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Blitz day one: Indians sizzle at the start, fizzle towards the end!

by Sagar Shah - 30 December 2016

The World Blitz Championships is a 21 round event with a time control of 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment. The day started excellently for almost all of the Indian players as they defeated one higher rated player after another. However, soon they were out of steam and pushed back. Harika was the best performer in the women's section. Anand with 7.5/12 lead the Indian pack in open followed by Ganguly and Lalith. We also teach you a very potent system against the King's Indian Defence. Check out the illustrated report.

Photos by Maria Emelianova

 

It was quite unexpected that Vassily Ivanchuk won the World Rapid title. However, nothing unexpected happened on the first day of the Blitz Championships 2016. Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen dominated the field and are currently leading with 10.0/12. The next pack of four players are 1.5 points behind them on 8.5/12. In blitz things change pretty quickly. The main reason being, there is hardly any time to recover. Once you start losing, it is quite possible that you would lose 3-4 games in a row and instead of being a leader, end up in the chaser's pack.

 

This is exactly what happened with Harika Dronavalli. She started off with a bang - 6.0/6. 1.5 points ahead of the rest of the field. She had beaten strong opponents like Kashlinskaya, Khademalsharieh, Ju Wenjun, Javakhishvili, Stefanova and Tan Zhongyi. She seemed untouchable. However, one slip against Kosteniuk, resulted in another defeat against Anna Muzychuk. And at the end of day one she was one point behind the leader with 6.5/9.

Although the end wasn't the best, 6.0/6 in such a strong field is a phenomenal feat

Harika - Khademalsharieh

In Blitz it helps if you have brushed up on your basic tactics. White to play and win.

In some games luck was also flowing Harika's way. From completely lost positions, she would come out unscathed. Take for example this one:

 

Harika - Javakhishvili

In a position that's completely winning, Lela played ...Rc1. She forgot that the queen on g5 controlled that square and lost the game.

A variation against Fianchetto KID

This particular setup of the King's Indian yielded Harika three wins. The logic is pretty clear. White takes space, but has holes in his position. This requires careful play. Black on the other hand has less space, but is compact and always looking out for some tactical opportunity. Just the kind of opening you want to play in Blitz.

 

This opening is a big speciality of Surya Shekhar Ganguly. It is quite possible that he has taught Harika the finer nuances of this system. Anyway, have a look at these three games and decide whether you would like to include this opening variation in your repertoire. For further study I would recommend checking the games of Ganguly (14 of them in Mega-Database 2017) and also two classics by David Bronstein - Zita vs Bronstein and Panno vs Bronstein.

[Event "World Blitz Women 2016"]
[Site "Doha QAT"]
[Date "2016.12.29"]
[Round "1.10"]
[White "Kashlinskaya, Alina"]
[Black "Harika, Dronavalli"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E68"]
[WhiteElo "2429"]
[BlackElo "2543"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[EventDate "2016.12.29"]
[EventType "blitz"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. Nc3 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. e4
exd4 9. Nxd4 Nc5 10. h3 Re8 11. Re1 Bd7 12. b3 a5 13. Bb2 h5 14. f4 Nh7 15. Qd2
a4 16. Rad1 axb3 17. axb3 c6 18. Qc2 Qb6 19. Kh2 h4 20. gxh4 Nf6 21. Nf3 Nh5
22. Rxd6 Nxf4 23. Qf2 Qxb3 24. Qxc5 Qxb2 25. Rg1 Qxc3 26. Rxd7 Ra2 27. e5 Qxf3
28. Qd4 Qxh3# 0-1

 

[Event "World Blitz Women 2016"]
[Site "Doha QAT"]
[Date "2016.12.29"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Ju, Wenjun"]
[Black "Harika, Dronavalli"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E68"]
[WhiteElo "2579"]
[BlackElo "2543"]
[PlyCount "94"]
[EventDate "2016.12.29"]
[EventType "blitz"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. e4
exd4 9. Nxd4 Nc5 10. h3 Re8 11. Re1 Bd7 12. b3 a5 13. a4 h5 14. Bf4 h4 15. gxh4
Nh5 16. Bg5 Qc8 17. Nd5 Bxh3 18. Bf3 Qd7 19. Rb1 Be6 20. Bxh5 Bxd5 21. cxd5
gxh5 22. Nf5 Rxe4 23. Rxe4 Nxe4 24. Nxg7 Nxg5 25. Nxh5 Nh3+ 26. Kh2 Qf5 27. Qe2
Qxf2+ 28. Qxf2 Nxf2 29. Rc1 Rc8 30. Nf6+ Kf8 31. Kg3 Nd3 32. Rc3 Nc5 33. Kf4 c6
34. h5 cxd5 35. Nxd5 Ne6+ 36. Ke4 Rxc3 37. Nxc3 Nc5+ 38. Kd5 Nxb3 39. Kxd6 Kg7
40. Kc7 f5 41. Kxb7 f4 42. Kb6 f3 43. Ne4 Kh6 44. Ng3 f2 45. Kb5 Kg5 46. Kc4
Nd2+ 47. Kd3 Kf4 0-1

