Chennai 2018 Round 10: Laxman takes it all in a thriller
When the final round began Ivan Rozum had a one-point lead over the field. But he lost his game against Timur Gareyev. This opened up the tournament and five players tied on 8.0/10. They were Rozum, Gareyev, Laxman, Dzhumaev and Erigaisi. The tiebreak favoured the grandmaster from Chennai as Laxman won the championship and took home Rs. 2,00,000. Rozum had to be content with the second spot and Gareyev was third. Nikhil Dixit and Lakshmi. C made their IM and WIM norms respectively. We have a detailed final round report with all the action from the Vijay Park Hotel in Chennai.
The final round began with the following pairings:
|1||1||GM||Gareyev Timur||2605||7||8||GM||Rozum Ivan||2595||2|
|2||13||FM||Karthik Venkataraman||2476||7||7||FM||Erigaisi Arjun||2386||25|
|3||19||GM||Laxman R.R.||2434||7||7||IM||Visakh N R||2457||17|
|4||21||IM||Llaneza Vega Marcos||2421||7||7||GM||Dzhumaev Marat||2434||18|
Ivan Rozum had one point lead over the field and a draw would have been enough to see him through. However, he was facing the dangerous Timur Gareyev in the final round and that too with the black pieces. Rozum lost the game, Arjun Erigaisi won his game, Laxman beat Visakh and Dzhumaev was able to get the better of Llaneza. So we had a five-player tie at the top with 8.0/10. All four decisive results on top four boards. Now that's something that spectators love!
|1||1||GM||Gareyev Timur||2605||7||1 - 0||8||GM||Rozum Ivan||2595||2|
|2||13||FM||Karthik Venkataraman||2476||7||0 - 1||7||FM||Erigaisi Arjun||2386||25|
|3||19||GM||Laxman R.R.||2434||7||1 - 0||7||IM||Visakh N R||2457||17|
|4||21||IM||Llaneza Vega Marcos||2421||7||0 - 1||7||GM||Dzhumaev Marat||2434||18|
As all the five players had not played against each other, the direct encounter tiebreak could not be used. So we had the second tiebreak in action - buchholz. Firstly there was some drama. The result of the game between Saravana Krishnan and Mrudul Dehankar was wrongly entered giving Mrudul the win when actually the game was just drawn. As Mrudul was Gareyev's opponent in the second round, it helped Timur to increase his buchholz score (buchholz is the sum of points scored by all your opponents). The final results were out and Timur had won the event. But Saravana Krishnan saw the incorrect result of his game on chess-results and rushed to the tournament hall to get it corrected. When it was fixed, Gareyev was pushed down to the third spot and Laxman and Rozum were tied for places one and two with the same buchholz score. The third tiebreak of removing the lowest points scorer was applied and Laxman became the champion!
Final Ranking after 10 Rounds
For Laxman it was a feeling of unparalleled joy, that he was promoted to the first place! He had mentally accepted the second position. This surprise made his victory all the more special.
110 moves to become the champion!
The game was a Catalan which turned into a Stonewall like position where Laxman was able to exchange the dark-squared bishops. He had an opportunity to get the upper hand on many occasions by just breaking in with the move a6.
It was a long strategic battle that lasted 110 moves. White had the better structure and Black was always basing his counterplay around White's king. At some Laxman was able to move in with his queen and knight and launch a decisive attack. There were a couple of draw exchanges made during the game, but both the players were ambitious at different points in time and in the end, it was Laxman who prevailed.
Gareyev's hot attack versus Rozum's cool defence
I was very surprised by Rozum's choice of opening in the final round. Instead of playing something solid that would give him a draw, he went for this extremely sharp line in the Bogo Indian where Timur played a very interesting piece sacrifice.
Considering the stress that he was under and the pressure of winning the title, Ivan did a great job of defending the position and navigating the complications. But as luck would have it, just when it seemed that the worst was over, he blundered big time!
Telangana's first GM?
AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan believes that one of the biggest talents of Indian chess at this moment is Arjun Erigaisi. The boy from Telangana has only one IM norm, but already has a live rating of 2458. I remember that when I played at the Aeroflot Open 2016, the boy had a rating somewhere in 2300 range and decided to play in the A category. This was a very brave decision as the rating cut-off in A section was 2550! Arjun played all the players stronger than him, lost many games, but became a stronger player. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!
The experienced Uzbek:
For a player like Marat Dzhumaev, who makes a living out of winning last rounds, this was not a new situation to be in. He was facing the strong Spanish IM Marcos Llaneza and played a steady game to outplay his opponent. There was a lot of manoeuvring that took place and it was through sheer grit and perseverance that Dzhumaevrv emerged victorious.
Laxman thanked two people for his success - TJ Suresh Kumar, head coach of Railways for his guidance and mentorship, and students of TNagar chess academy run by AL Kasi with whom he has practised incessantly to improve his level of play.
Final Ranking after 10 Rounds
|6||14||GM||Deepan Chakkravarthy J.||IND||2475||ICF||7,5||0,0||60,5||65,5||47,25||6,0|
|10||23||IM||Raghunandan Kaumandur Srihari||IND||2402||KAR||7,5||0,0||55,0||59,5||43,75||6,0|
|12||11||GM||Nguyen Duc Hoa||VIE||2490||VIE||7,5||0,0||51,0||55,5||41,75||6,0|
|15||17||IM||Visakh N R||IND||2457||TN||7,0||0,0||60,5||64,0||42,25||5,0|
|16||21||IM||Llaneza Vega Marcos||ESP||2421||ESP||7,0||0,0||60,0||64,0||42,00||6,0|
|18||7||GM||Tran Tuan Minh||VIE||2548||VIE||7,0||0,0||58,0||62,5||41,50||7,0|
Always a people's person Timur Gareyev gave great entertainment to the kids!
Blitz tournament final ranking after 7 Rounds
|5||3||Saravana Krishnan P.||IND||2355||6,0||0,0||28,5||23,50|
|6||27||Manu David Suthandram R||IND||1923||5,5||0,0||22,5||17,25|
Bhopal 21-28 December 2017 - Hoa Nguyen
Mumbai 30 Dec - 7th Jan 2018 - Parham Maghsoodloo
Delhi 9th Jan - 16th Jan 2018 - Arkadij Naiditsch
Chennai 18th Jan - 25th Jan 2018 - R.R. Laxman
ChessBase India had daily reports of all the four events. There was not a single day that we missed the report. If you have any feedback about our coverage, positive or negative, please mention it in the comments section below. This is Sagar Shah signing off! Next up is National Premier Blind, Mumbai from 3rd to 11th of February 2018.