Seven players are in the lead with 5.0/5 at the halfway mark of 4th Shaastra Rapid Rating 2020. They are GM Vishnu Prasanna, GM Priyadharshan Kannappan, IM D K Sharma, IM Ravi Teja S, GM Laxman R R, IM P D S Girinath and FM Rohith Krishna S. This is the biggest and strongest edition in this tournament's nascent history. Total 439 players comprising of 7 GMs, 11 IMs, a WGM and 2 WIMs are taking part in this two-day event at IIT Madras, co-sponsored by Akshayakalpa and nurtr. Total Prize fund ₹300000 is up for grabs with the first prize being ₹45000. The tournament concludes on 23rd February 2020. Photo: Shahid Ahmed
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With a perfect score of 3.0/3, Rauf Mamedov has taken the sole lead after three rounds at Aeroflot Open 2020. However, there are five players led by 13-year-old Bharath Subramaniyam and S.P. Sethuraman of India who follow him closely just half a point behind. Bharath registered his second victory in this event by beating none other than the second seeded Gabriel Sargissian and is all set to take on Zhou Jianchao in the next round. Be it Pranesh M or Bharath, it seems there is always some Indian junior ready to cause an upset each day. We bring you a detailed pictorial report.
After Round 7 the question to be answered was who would take 2nd place behind Vidit, and just 2 games later it was Vidit taking 2nd place after 3 harrowing losses on the final day! Duda was merciless, exploiting every inaccuracy and mistake to blow Vidit off the board, and keep himself in contention. Alireza Firouzja survived a really complex battle against David Anton, who missed a beautiful win at one point, and by the end of the round Vidit and Firouzja were to engage in a Blitz tiebreak to determine the winner, as the two had the best tiebreak among the lot tied on 5/9. A shocked Vidit bravely mustered up the strength to fight, but his nemesis, the clock, managed to win the battle, as he lost on time in the second game, to concede the tournament to the rising Iranian.
Rauf Mamedov, Sethuraman S.P., Zhou Jianchao, and Shant Sargsyan are the four players who have emerged as leaders with perfect scores of 2.0/2 after two rounds at the ongoing Aeroflot Open 2020. Deep Sengupta, who pulled off a stunner in round one by defeating the young Uzbek prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov, found himself quite out of depth yesterday in a French sideline against Sethuraman. The latter thus took charge early on in this all India clash and displayed some high-class technique with his pair of bishops to bring the full point home. Elsewhere, players like Bharath Subramaniyam and Raja Harshit kept the solid show going, while Pranesh M pulled off the big shocker of the day by crushing GM Boris Savchenko in a mere 21 moves.
The Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6) has been one of the most popular openings for decades. Players of every level like it and it also was an important part of the Black opening repertoire of two legendary World Champions: Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov. To know about one of the most popular variation at the very top and also at club level, this dvd by GM Yannick Pelletier is the latest addition to ever evolving Najdorf variation as he explores the latest theoretical developments. Photo: ChessBase
What a turnaround! After 32 moves it looked like Vidit Gujrathi had the Prague Masters 2020 title in his hands. Another 32 moves later, he suffered his 1st loss in the tournament to David Navara, that too with his last White, changing the narrative completely! The fight for 1st place has suddenly been blown wide open, as now there is a pack of 3 players chasing Vidit, the most recent addition being David Anton, who crushed Nils Grandelius with Black to return to +1. Nikita Vitiugov's masterful handling of the London System left him with a clearly winning position against Duda, but instead of finishing Black off immediately Vitiugov opted to win technically, and ended up allowing a fortress that the latter managed to hold comfortably. An exhaustive report by Tanmay Srinath.
13-year-old Pranesh M shocked Grandmaster Boris Savchenko in the second round of the ongoing Aeroflot Open 2020. The Russian tried to surprise his young opponent with the offbeat Scandinavian defense but soon found himself on the receiving end of the Indian's fierce play. The game ended in just 21 moves and turned out to be a thorough one-sided demolition. In this article we bring you the full encounter with detailed move by move analysis. Pranesh is rated below 2550 but is still competing in the open A category of the event. He has already amassed 1.5 points in the first two rounds and if he keeps going like this, the 2nd GM norm shouldn't be too far away.