 

[Event "World Blitz Women 2016"]
[Site "Doha QAT"]
[Date "2016.12.29"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Tan, Zhongyi"]
[Black "Harika, Dronavalli"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E68"]
[WhiteElo "2496"]
[BlackElo "2543"]
[Annotator "SHAH,SAGAR"]
[PlyCount "94"]
[EventDate "2016.12.29"]
[EventType "blitz"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Nbd7 7. Nc3 e5 8. e4
exd4 9. Nxd4 Nc5 10. h3 Re8 11. Re1 Bd7 12. Bf4 h6 13. Nb3 Na4 14. Nxa4 Bxa4
15. Qc1 Kh7 16. Nd2 Bc6 17. Qc2 Nd7 18. Rad1 a5 19. b3 Nc5 20. Be3 b6 21. f3
Qc8 22. Kh2 h5 23. h4 Qb7 24. Bg1 Na6 25. Nb1 a4 26. Nc3 Nb4 27. Qd2 axb3 28.
axb3 Na6 29. Nd5 Bxd5 30. cxd5 Nc5 31. b4 Nd7 32. Rc1 b5 33. Rc2 Ne5 34. Qe2
Ra4 35. Rec1 Re7 36. Qd2 Ra3 37. f4 Ng4+ 38. Kh1 Rxg3 39. Qe1 Ra3 40. e5 Qb8
41. Qd2 dxe5 42. f5 Bh6 43. fxg6+ fxg6 44. Qe2 Bxc1 45. Rxc1 Rf7 46. Be4 Qd8
47. Qe1 Rf4 0-1

Humpy started the day with 0.5/2, but then picked up speed and scored 5.5/6. She lost the last round to Kosteniuk, but keeps her medal chances alive with 6.0/9.

The first round of the second day will witness Harika versus Humpy. It will be fun to follow this encounter! As of now with 6.5/9 for Harika and 6.0/9 for Humpy, both the girls have a chance of winning a medal.

Alexandra Kosteniuk with her husband Pavel Tregubov. Kosteniuk leads in the women's section with 7.5/9

Standings after nine rounds

Rg. Snr   Name Country Elo Pts  TB1  K rtg+/-
1 12 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra RUS 2500 7,5 2476 20 48,2
2 5 GM Ju Wenjun CHN 2571 7,0 2486 20 26,4
3 10 GM Harika Dronavalli IND 2501 6,5 2526 20 40,2
4 2 GM Lagno Kateryna RUS 2641 6,5 2458 20 -3,0
5 1 GM Muzychuk Anna UKR 2645 6,5 2446 20 -7,0
6 6 WGM Tan Zhongyi CHN 2552 6,0 2466 20 6,4
7 9 GM Koneru Humpy IND 2502 6,0 2424 20 6,2
8 27 IM Kashlinskaya Alina RUS 2286 5,5 2455 20 56,0
9 14 IM Arabidze Meri GEO 2445 5,5 2415 20 6,8
10 21 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra RUS 2371 5,0 2510 20 35,6
11 8 GM Zhao Xue CHN 2526 5,0 2455 20 -10,6
12 3 GM Gunina Valentina RUS 2605 5,0 2454 20 -27,2
13 20 IM Charochkina Daria RUS 2375 5,0 2418 20 13,2
14 15 IM Gaponenko Inna UKR 2414 5,0 2353 20 -11,2

