Asian 2019: Karthikeyan, Sethuraman, S.L.Narayanan, Abhijeet Gupta qualify for the World Cup
The Asian continental open and women's championship came to conclusion on 15th of June. Four out of five spots for the World Cup 2019 were taken up by Indians. The open section of the event was won by the Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem, who finished with a score of 7.0/9, while the women's title was clinched by Kazakhstani IM Dinara Saduakassova who dominated with 7.5/9. Among the Indians in the open section, Murali Karthikeyan and Sethuraman S.P. took the second and third places with 6.5/9 each. In the women's section, Vaishali R. finished fifth with a magnificent final round game and Bhakti Kulkarni, even though she started off with three wins, ended up seventh after 7th and 8th round losses. A final report from Xingtai, China by Satanick Mukhuty.
Sethuraman falters, Karthikeyan fights back
Sethuraman S.P. was up against the second-seed Le Quang Liem in the final round of the tournament. The former with the black pieces went for the super solid Berlin but his unusual 7th move allowed White to take the initiative early on and liquidate into a favourable endgame.
Le Quang Liem - Sethuraman S.P., Round 9
In the above position 7...Bg4 would have been a decent choice for Black but Sethuraman went for the dubious 7...Qe7?! here, after 8.dxe5 Bxe5 9.Nxe5 Qxe5 10.Qf3 0-0 11.Nc3 Re8 12.Bf4 White's pieces developed swiftly and his position already started to feel a touch better than Black's.
Going ahead, the queens were traded off on move 18 and the following position was reached:
White is much better here, his rook and bishop hit the g7 pawn, forcing 18...g6 which makes the dark squares on Black's king-side irrevocably weak.
The game further continued 19.Bf6 a5 20.a4 c5 21.Rd1 c4 22.Rg5 Ra6 23.Re5 and White slowly and systematically kept improving his pieces.
Fast forward to 31...Rab8, White's pieces are optimally placed and Black is snubbed to passivity.
White is done with positional maneuvering now and it is time for him to do something decisive. Here came 32.f4!, strongly threatening f5!
The game followed 32...c4 33.bxc4 Rec8 34.c5 bxc5 35.Ke3. At this point it is pretty clear that Black's queen-side pawns are falling, counter-play too is out of question as Black faces back-rank issues thanks to the white bishop on f6!
Sethuraman soon resigned the game on move 38 and thus Le Quang Liem became the Asian Continental Champion 2019 finishing with an unbeaten 7.0/9!
After losing two consecutive games in rounds 7 and 8, Murali Karthikeyan made a surprising come back in the final round by beating the World junior chess champion Parham Maghsoodloo and climbing up the leader-board to the second spot.
Parham Maghsoodloo - Murali Karthikeyan, Round 9
Karthikeyan bravely went ahead with 19...Rxf3 here, sacrificing the exchange. But what's the point? Well, with the white knight on f3 it was difficult to find a suitable developing square for the black queen but now not anymore, 20.gxf3 Kh8 21.Re4 Qg5+ 22.Rg4 Qf5 was played and Black had sufficient activity as compensation for the exchange.
23.Rg3 dxc5 24.b5 Rd8 25.Re1 was played and Black followed it up with the interesting move 25...g6. The idea here is to go Ng7-Nh5 and next Bh6 is also coming!
26.h4 Ng7 27.b6 axb6 28.Nxb6 Nh5 was played and now the rook on g3 was en prise!
29.Rg5 Qxf3 was on board and now Nf4 eyeing Nh3+ (and if Rg3 then Ne2+) is a devastating threat.
The game continued 30.Qd1 Qh3 31.Nc4 Bh6 32.Nxe5 (eyeing Nf7+) 32...Rf8 and now 33.Rg2 would have been just fine but White blundered here with 33.Rxg6+
Black rightly played 33...Be3! and White immediately resigned!
