by the talented Indian IM Rahul Sangma from the black side in the second round.

[Event "7th Mumbai Mayor's Cup International Op"] [Site "THAKUR COLLEGE, KANDIVALI (EA"] [Date "2014.06.03"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Mchedlishvili, Mikheil"] [Black "Sangma, Rahul"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2632"] [BlackElo "2322"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "76"] [EventDate "2014.06.02"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. O-O Rb8 7. Nc3 a6 8. e4 Be7 9. Qe2 b5 10. Rd1 O-O 11. d5 exd5 12. e5 d4 13. exf6 Bxf6 14. Qe4 (14. Ne4 Be7 {gives Black a very decent position.}) 14... Bb7 15. Nd5 Nb4 16. Nxf6+ Qxf6 17. Qf4 (17. Qxd4 Rfd8 $19) 17... c5 18. Qxf6 gxf6 19. Bf4 Rbc8 (19... Rbd8 { is another move that is quite popular and has been tried in nine games before.} ) 20. Bd6 Rfd8 21. Be7 Re8 22. Bxf6 Rc6 $146 {This is the first real new move of the game. Previously moves like h6, Be4, Nd5 had been tried. Black has only two pawns for a piece. However, as was seen in the post mortem of the game, the five queenside pawns are the real threat in the position.} 23. Bg5 Re2 24. Nh4 h6 25. Bxc6 (25. Bd2 Nd3 $13) 25... Bxc6 26. Bxh6 (26. Rd2 hxg5 27. Rxe2 gxh4 $13 {Once again the position is so complicated that we cannot give a defninte verdict. Both players have their chances.}) 26... Rxb2 {[%csl Gb5,Gc4, Gc5,Gd4] Now these pawns gain in strength even further. Even for a strong GM like Mchedlishvili it was impossible to find the right way.} 27. Nf5 c3 (27... Bf3 $1) 28. Ne7+ Kh7 29. Nxc6 c2 $2 (29... Kxh6 30. Nxb4 Rxb4 {keeps the position complicated.}) 30. Nxb4 cxb4 $4 (30... cxd1=Q+ 31. Rxd1 Rxb4 32. Bf8 Rc4 33. Kf1 {and the black pawns are no longer so strong. White can co-ordinate himself to win the game.}) 31. Bf8 $4 (31. Rdc1 $1 Kxh6 32. Kf1 $1 $18 {The white king will soon come to d2 and it will be all over.}) 31... d3 32. Kg2 a5 33. Bc5 $2 (33. Rac1 cxd1=Q 34. Rxd1 d2 35. Kf1 Rxa2 36. Ke2 b3 37. Bd6 a4 38. h4 Kg6 (38... a3 39. g4 b2 40. Be5 $18) 39. g4 f6 40. h5+ Kf7 {and the position is very well balanced. This was the best way for White to play.}) 33... Rxa2 $1 {Now it's all over. Black gets back his investment with interest. } 34. Rac1 b3 35. Bd4 b2 36. Bxb2 cxd1=Q 37. Rxd1 Rxb2 38. Rxd3 a4 $19 {A crazy game with quite an odd material balance.} 0-1

IM Rahul Sangma (2322) analyses his extremely complicated game with Mikheil Mchedlishvili

The second seed of the event was the Tajikistan number one
GM Farrukh Amonatov (2609), who finished fifth

Amonatov Farrukh was the victim of a fascinating combinative attack by Vinay Kumar Matta (2183) in the very first round. Vinay is feared in the Indian chess circles as a fierce attacker. He stayed true to his strength and played a brilliant attacking game which is worth studying.

