World Youth Rd 8: Pragg beats Iniyan

by Sagar Shah
10/10/2019 – In Mumbai, Praggnanandhaa beat Iniyan to join Aryan Gholami in the lead in under-18 open section. Hans Niemann is unstoppable in the under-16 open. The American chalked up yet another victory. Shuvalova maintains her lead in under-18 girls, while there is very little to choose between Nurgali and Garifullina who are both winning their games in girls under-16. IM SAGAR SHAH reports. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Chess Player's Mating Guide Vol. 1: The King in the Centre The Chess Player's Mating Guide Vol. 1: The King in the Centre

One of the first lessons you learn in chess is to bring your king into safety by castling – be it on the kingside or the queenside - after having developed your minor pieces. By ignoring this rule of thumb, not only may your king end up in trouble, but your other pieces and in particular, your rooks, may never end up playing much of a role, and before you know it, things are looking grim. Even at the highest level, the consequences of neglecting this basic element of opening theory has been frequently underestimated. In this first volume of the new Mating Guide series, the emphasis will be on how to exploit a vulnerably placed king in the centre. A must-have for ambitious chess players who want to improve their own attacking skills.


Abinandhan unstoppable in under-14 open

The eighth round of the World Youth 2019 was a critical one. Some of the leaders are not letting go of their grip on the top spots, while others find motivated players nipping on their heels following back-to-back wins. Abinandhan is one of those who continued with yet another win. The 1830-rated youngster now has a performance rating of 2598. When he reached 6.0/7, everyone felt that it was a good performance, but he would not be able to keep it up. Well, he has a made a good start after the rest day and beat his compatriot Srihari LR (2283) with the black pieces in the Tartakower QGD. 

Srihari was unable to match Abinandhan's cool and calm play | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Srihari launched an attack with 8.g4 but Abinandhan met it calmly by just playing 8...e4


Just to give you an example of how well this youngster is calculating: he took on c4 in this position. Now 12.gxh6 is met with 12...♞xc3 13.bxc3 and ♛f6! with pressure on f3 and also threatening to take on h6 with the queen, keeping the structure intact. If after 12...♛f6, White were to play 13.hxg7 then 13....♝xf3 allowing White to take on f8 with a check, as after 15...♚xf8, he will win the rook on h1 and be an entire piece up! Fascinating calculation and judgement by an 1800-rated player.


The knight on d4 is firmly cemented. Black is a pawn up and also the pawn on f2 and h4 are weak. The position is completely lost and Abinandhan converted without any difficulties.


Final moments of Abinandhan's victory over Srihari LR

Interviewing Abinandhan for the secret to his fantastic performance

There was one thing that Abinandhan revealed — he solved Jacob Aagaard's book on calculation before the event. 

For his excellent opening play and also accurate handling of the attack Abinandhan wins the best game of the day award from ChessBase | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Quite a huge blunder occurred on board three of the under-14 open section. Sreeshwan Maralakshikari, who is the top seed, was completely dominating his game against Vo Pham Thien Phuc.


In this position Sreeshwan played the very pretty 27.♕g7+! After 27...xg7 28.hxg7+ g8 29.h8+ f7, we reach the next critical position of the game. 


Sreeshwan, who had 25 minutes, on his clock, hurriedly took the queen on e8. Instead, he had a mate in four move which he missed! Can you spot it?

In this video you get to see this critical moment of the game and also we tell you what Sreeshwan missed!


Under-14 open standings after round 8


Under-14 girls — Still a three-way tie at the top

The under-14 girls section is going to be closely fought. After eight rounds we have three leaders, all from different countries. Eline Roebers from the Netherlands, Rakshitta Ravi from India and Ekaterina Nasyrova from Russia.

