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IM S. Nitin on the art of making a comeback

by Sagar Shah - 07 May 2017

Every chess player comes to a tournament with a clean slate and ambitions to win it with a 100% score. However, the moment you sit down at the board mistakes and blunders happen, and the clean slate is tarnished with losses and bad memories. At the 6th BRDCA tournament in Bangalore, top seed IM S. Nitin lost his fourth round game in a highly depressing manner. But like a true champion he scored five consecutive wins to take the title with 8.0/9! Learn the art of making a comeback.

S. Nitin wins 6th BRDCA International Open

The 6th BRDCA Open 2017 was held in Hotel City Centaur, Bangalore from the 27th of April to 1st of May. 279 players took part in the event with seven International Masters trying to claim the top prize of Rs.80,000 and the total prize fund of Rs.6,00,000. 

Final standings after round 9 at the 6th BRDCA Open:

1 1 IM Nitin S.     IND 2432 TN 8,0 0,0 50,0 44,5 48,00 42,5
2 15   Senthil Maran K     IND 2111 TN 7,5 0,0 52,0 47,5 46,00 44,5
3 7   Sammed Jaykumar Shete     IND 2263 Mah 7,5 0,0 51,5 46,0 44,25 43,5
4 3   Saravana Krishnan P.     IND 2347 TN 7,5 0,0 50,5 45,0 44,50 43,0
5 9   Sekar B     IND 2225 TN 7,5 0,0 48,0 43,0 41,75 40,5
6 6 IM Praveen Kumar C     IND 2294 TN 7,5 0,0 47,5 42,5 43,00 40,0
7 4   Harikrishnan.A.Ra U16   IND 2305 TN 7,0 0,0 52,0 47,0 42,50 44,5
8 25   Gavi Siddayya     IND 1894 Kar 7,0 0,0 48,5 44,0 38,75 41,0
9 46   Sanjay Sindhia Mh     IND 1735 Kar 7,0 0,0 47,0 43,0 36,50 39,5
10 5   Gahan M G     IND 2304 Kar 7,0 0,0 47,0 42,5 37,00 39,5
11 17 FM Purushothaman Thirumalai     IND 2007 AP 7,0 0,0 45,5 40,5 37,50 38,5
12 23   Raghavendra V.     IND 1939 Kar 7,0 0,0 44,5 39,5 37,50 38,5
13 41   Mythireyan P     IND 1773 TN 7,0 0,0 44,5 39,5 36,50 38,0
14 28   Nikhil M     IND 1863 AP 7,0 0,0 40,5 36,5 34,00 34,5

When you see the final standings of any tournament, you see the players who finished at the top. You look at their scores and try to figure out whether it was a close contest or someone had run away with the title. Looking closely at the final standings of the 6th BRDCA International 2017 will give you an impression that everything was under control. The top seed of the tournament IM S. Nitin, finished half a point ahead of of the pack.

IM S. Nitin scored half a point more than his rivals and with 8.0/9 took home the winner's trophy and Rs.80,000

You would be completely wrong if you said that Nitin waltzed through to the finish line. "My fourth round loss was just so horrible", says Nitin after the tournament. "I am still amazed as to how I could lose such a winning position!" We asked Nitin to mail us that game and after some persuasion, he did send us!

[Event "BRDCA Bangaore Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.04.28"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Nitin, S."]
[Black "Marthandan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B43"]
[WhiteElo "2432"]
[BlackElo "1989"]
[Annotator "Sagar,Shah"]
[PlyCount "88"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 {As far as I
remember Be3 was not considered a great move against the Sicilian Kan.} Nf6 (
6... Bb4 $1 {Might have been an interesting option. The point being} 7. Qd3 Nf6
{Threatening Nxe4.} 8. f3 d5 $11 {And Black has already more than equalized.})
7. Qf3 Bb4 8. Nde2 Nc6 (8... d5 $5 9. O-O-O $1 dxe4 10. Nxe4 {seems like a
good position for White.}) 9. O-O-O b5 10. g4 Ne5 11. Qg3 (11. Qg2 {was better.
}) 11... Bb7 $1 (11... Nexg4 12. Qxc7 $18) (11... Nfxg4 12. Bd4 $1 $16) 12. f3
d6 13. g5 Nfd7 14. a3 Ba5 15. Bd4 Nc4 $2 (15... O-O 16. f4 Nc4 $11) 16. f4 (16.
Bxg7 $1 Rg8 17. Bd4 Nxa3 18. bxa3 e5 19. f4 exd4 20. Nd5 Bxd5 21. exd5 {
White has a good position because the queen on g3 controls everything.}) 16...
e5 17. fxe5 dxe5 18. Bf2 f5 19. Bh3 $1 f4 20. Qg4 Nf8 21. Nd5 Qf7 22. Nec3 Bc8
23. Qf3 Bxh3 24. Qxh3 Ne6 25. Rhg1 $16 {White has a pleasant position now with
his strong knights.} O-O $2 26. g6 $1 {That seems like game over!} hxg6 27.
Rxg6 Bxc3 28. bxc3 $1 Nc7 29. Nf6+ $2 (29. Rdg1 {Just a simple build up would
have ended the game. Well the threat is the deadly Rh6!} Nxd5 30. Rh6 Qc7 31.
Qh5 $1 $18 {The finishing stroke!}) 29... Qxf6 30. Rxf6 Rxf6 31. Rd7 Ne6 {
White is still much better, but Black has good defensive chances.} 32. Qg4 Re8
33. h4 Rf7 34. Rd5 f3 $1 {Making way for the knight to come to f4.} 35. Rd3 Nf4
36. Rxf3 Rd8 37. Rg3 Rd2 38. Be1 $2 (38. Qc8+ Kh7 39. Qxc4 bxc4 40. Kxd2 $11 {
It could have been a good idea to just wriggle out from the mess and take a
draw.}) 38... Ne2+ $1 39. Kb1 Rd1+ 40. Ka2 Nc1+ (40... Rxe1 {The threats of
Nc1 followed by a mate would have ended the game.} 41. h5 Nc1+ 42. Kb1 Nb3+ 43.
Ka2 Ra1+ 44. Kxb3 Rb1+ 45. Ka2 Rb2+ 46. Ka1 Rf1+ {and mates.}) 41. Kb1 (41. Ka1
Rxe1 42. Rg1 {was better but the position was lost anyway.}) 41... Rxe1 42. Rg1
Rxg1 43. Qxg1 Ne2 44. Qe1 Rf1 $1 {A complex game, but one where Nitin must
have been kicking himself for missing a simple opportunity to mate his
opponent.} 0-1