[Event "7th Mumbai Mayor's Cup International Op"] [Site "THAKUR COLLEGE, KANDIVALI (EA"] [Date "2014.06.02"] [Round "1.2"] [White "Amonatov, Farrukh"] [Black "Matta, Vinay Kumar"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C22"] [WhiteElo "2609"] [BlackElo "2183"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "44"] [EventDate "2014.06.02"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. e4 e5 2. d4 $6 exd4 3. Qxd4 {We have heard that it's not a good idea to develop your queen so soon, but then a 2609 player knows it better than us, doesnt he?!!} Nc6 4. Qe3 Nf6 ({A classic worth studying in this line is this game by Alekhine.} 4... Be7 5. Bd2 Nf6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. O-O-O d5 8. exd5 Nxd5 9. Qg3 Bh4 10. Qf3 Be6 11. Be3 Nxc3 12. Rxd8 Nxa2+ 13. Kb1 Raxd8 14. Be2 Nab4 15. Nh3 Rfe8 16. Nf4 Bf5 17. Rc1 g6 18. g4 Be4 19. Qh3 Bf6 20. Bf3 Bxf3 21. Qxf3 Ne5 22. Qe2 c5 23. Rg1 c4 24. h4 Nd5 25. Nxd5 Rxd5 26. f4 Nd3 27. Qf3 Rb5 28. cxd3 Rxb2+ 29. Kc1 cxd3 30. Kd1 Rc8 31. g5 Rcc2 32. Ke1 Rb1+ 33. Qd1 Bc3+ {0-1 (33) Mieses,J-Alekhine,A Scheveningen 1913}) 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Bd2 O-O 7. O-O-O Re8 8. Qg3 Nxe4 9. Nxe4 Rxe4 {Black has won a pawn and the compensation does look insufficient.} 10. Bf4 Qf6 11. Nh3 (11. Bxc7 d6 12. Bxd6 Qh6+ $19) 11... d6 12. Bd3 Nd4 $1 {Vinay Kumar Matta is known for his tactical play and he shows it in good measure here.} 13. Bg5 Qe6 14. c3 Qxa2 15. cxd4 Bf5 $6 (15... Rxd4 $1 { would have finished off the game.} 16. Bxh7+ Kxh7 17. Rxd4 Qa1+ 18. Kc2 Bf5+ 19. Kb3 Be6+ 20. Kc2 Qa4+ 21. Kc1 Bf5 $19) 16. Be3 $2 (16. Qf3 $1 {was the only defensive move.} Bc3 (16... Rae8 17. Qxf5 $18) 17. bxc3 Qa3+ 18. Kd2 Qb2+ 19. Bc2 Rae8 $44) 16... Rae8 $1 {The idea behind this move is simply brilliant. } 17. Nf4 (17. Bxe4 Qc4+ 18. Kb1 Bxe4+ {and mate to follow.}) 17... R8e5 $3 { A truly brilliant move to clear the fourth rank.} 18. Rd2 (18. dxe5 Rc4+ 19. Bxc4 Qa1# {was the neat point of the combination.}) 18... Bxd2+ 19. Bxd2 Rxd4 20. Bxf5 Rxf5 21. Re1 Rc5+ 22. Bc3 Qa1+ {The rook falls and the game is over. What a beautiful attacking game from Vinay Kumar Matta.} 0-1

Great combinative vision was on show by Vinay Kumar Matta against Amonatov

The top two seeds had their accidents in the first two rounds. That meant the road was clear for the third seed to forge ahead. He took the opportunity and made no mistakes.

GM Levan Pantsulaia (2577) dominated the field right from the start scoring 8/10 with a performance of 2688 and finishing first. Levan was also the winner of the 2013 edition of the Mumbai Mayor’s Cup. This year he went home richer by Rs 300,000 ($5000). The financial capital of India is a lucky place for this Georgian player. When asked whether he intended to return to Mumbai again, he replied within an instant, “Yes of course!”

Levan played the entire tournament, scoring six wins and four draws. He played many interesting games but rates his eighth round game against the young Indian International Master Swayams Mishra to be the best. It was a Benoni Defence by Levan, who is a world famous expert on this opening. After sacrificing an exchange for a pawn the players reached a dynamic middlegame position, which was nicely balanced. There was no way for Black to break through. But Levan was rewarded for his persistence and patience as Swayams blundered. What followed was a beautiful combination of double attacks worth playing and learning from. This win sealed the deal for Levan as draws in the last two rounds were enough for him to be crowned as the champion.

