Sasikirian, Lalith lead in India

by ChessBase
12/23/2013 – The Indian Chess Championship has started in the Jain Hills in Jalgoan, a city 400 km from Mumbai. The tournament features some of the strongest chess players in India, with the exception of Harikrishna and Anand. The hopefuls to the throne include Negi, Sasikirian, Adhiban and other strong grandmasters. At the half way mark, the leaders are crushing the event with 5.5/6. Pictorial report.

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After experimenting with the Swiss system, the Indian Premier Championship has gone back to the more trusted Round robin format, with only 14 players. Though it is not mandatory for the top four players of India to participate in the tournament, players participating here will get a bonus of 75 Elo points (for purposes of being selected to the national team) and many players may surpass the rating of GM Pentala  Harikrishna, who is not here. Though Sasikiran and Parimarjan Negi , the second youngest ever GM after Karjakin, are currently among the top four Indian players (Vishy Anand and Harikrishna are the other two), they decided to play it safe and their presence in the Indian Premier Championship has added charm and strength to the tournament.

Shri Ashok Jain, the sponsor watches GM Sasikiran answering to the inaugural move by GM Abhijit Kunte.

Faruk Shaik, organising secretary is to the left of Mr. Jain and chief arbiter Prof.R. Anantharam

Seven GMs (including Debashis Das, whose title was confirmed in the recent FIDE Congress at Chennai) and seven IMs, with an average of 2492 are the nuclei of the tournament. At the end of the sixth round of the 13 round tournament, second seeded, India’s Olympiad team captain Sasikiran and Commonwealth champion MR Lalith Babu have an astonishing 5.5 points and are demolishing their opponents one by one.
Top seed Negi (2671) is yet to find his form and is toiling on 2 points with four draws and two losses.  Former under 16 world champion GM B Adhiban is also on a roll, with 5 points, the sole player on third rank. Former Asian Junior champion GM Deepan Chakravarthy always performs well in the Indian Premier and this one is not an exception. He has 4.5 points to his credit and occupies fourth spot.

Parmarjan Negi, world's second youngest GM ever is yet to recover his form. He drew with IM Thejkumar MS,

champion of the qualifying tournament National Challengers

Is the monkey patiently waiting to witness the games near a mango tree?

There are about 50000 mango trees in the Jain Hills

Debashis Das (left) who got his GM title confirmed in the recent FIDE Congress, drew with IM Shyam Nikil

International master MS Thejkumar, the winner of the qualifying tournament, known as the National Challengers, has scored 3.5 points and is in fifth place. Both Sasikiran and Lalith Babu are yet to meet the cream of players in the top half and both may expect stiff resistance in the remaining seven games.
Every day the best game is selected by a panel of prominent GMs and IMs and Sasikiran’s game against IM GA Stany is worth mentioning.

GM Sasikiran, India's most popular player after Anand is about to make his first move aginst GM in waiting Ashwin Jayaram

Former world Under 16 champion B Adhiban put an end to the hopes of IM Stany GA

GM Deepan Chakravarthy maintained his good form against IM Akshat Kamparia

GM VIshnu Prasanna defeated IM Rathnakaran K in the sisth round

IM G Akash lost to GM MR lalith Babu. the game is being watched by Mrs. Jyoti Ashok Jain, wife of the sponsor.

It is a unique experience for the players to play at the Jain Hills, Jalgoan, a city about 400 KMs from Mumbai in Maharashtra state. Fresh and unpolluted air, ambient climate and green plants everywhere together with sumptuous food would have definitely enhanced the performance of the players. Monkeys coming in group come to a small pond regularly to drink water. Besides, peacocks and deer are also common. The only sound we always hear is the pleasant chirping of birds, but in the night, we have to be very cautious due to the movement of snakes.

A peacock near the tournament hall

Bad moves are not the only thing these players have to be careful of...

A monkey in thought whether to wear the helmet or not

Finally, it decides safety should always come first

The sponsor, Mr. Ashok Jain, President of Maharashtra Chess Association and Vice Chairman of Jain Groups, a multimillion conglomeration of industries, mainly oriented towards high tech farming, is a keen chess enthusiast.
The world famous caves of Ajantha, a heritage spot is just 50 KMs away from here. Ajanta caves date back to 100 BC and they have the most exquisite detailed carvings out of solid rock. The paintings and sculptures depict the life of Buddha as well as provide a panorama of life in ancient India.

