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Athens of the East Round 7: Sayantan and Abhijeet join the lead

by Satanick Mukhuty - 16/08/2019

Five players lead with 6.0/7 points after seven rounds at the ongoing Athens of the East International Open 2019. Top seed Abhijeet Gupta outplayed compatriot Karthikeyan Pandiyan's King's Indian Defense to finally join the pack of leaders at the end of seventh round. Venkatesh M.R. couldn't keep his winning streak going as he suffered his first defeat of the event in the hands of third seeded Pavel Smirnov. On the other hand, West Bengal's Sayantan Das bounced back by beating IM Shyaamnikhil P in what was a display of scintillating aggressive play. With only three more rounds to go, the fight for the top place is slowly heating up. In this report we bring you photos, analyses, and more.

Venkatesh slips from the sole lead!

After defending a worse position for 64 moves, Venkatesh M.R. had an easy chance to hold Pavel Smirnov to a draw and maintain his sole lead. However, the Indian Grandmaster simply missed his footing | Photo: IA Rathinam Anantharam

Venkatesh M.R. - Pavel Smirnov, Round 7

White has already lost a pawn on the queenside but has excellent chances to maintain counterplay. Venkatesh played 31.R7c6 here, can you do better?

The best move would have been 31.Qg4! giving up an exchange! After 31...Nxc7 32.Rxc7 Rg8 33.Be4 White is down material but has fantastic counterplay against Black's vulnerable king. In the game, after 31.R7c6 Qa3 Black was simply up a pawn.

After defending a pawn down ending for 64 moves, this was White's last chance to even things out once and for all with the simple 65.Qxc8, exchanging queens.

After 65.Qxc8 Rxc8 66.Ra5 Rc6 White shouldn't have any problems holding this position. But in the game 65.Qd3? was played which allowed Black to push with 65...a5 66.Qa3 a4 and White was now irrevocably doomed.

Black found a nice tactical motif to finish things off quickly, can you spot it? Check out the full game below to know the answer.

Abhijeet's swift flank attack gets the better of Karthikeyan's King's Indian!

Abhijeet Gupta registered an impressive victory with the white pieces against compatriot Karthikeyan Pandiyan to join the leaders with 6.0/7 points | Photo: IA Rathinam Anantharam

Abhijeet Gupta - Karthikeyan Pandian, Round 7

With those pawns on h4 and g4, White's position already started looking good at this point. Black played the move 12...a4 here but probably hindering the flank onslaught with 12...h6 would have been a more pragmatic choice.

15.h5 was premature on White's part, Black had the chance here to equalize. Can you find how? Check annotations below to know the answer.

18.g5 was the final nail in the coffin. Now there was nothing to stop White from building up a dangerous attack along the semi-open h-file.

With 23.Rh1 the game was strategically lost for Black. Although the encounter continued till 39 moves but there was little doubt after this point as to what the result was going to be.

Sayantan Das demolishes Shyaamnikhil's Caro-Kann in style!

IM Sayantan Das played some spectacular aggressive style chess to outsmart IM Shyaamnikhil's Caro-Kann in just 31 moves | Photo: IA Rathinam Anantharam

Photo Gallery

GM Rodrigo Vásquez Schroder defeated IM Muhammad Khusenkhojaev with the black pieces | Photo: IA Rathinam Anantharam

Raja Rithvik R. was held to draw by Tamil Nadu's Lakshmi Narayanan M V | Photo: IA Rathinam Anantharam

The Blitz King of India beat Lokesh N. with black pieces | Photo: IA Rathinam Anantharam

The second seed of the event Boris Savchenko defeated Rajesh V.A.V to stay close behind the leaders with 5.5/7 points | Photo: IA Rathinam Anantharam

WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty lost to Iranian GM Masoud Mosadeghpour | Photo: IA Rathinam Anantharam