Marthandan kept his cool through the complications and won against the top seed (photo by Nitin Pai)

Losses like these can really affect your tournament. But an experienced player like Nitin knows better. Five rounds were left and there was everything to play for.

Speaking to ChessBase India, Nitin said, "It was quite disappointing to lose the fourth round game, but I was confident enough about getting through the coming rounds. I was able to win five games consecutively! There is always pain and heartbreaks about defeats but then there are also moments that banish all that hurt in one go. Such moment is winning this championship!"

 

After Nitin's worst game of the tournament, it is now time for his favourite one. The last round encounter with the young Sammed Shete. Sammed was on 7.5/8 and Nitin was half a point behind on 7. So it was a must win scenario with the black pieces.

[Event "BRDCA Bangaore Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.05.01"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Sammed Jayakumar, Shetty"]
[Black "Nitin, S."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B51"]
[WhiteElo "2263"]
[BlackElo "2432"]
[Annotator "Nitin.S"]
[PlyCount "48"]
{I needed a win to compete for the championship. My opponent was on 7.5 and I
was on 7. So it was a must win situation .} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 (2. c3 {Before the
round I was looking at this, he had played few games in this variation.}) 2...
d6 3. Bb5+ {I was not expecting this.} Nd7 4. O-O Ngf6 5. Re1 a6 6. Bd3 b5 7.
c4 g5 8. Nxg5 Ne5 9. Bf1 {This move I had not seen before. So, in the game I
tried to remember my analyses and was taking some time to figure it out.} bxc4
10. d4 cxd3 11. f4 {Till here he was blitzing out the moves.} Bg4 {here he
started to take his time. I was happy that I was out of his preparation.} 12.
Qd2 $6 (12. Qa4+ Qd7 (12... Bd7 13. Qd1 Bg4 $11) 13. Qxd7+ Nexd7 14. Bxd3 h6
15. Nf3 {slight edge for white}) (12. Qb3 Rb8) 12... Nc6 13. Qxd3 (13. Bxd3 $6
h6 14. Nf3 Bxf3 15. gxf3 Qd7 $15) 13... h6 14. Nf3 Rg8 15. Kh1 (15. Nbd2 e6 $13
) 15... e6 16. h3 Bxf3 17. Qxf3 Nd4 18. Qf2 $6 (18. Qd1 d5 {very much active
play for black}) 18... Be7 19. Nc3 $2 (19. Re3 Nh5 20. g3 Kd7 $15) 19... Nh5 $1
20. Be3 Bh4 21. Qd2 Bxe1 22. Rxe1 Qh4 23. b4 Ng3+ 24. Kh2 Nf3+ 0-1

A picturesque final position! White resigned, but can you see how the game ends if White continued gxf3?

With grim determination and self belief Nitin was able to win the championship

Nitin was naturally elated, "It's always good to play in Karnataka as it treats me well in every other tournament I play in this land. I am extremely happy to win this event with a score of 8.0/9. I am looking forward to win more such tournaments!"

The second place was won by Senthil Maran

Third place went to Sammed Shete

Top three places at the 6th BRDCA championship

Sethuraman on the art of coming back

Talking about come backs GM Sethuraman's latest post on his Facebook page was quite apt and worth of being reproduced here:

One thing to learn from both Nitin and Sethuraman and many other top players is that losses and bad moments in a tournament are inevitable. What counts is whether you can maintain your mental toughness and fight back! That's what differentiates the great players from the good ones.


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