Aravindh or S L Narayanan - Who will win MPL Indian Chess Tour 2022 leg 3?
Aravindh Chithambaram extended his win streak to eight games on the third day of MPL Indian Chess Tour leg 3. Nihal Sarin denied him a triple hat-trick in the tenth round. He drew the following round before losing the final game of the day against S L Narayanan. The birthday boy did not want to celebrate his 23rd birthday in this way. He is still in the sole lead 26/36, followed by Narayanan at 24/36. Raunak Sadhwani and Vidit Gujrathi are at 19/36 each. Only three rounds left which means it is safe to say that the championship will mainly be fought between Aravindh and Narayanan unless something drastic happens. Round 13 starts today at 3:30 p.m. IST.
Close fight for the third place
S L Narayanan beat Aravindh Chithambaram in Round 12 which can almost be described like a tragicomedy. It was really a forgettable day for Aravindh who missed a certain winning opportunity against Adhiban in the previous round.
Round 9: Aravindh - Shyam: 3-0
GM Aravindh Chithambaram started the day with a 24-move victory against GM Shyam Sundar M. However, it was not a smooth one.
White played 20.Nxc8 which gave an opportunity for Black to save the game via 20...Bh6+ 21.Kb1 Nd5. It was certainly not an easy option to find especially in a volatile position. The easiest path to victory for White was 20.Nf7+ Ke8 21.Qxc6+ Bd7 22.Nd6+ exd6 23.Bg6+ Kd8 24.Qxa8+ and White is completely winning. This was Aravindh's eighth win in-a-row at this event.
Round 10: Nihal - Aravindh: 3-0
GM Nihal Sarin ended tournament leader GM Aravindh Chithambaram's eight-game winning streak on his 23rd birthday. The Hippopotamus Defence did not turn out to be a good opening choice for Black.
It would not be an understatement to say that Black is positionally lost after 15.h6. White won the game in another 15 moves.
Round 11: Narayanan - Vaishali: 0-3
IM Vaishali R scored a big win over GM S L Narayanan.
The one thing White should not do in these positions is trade the a-pawn which will blindside his own bishop at a2. That is exactly what happened in the game. 14.axb5 Nxe2+ 15.Qxe2 axb5 and now the a2-bishop became a liability for the rest of the game. White did manage to free his bishop eventually at the cost of an exchange but it was too little too late.
Aravindh - Adhiban: 1-1
Aravindh had a thrilling finish against Adhiban which the former should have won but he could have lost the game too.
39.Qxc5 h3+ 40.Kf2 Qxa1 and Black managed to get a draw by perpetual check, although he had a winning opportunity in the final moments. White does not need to take the bishop here as it does not provide any resistance to White's plans. 39.c7 would have finished the game in White's favor as Qc6# and Qb8 two deadly threats were too strong for Black to thwart.
Round 12: Narayanan - Aravindh: 3-0
Perhaps the most anticipated match of the event had the most anticlimactic finish between GM S L Narayanan and GM Aravindh Chithambaram.
Black's last move was 22...Kd7. He completely forgot about White's castling rights. Narayanan seized his opportunity and played 22.0-0-0+ which immediately prompted resignation from his opponent. This win ensured, Narayanan reduces the gap and remains in the championship contention.
Analyze the above game and solve questions posed by IM Sagar Shah from the above game and a study here.
Win - 3 points, Draw - 1 point and Loss - 0.