Event "7th Mumbai Mayor's Cup International Op"] [Site "THAKUR COLLEGE, KANDIVALI (EA"] [Date "2014.06.07"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Swayams, Mishra"] [Black "Pantsulaia, Levan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E91"] [WhiteElo "2457"] [BlackElo "2577"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2014.06.02"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "IND"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. e4 O-O 6. Nf3 e6 7. h3 exd5 8. exd5 Re8+ 9. Be2 d6 10. O-O Bf5 11. Nh4 Bd7 12. Bd3 $6 Nxd5 $1 {A nicely assessed sacrifice.} 13. Nxd5 Qxh4 14. Nc7 Nc6 15. Nxe8 (15. Nxa8 Rxa8 $11 {Isn't it more logical to take the rook in the corner?}) 15... Rxe8 16. Re1 {This was Swayam's idea. He wants to exchange the rooks.} Re6 (16... Be5 $5) 17. Rxe6 Bxe6 18. Be3 Bxb2 19. Rb1 Bd4 20. Rxb7 Bxe3 21. fxe3 Qg5 22. Qe2 Ne5 23. Kh2 { The position is dynamically balanced. But Black looks in a more dominating position as he has a strong knight on e5 and the White king is a little weak. But that is not enough for Black to break through. Levan waits patiently and gets rewarded soon enough.} a5 24. Rb1 h5 25. Rd1 Qh4 26. Kg1 Qg5 (26... Bxc4 $2 {The bishop on d3 is not doing anything. It's not worth exchanging it for a pawn.} 27. Bxc4 Nxc4 28. e4 $14) 27. Kh2 a4 28. a3 Kf8 29. Qd2 $2 {Finally Swayams makes the mistake and it was as if Levan was just waiting for it.} Bxh3 $3 {A brilliant sacrifice.} 30. Kxh3 {But what next?} (30. gxh3 Nf3+ $19) 30... h4 $1 31. Qe1 (31. Kh2 {The combination of the knight and queen becomes quite deadly} Qg3+ 32. Kh1 (32. Kg1 Nf3+ $19) 32... Ng4 33. Kg1 Qh2+ 34. Kf1 Qh1+ 35. Ke2 Qxg2+ 36. Ke1 Qg3+ 37. Kf1 (37. Ke2 Qf2#) 37... Nh2+ 38. Qxh2 (38. Ke2 Qg2+ 39. Ke1 Nf3#) 38... Qxh2 $19) 31... Nxd3 $1 {Its not easy to see this simplifying move.} 32. Qxh4 (32. Rxd3 Qf5+ $19 {[%cal Gf5h3,Gf5d3]}) 32... Nf2+ $1 33. Qxf2 Qh5+ {The final double attack which wins the rook!} 34. Qh4 Qxd1 $19 {A beautiful combination by Levan.} 35. Qd8+ Kg7 36. e4 Qh5+ 37. Kg3 Qe5+ $19 {Black is a pawn up and has the best structure. The rest is a matter of technique.} 38. Kh3 Qxe4 39. Qxd6 Qxc4 40. Qe5+ Kh7 41. g4 Qd3+ 42. Kh4 Qd4 43. Qe8 Kg7 44. Kh3 Qc3+ 45. Kg2 c4 46. Qxa4 Qd2+ 47. Kf3 c3 48. Qe4 c2 49. Qe5+ Kh7 0-1

 

Second place was the reward for the unbeaten and consistent GM Aleksandrov Aleksej (2554) from Belarus (right). At one point in his career Aleksandrov had a rating of 2670 and was a world beater. Though he has lost almost 120 Elo points, he still is a force to reckon with when he plays with full concentration and gives his best as he did at the Mumbai Mayor’s Cup.

The find for Indians from this tournament was definitely IM Himanshu Sharma (2372). The 31-year-old player from India performed excellently scoring 7.5/10 and finishing third. With 2615 performance Himanshu not only scored his maiden GM norm but also gained 30 Elo points.

