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Bhopal 2017 Round 8: Vietnam's Korchnoi and Madhya Pradesh's Tal

by Sagar Shah - 27/12/2017

It seemed like Timur Gareyev would run away with the Bhopal International 2017, but the Vietnamese GM Tran Tuan Minh had different ideas. He beat the top seed with the black pieces and snatched the lead. This gave a chance to Ivan Rozum as well to reach 7.0/8 and join Tran Tuan Minh. The duo play against each other today with as many as ten players breathing down their neck with 6.5/8. The tournament is moving towards an exciting finish. Absolutely not to be missed is the game by Madhya Pradesh's Mikhail Tal - Ankit Gajwa. He simply blew his opponent off the board with a series of spectacular sacrifices! 

Timur Gareyev looked untouchable at this event. He seemed to be playing chess effortlessly. He was not only leading in the main tournament with a score of 6.5/7, but also gave a blindfold simul which included him playing against eleven opponents. The exhibition lasted for nearly three hours. While Tran Tuan Minh, Gareyev's next opponent, was taking rest and preparing in his room, Timur was giving a simul and then spending time at the musical show held by the organizers. For Timur it is much more important to be in the moment and enjoy life. This is quite apparent from the way he functions. However, in the eighth round of the Bhopal International 2017 when his game went beyond four hours, it started becoming obvious that Tran Tuan Minh is the fresher one.

Timur Gareyev - Tran Tuan Minh

Tran Tuan Minh has just pushed his pawn from e6 to e5. Gareyev simply took it with his queen after Qxe5 Qxe5 dxe5, the material balance was restored but the black king was no longer in trouble and could move around freely. Also another key point was that Black had Rg5! and with the hanging position of the knight on c5, the e5 pawn became weak. If you look at the above position closely you realize that Timur could have easily held the position had he made the move Qh2! The reason being exd4 is not possible due to Qc7+ and when Black does play Ka8, you take the pawn on e5 with the queen and reach the same position with the king on a8 instead of a7. Not a huge difference, but in the game it matters a lot. It was the difference between a half and a full point for Timur Gareyev. 

Due credit must be given to Tran Tuan Minh for defending the entire game like Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The final position is representative of what happened! The c-pawn that was sacrificed in the opening, was taken dxc5, and that same pawn has reached c2 all ready to become the queen!

The Vietnamese player Tran Tuan Minh played like Korchnoi. He gobbled the pawn in the opening and defended staunchly. Even though his opponent had the initiative, he did not flinch. Slowly and steadily he wriggled out of the cramp position, gave some material back for activity and eventually won the game. That explains the title of this article! 

Timur Gareyev lost the game, but not his spirit! He went to play Basketball and then got himself spinach! Yes, this guy eats raw spinach, just like Popeye! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

After having spoken about Vietnam's Korchnoi, it's time to talk about Madhya Pradesh's Tal. Ankit Gajwa is talented youngster from the host state. 20 years old, he has been loitering around the 2300 mark for quite some years now. The boy puts in quite a bit of hard work on his game and this was quite apparent from his comments after his crushing victory of Italian GM Alberto David. "I had prepared this sacrifice one year ago while I was paired against Adam Horvath in Chennai Open 2017." Ankit had prepared with IM Roktim Bandhopadhyay for seven days before the tournament. Roktim had given him an important advice, "Try to complicate the game against higher rated players, while try to keep it simple against lower rated opponents." This advice proved handy as Gajwa not only complicated the play beyond measure but was also better prepared!


Another important improvement that he brought in himself was that Ankit was ready to lose the game. He was ready to take the risk, play fast and play confidently. Sometimes this approach works wonders because you do not overthink, you do not waste time and this puts your opponent under pressure. For a 2300 player to beat a 2570 GM like Ankit did is never easy. But the Madhya Pradesh boy proved that it was possible. This game is an inspiration for all the players who have always had a psychological block against grandmasters.

It wouldn't be wrong to call him Mikhail Tal, at least for a day, would it?! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Ankit explains his calculations after the game

Gareyev's loss gave another player a chance to take the lead along with Tran Tuan Minh, and that's Ivan Rozum. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Girish Koushik took his chances, but fell short when it came to accurate concrete play. Rozum won a piece and later the game.

Girish played the interesting pawn sacrifice with the move e5!? After Black took the pawn he pushed his other pawn.

f4-f5!? this is a typical idea! By the way for all those who would like to see more examples related to this exact theme can buy Learn from the Classics by Sagar Shah. I discuss this idea in quite some depth! (It's Christmas Sale as well!)