The threat here is Bxf2# and if White plays 34.fxe3 then 34...Ng3 threatening Qh1# is simply game over!
There were only five spots for the World Cup 2019, but as Le Quang Liem and Rinat Jumabayev had qualified via other continental championships, two more spots were opened up.
Results of round 9
|1||2||GM||Le Quang Liem||2694||6||1 - 0||6½||GM||Sethuraman S.P.||2613||9|
|2||7||GM||Jumabayev Rinat||2625||6||½ - ½||6||GM||Narayanan.S.L||2603||12|
|3||10||GM||Gupta Abhijeet||2606||5½||½ - ½||5½||GM||Lu Shanglei||2624||8|
|4||5||GM||Maghsoodloo Parham||2665||5||0 - 1||5½||GM||Karthikeyan Murali||2593||16|
|5||1||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||2707||5||1 - 0||5||GM||Idani Pouya||2597||15|
|6||3||GM||Firouzja Alireza||2682||5||1 - 0||5||GM||Aryan Chopra||2553||22|
|7||4||GM||Adhiban B.||2676||5||½ - ½||5||IM||Dai Changren||2480||38|
|8||21||GM||Sengupta Deep||2559||5||½ - ½||5||GM||Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son||2639||6|
|9||19||GM||Lalith Babu M R||2571||5||1 - 0||5||GM||Liu Yan||2504||32|
|10||11||GM||Nihal Sarin||2606||5||1 - 0||4½||IM||Yakubboev Nodirbek||2587||17|
|1||2||GM||Le Quang Liem||VIE||2694||7,0||2576||44,5||49,0||0,0||9||7||6,06||0,94||10||9,4|
|8||1||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||IND||2707||6,0||2554||41,0||44,5||0,0||9||6||6,41||-0,41||10||-4,1|
|10||19||GM||Lalith Babu M R||IND||2571||6,0||2534||43,0||47,0||0,0||9||6||5,12||0,88||10||8,8|
|12||41||IM||Vignesh N R||IND||2459||5,5||2579||38,5||40,5||0,0||9||5,5||3,36||2,14||10||21,4|
|13||14||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2598||5,5||2549||40,5||44,5||0,0||9||5,5||5,27||0,23||10||2,3|
|14||6||GM||Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son||VIE||2639||5,5||2544||40,0||44,0||0,0||9||5,5||5,76||-0,26||10||-2,6|
Vaishali R. repeats her brother's amazing line, wins the final round game!
Vaishali R. won her final round encounter against Li Xueyi of China to climb up to the fifth place on the rank list. Curiously, this game was an echo of Praggnanandhaa R. versus Ravi S. Teja from the Isle of Man international tournament 2018!
Vaishali R. - Li Xueyi, Round 9
The above came out of a Caro-Kann advanced, the solid way of playing here is 10...Nd7 11.0-0 0-0-0 but Black decided to become adventurous here and went 10...Qxb2, what followed next was a crushing sequence of events! Below we present this to you as a series of puzzles (and solutions), have fun working through them!
White went 11.Nce4! this eyes the d6 square. Black can never think of 11...Qb4+ 12. Qd2 Qxc4 because of 13.Nd6+ fork! So now what does Black do here? 11...Bxe4 12.Nxe4 Nf5 is a possible way but in the game Black kept the bishop and went 11...Nf5 right away.
One valid possibility is 12.Rb1 after 12...Qxd4 13.0-0 White is much ahead in development. In the game however, 12.0-0 was played directly and Black replied 12...Nxg3
If White goes 13.Nxg3 then after a move like 13...Be7 Black is already safe to a great extent. The right continuation, which also happened in the game, is 13.Rb1! a nice little intermezzo that hits at the weak b7 pawn. Black went 13...Qa3
White went 14.fxg3 here! Yes, he gave a whole piece on e4!
