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Gibraltar 2018: Prithu Gupta becomes an IM and scores his maiden GM norm

by Sagar Shah - 01/02/2018

It was a dream come true for the 13-year-old Delhi youngster Prithu Gupta as he not only scored his maiden GM norm at the Gibraltar Masters 2018, but also completed his IM title! The other good news for the day was Raunak Sadhwani making his 2nd IM norm. Debashis Das is showing some super-solid chess with a 2700+ performance, Abhijeet Gupta beat Vassily Ivanchuk with a scintillating game of chess. And last but not the least, Nihal Sarin played an amazing positional game to outwit experienced GM Kiril Georgiev. This report is filled with great insights, analysis, photos and much more!

Sadhwani scores IM norm, Debashis' 2700+ performance, Abhijeet beats Ivanchuk!

The hero of the day: Prithu Gupta - achieving his maiden GM norm and IM title | Photo: John Saunders

Let's first begin with one of the biggest news of the day. After the seventh round Prithu Gupta was sitting pretty with two wins and five draws and a rating performance of 2639. He needed just 1.0/2 and that would have got him his maiden GM norm. But good things don't come so easy! Prithu lost his eighth round and was now in a must-win scenario in the ninth round. He was up against the strong Norwegian IM Johan-Sebastien Christiansen with the black pieces. "I never imagined that I would win the game with black," said Prithu. But he did! And with it, he not only made his maiden GM norm, but also completed his IM title.

"I don't care about tomorrow!" Prithu in conversation with Tania Sachdev after he achieved his GM norm

ChessBase India was the first one to discover Prithu's talent when our author Jitendra Choudhary wrote an article: From 1187 to 2219 in just three years. 13-year-old Prithu is currently ranked number three in India in the under-14 section behind Nihal Sarin and R. Praggnanandhaa. It will be interesting to follow Gupta's career, as he is ideally placed with an IM title and one GM norm. Being coached by able trainers like IM Roktim Bandhopadhyay, IM Somak Palit and GM Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury we can expect much more from this Delhi youngster.

12-year-old Raunak Sadhwani drew his ninth round game against Erik Blomqvist and achieved his second IM norm! | Photo: John Saunders

Sethuraman was playing on board three against Levon Aronian. He got a good position out of the opening, but after that Levon took over and won the game in style! | Photo: John Saunders
Levon tells us about his win over Sethuraman and how good players usually pick up slowly in such open events!

Abhijeet Gupta is the highest ranked Indian currently with 6.5/9. He is in the eighth position. In the eighth round he beat Vassily Ivanchuk. Let's have a look at that game. | Photo: John Saunders

In this line of the Queen's Indian Abhijeet's play was so amazing that I am left wondering where exactly did Ivanchuk (black) go wrong. The Indian GM played these very strong ideas with h4-Bg5, Nd2. I urge the reader to go deeper into this line which according to me looks clearly favourable for White.

One of the other reasons why I was fascinated with this opening is because I had seen it in Daniel King's Power play two. The DVD is entitled "Attacking the king". And this entire idea of exchanging the light squared bishops with Ba6 by Black and then White playing his rook to d1 so that he can recapure with Rxd3 lifting his rook to the third rank was all so fascinating that I couldn't help but fall in love with this opening. Now that I am older (less hair) and more experienced, I know that it wasn't just the opening, but the way Daniel King explained these concepts that made me love this line so much! If you want to learn the art of building up an attack I recommend Power Play 2 to you. Your money won't be wasted!

Coming back to Abhijeet vs Ivanchuk, Gupta played a very beautiful combination:

First of all, Abhijeet played the pawn to d5. Ivanchuk picked it up with his rook. What had Abhijeet prepared?

Nxe6! Bam!

Ivanchuk: Buddy what do you have in mind? My rook on d5 is hanging, but isn't yours on e1 also en prise?

The Gupta touch! I do not need to say anything more! After Kxg8 Qxd5 Black loses a lot of material!