Marvellous architecture of the Ajanta caves

Amazing rocky pillars with Lord Buddha at the centre in a cave

Here is an interesting game between GM Lalith Babu and GM Vishnu Prasanna in the fourth round.

[Event "Indian Premier Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.12.20"] [Round "4"] [White "Vishnu, Prasanna"] [Black "Lalith, Bbu M.R."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E09"] [WhiteElo "2523"] [BlackElo "2569"] [Annotator "Sagar Sha"] [PlyCount "119"] [SourceDate "2013.12.23"] 1. Nf3 {After his not so good start, i think all that Vishnu wanted was a game in which he wouldn't blunder and maybe that explains his choice of playing 1. Nf3. However this turned out to be a clever ploy and Lalith was forced into a variation he has never played before.} Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Nbd7 4. c4 e6 5. O-O Be7 6. d4 O-O 7. Qc2 c6 8. Nbd2 b6 9. e4 Bb7 10. e5 Ne8 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Re1 Rc8 13. Qa4 a6 14. Nf1 b5 15. Qd1 Nb6 16. h4 h6 17. N3h2 Qc7 18. Qg4 Kh8 19. Ne3 Nc4 20. Bf1 f5 21. Qe2 Bb4 22. Rd1 Nxe3 23. Bxe3 Qf7 24. Nf3 Qh5 25. Ne1 Qxe2 26. Bxe2 Be7 27. h5 Kg8 28. Nd3 Kf7 29. Rdc1 Nc7 30. Nc5 Bc6 31. Rc2 Bxc5 32. Rxc5 {The main trump for Vishnu was his space advantage. As Lalith desperately tried to exchange pieces in order to breathe, Vishnu added another advantage of double bishops in his bag. It seemed like a game that would be annotated by Aagaard in his book on endgame technique under the chapter "power of two bishops."} Na8 33. Rac1 Bd7 34. Bd2 Rxc5 35. Rxc5 Rc8 36. Rxc8 Bxc8 37. f3 Nb6 38. b3 Nd7 39. Kf2 Nb8 40. Bb4 Nc6 41. Bc5 Bd7 42. Ke3 Be8 43. Bd3 Kg8 44. g4 fxg4 45. fxg4 g6 46. Be2 gxh5 47. gxh5 Kg7 48. Kd2 Kf7 49. Kc3 Bd7 50. Bd3 Kg7 51. Kb2 Be8 52. Be2 Bd7 53. a4 bxa4 54. b4 Nb8 55. Bd6 {As things turned out, I think Aagaard or Dvoretsky would still analyse this game but now from the point of view of the most original endgame defence ever seen! Lalith sacrificed an entire piece for just a pawn in the endgame and set up a fortress which just couldn't be breached!} Bb5 $1 56. Bxb5 axb5 57. Bxb8 Kf7 58. Bd6 Ke8 59. Bc5 Kf7 60. Bd6 {Vishnu must have been stunned for a while to see that his bishop is useless and that his king has absolutely no point of entry. After the game Lalith said this idea of fortress was always there in his mind for many moves! Now that's what I call tenacious defense and some brilliant imaginative thinking!} 1/2-1/2


Rk.   Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pts.
1 GM Sasikiran Krishnan *         1 1   ½   1 1 1   5.5
2 GM Lalith Babu M.R.   *     1   ½   1 1     1 1 5.5
3 GM Adhiban B.     *       1   1 ½ 1   1 ½ 5.0
4 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J.       *     ½   ½ 1 1 1 ½   4.5
5 IM Thejkumar M. S.   0     *   ½ 1 ½ ½       1 3.5
6 IM Ashwin Jayaram 0         *   1 ½   ½ 1 ½   3.5
7 GM Vishnu Prasanna. V 0 ½ 0 ½ ½   *             1 2.5
8 IM Debashis Das         0 0   *   ½ ½ ½   1 2.5
9 GM Negi Parimarjan ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½     *           2.0
10 IM Shyam Nikil P.   0 ½ 0 ½     ½   *       ½ 2.0
11 IM Stany G.A. 0   0 0   ½   ½     * 1     2.0
12 IM Akshat Khamparia 0     0   0   ½     0 * 1   1.5
13 IM G. Akash 0 0 0 ½   ½           0 *   1.0
14 IM Rathnakaran K.   0 ½   0   0 0   ½       * 1.0

Replay games from the first six rounds

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Pictures and report by:

R. Anantharam IA, Chief Arbiter
Asst. secretary, Qualification Commission, FIDE
Member, SPP Commission, FIDE

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