Open section standings after 12 rounds

Rg. Name Pts  TB1 
1 Karjakin Sergey 10,0 2740
2 Carlsen Magnus 10,0 2706
3 Dubov Daniil 8,5 2740
4 Morozevich Alexander 8,5 2710
5 Bosiocic Marin 8,5 2673
6 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 8,5 2649
7 Salem A.R. Saleh 8,0 2792
8 Dominguez Perez Leinier 8,0 2705
9 Yu Yangyi 8,0 2704
10 Jobava Baadur 8,0 2682
11 Nakamura Hikaru 8,0 2661
12 Ivanchuk Vassily 8,0 2647
13 Dreev Aleksey 7,5 2712
14 Anand Viswanathan 7,5 2675
15 Nepomniachtchi Ian 7,5 2674
16 Wojtaszek Radoslaw 7,5 2672
17 Grischuk Alexander 7,5 2664
18 Radjabov Teimour 7,5 2656
19 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 7,5 2640
20 Leko Peter 7,5 2624
21 Aronian Levon 7,5 2611

The game between Magnus and Karjakin was perhaps the most eagerly awaited encounter. The Challenger was able to inflict a defeat to the World Champion. Notice the rook blunder by Magnus in the game below:
[Event "World Blitz 2016"]
[Site "Doha QAT"]
[Date "2016.12.29"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2840"]
[BlackElo "2785"]
[PlyCount "194"]
[EventDate "2016.12.29"]
[EventType "blitz"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. O-O e5 5. d3 d5 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Nfd2 Ng8 8.
Bxe7 Ngxe7 9. c4 Be6 10. Nc3 O-O 11. a3 Rc8 12. b4 cxb4 13. axb4 Nxb4 14. Rxa7
dxc4 15. Nxc4 Bxc4 16. dxc4 Rxc4 17. Qb3 Qd4 18. Nb5 Qc5 19. Rxb7 Nec6 20. e3
$4 {A very horrible move by Magnus that loses an entire rook.} Na5 $1 21. Qxc4
Qxc4 22. Nd6 Qe6 23. Rxb4 Qxd6 24. Rb5 Nc4 25. Rc1 Nb6 26. Rbc5 g6 27. h4 Kg7
28. Rc7 Rd8 29. R7c6 Qd2 30. R6c2 Qb4 31. Bf3 Rd2 32. Kg2 Rxc2 33. Rxc2 Nc4 34.
Bd5 Nd6 35. Rc6 Kf6 36. Kg1 Ke7 37. Rc7+ Kd8 38. Rc6 Kd7 39. Ra6 Qc5 40. Bf3 e4
41. Be2 Nf5 42. Kg2 Ke7 43. Ra4 Qd5 44. Kg1 Kf8 45. Bf1 Nd6 46. Rd4 Qe5 47. Bg2
f5 48. Bf1 h6 49. Ra4 g5 50. hxg5 hxg5 51. Bg2 f4 52. gxf4 gxf4 53. exf4 Qxf4
54. Rd4 Qe5 55. Rd1 e3 56. fxe3 Qxe3+ 57. Kh1 Ke7 58. Rf1 Qe5 59. Rf3 Nf5 60.
Kg1 Nh4 61. Rf2 Qe1+ 62. Bf1 Qe3 63. Bg2 Nf5 64. Bf3 Nd4 65. Kg2 Kd6 66. Bg4
Qe4+ 67. Kg3 Ke5 68. Kh3 Qh1+ 69. Kg3 Qg1+ 70. Rg2 Qe3+ 71. Kh2 Kf4 72. Bd1
Nf3+ 73. Bxf3 Qxf3 74. Kg1 Qd1+ 75. Kf2 Qd4+ 76. Ke2 Qe4+ 77. Kf1 Kf3 78. Rf2+
Kg3 79. Rd2 Kf3 80. Rf2+ Kg3 81. Rd2 Qb1+ 82. Ke2 Qe4+ 83. Kf1 Qc4+ 84. Ke1 Kf3
85. Kd1 Ke3 86. Rb2 Qa4+ 87. Kc1 Kd3 88. Kb1 Qd1+ 89. Ka2 Kc3 90. Rh2 Qa4+ 91.
Kb1 Qb5+ 92. Ka1 Qf1+ 93. Ka2 Qf7+ 94. Kb1 Qg6+ 95. Ka2 Qa6+ 96. Kb1 Qb6+ 97.
Ka2 Qa7+ 0-1