After his win against Ivanchuk, Abhijeet drew with Boris Gelfand. He was worse in the game, but he hung in there. He now faced Polish youngster Duda in the last round | Photo: John Saunders

Nihal Sarin didn't have a great start to the event, but in the ninth round he drew against GM Sandipan Chanda. Much more impressive was his feat in the eighth round. | Photo: John Saunders

Kiril Georgiev is an extremely experienced player, but the way Nihal defeated him was just amazing! In complete positional style! If you didn't see the names, you would be excused for thinking that it was Georgiev who had the white pieces! | Photo: John Saunders

Black has just moved back his queen to e7. How should White continue?
Nihal Sarin analyzes his win over Kiril Georgiev

Venkatesh has been playing very well at this event win two wins over strong GMs Niclas Huschenbeth and Tamas Banusz | Photo: John Saunders

After his win over GM Gopal in the seventh round Pragg had excellent chances to score his second GM norm... | Photo: John Saunders

...but he lost to Sethuraman in the eighth round. With 5.5/9 he has lost his chance to score his norm, because he needs 7.0/10. | Photo: John Saunders
Sethuraman speaks about his win over Praggnanandhaa

Hemant Sharma needs a win in the final round to make his 10 round GM norm. He is up against Nitzan Steinberg (2512) of Israel. | Photo: John Saunders

Debashis Das has been a rock solid performer at this event, scoring 6.0/9. He has remained unbeaten and has a rating performance of 2700+. He has scored wins over Navara and Iturrizaga. | Photo: John Saunders

Tania Sachdev interviews Harikrishna:

From Pratipadu to Belgrade. An interview with India number two Pentala Harikrishna
Get to know Tania better!

Overview of Indian performances

5GMHarikrishna P.2745IND½½111½0015,559Masters
25GMSethuraman S.P.2646IND11½½011106,024Masters
31GMGupta Abhijeet2610IND1½½11½½1½6,58Masters
37GMGopal G.N.2593IND½1½1½½01½5,567Masters
42GMSandipan Chanda2579IND½½11110½½6,029Masters
45GMNarayanan S. L.2573IND11½½101½½6,033Masters
63GMLalith Babu M R2542IND11½½0½1015,554Masters
68GMSwapnil S. Dhopade2533IND11½0½1½½16,039Masters
71IMNihal Sarin2524IND1½½0½111½6,045Masters
74IMPraggnanandhaa R2515IND1½½½½110½5,563Masters
81GMDebashis Das2501IND11½½½½½½16,020Masters
82GMGagare Shardul2494IND11½½1001½5,548Masters
102IMPrasanna Raghuram Rao2458IND10110½½1½5,565Masters
108GMVenkatesh M.R.2445IND11½½½01½½5,553Masters
114IMSwayams Mishra2432IND1½10½0½½½4,5130Masters
119IMRaja Harshit2427IND½1½0½101½5,0110Masters
136IMMohammad Nubairshah Shaikh2380IND1½½½10½½15,562Masters
139FMPrithu Gupta2373IND½½11½½½015,552Masters
149IMHemant Sharma (Del)2348IND½011½½½½½5,080Masters
159IMPadmini Rout2325IND010110½104,5126Masters
162FMSadhwani Raunak2321IND½01½½½10½4,5125Masters
176IMMohota Nisha2269IND½01½0110½4,5133Masters
186WIMNandhidhaa Pv2238IND01½0101½15,0118Masters
228WFMCholleti Sahajasri2083IND0011010003,0224Masters
230WIMTejaswini Sagar2081IND½½½100½014,0173Masters
247WIMGagare Shalmali2001IND½0001½0½½3,0232Masters
254CMDev Shah1977IND½000010012,5257Masters
268Mayank Pal1834IND½000½½½½½3,0246Masters

Rank after Round 9

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1 
13GMNakamura HikaruUSA27817,02830
22GMVachier-Lagrave MaximeFRA27937,02771
312GMRapport RichardHUN27007,02765
41GMAronian LevonARM27977,02748
515GMDubov DaniilRUS26947,02703
616GMHowell David W LENG26826,52766
738GMAntipov Mikhail Al.RUS25886,52757
831GMGupta AbhijeetIND26106,52734
924GMGrandelius NilsSWE26476,52727
109GMDuda Jan-KrzysztofPOL27246,52725
1110GMWang HaoCHN27116,52720
1233GMOparin GrigoriyRUS26076,52715
137GMVitiugov NikitaRUS27326,52698
1411GMAdams MichaelENG27096,52692
1514GMGelfand BorisISR26976,52680
1632GMVocaturo DanieleITA26096,52677
176GMLe Quang LiemVIE27376,52667
1813GMCheparinov IvanBUL26996,52637
1993GMKobo OriISR24776,52629
2081GMDebashis DasIND25016,02704

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