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Gujarat GM R04: Rathnakaran K outwits Neelotpal Das in a double-edged Vienna

by Satanick Mukhuty - 25/09/2019

Rathnakaran K got the better of Neelotpal Das in a topsy-turvy Vienna game to emerge as one of the six leaders after the fourth round of 2nd Gujarat International Grandmaster Open here in Ahmedabad. The five other leaders are Ivan Rozum, Sandipan Chanda, Saptarshi Roy, Sayantan Das, and Maxim Lugovskoy all of whom so far have perfect scores of 4.0/4 points each. The second seed of the event, Grandmaster Deepan Chakkravarthy, was once again held to a draw in round four by 2157 rated Aradhya Garg from Delhi. IM Neelash Saha and Bharat Kumar Reddy Poluri also drew their encounters against higher-rated Nguyen Van Huy and Karthikeyan Pandian respectively to stay just half a point behind the leaders with 3.5/4 points each.

Rathnakaran K is well-known to be one of India's most aggressive and imaginative chess players. In round four of the 2nd Gujarat International Grandmaster Open he managed to beat GM Neelotpal Das who is more than a hundred points higher rated than him. Rathnakaran donned the white pieces and started off the game with the Vienna Opening. By move ten it became clear that both players were prepared for a double-edged fight as the kings castled on the opposite sides of the board.

Often dubbed as the Tal of Indian chess, Rathnakaran's games never fail to entertain | Photo: ChessBase India archives

Rathnakaran K. - Neelotpal Das, Round 4

The Vienna opening has a reputation for offering something for both aggressive and non-aggressive players. In this case, with the kings castled on the opposite sides of the board, it was clear that the position would soon take a fiery turn.

Not long after White stormed out his h-pawn, while Black too was ready to strike via the open b-file and h8-a1 diagonal.

22.Re1 didn't seem to be the most incisive move by White. Perhaps the idea was to get control of the e-file and push f4 at some point but continuing the play on kingside with 22.Ne4 Qe7 23.Qg5 looks more logical here.

Black immediately played 22...d5 stopping Ne4 and now c7-c5 also started to look optically pleasant.

Soon Black as well had a powerful attack going on the queenside. 28.Nd7-b6 was played in order to put more pressure on c4, a more convincing alternative however would have been 28.Re8-e3!

It was here that Neelotpal started to seriously falter. In this position 29...Rxe1+ was played, this wasn't the best move as White clearly got the control of e-file after 30.Rxe1

Next came 30...Qxf4 - this was a blunder, can you spot the decisive blow that Rathnakaran found here?

Yes, it was the beautiful 31.Nh5! - Black's kingside was falling apart. Especially without the black rook on e-file, Ne4 was about to come very strongly now!

White was completely winning here. It was only six moves from this position that Black resigned. Check out the full game below with detailed annotations.

In what was the only encounter between two grandmasters, Ivan Rozum of Russia defeated Hesham Abdelrahman of Egypt with white pieces | Photo: Amruta Mokal

GM Deepan Chakkravarthy was held to a draw by Delhi's Aradhya Garg after a long battle that lasted 79 moves | Photo: Niklesh Jain

IM Neelash Saha (2334) held IM Nguyen Van Huy (2454) with the black pieces | Photo: David Llada

Karthikeyan Pandian drew after 29 moves against Bharat Kumar Reddy Poluri | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Maxim Lugovskoy emerged victorious against Pranav Shetty to maintain his perfect score | Photo:

Results of round four

Bo.No. NameRtgPts. ResultPts. NameRtg No.
GMRozum Ivan 25963 1 - 03 GMHesham Abdelrahman 2396
GMChanda Sandipan 25293 1 - 03 FMSiddharth Jagadeesh 2362
GMSaptarshi Roy 24803 1 - 03 IMNitin S. 2361
IMNguyen Van Huy 24543 ½ - ½3 IMNeelash Saha 2334
IMDas Sayantan 24343 1 - 03 Pranav V 2308
IMRathnakaran K. 23253 1 - 03 GMNeelotpal Das 2433
GMLugovskoy Maxim 24223 1 - 03 Pranav Shetty 2124
Bharat Kumar Reddy Poluri 23043 ½ - ½3 GMKarthikeyan P. 2408
CMLiyanage Ranindu Dilshan 19563 ½ - ½ GMRahman Ziaur 2492
Aradhya Garg 2157 ½ - ½ GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J. 2539

Standings after round four

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgClub/City TB1 
GMRozum IvanRUS2596Russia4,0
GMChanda SandipanIND2529WB4,0
GMSaptarshi RoyIND2480WB4,0
IMDas SayantanIND2434WB4,0
GMLugovskoy MaximRUS2422Russia4,0
IMRathnakaran K.IND2325Ker4,0
GMVasquez Schroeder RodrigoCHI2476Chile3,5
IMNguyen Van HuyVIE2454Vietnam3,5
GMKarthikeyan P.IND2408TN3,5
IMEraschenkov DenisRUS2390Russia3,5
IMSidhant MohapatraIND2357Odi3,5
IMNeelash SahaIND2334WB3,5
Bharat Kumar Reddy PoluriIND2304AP3,5
CMLiyanage Ranindu DilshanSRI1956SriLanka3,5
GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND2539TN3,0

Complete results and standings

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