Girish played some tricky tactics. His idea was that Bxf6 will be met with Rxe8 Qxe8 and Qd6 when things are not so clear as White regains the piece. But Ivan was alert and just took the knight on f6 with his queen! Game over!

Here's a small trivia for you. Check out the game given below - Adam Tukhaev against Aditya Mittal. Go over the game and try to find where was the point that the Black player went wrong? He did everything as prescribed - played the Sicilian, got in the d5 break, but then ended in an inferior endgame from where he was gradually outplayed. What did the young 11-year-old do wrong? We ask you to find out and then list to Tukhaev's interview.

The master of endgame play: Adam Tukhaev | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Adam Tukhaev speaks about his game against Aditya Mittal and we also ask him about "Where was my mistake, sir" incident that happened in the first round

This was the famous structure from AVRO 1938 between Botvinnik and Capablanca. White won that powerful game. But since then many ideas have been found for Black in this setup. I was keen to know what where the views of a strong and knowledgeable player like Suat Atalik and hence we captured the entire analysis session of his game against Spencer Masango. Check it out and let us know if you found it useful.

Suat Atalik and Spencer Masango analysis session

Rank after round 8

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgIClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
12GMRozum IvanRUS2595Russia7,00,040,545,038,506,0
26GMTran Tuan MinhVIE2544Vietnam7,00,036,040,035,007,0
31GMGareyev TimurUSA2606USA6,50,040,044,033,506,0
410IMKhusenkhojaev MuhammadTJK2451Tajikistan6,50,039,544,035,005,0
57GMNguyen Duc HoaVIE2504Vietnam6,50,039,542,533,755,0
624IMSangma RahulIND2311Delhi6,50,038,542,532,755,0
78IMYeoh Li TianMAS2480Malaysia6,50,038,542,033,255,0
89GMHimanshu SharmaIND2469Haryana6,50,038,042,033,756,0
95GMAtalik SuatTUR2545Turkey6,50,037,541,032,005,0
1015CMGukesh DIND2362Andhra Pradesh6,50,034,538,531,256,0
113GMTukhaev AdamUKR2575Ukraine6,50,034,037,030,006,0
1229FMGajwa AnkitIND2284Madhya Pradesh6,50,033,037,029,755,0
1330IMDeshmukh AnupIND2283Maharashtra6,00,038,542,529,506,0
1412IMGirish A. KoushikIND2412Karnataka6,00,038,042,029,505,0
1517Kunal M.IND2352Tamil Nadu6,00,037,541,029,255,0


Results of round 8:

Bo.No. NameTypFEDRtgPts.ResultPts.NameTypFEDRtg No.
GMGareyev TimurUSA26060 - 16GMTran Tuan MinhVIE2544
IMGirish A. KoushikIND241260 - 16GMRozum IvanRUS2595
IMKhusenkhojaev MuhammadTJK24516½ - ½6IMYeoh Li TianMAS2480
GMHimanshu SharmaIND24696½ - ½6IMSangma RahulIND2311
GMTukhaev AdamUKR25751 - 0CMAditya MittalU11IND2288
FMGajwa AnkitIND22841 - 0GMDavid AlbertoITA2571
GMAtalik SuatTUR25451 - 0Masango SpencerZIM2253
GMNguyen Duc HoaVIE25041 - 0Patil PratikIND2199
CMGukesh DU11IND23621 - 0Bharat Kumar Reddy PoluriIND2141
Ajay Krishna SIND2281½ - ½FMErigaisi ArjunU15IND2359

Pairing of round 9:

Bo.No. NameTypFEDRtgPts.ResultPts.NameTypFEDRtg No.
GMRozum IvanRUS259577GMTran Tuan MinhVIE2544
GMHimanshu SharmaIND2469GMGareyev TimurUSA2606
IMKhusenkhojaev MuhammadTJK2451GMTukhaev AdamUKR2575
CMGukesh DU11IND2362GMAtalik SuatTUR2545
IMSangma RahulIND2311GMNguyen Duc HoaVIE2504
IMYeoh Li TianMAS2480FMGajwa AnkitIND2284
Sekar BIND227466IMGirish A. KoushikIND2412
Senthil Maran KIND220866IMRavi Teja S.IND2378
FMErigaisi ArjunU15IND235966IMDeshmukh AnupIND2283
Kunal M.IND235266Ajay Krishna SIND2281

ChessBase India's Niklesh Jain gave a lecture to all the parents on the importance of food and fitness in the life of a chess player. Here's a five minute snippet:

Niklesh Jain explains the importance of food in chess