The top board clash between Rakshitta Ravi and Ekaterina Nasyrova ended in a draw | Photo: Amruta Mokal

For her debut at World Youth Championships, Eline Roebers is doing exceedingly well | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The top seed of the event Divya Deshmukh slumped to a painful defeat against her compatriot the new National under-13 girls champion Sarayu Velpula who was rated 600 points below her

Sarayu Velpula talks about her game


Under-14 girls standings after round 8


Niemann's bold and creative play continues in Under-16 open

After beating his top competitor Rudik Makarian in round seven, Hans Niemann was up against Miguel Angel Soto of Colombia. It was a complex opening where the Colombian looked better prepared. But Hans was confident about his play, sacrificed material without much care, and built up a strong winning attack.

Hans Niemann got the better of Miguel Angel Soto in round 8 of the under-16 open | Photo: Amruta Mokal 


White has moved his knight to f5 and this line has scored pretty well for White in the past. You must note that because the e6 pawn is pinned, the d5 knight is also hanging. Niemann was unperturbed. He played 10...♛c7 allowing White to pick up the knight.


The American IM had prepared 11...0-0-0 here! 


Material was the last thing on Niemann's mind in this game!


Hans Niemann will now take on India's Aronyak Ghosh in round 9 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Rudik Makarian came back strongly in round 8 to beat Olexiy Bilych | Photo: Amruta Mokal

He is in sole second position with 6½/8.

Under-16 open standings after round 8


Two way race - Nurgali or Garifullina

Ever since Garifullina missed her chance to beat Nurgali in round five, the Kazakh girl has been playing excellent chess. In round 8 she beat Romanian Alessia-Mihaela Ciolacu. The end was especially picturesque.

Nurgali Nazerke got the better of her Romanian opponent in round 8 | Photo: Amruta Mokal


White to move and win! 


A picturesque move! The bishop cannot take the pawn as 52.♕e1 would be a mate. The queen cannot take the pawn as 52.♕h5 would be a mate! All that Black could do was resign.

Who do you think will come out on top — Garifullina or Nurgali? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under-16 girls standings after round 8


Under-18 open: Pragg joins Gholami at the top

After two draws in a row with black pieces, it was time for Praggnanandhaa to fire with the white pieces. His opponent was by no means an easy one. P Iniyan with an Elo of 2509 is already a grandmaster. It was a psychological battle where both players knew each others strengths and weaknesses very well. When Pragg opened the game with 1.e4, he expected Iniyan to play his usual Sicilian Defence. However, the GM from Erode, decided to go for 1...d6. After a few moves, Pragg was already in driver's seat with dominating knight on e5 square.


The knight on e5 dominates the entire board. The bishop on c8 and the rook on a8 are just spectators!

The tournament director Mr. Ravindra Dongre checks out the proceedings between of India's best players at the event | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The final moments of the tense game


Aryan Gholami was held to a draw by Mitrabha Guha | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under-18 open standings after round 8


Can anyone stop Shuvalova in under-18 girls?

Shuvalova drew her game against Vantika, but she is still the leader by a half point margin | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Vantika shows how she managed to escape from the claws of her strong Russian opponent!

The game between Anna Afonasieva (left) and Lara Schulze ended in a draw | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under-18 girls standings after round 8


The chief arbiter of the event — Takis Nikolopoulos | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Some parents are worried before the round... | Photo: Amruta Mokal

...while some other parents are relaxed | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Russians having a nice before the round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The well known journalist of 'The Hindu' Rakesh Rao has been covering this event with great enthusiasm | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Cranberry or Rood fruit. What's your favourite flavour? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The importance of sports psychology in chess

Janki Rajapurkar was the guest speaker on October 9th for the workshops that are held for the parents and coaches present at the World Youth 2019. Her topic was the importance of psychology for chess players.

Janki Rajapurkar is the co-founder of Samiksha, India's first sports psychology firm | Photo: Amruta Mokal

She is also a Ph.D holder in Sports psychology.

A lot of parents and coaches sat through the session with rapt attention! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The entire talk by Janki Rajapurkar

U14 open


U14 girls


U16 open 


U16 girls 


U18 open 


U18 girls 



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. 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 and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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