You probably guessed it right! Yes, White went 15.Rxf7!! The idea is after 15...Kxf7 White has 16.Rxb7+ and now Black is in real danger. If he goes 16...Ke8 then 17.Qf1 Bf5 18.Qxf5 exf5 19.Bf7# is a spectacular mate. And if he goes 16...Kg6 then 17.Bxe6 with the threat of Bf7+ next move is also decisive. In the game 15...Qxg3 was played.
Kudos if you found 16.Rf2 that's the move that was played in the game. Note 16.Qf1 doesn't work because 16...Bxg2 17.Qxg2 Qxg2+ 18.Kxg2 Kxf7 and Black simply wins. So, retreating the rook with 16.Rf2 and defending g2 is the right move. Black here went 16...b5
The right move, the move that was played in the game, is 17.Qe1 - this is very strong, threatens the bishop on e4 and also a discovery with Rxf8. Black replied 17...Bf5 Note 17...Bxb1 and 17...bxc4 are replied by 18.Qxb1 and 18.Qxe4 respectively after which Qg6+ is a deadly threat.
White played the spectacular 18.Bxe6!! The point is Black can't take 18...Bxe6 because of 19.Rxf8+ Rxf8 20.Qxg3, Black decided to play here 18...Qxf2 and after 19.Qxf2 Bxe6 we have the next puzzle.
Yes, the correct move is 20. d5!! the final blow to rip Black off completely. If 20...Bxd5 then 21.Qf5 is demolishing. In the game 20...cxd5 was played and here's the final question for you.
21.Qc2 was played in the game, intending to infiltrate with either Qc7 or Qg6+ and now Black is completely lost.
The game was resigned on move 26. The full game with detailed annotations is presented below:
In the following video IM Sagar Shah explains Pragg's game against Ravi S. Teja from Isle of Man 2018 and the above game is surprisingly an exact copy of this!
And here we have the Vaishali versus Li Xueyi game:
Results of the final round
|1||5||WFM||Munkhzul Turmunkh||2371||5½||½ - ½||7||IM||Saduakassova Dinara||2458||1|
|2||7||IM||Pham Le Thao Nguyen||2370||5½||½ - ½||6½||IM||Sukandar Irine Kharisma||2378||4|
|3||9||WGM||Vaishali R||2338||5||1 - 0||5½||Li Xueyi||2305||12|
|4||2||IM||Munguntuul Batkhuyag||2420||5||½ - ½||5||WGM||Kulkarni Bhakti||2380||3|
|5||15||WGM||Kurbonboeva Sarvinoz||2259||4½||1 - 0||4½||WGM||Zhai Mo||2358||8|
|6||20||Zhang Xiao||2234||4½||½ - ½||4½||WGM||Vo Thi Kim Phung||2337||10|
|7||13||WGM||Hoang Thi Bao Tram||2293||4½||1 - 0||4½||WFM||Li Yunshan||2264||14|
|8||25||WIM||Pham Bich Ngoc||2167||4||1 - 0||4½||Ren Xiaoyi||2255||16|
|9||23||WIM||Gu Tianlu||2183||4||½ - ½||4||IM||Karavade Eesha||2370||6|
|10||18||WIM||Mahalakshmi M||2245||4||½ - ½||4||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||2314||11|
|11||26||WGM||Frayna Janelle Mae||2157||4||1 - 0||4||WIM||Dauletova Gulmira||2252||17|
|12||29||WIM||San Diego Marie Antoinette||2080||3½||½ - ½||3½||WGM||Swati Ghate||2220||21|
|13||24||WFM||Mendoza Shania Mae||2171||3½||½ - ½||3½||WIM||Galas Bernadette||2073||31|
|14||32||WFM||Tan Li Ting||2066||3½||1 - 0||3||Xia Ri Feng||1991||34|