Results of round 7

Bo.No. NameRtgClub/CityPts. ResultPts. NameRtgClub/City No.
18
GMVenkatesh M.R. 2480PSPB6 0 - 15 GMSmirnov Pavel 2574RUS
3
21
GMGupta Abhijeet 2616PSPB5 1 - 05 GMKarthikeyan P. 2422ICF
12
310
IMKhusenkhojaev Muhammad 2442TJK5 0 - 15 GMVasquez Schroeder Rodrigo 2496CHI
7
413
IMDas Sayantan 2409WB5 1 - 05 IMShyaamnikhil P 2457ICF
9
517
IMRajesh V A V 2378TN 0 - 1 GMSavchenko Boris 2576RUS
2
64
GMTukhaev Adam 2541UKR 1 - 0 Balkishan A. 2173KAR
38
729
Prasannaa.S 2237TN 0 - 1 IMTriapishko Alexandr 2519RUS
5
86
GMMosadeghpour Masoud 2509IRI 1 - 0 WGMKiran Manisha Mohanty 2082LIC
54
935
Lokesh N. 2202TN 0 - 1 GMLaxman R.R. 2426ICF
11
1015
IMMuthaiah Al 2384TN 1 - 0 Kunal M. 2306TN
23
1151
CMNikhil Magizhnan 2124TN 1 - 0 IMKonguvel Ponnuswamy 2383TN
16
1219
IMNitin S. 2358S.Rly4 + - - Ananthapadmanabh D V 1755KER
115
1337
IMMurali Krishnan B T 2192S.Rly4 1 - 04 Harshavardhan G B 2391TN
14
1443
Lakshmi Narayanan M V 2166TN4 ½ - ½4 IMRaja Rithvik R 2364TEL
18
1521
IMRathnakaran K. 2337S.Rly4 0 - 14 Baivab Mishra 2215ORI
34
1647
Surendran N 2152TN4 0 - 14 IMSaravana Krishnan P. 2329KVB
22
1753
Manigandan S S 2100TN-M4 0 - 14 Sahoo Utkal Ranjan 2278ORI
24
1825
FMAaryan Varshney 2272DEL4 1 - 04 Priyanka K 2201TN
36
1927
Nayak Rajesh 2250ORI4 ½ - ½4 Siddarth M 2167TN
42
2059
Rakesh Kumar Nayak 2042ORI4 ½ - ½4 Hari Madhavan N B 2231TN
30

Standings after round 7

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgIClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
113
IMDas SayantanIND2409WB6,00,033,030,027,506
28
GMVenkatesh M.R.IND2480PSPB6,00,032,029,526,006
31
GMGupta AbhijeetIND2616PSPB6,00,032,028,027,005
47
GMVasquez Schroeder RodrigoS50CHI2496CHI6,00,031,027,027,005
53
GMSmirnov PavelRUS2574RUS6,00,030,028,025,755
62
GMSavchenko BorisRUS2576RUS5,50,034,030,525,505
751
CMNikhil MagizhnanU14IND2124TN5,50,030,027,520,754
86
GMMosadeghpour MasoudIRI2509IRI5,50,030,026,023,255
94
GMTukhaev AdamUKR2541UKR5,50,028,026,022,254
1015
IMMuthaiah AlU20IND2384TN5,50,027,524,521,254
1111
GMLaxman R.R.IND2426ICF5,50,026,525,020,255
125
IMTriapishko AlexandrU20RUS2519RUS5,50,026,524,520,255
1312
GMKarthikeyan P.IND2422ICF5,00,030,528,520,004
149
IMShyaamnikhil PIND2457ICF5,00,030,528,019,504
1510
IMKhusenkhojaev MuhammadTJK2442TJK5,00,030,027,019,505
1624
Sahoo Utkal RanjanIND2278ORI5,00,030,027,018,505
1734
Baivab MishraIND2215ORI5,00,030,027,018,005
1819
IMNitin S.IND2358S.Rly5,00,029,528,019,504
1937
IMMurali Krishnan B TIND2192S.Rly5,00,028,025,019,004
2032
Ram S. KrishnanIND2224BSNL5,00,027,524,517,754