Sharjah Masters 02: Surprises and nice finishes

by Albert Silver
3/25/2017 – The second round of the Sharjah Masters continued that early mix typical of Swiss opens: unexpected underdog wins or saves, and the strong steamrolling the weak(er). Of course, it says a lot about the event that even in round one, the ‘weak’ were almost 2500. Here is the illustrated report with great videos and analysis by Daniel King and the players.

Power Play 23: A Repertoire for black with the Queen's Gambit Declined Power Play 23: A Repertoire for black with the Queen's Gambit Declined

On this DVD Grandmaster Daniel King offers you a repertoire for Black with the QGD. The repertoire is demonstrated in 10 stem games, covering all White's major systems: 5 Bg5, 5 Bf4, and the Exchange Variation.


All photos by Maria Emelianova

There isn’t really a lot to say so early in the event, especially a Swiss Open. At least, as far as leaders and standings are concerned. The upside for those following the event live or via the reports, is that with so many strong players, there is bound to be a glut of cool games, finishes, and positions. GM Daniel King is on site, brining daily highlights, as well as select games with some of the players. Of note is that the choices aren’t always the obvious ‘big names’, but bring in some surprise winners, as well as some interesting games that tickled his fancy, and thus shares with readers and viewers.

Daniel King shows Highlights of Round 2

In round two Daniel King selects a handful of excerpts and finishes, all worth the price of entry, including a lovely study-like finish by Naiditsch.

Spanish GM David Anton Guijarro will try to repeat his incredible success at the Gibraltar Masters earlier this year, where it came down to a playoff between him and Hikaru Nakamura.

Gawain Jones, who won the Wijk aan Zee Challengers in January, qualifying for the main event next year, greets Indian IM Srinath Naranyan, who recently authored the excellent piece on Petrosian. Jones was in great form, and won his game in instructive fashion. Be sure to see the finish in the Highlights video above.

Arkaidij Naiditsch, now playing for Azerbaijan, had to face another prebuscent prodigy in round two. After being held to a draw by 11-year-old IM Praggnanandha, he faced...

... 12-year-old Nihal Sarin. Sarin who willl soon be receiving the IM title, having fullfilled all the requirements, gave the 2700 grandmaster a very hard time, and it was only at the last minute that Naiditsch got his chance. However, the finish was an absolute gem, worth a study, and is also in the Highlights video above.

Ishaq Saeed vs Alexandr Fier

The young player Ishaq Saeed, rated a modest 2312 (modest compared to the brutally strong field that is), defeated grandmaster Alexandr Fier, rated over 250 more, and shares his views in fluent English and a very humble but friendly demeanor.

Top seed Radoslaw Wojtaszek had been held to a draw in round one by...

... GM Valeriy Neverov from Ukraine (see what we mean by 'weak' opening round opponents?). In round two, he faced 24-year-old IM Pascua from the Philippines.

In fact, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the organizers on their exceptionally good Twitter feed. There was a concern before the event on the availability of material, and much richer events have fallen flat on their faces when it came to promoting their competitions with the wider public. Not only are they providing a nice flow of photos and players, but they add tidbits to give the faces a true identity. Here is another example:

Not least of course, are the generous galleries of photos by Maria Emelianova, without which all reports would be much the poorer.

Karthikeyan vs Wang Hao

Daniel King and Wang hao analyze the nice win by the Chinese player over the reigning Indian Champion

GM Martin Kravtsiv from Ukraine showed he was ready to do battle in even the most treacherous theoretical mazes

Martin Kravtsiv vs Viani Antonio - Dragon Madness


Two words can sum up this game and video: Dragon madness. Viani Antonio is once more the topic of one of Daniel King's chosen games of the day, but this time he was on the receiving end. He plays the relatively unknown Martin Kravtsiv, a strong GM from Ukraine rated 2641, who came armed to the teeth as he had known Black played almost exclusively the Sicilian Dragon. The Ukrainian did not shy away and shares his preparation with the viewers.

11-year-old Jakovhir Sindarov, rated 2374, is another player to watch out for. The Uzbeki player was dead lost against Hungarian grandmaster Benjamin Gledura, but all it took was one slip and the junior escaped witha perpetual.

Untitled Chinese player Xu Yinglun comes in with a very hefty 2540 FIDE rating

Watch the games live on the Live Replayer




Feel free to navigate through the games, use the embedded engine to analyze, and of course analyze any move directly on the board. Webmasters of any site can embed this by using the simple code here.


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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