Himanshu Sharma is an extremely strong Indian IM who in September 2009 had a rating of 2471. Now he is almost 100 points below his highest Elo, but this performance shows what he is truly capable of. When I asked him after the tournament what exactly he did differently here, his reply was simple, “I keep learning from my mistakes. In my game against Amonatov Farrukh I was better and should have won that endgame. However I made a premature exchange of rooks which helped him save the game. This was the seventh game. That night I realized that sometimes it’s important to let the opponent exchange your piece rather than you going out of your way to do that. This insecurity of exchanging pieces when ahead on material can often lead to losing the advantage. I learnt an important lesson and made good use of it in my eighth round game against Harutjunyan Gevorg.”

I have taken extract from both the games to show you what Himanshu exactly meant.

[Event "7th Mumbai Mayor's Cup International Op"] [Site "THAKUR COLLEGE, KANDIVALI (EA"] [Date "2014.06.06"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Amonatov, Farrukh"] [Black "Himanshu, Sharma"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2609"] [BlackElo "2372"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r5/1p1k1p1p/p2p4/5PP1/5R1P/2r5/2PK4/2R5 b - - 0 32"] [PlyCount "54"] [EventDate "2014.06.02"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "IND"] {Black is definitely better and has pressure on the c2 pawn. Himanshu goes for the unnecessary exchange of the rooks with} 32... R8c4 $6 (32... R8c5 $1 $17 { would have really kept up the pressure.}) 33. Rxc4 Rxc4 34. Re1 $1 {Though Black still has the advantage, White defensive task is much easier than it would have been if both the rooks had been retained. Amonatov defends well from this point and the game ends in a draw.} d5 35. h5 Rg4 36. f6 Rxg5 37. Re7+ Kc6 38. h6 Rg6 39. Rxf7 Rxh6 40. Ke3 a5 41. Kf4 Rh2 42. Ke5 Re2+ 43. Kf5 Rxc2 44. Rxh7 Rf2+ 45. Ke6 a4 46. f7 b5 47. Rh8 a3 48. f8=Q Rxf8 49. Rxf8 b4 50. Ra8 Kc5 51. Ke5 Kc4 52. Rc8+ Kd3 53. Kxd5 b3 54. Ra8 a2 55. Ra3 Kc3 56. Kc5 Kb2 57. Kb4 a1=Q 58. Rxa1 Kxa1 59. Kxb3 1/2-1/2

Himanshu learnt an important lesson about not exchanging pieces prematurely and put it to good use in the next game itself.

[Event "7th Mumbai Mayor's Cup International Op"] [Site "THAKUR COLLEGE, KANDIVALI (EA"] [Date "2014.06.07"] [Round "8.4"] [White "Himanshu, Sharma"] [Black "Harutjunyan, Gevorg"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A55"] [WhiteElo "2372"] [BlackElo "2434"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4k3/8/5Q2/5B2/8/6PP/3b1PK1/4q3 w - - 0 53"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2014.06.02"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "IND"] {Himanshu played some nice combinative chess and is in a totally winning position, being three pawns up. However his next move is of crucial importance from a development point of view and shows that he applied what he had learnt in the previous game.} 53. Qh8+ $1 {Himanshu finishes off the game without exchanging queens. Though of very little significance because this position is so very much winning, but he himself must have felt good about overcoming his tendency to exchange pieces prematurely.} (53. Qe6+ {Can be a natural reaction to go into this ending with three pawns up which is of course winning.. But Himanshu reasons that the Black king is weak and hence keeping the queens should benefit white.}) 53... Ke7 54. Qg7+ Kd6 55. Qd7+ Kc5 56. Qd3 Bh6 57. Bg4 Qc1 58. Bf3 Bd2 59. h4 Ba5 60. Qd5+ Kb4 61. Qb7+ Ka3 62. Qb5 Be1 63. Qe2 Bd2 64. Qd3+ Kb4 65. Qd4+ Kb5 66. g4 Bf4 67. g5 Bc7 68. Qd5+ Kb6 69. Qe6+ Ka5 70. Qf5+ Ka6 71. h5 Bb6 72. Be2+ Ka7 73. Qd7+ Kb8 74. Qe8+ Ka7 75. Qe7+ Bc7 76. g6 1-0

If Himanshu keeps learning from his mistakes at this rate, there is no reason why he shouldn’t become a grandmaster very soon.

