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Aeroflot Open R7: Sasi loses to Tabatabaei, Vidit's draw streak continues

by Niklesh Jain - 27/02/2018

In the seventh round of the Aeroflot Open, one of the top Indian GMs, Krishnan Sasikiran suffered a crucial loss on board three against the Iranian IM Amin Tabatabaei. With this win, Tabatabaei has joined Kovalev as the tournament leader. Among the other Indians in the fray, GM SP Sethuraman held former FIDE World Champion, Alexander Khalifman to a draw while Murali Karthikeyan signed peace with Dmitry Gordievsky. Young guns, Aravindh Chithambaram and Aryan Chopra pulled out wins against Arman Mikaelyan and Svane Rasmus respectively while Vidit Gujrathi was held to his seventh consecutive draw in the event. Round seven also saw the star of the first four rounds, Eesha Karavade, lose her third game in a row.  

It was -21 degrees in Moscow yesterday morning and the cold outside was in stark contrast to the heat of the competition inside. I had tons of questions in my head walking into the playing hall: will Kovalev keep up his lead or would Artemiev make a comeback? More importantly, the player who has been on the rise since his first-round loss, IM Amin Tabatabaei, will he, after having defeated the top-seeded Fedoseev in the previous round, be able to bring down Sasikiran today? Anyway, amid these questions, I had to occupy myself taking pictures as soon as I got in.

Let me take you through the happenings quickly before we start | ChessBase India YouTube

Some of the best talents from around the world have gathered here at this tournament hall in Moscow!

Vladislav Kovalev and Igor Lysyj had a fierce battle on the top board | Photo: Niklesh Jain  

On the top board, tournament leader, Vladislav Kovalev chose the aggressive King's Indian Defence to counter his opponent, Igor Lysyj's queen pawn opening. As is typical for the King's Indian, Kovalev directed all of his forces towards the white king but his weak pawns in the centre and the queenside gave his opponent good counter-chances. After 30 moves, the players decided to sign the truce.

On board two, Russian youngster, Vladislav Artemiev and the former world champion's namesake Tigran Petrosian wrapped up their game in merely 23 moves. The game, even though it was a draw, was quite a sharp theoretical battle. Had either side made one false move, the outcome might have been completely different.

Indian number four, Krishnan Sasikiran essayed the Slav Defence with the black pieces against IM Amin Tabatabaei. Quite early in the game, Tabatabaei was able to inflict pawn weaknesses on Sasikiran's kingside. With his active queen, however, Sasikiran enough counterplay to keep balance in the position. There were several opportunities for the Indian to drift the game towards a draw but he had more ambitious intentions. In an attempt to create winning chances, Sasikiran mishandled the position and ended up losing the full point.

With this vicotry, Tabatabaei has joined Vladislav Kovalev as the joint tournament leader. His rating performance as of round 7 is 2785 and his live rating has jumped up to 2595. More importantly, this young Iranian IM has also scored a GM norm with not one but two rounds to spare! | Photo: Niklesh Jain 

Victor Bologan tried hard to win in his game against Maxim Matlakov but had to settle for a draw in the end. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Board five saw another decisive game of the round. Armenian GM Gabriel Sargissian defeated Russia's Kirill Alekseenko in this game. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The best game of the day was clearly Anton Korobov's bout against Parham Maghsoodloo | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Korobov's game against Maghsoodloo was an absolute treat for all spectators. From the white side of a Gruenfeld defence, Korobov dominated the board on all corners. Almost stepping into the middlegame, he gave up the right to castle and did not fear marching his king up the board to retain his advantage. Just one move after the first time control, Maghsoodloo resigned as his opponent's far advanced pawns and active pieces were too much for him to handle.

Former world champion, Alexander Khalifman was quite comfortably held to a draw by SP Sethuraman. The game lasted merely 17 moves. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

After his draw against Dmitry Gordievsky, Murali Karthikeyan has amassed 4.5/7 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Aravindh Chithambaram defeated the Armenian GM Arman Mikaelyan and has moved up to 4.0/7 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Aryan Chopra, after his loss against Sethuraman in the previous round, has bounced back strongly with a win against Svane Rasmus and is up to 4.0/7. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Vidit's drawing spree continues

India's biggest hope at the tournament, Vidit Gujrathi continued his struggle with form in round seven as well. For the seventh consecutive time in the tournament, Vidit was unable to win his game and had to settle for a draw. Whether this string of draws has something to do with his work with his close friend Anish Giri is quite amusing to think about. Nevertheless, we hope he breaks the shackles of bad form and comes back with a bang.