The Aeroflot Open Chess Festival has begun in Moscow and will continue till the 29th of this month. Featuring players like Vladislav Artemiev, Gabriel Sargissian, Parham Maghsoodloo, Alexey Sarana, and Adhiban Baskaran, it is one of the most exciting events to follow. The unique time control of 100 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 50 minutes for the next 20 and 15 minutes for the rest with an increment of 30 seconds per move that is being followed in the open A section is expected to produce long and exciting fights between the players. We bring you a preview of the tournament along with a brief report of the first round.
The Prague Master 2020 had an intriguing sub-plot to it even before it started - the battle for India's No.2 Position between Vidit Gujrathi and Pentala Harikrishna. Vidit and Hari have played 3 classical games against each other, and 8 games in total, before this round. Hari has always had a stranglehold over the young Vidit, scoring 2.5/3 in their classical encounters. In Round 7, both of them faced off, with Vidit playing white. He got a very nice position out of the opening, but Hari defended tenaciously, and soon the draw was agreed. In the other games, Shankland beat Grandelius in a long Grunfeld middlegame, and Firouzja defended brilliantly against Duda's experimental Anti-Slav system to move back to +1. An extensive report by Tanmay Srinath.
The second edition of the super-elite Cairns Cup took place from the 6th to the 17th of this month in St. Louis, Missouri. Hosted by the famed St. Louis Chess Club, the event featured ten of the leading female players in the world and was fittingly dubbed as the strongest women's tournament ever in the history of chess. Author Satanick Mukhuty covered the entire event from day one and was bemused by the scale and intensity of the action it produced. In this article he speaks about the seven things that in his opinion make the Cairns Cup 2020 stand out among similar other high-profile events.
The Sharjah Masters have published their player's list and the top seed of the event is none other than World no.10 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The Dubai Open is yet to publish its player's list but we are sure that it will also be a very strong event. In order to give Indian youngsters the exposure of playing in two world class events, and also to save the costs related to parents having to accompany their kids to the tournament, we have the ChessBase India Group Tour for both Dubai and Sharjah events (28th March to 16th April). Since the last article was published, we already have four people who have confirmed their participation in the group tour. We only have four slots left. Read the article to know more about the events and also the special features provided by the ChessBase India team.
Definitely a pact with the Gods! After a rest day in an event, one might expect players to have come up with some fresh ideas and inventive opening schemes to play for a decisive result in their favour. However, all the games ended peacefully, continuing the trend of even rounds ending in draws. Today it was Sam Shankland's missed chance that headlined the round - he had numerous opportunities to finish Markus Ragger off, but simply failed to find the best plan in the critical positions. Nikita Vitiugov essayed the London System for the 2nd game in a row, and got a very pleasant position against the leader Vidit Gujrathi. Vidit escaped somehow and maintains a full point lead. The remaining three games were rather uneventful, which means the status quo in the standings with 3 rounds to go. A detailed report by Tanmay Srinath.
If you want to achieve something truly special, you have to move away from the crowd. Gukesh and his family are an excellent example of the same. While every youngster plays around 100-120 rated games in a year, Gukesh played over 200 to become a GM. While everyone usually feels that you should play in only strong events, Gukesh decided to play in the Hillerød Chess Club tournament where he was the second seed. He scored 8.0/9, gained some valuable Elo points and won the tournament by a half point margin. Before he left for his next tournament - the Cannes Open in France, we got in touch with him and did an interview on his victory. Get to know the unique thoughts of India's finest talent.
Endgames can be tricky - which offers good chances to save or gain a point if you know what you are doing. It will all go in vain if you don't convert a winning position or know how to draw, the entire accurate play in opening and middle game will be moot if you are finish it. Most of the time when we reach endgame, we have less time to think. So it is better to know the theory as much as possible to save time over the board and make the most out of the time pressure and crunch endgames. ChessBase and the ChessBase Magazine help you to know what you should do and what you can do in the endgame. Photo: ChessBase
Karnataka's third and India's 63rd GM Girish Koushik was invited by The Chess Club of Infosys Ltd., Bangalore on 3rd February 2020 to felicitate him. Girish Koushik also played a simultaneous exhibition match against top seven players of Infosys and he won them all. He also shared how chess shaped his life and few snippets from his journey so far. After the conclusion of simul, Girish spent some time with the players and explained their mistakes and advised them on their game. The core members of Chaturang, an active chess group of totaling 200 employees had a fantastic time interacting with the grandmaster. A pictorial report by Ganesh Gopalan. Photo: Ganesh Gopalan