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Can Indians make a strong finish in the last two rounds of the Gibraltar Masters 2020

by Sagar Shah - 29/01/2020

Praggnanandhaa has the best chances of making a top finish at the Gibraltar Masters as he is on 6.0/8 after his opponent Mamedyarov didn't turn up for the 8th round. Behind Pragg, are five Indians who are on 5.5/8 - they are Adhiban, S.L. Narayanan, Karthikeyan Murali, D. Gukesh and Aryan Chopra. The game between Gukesh and Adhiban in round 8 ended in a draw and now the second youngest GM ever has a stiff challenge in the form of S.L. Narayanan in round 9. Leon Mendonca, the 13-year-old youngster from Goa has shown amazing stability at the event and now needs a win against Kotronias in the ninth round to make his maiden GM norm. An illustrated round 8 report from the Gibraltar Masters 2020.

After eight rounds at the Gibraltar Masters, the highest placed Indian is R. Praggnanandhaa with 6.0/8. After losing to Wang Hao in round 7, Pragg faced a formidable challenge in the form of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. However, Shakh had not been keeping well and did not turn for the game at all. The fact that Pragg was white and no move was made meant that the organizers were aware about the fact that Mamedyarov would not be coming to the game. At the same time, when the pairings came out for round 8, the Azeri GM would have been unsure whether he is playing or not. For round nine Shakh has not been paired and the top seed would no longer be playing at the event.

Pragg had a formidable opponent in Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in round 8 of the Gibraltar Masters. But Shakh did not turn up for the game due to bad health. | Photos: Niki Riga

This leaves with Praggnanandhaa on 6.0/8. An excellent score and the youngster is just half a point behind the leaders Maghsoodloo, Wang Hao, Esipenko and Paravyan. In round nine Pragg has great chances to win as he faces Mikhail Kobalia. Kobalia is a strong chess player. However, he is also a coach and works in the FIDE administration. Clearly, chess is not the only thing in his life. Pragg also has the white pieces and it will be a game to look forward to.

The game between Gukesh and Adhiban was hard fought but ended in a draw. | Photo: John Saunders

Adhiban has had a solid tournament with no losses yet, but he also has five draws, which is a bit too much for the beast! | Photo: Niki Riga

One player who has been doing exceedingly well at the event is 18-year-old Aryan Chopra. Aryan is on 5.5/8 and has won three of his games and drawn five. Draws against players like Mamedyarov, Alekseenko, Vocaturo, Adhiban is truly commendable. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

2019 runner-up Karthikeyan Murali is also unbeaten and is on 5.5/8. His last two round results have shown that he can hold his own against the best in the world - MVL and Navara. In round 9 Karthikeyan has excellent chances of putting his foot on accelerator as he faces Zhansaya Abdumalik. A win would mean moving to 6.5/9 with a chance to repeat last year's performance! | Photo: John Saunders

S.L. Narayanan started off with 3.5/4, but has slowed down a bit in the last four rounds with four draws. He now faces D. Gukesh in round nine. It will definitely be a game to look forward to. | Photo: Niki Riga

Very close to making his maiden GM norm is Leon Mendonca. He has draws against players like Lalith Babu, Anna Muzychuk, Raunak Sadhwani, Li Di, Alexander Beliavsky and Alejandro Ramirez. He also scored a win against IM Adam Kozak. A win in round nine against Vasilios Kotronias would give the youngster his first GM norm. | Photo: Niki Riga

In round 8 Leon's opponent Alejandro Ramirez tried to play extremely creatively, but the Goan youngster held his ground firmly:

Harshit Raja played a scintillating game in round 8 to register a win. His rook sacrifice was incorrect, but the opponent could not take advantage of it and succumbed to a fine mating attack. | Photo: Niki Riga

Raunak Sadhwani was slightly worse throughout the game, but held his own against Sasikiran | Photo: John Saunders

Shardul Gagare was very close to winning his game against Maxim Matlakov, but misfired his attack. | Photo: John Saunders

Soumya Swaminathan made a huge blunder to lose a piece in an equal position

After a slow start Padmini Rout has scored 3.5 points in the last four rounds and is now on 4.5/8. | Photo: John Saunders

In round 7 Padmini played a very nice game to beat Luca Moroni:

Standings after round 8

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1 
116GMEsipenko AndreyRUS26546,52862
23GMWang HaoCHN27586,52861
313GMMaghsoodloo ParhamIRI26746,52815
422GMParavyan DavidRUS26296,52789
511GMCheparinov IvanGEO26866,02758
646GMYuffa DaniilRUS2566ACP Premium 20196,02749
727GMKobalia MikhailRUS2609ACP Premium 20206,02709
828GMYilmaz MustafaTUR26076,02663
931GMPraggnanandhaa RIND26026,02630
1047GMAntipov Mikhail Al.RUS2562ACP Premium 20205,52744
1152GMIbarra Jerez Jose CarlosESP25485,52734
1256GMWerle JanNED25455,52714
1332GMBasso Pier LuigiITA26005,52702
142GMVachier-Lagrave MaximeFRA27705,52689
4GMTopalov VeselinBUL27385,52689
1645GMSanal VahapTUR25695,52688
177GMAlekseenko KirillRUS2704ACP Premium 20195,52679
1848GMAryan ChopraIND25625,52674
1924GMDurarbayli VasifAZE2625ACP Premium 20205,52673
2051GMMaze SebastienFRA25505,52671

Pairings of round 9:

Bo.No.NameRtgPts. ResultPts. NameRtgNo.
13GMWang Hao 2758 GMParavyan David 262922
213GMMaghsoodloo Parham 2674 GMEsipenko Andrey 265416
328GMYilmaz Mustafa 26076 6 GMCheparinov Ivan 268611
431GMPraggnanandhaa R 26026 6 GMKobalia Mikhail 260927
546GMYuffa Daniil 25666 GMAlekseenko Kirill 27047
62GMVachier-Lagrave Maxime 2770 GMCan Emre 260033
74GMTopalov Veselin 2738 GMBasso Pier Luigi 260032
830GMPichot Alan 2606 GMNavara David 27175
96GMLe Quang Liem 2713 GMSantos Latasa Jaime 258639
1040GMKadric Denis 2585 GMMatlakov Maxim 26989

Overview of Indian performances:

SNoNameRtgFED12345678910Pts.Rk.Group
15GMAdhiban B.2654IND½11½½1½½5,525Masters
18GMSasikiran Krishnan2648IND½1½11½0½5,050Masters
21GMNarayanan.S.L2637IND½111½½½½5,532Masters
29GMKarthikeyan Murali2606IND11½½½1½½5,521Masters
31GMPraggnanandhaa R2602IND011111016,09Masters
35GMVaibhav Suri2593IND11½½½½015,046Masters
48GMAryan Chopra2562IND1½1½½½1½5,518Masters
50GMLalith Babu M R2558IND1½1½½0104,568Masters
57GMGukesh D2542IND½1½1011½5,536Masters
68IMSadhwani Raunak2522IND½1½½½1½½5,053Masters
79IMRaja Harshit2482IND½10101½15,067Masters
80GMGagare Shardul2481IND1½½1½1½05,043Masters
92IMRavi Teja S.2464IND½½110½½½4,5100Masters
111IMKrishna C R G2436IND1½0½11½½5,057Masters
115IMMendonca Leon Luke2417IND1½½½½½1½5,052Masters
119IMKulkarni Bhakti2404IND101½010½4,0131Masters
125IMSankalp Gupta2400IND01½101½½4,592Masters
127WGMSoumya Swaminathan2384IND1010½½104,0145Masters
130CMMullick Raahil2382IND01½01½014,0117Masters
139IMPadmini Rout2369IND0100111½4,599Masters
152WIMDivya Deshmukh2322IND0½10101½4,0136Masters
155WIMNandhidhaa P V2312IND1001101½4,578Masters
157FMPranav Anand2309IND10½½½½014,0110Masters
174WIMPratyusha Bodda2267IND0101½10½4,0132Masters
175WIMRakshitta Ravi2267IND0101½0013,5172Masters
181WIMPriyanka Nutakki2242IND½01½½00½3,0183Masters
191WFMCholleti Sahajasri2202IND0½1001013,5169Masters
192IMMohota Nisha2201IND0½½010013,0197Masters
201WIMTejaswini Sagar2180IND001½½0½½3,0194Masters
223WIMGagare Shalmali2099IND00½½0½½02,0235Masters
233Raghav Srivathsav V2023IND0½0½1½½03,0198Masters
247Sagar Siya1740IND000000000,0250Masters
250Manukonda Arun1959IND00½0100001,5241Masters

 


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