Aeroflot Open R7: Sasi loses to Tabatabaei, Vidit's draw streak continues
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.
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.
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.
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.
Battle of the Prodigies is coming up!
Performance of team India (Group A)
|2||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||2723||IND||½||½||½||½||½||½||½||3,5||52||2531||Open A|
|11||GM||Sasikiran Krishnan||2671||IND||½||½||½||½||1||1||0||4,0||25||2598||Open A|
|15||GM||Sethuraman S.P.||2646||IND||1||1||0||½||½||1||½||4,5||10||2664||Open A|
|25||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||2617||IND||½||1||½||½||0||½||1||4,0||26||2559||Open A|
|36||GM||Gupta Abhijeet||2598||IND||½||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1,5||91||0||Open A|
|43||GM||Karthikeyan Murali||2585||IND||1||0||1||1||½||½||½||4,5||13||2720||Open A|
|57||IM||Nihal Sarin||2532||IND||½||½||½||½||½||½||0||3,0||66||2599||Open A|
|67||GM||Aryan Chopra||2509||IND||½||1||½||0||1||0||1||4,0||29||2675||Open A|
|68||IM||Praggnanandhaa R||2507||IND||½||0||½||½||½||½||½||3,0||61||2524||Open A|
|70||GM||Debashis Das||2501||IND||½||0||0||1||0||½||0||2,0||86||2402||Open A|
|72||GM||Gagare Shardul||2494||IND||½||0||1||0||½||0||0||2,0||85||2420||Open A|
|87||IM||Iniyan P||2460||IND||½||½||0||1||½||1||0||3,5||42||2595||Open A|
|88||FM||Erigaisi Arjun||2458||IND||½||0||1||½||½||½||½||3,5||48||2604||Open A|
|91||IM||Raja Harshit||2448||IND||½||½||½||½||0||½||0||2,5||79||2475||Open A|
|92||IM||Karavade Eesha||2386||IND||1||½||½||1||0||0||0||3,0||60||2577||Open A|
Pairings of Round 8 ( Group A )
Round 8 on 2018/02/27 at 15:00
Performance of Team India (Group B)
|5||GM||Kunte Abhijit||2499||IND||½||½||1||1||½||1||½||5,0||10||Open B|
|20||IM||Harsha Bharathakoti||2443||IND||1||0||0||½||0||½||1||3,0||94||Open B|
|26||GM||Sundararajan Kidambi||2427||IND||1||½||½||1||½||0||1||4,5||31||Open B|
|36||IM||Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh||2413||IND||1||1||1||½||0||½||½||4,5||28||Open B|
|39||Rahul Srivatshav P||2408||IND||0||1||1||½||0||0||1||3,5||57||Open B|
|53||IM||Krishna Teja N||2371||IND||½||1||1||0||0||½||½||3,5||53||Open B|
|54||IM||Abhishek Kelkar||2370||IND||1||0||1||0||0||1||½||3,5||75||Open B|
|63||WGM||Soumya Swaminathan||2349||IND||1||½||½||0||1||0||½||3,5||54||Open B|
|67||FM||Fenil Shah||2346||IND||½||0||1||1||1||1||0||4,5||17||Open B|
|69||WIM||Vaishali R||2342||IND||0||1||0||1||½||½||0||3,0||87||Open B|
|71||FM||Sadhwani Raunak||2339||IND||½||½||1||0||0||0||1||3,0||80||Open B|
|75||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2329||IND||½||0||0||1||½||0||0||2,0||113||Open B|
|76||IM||Padmini Rout||2325||IND||1||½||½||0||1||1||½||4,5||23||Open B|
|77||Muthaiah Al||2325||IND||0||1||½||½||½||1||½||4,0||34||Open B|
|79||IM||Kathmale Sameer||2320||IND||0||½||0||1||½||1||½||3,5||61||Open B|
|80||CM||Gukesh D||2320||IND||½||0||0||0||1||1||1||3,5||78||Open B|
|85||Raahul V S||2305||IND||0||0||½||1||0||1||0||2,5||109||Open B|
|86||FM||Mitrabha Guha||2303||IND||1||1||0||1||1||0||0||4,0||38||Open B|
|90||Pranav V||2284||IND||0||1||0||0||0||1||½||2,5||106||Open B|
|92||WIM||Monnisha G K||2281||IND||0||0||1||0||1||1||1||4,0||44||Open B|
|95||Navalgund Niranjan||2270||IND||0||0||½||1||0||½||0||2,0||112||Open B|
|96||FM||Anand Nadar||2262||IND||½||½||0||½||1||½||½||3,5||67||Open B|
|100||IM||Mohota Nisha||2256||IND||1||0||0||0||0||½||0||1,5||124||Open B|
|101||WIM||Mahalakshmi M||2252||IND||0||½||½||0||½||0||0||1,5||117||Open B|
|102||FM||Shailesh Dravid||2246||IND||1||1||0||0||1||0||½||3,5||65||Open B|
|103||WIM||Nandhidhaa Pv||2241||IND||0||½||0||½||½||0||0||1,5||118||Open B|
|107||IM||Praveen Kumar C||2228||IND||0||½||1||0||0||0||1||2,5||100||Open B|
|108||FM||Raja Rithvik R||2227||IND||1||0||0||½||½||½||1||3,5||72||Open B|
|109||Moksh Amit Doshi||2221||IND||½||0||1||½||0||0||1||3,0||90||Open B|
|110||Kulkarni Chinmay||2215||IND||0||0||½||1||0||1||0||2,5||99||Open B|
|114||CM||Aditya Mittal||2206||IND||1||½||0||0||1||0||½||3,0||89||Open B|
|116||Manush Shah||2202||IND||½||1||½||½||½||0||½||3,5||68||Open B|
|121||WIM||Pujari Rucha||2171||IND||0||1||0||0||0||½||1||2,5||104||Open B|
|122||Narendran Gouthaman||2165||IND||0||½||0||0||0||½||½||1,5||121||Open B|
|124||WFM||Divya Deshmukh||2138||IND||0||0||½||0||0||½||½||1,5||120||Open B|
|125||Pranav Anand||2024||IND||½||0||½||1||½||½||0||3,0||82||Open B|
|126||WIM||Gagare Shalmali||2001||IND||0||1||½||0||0||0||½||2,0||116||Open B|
Pairings of Round 8 (Group B)
Round 8 on 2018/02/27 at 15:00
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.