Star of the first four rounds, Eesha Karavade suffered her third consecutive loss in round 7 to the Norwegian GM Aryan Tari. | Photo: Niklesh Jain  

Battle of the Prodigies is coming up!

Nihal Sarin, who is quite close to achieving a GM norm at the event is going to be pitted against a very special opponent in the penultimate round. Any guesses who that opponent is? | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Well, you guessed it right. He'll be playing his close friend R Praggnanandhaa! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Performance of team India (Group A)

2GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi2723IND½½½½½½½3,5522531Open A
11GMSasikiran Krishnan2671IND½½½½1104,0252598Open A
15GMSethuraman S.P.2646IND110½½1½4,5102664Open A
25GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2617IND½1½½0½14,0262559Open A
36GMGupta Abhijeet2598IND½100000001,5910Open A
43GMKarthikeyan Murali2585IND1011½½½4,5132720Open A
48GMNarayanan.S.L2573IND½01001½3,0622524Open A
57IMNihal Sarin2532IND½½½½½½03,0662599Open A
67GMAryan Chopra2509IND½1½01014,0292675Open A
68IMPraggnanandhaa R2507IND½0½½½½½3,0612524Open A
70GMDebashis Das2501IND½0010½02,0862402Open A
72GMGagare Shardul2494IND½010½002,0852420Open A
87IMIniyan P2460IND½½01½103,5422595Open A
88FMErigaisi Arjun2458IND½01½½½½3,5482604Open A
91IMRaja Harshit2448IND½½½½0½02,5792475Open A
92IMKaravade Eesha2386IND1½½10003,0602577Open A

Pairings of Round 8 ( Group A )

116GMKovalev VladislavBLR2641IMTabatabaei M.AminIRI257746
212GMKorobov AntonUKR266455GMArtemiev VladislavRUS26976
324GMLysyj IgorRUS261855GMSargissian GabrielARM267710
45GMMatlakov MaximRUS27095GMPetrosian Tigran L.ARM258940
554GMXu XiangyuCHN2545GMMamedov RaufAZE27094
633GMBologan VictorMDA2600GMNajer EvgeniyRUS26838
715GMSethuraman S.P.IND2646GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND258543
819GMGordievsky DmitryRUS2630GMRomanov EvgenyRUS262122
93GMAndreikin DmitryRUS27124GMKhalifman AlexanderRUS261427
107GMInarkiev ErnestoRUS268444GMTari AryanNOR259737
119GMKamsky GataUSA267744GMAntipov Mikhail Al.RUS259835
1211GMSasikiran KrishnanIND267144GMPredke AlexandrRUS259538
1313GMPiorun KacperPOL265944GMYuffa DaniilRUS252163
1439GMMaghsoodloo ParhamIRI259444GMMareco SandroARG263218
1523GMAleksandrov AleksejBLR261844IMXu YiCHN249075
1625GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND261744IMGallego Alcaraz Andres FelipeCOL246186
1784IMYakubboev NodirbekUZB246244GMJumabayev RinatKAZ261426
1829GMAlekseenko KirillRUS260944GMAryan ChopraIND250967
191GMFedoseev VladimirRUS2724GMChigaev MaksimRUS256051
2066FMSorokin AlekseyRUS2511GMVidit Santosh GujrathiIND27232


Round 8 on 2018/02/27 at 15:00

An exciting game of the B group between IM Nubairshah Shaikh and Padmini Rout concluded in a draw. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Performance of Team India (Group B)