For the Indian fans Vidit versus Anand was an exciting match-up. It was a hard-fought Caro Kann which ended in a draw
[Event "World Blitz 2016"]
[Site "Doha QAT"]
[Date "2016.12.29"]
[Round "3.7"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2779"]
[BlackElo "2689"]
[PlyCount "105"]
[EventDate "2016.12.29"]
[EventType "blitz"]
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h5 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Qxd3 Qa5+ 7. c3 e6 8. Ne2
Qa6 9. Qf3 c5 10. O-O Nc6 11. Rd1 Nge7 12. Ng3 g6 13. Na3 Nf5 14. Nxf5 gxf5 15.
Nc2 Be7 16. g3 O-O-O 17. Ne1 Rdg8 18. Ng2 Rg4 19. Bf4 Kb8 20. Kh2 Rg6 21. a3
cxd4 22. cxd4 Qb6 23. Qc3 Na5 24. Rac1 Rgg8 25. Ne3 Rc8 26. Qd2 Rxc1 27. Qxc1
Rc8 28. Qd2 Qb5 29. b4 Nc6 30. Ng2 {At this point I would prefer Black's
position but the objective evaluation is somewhere around equal.} a5 31. Bg5
axb4 32. Bxe7 Nxe7 33. axb4 Ng6 34. Ne3 f4 35. Ng2 f3 36. Ne1 Qe2 37. Qxe2 fxe2
38. Rd2 Rc4 39. Kg2 Ne7 40. Nf3 Nf5 41. Rxe2 Nxd4 42. Nxd4 Rxd4 43. Re3 Rxb4
44. Rf3 Rc4 45. Rxf7 b5 46. Rf6 Rc6 47. g4 hxg4 48. h5 Kb7 49. h6 Rc7 50. Kg3
b4 51. Rf4 Rh7 52. Rxb4+ Kc6 53. Kxg4 1/2-1/2

 

What is the best way to become a friend with a player you admire? Improve your game, play well against him and you are friends (enemies if you beat him!) for a lifetime!

Anand as always was very solid on day one. He lost two games to Morozevich and Dubov, but scored wins against strong opponents like Wei Yi, Matlakov and Jakovenko. With 7.5/12, he is currently on the 14th position.

 

Vidit carried forward his form of the Rapid as he beat Onischuk, Moiseenko at the start followed by draws against Anand and Nakamura. However, that's where the fun ended. He lost four games in a row! Talk about the domino effect! He ended the day on 5.5/12.

 

Ganguly's performance was perhaps the most impressive. He beat Melkumyan, Matlakov, Wojtaszek and Howell. With five draws against strong opponents, he is currently on 6.5/12 and gaining 60 Elo points.

 

Debashis Das started the day on fire. He scored 3.5/5 with two wins and three draws. But then he lost six games in a row! Unbelievable! Credit goes to him that he didn't give up until the end and won the last round to end day one with 4.5/12.

 

Lalith Babu beats players like Kozul and Zhigalko and is on 6.5/12. Adhiban won against Ivanchuk and Leko and scored 6.0/12. Great result for Neelotpal as he beat strong opponents like Ghaem Maghami, Laurent Fressinet and Al-Sayed Mohammed.

Performance of Indian players

15 GM Anand Viswanathan 2754 IND 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½       7,5 14 2761 20 1,60 Open World Blitz
67 GM Lalith Babu M R 2585 IND 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 ½ 1       6,5 48 2561 20 -2,20 Open World Blitz
70 GM Adhiban B. 2583 IND 1 ½ ½ 1 1 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 ½       6,0 50 2695 20 35,60 Open World Blitz
73 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2562 IND 1 1 ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 1 0 ½ 1       5,5 64 2654 20 27,80 Open World Blitz
77 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2546 IND 1 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½       6,5 36 2736 20 60,20 Open World Blitz
80 GM Venkatesh M.R. 2522 IND 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1       5,0 87 2423 20 -27,60 Open World Blitz
93 GM Neelotpal Das 2459 IND 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 ½ 1 ½       6,0 57 2560 20 34,20 Open World Blitz
96 GM Debashis Das 2430 IND ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 1       4,5 89 2533 20 26,00 Open World Blitz
9 GM Koneru Humpy 2502 IND ½ 0 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 0             6,0 7 2523 20 6,20 Women World Blitz
10 GM Harika Dronavalli 2501 IND 1 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 0             6,5 3 2665 20 40,20 Women World Blitz

The man behind the entire thing Mohammad Al-Modiahki captures a moment on his cell-phone

"Back to back wins!" The duo doing their business - Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin!

Not to be messed with: Daniil Dubov, 8.5/12

Hikaru with his step father Sunil Weeramantry

Blitz is a game of quick reflexes. Most of the times you have to be ready with your move as soon as your opponent has made hers.

Twelve rounds of Blitz are tiring and stressful...

...but they also attract a lot of spectators! It surely is a way to make our game popular!
Catch all the action live on our newspage, with live games and commentary for day two. Games begin at 17.30 IST