|15||19||IM||Mohota Nisha||2236||3||1 - 0||3||WIM||Mordido Kylen Joy||2133||27|
|16||30||WFM||Mahdian Anousha||2078||3||1 - 0||3||WGM||Kiran Manisha Mohanty||2090||28|
|17||36||WCM||Kojima Natsumi||1711||1½||½ - ½||3||Yan Tianqi||2036||33|
|18||22||WIM||Wang Doudou||2188||2½||1 - 0||0||WIM||Hamid Rani||1929||35|
Standings after the final round
|2||4||IM||Sukandar Irine Kharisma||INA||2378||7,0||2339||43,5||47,0||0,0||9||7||5,18||1,82||10||18,2|
|4||7||IM||Pham Le Thao Nguyen||VIE||2370||6,0||2288||40,5||44,5||0,0||9||6||5,72||0,28||10||2,8|
|10||13||WGM||Hoang Thi Bao Tram||VIE||2293||5,5||2261||36,0||39,0||0,0||9||5,5||5,08||0,42||10||4,2|
|11||10||WGM||Vo Thi Kim Phung||VIE||2337||5,0||2292||42,5||45,5||0,0||9||5||5,29||-0,29||10||-2,9|
|13||26||WGM||Frayna Janelle Mae||PHI||2157||5,0||2218||32,5||34,5||0,0||9||5||4,30||0,70||20||14,0|
|14||25||WIM||Pham Bich Ngoc||VIE||2167||5,0||2185||36,5||40,0||0,0||9||5||4,56||0,44||20||8,8|
|21||11||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||IND||2314||4,5||2242||39,0||43,0||0,0||9||4,5||5,56||-1,06||10||-10,6|
|22||32||WFM||Tan Li Ting||MAS||2066||4,5||2175||32,5||35,5||0,0||9||4,5||3,44||1,06||20||21,2|
|24||29||WIM||San Diego Marie Antoinette||PHI||2080||4,0||2278||38,5||42,0||0,0||9||4||2,37||1,63||20||32,6|
|25||24||WFM||Mendoza Shania Mae||PHI||2171||4,0||2237||37,0||37,0||0,0||9||4||4,12||-0,12||20||-2,4|
|32||28||WGM||Kiran Manisha Mohanty||IND||2090||3,0||2164||33,0||33,0||0,0||9||3||4,14||-1,14||20||-22,8|
|33||27||WIM||Mordido Kylen Joy||PHI||2133||3,0||2156||33,0||33,0||0,0||9||3||4,68||-1,68||40||-67,2|
|34||34||Xia Ri Feng||CHN||1991||3,0||2133||33,0||33,0||0,0||8||3||3,23||-0,23||20||-4,6|
Nihal Sarin is the Asian Blitz 2019 champion
After the Asian Continental 2019, the Asian blitz event was held. Blitz for many is a tiring event. After 9 rounds of classical chess there isn't any stamina left. But for young Nihal, chess is something he can play 24x7. He enjoys the thrill of blitz and he once again proved that when it comes to blitz he can give the best in the business a run for their money. Nihal scored 8.0/9, and won the Asian blitz 2019 gold with one full point.
This takes Nihal's live blitz rating to 2685! Nihal is now breathing down Vidit's neck as far as blitz rankings are concerned. Vidit's live Elo is 2694. Nine more Elo points and Nihal would be India no.2 in blitz. Second place went to Le Quang Liem and third was S.L.Narayanan. In the women's section Zhai Mo won the gold, Vo Thi Kim Phung won silver and Gu Tianlu bronze.
Final standings in Open Blitz
|2||2||GM||Le Quang Liem||VIE||2674||7,0||2494||46,5||51,0||0,0|
|6||9||GM||Tran Tuan Minh||VIE||2587||6,5||2422||38,0||40,0||0,0|
Final standings in Women Blitz
|2||8||WGM||Vo Thi Kim Phung||VIE||2291||6,5||2197||45,0||48,0||0,0|
|9||22||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||IND||2095||5,5||2211||35,0||36,0||0,0|