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Aeroflot Open Chess Festival begins, Indians looking to take the event by storm

by Satanick Mukhuty - 20/02/2020

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 Aeroflot Open Chess festival is taking place from the 18th to 29th of February at the Hotel Cosmos in Moscow. Sponsored by the Aeroflot-Russian Airlines and organized by the Russian Chess Federation in cooperation with the Association of Chess Federations, the festival comprises three open tournaments each of which is a nine-round Swiss event. The Open A, for players rated 2550+ and talented juniors, has an eye-popping first prize of €18,000, while the total prize fund for the three opens and blitz tournament is €140,000. The Indians unsurprisingly make for one of the highest representations in the event. Twenty-five players are competing in the A category alone with Adhiban Baskaran as the highest rated followed by Sethuraman S.P, S.L.Narayanan, and Aravindh Chithambaram.

Hotel Cosmos - the venue of the event - consists of more than 1,700 rooms and is situated in one of the most scenic districts of the capital.

Adhiban is the sixth seed, while Sethuraman, Narayanan, and Aravindh are all in the top fifteen.

The tournament also invites talented juniors rated below 2550 to participate in the A category. Thus players like Raunak Sadhwani, Aditya Mittal, Sreeshwan Maralakshikari, Leon Mendonca, and Pranesh M have all enrolled themselves in open A.

Raunak Sadhwani, Leon Mendonca, and Pranesh M are among the talented Indian youngsters below 2550 who are competing in the open category.

Most of the games in round one ended as expected in favour of the higher-rated players but there were indeed some upsets here and there. From Indian perspective Deep Sengupta's surprising victory against the talented Uzbek youngster Nodirbek Abdusattorov, and Aravindh Chithambaram loss against compatriot Visakh NR were the most important.  

Deep dominated throughout in his first round encounter against Nodirbek. Playing the White side of Caro-Kann he quickly seized more space on the kingside and effectively pushed the Uzbekistani into passivity | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Deep Sengupta - Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Round 1

Deep went on the offensive right from the word go with moves like 10.g4! and was soon pushing on the kingside.

And as the queens were traded off the Indian found a very comfortable position with the open e-file.

The pressure bearing down on e6 was enough for White to ensure an edge. It was all downhill for the Uzbek prodigy from here onwards. Check out the full game below.

Adhiban Baskaran started off his campaign with a crushing victory with black pieces against the strong Russian GM Sergey Grigoriants. He opted for a quirky sideline in the Ruy Lopez and outplayed his opponent thereafter in no time by taking a much better control of the queenside | Photo: Niki Riga 

In the all Indian Aravindh Chithambaram versus Visakh NR clash, the latter pulled off an unexpected victory also playing the Spanish with black pieces | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aravindh Chithambaram - Visakh NR, Round 1

In the position above Black has just played 21...fxe4 ... 22.Rc4 is a good move here to preserve equality but Aravindh erred with 22.Nd4 which allowed the powerful 22...Qf6!

White's position already became very undesirable with 22...Qf6 but the further continuation - 23.Nxe4 Nxe4 24.Rf3 Qe5 - only worsened matters.  

Sethuraman S.P. was in serious trouble against Raunak Sadhwani in the first half of the game but things reversed quickly and in the end the veteran found a nice tactical way to turn the tables on his young opponent. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Raunak Sadhwani - Sethuraman SP, Round 1

What did Raunak missed when he played the move 40.Bxe6? Check out the full game below!

An important upset was also caused by IM Bharath Subraman who defeated Mikhail Antipov with the Black pieces. Apart from these the juniors displayed promising chess in the first round. Leon Mendonca, Sreeshwan Maralakshikari, Pranesh M, and Aditya Mittal all proved their mettle by drawing against higher-rated opposition.

Results of the top ten boards 

Bo.No.NameFEDRtgPts. ResultPts. NameFEDRtgNo.
11GMArtemiev Vladislav RUS27280 1 - 00 IMIvic Velimir SRB255850
251GMSivuk Vitaly UKR25570 ½ - ½0 GMSargissian Gabriel ARM26892
33GMMaghsoodloo Parham IRI26740 1 - 00 GMFrolyanov Dmitry RUS255652
453GMChanda Sandipan IND25520 ½ - ½0 GMSjugirov Sanan RUS26744
55GMSarana Alexey RUS26560 1 - 00 GMKunin Vitaly GER255054
655GMGrigoriants Sergey RUS25390 0 - 10 GMAdhiban B. IND26546
77GMKovalev Vladislav BLR26500 1 - 00 GMAsadli Vugar AZE253856
857GMSindarov Javokhir UZB25370 1 - 00 GMJumabayev Rinat KAZ26468
99GMRakhmanov Aleksandr RUS26450 ½ - ½0 GMMoroni Luca Jr ITA253658
1059GMSengupta Deep IND25340 1 - 00 GMAbdusattorov Nodirbek UZB264410

Results of all Indian players

Rd.Bo.No.NameFEDRtgPts. ResultPts. NameFEDRtgNo.
1453GMChanda Sandipan IND25520 ½ - ½0 GMSjugirov Sanan RUS26744
1655GMGrigoriants Sergey RUS25390 0 - 10 GMAdhiban B. IND26546
11059GMSengupta Deep IND25340 1 - 00 GMAbdusattorov Nodirbek UZB264410
11261IMSadhwani Raunak IND25220 0 - 10 GMSethuraman S.P. IND264112
11463GMStupak Kirill BLR25180 ½ - ½0 GMNarayanan.S.L IND263714
11515GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND26300 0 - 10 GMVisakh N R IND251864
12069GMKarthik Venkataraman IND24830 0 - 10 GMDurarbayli Vasif AZE262520
12121GMZvjaginsev Vadim RUS26230 1 - 00 IMRahul Srivatshav P IND247470
12473IMRaja Harshit IND24720 ½ - ½0 GMJobava Baadur GEO262024
12930GMKarthikeyan Murali IND26020 1 - 00 IMRadovanovic Mihajlo SRB245878
13079IMPogosyan Stefan RUS24550 ½ - ½0 GMPraggnanandhaa R IND260231
13132GMBasso Pier Luigi ITA26000 ½ - ½0 IMKrishna C R G IND244380
13334GMPuranik Abhimanyu IND25970 ½ - ½0 IMNikitenko Mihail BLR244082
13483IMSreeshwan Maralakshikari IND24400 ½ - ½0 GMSalgado Lopez Ivan ESP259735
13685IMVignesh N R IND24360 0 - 10 GMCordova Emilio PER259337
13887FMLazavik Denis BLR24280 ½ - ½0 GMVaibhav Suri IND259139
14042GMShimanov Aleksandr RUS25870 ½ - ½0 FMPranesh M IND242590
14140GMPetrosyan Manuel ARM25900 ½ - ½0 IMAditya Mittal IND242788
14291IMMendonca Leon Luke IND24180 ½ - ½0 GMIdani Pouya IRI257743
14546GMErigaisi Arjun IND25630 0 - 10 IMBadelka Olga BLR240494
14748GMAntipov Mikhail Al. RUS25620 0 - 10 IMBharath Subramaniyam H IND240296
14897WGMSoumya Swaminathan IND23690 ½ - ½0 GMAryan Chopra IND256249

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