5GMKunte Abhijit2499IND½½11½1½5,010Open B
20IMHarsha Bharathakoti2443IND100½0½13,094Open B
26GMSundararajan Kidambi2427IND1½½1½014,531Open B
36IMMohammad Nubairshah Shaikh2413IND111½0½½4,528Open B
39Rahul Srivatshav P2408IND011½0013,557Open B
53IMKrishna Teja N2371IND½1100½½3,553Open B
54IMAbhishek Kelkar2370IND101001½3,575Open B
63WGMSoumya Swaminathan2349IND1½½010½3,554Open B
67FMFenil Shah2346IND½0111104,517Open B
69WIMVaishali R2342IND0101½½03,087Open B
71FMSadhwani Raunak2339IND½½100013,080Open B
75WGMGomes Mary Ann2329IND½001½002,0113Open B
76IMPadmini Rout2325IND1½½011½4,523Open B
77Muthaiah Al2325IND01½½½1½4,034Open B
79IMKathmale Sameer2320IND0½01½1½3,561Open B
80CMGukesh D2320IND½0001113,578Open B
85Raahul V S2305IND00½10102,5109Open B
86FMMitrabha Guha2303IND11011004,038Open B
90Pranav V2284IND010001½2,5106Open B
92WIMMonnisha G K2281IND00101114,044Open B
95Navalgund Niranjan2270IND00½10½02,0112Open B
96FMAnand Nadar2262IND½½0½1½½3,567Open B
100IMMohota Nisha2256IND10000½01,5124Open B
101WIMMahalakshmi M2252IND0½½0½001,5117Open B
102FMShailesh Dravid2246IND110010½3,565Open B
103WIMNandhidhaa Pv2241IND0½0½½001,5118Open B
107IMPraveen Kumar C2228IND0½100012,5100Open B
108FMRaja Rithvik R2227IND100½½½13,572Open B
109Moksh Amit Doshi2221IND½01½0013,090Open B
110Kulkarni Chinmay2215IND00½10102,599Open B
114CMAditya Mittal2206IND1½0010½3,089Open B
116Manush Shah2202IND½1½½½0½3,568Open B
121WIMPujari Rucha2171IND01000½12,5104Open B
122Narendran Gouthaman2165IND0½000½½1,5121Open B
124WFMDivya Deshmukh2138IND00½00½½1,5120Open B
125Pranav Anand2024IND½0½1½½03,082Open B
126WIMGagare Shalmali2001IND01½000½2,0116Open B

Pairings of Round 8 (Group B)

Round 8 on 2018/02/27 at 15:00

13IMMoskalenko AlexanderRUS25336GMMozharov MikhailRUS25392
219IMAsadli VugarAZE2449GMPotapov PavelRUS247910
311GMRogozenco DorianROU2479IMFaizrakhmanov RamilRUS242328
414IMZakhartsov VladimirRUS2472GMKotanjian TigranARM246616
521GMDzhumaev MaratUZB24395IMKozionov KirillRUS242329
65GMKunte AbhijitIND249955Bykov OlegRUS235361
717IMSeliverstov VladimirRUS246455IMFlom GabrielFRA24859
825Dai ChangrenCHN24305Sviridov ValeryRUS25154
91IMMoiseenko VadimRUS2547IMKazakovskiy ValeriyBLR239741
1046WIMShuvalova PolinaRUS2388IMJarmula LukaszPOL24986
117GMGasanov EldarUKR2490IMMorchiashvili BachanaGEO239344
1240IMGorbatov AlexejRUS2397IMHarutyunian Tigran K.ARM24888
1367FMFenil ShahIND2346GMBalashov Yuri SRUS243124
1476IMPadmini RoutIND2325GMSundararajan KidambiIND242726
1535IMSavitskiy SergeyRUS2415Bazeev GermanRUS238547
1672WFMXiao YiyiCHN2334IMMohammad Nubairshah ShaikhIND241336
1712GMPapin VasilyRUS247644FMNigmatov OrtikUZB236156
1813GMVorotnikov Vladislav VRUS247244IMTran Minh ThangVIE235958
1960Chen Qi BCHN235944GMBaghdasaryan VaheARM243622
2077Muthaiah AlIND232544IMNechaeva MarinaRUS242130
2162FMMirzoyan DavidARM235044Vastrukhin OlegRUS240938


About the Author

FIDE Instructor Niklesh Kumar Jain Jain is an international chess player who has participated in tournaments in almost in 20 different countries, winning the international tournament in Sri Lanka in 2010. He also worked for a television network as an anchor and news writer for two years, and reported in Hindi during World Chess Championship 2013 and 2014. Niklesh loves to write about tournaments and do interviews with chess champions. He has ambitions to become a grandmaster, but at the same time loves to train young talent. He strongly believes chess should be the part of every school curriculum, to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Previous reports on Aeroflot Open

Last seed Eesha Karavade is the best performing Indian at the Aeroflot Open 2018

Eesha Karavade strikes again!

Aeroflot Open R 5+6: Tournament lead changes hands