Top final Ranking (after ten rounds)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 3 GM Pantsulaia Levan GEO 2577 8.0 60.0 55.0 50.25
2 5 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2554 7.5 61.0 55.5 47.50
3 31 IM Himanshu Sharma IND 2372 7.5 59.0 54.5 43.25
4 1 GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil GEO 2632 7.5 55.5 51.0 43.75
5 2 GM Amonatov Farrukh TJK 2609 7.5 55.0 50.5 43.00
6 7 GM Ovetchkin Roman RUS 2535 7.5 54.0 49.5 42.75
7 20 GM Harutjunyan Gevorg ARM 2434 7.0 57.0 51.5 41.00
8 6 GM Paichadze Luka GEO 2544 7.0 56.5 51.0 41.00
9 18 IM Gagare Shardul IND 2446 7.0 55.0 50.0 40.25
10 4 GM Gagunashvili Merab GEO 2562 7.0 54.5 50.0 38.75
11 44 CM Prince Bajaj IND 2333 7.0 52.5 49.0 38.50
12 30 GM Ziatdinov Raset USA 2387 7.0 51.5 47.5 35.75
13 14 GM Grover Sahaj IND 2483 7.0 51.0 46.5 38.00
14 12 GM Semcesen Daniel SWE 2509 7.0 50.0 45.0 37.75
15 11 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. IND 2509 6.5 58.5 52.5 41.00
16 72 WGM Kulkarni Bhakti IND 2231 6.5 58.0 53.0 38.00
17 21 IM Prasanna Raghuram Rao IND 2427 6.5 56.5 51.5 38.75
18 26 IM Rajesh V A V IND 2403 6.5 56.5 51.5 35.75
19 25 IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh.R IND 2412 6.5 56.0 51.0 37.25
20 19 IM Shyam Nikil P. IND 2444 6.5 56.0 51.0 36.75
21 24 IM Narayanan Srinath IND 2414 6.5 56.0 51.0 36.50
22 46   Krishna C.R.G. IND 2327 6.5 54.5 50.0 35.50
23 40 IM G. Akash IND 2345 6.5 53.0 49.5 33.50
24 66   Antonio Viani D'cunha IND 2253 6.5 52.5 48.5 33.25
25 38   Vignesh Nr IND 2354 6.5 52.5 47.5 35.75
26 27   Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan IND 2398 6.5 52.0 47.5 33.50
27 8 GM Papin Vasily RUS 2531 6.5 51.5 47.5 35.00
28 28 IM Karthikeyan P. IND 2397 6.5 51.5 47.0 33.50
29 73 WFM Kurbonboeva Sarvinoz UZB 2231 6.5 51.0 46.0 33.75
30 39 IM Kulkarni Vikramaditya IND 2352 6.5 50.0 45.5 33.75
31 141   Iniyan P IND 1989 6.5 49.5 45.0 33.25
32 36 FM Sai Krishna G.V. IND 2358 6.5 49.0 44.5 33.00
33 52   Sardana Rishi AUS 2316 6.5 48.5 44.0 32.50
34 42   Ravi Teja S. IND 2344 6.5 48.0 44.0 33.75
35 58 WGM Toma Katarzyna POL 2291 6.5 46.0 42.5 28.50

 

Part two, a pictorial report, will follow soon – with pictures of not only the top players, winners and norm achievers, but also from the beautiful and fast paced city of Mumbai.

All pictures for these reports were taken by Amruta Mokal, who is a not only an enthusiastic photographer but also a professional chess player with an Elo of 2043 and four WIM norms. Photography is her passion and she loves to cover tournaments, capturing various expressions and emotions of chess players so engrossed in the game. She is also the wife of the author of this article, Sagar Shah.


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Topics: India

Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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highwoltagemercurymind@gmail.com highwoltagemercurymind@gmail.com 6/20/2014 08:03
To know how well the event was organized just see this
http://www.mid-day.com/articles/organisers-checkmate-participants-of-intl-chess-event-with-poor-arrangements/15352199
http://www.mid-day.com/articles/this-cant-happen-in-vishy-anands-land-/15359157
subbigadu subbigadu 6/18/2014 11:30
Good job, sagar
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