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Mrudul Dehankar wins AICF Gujarat WGM

by Satanick Mukhuty - 20/11/2019

Mrudul Dehankar, the 15-year-old talent from Nagpur, played a sparkling game in the last round of AICF International Women Grandmaster Round Robin Tournament to wrest the lead from Aakanksha Hagawane and finish a full point ahead of the rest of the field with 8.0/11 points. After eleven rounds three players, namely Nguyen Thi Mai Hung, Olga Babiy, and Aakanksha scored 7.0/11 each and were placed second, third, and fourth respectively on the basis of tie-breaks. In this article we look into Mrudul's final round game in detail and also give you the results and standings of all the players.

Mrudul's French destruction on the final day!

The French defense is well-known to be a very solid and resilient opening choice for Black but it can also lead to some extremely passive positions if not treated properly. In the final round encounter of AICF WGM Round Robin between Mrudul Dehankar and Aakanksha Hagawane we saw exactly this happen. The latter with black pieces went for the French but struggled throughout the game to generate counterplay. Mrudul started off with the unusual and aggressive 2.f4 variation and went ahead to play some excellent bit of attacking chess, while Aakanksha could barely complete her development and failed to pose any threats whatsoever. What actually went wrong? Well, in this report we answer just that and try to understand some of the ideas in which Black's game could have been improved. So without further ado, let's dive in! 


Mrudul Dehankar - Aakanksha Hagawane, Round 11

2.f4 was Mrudul's way of catching her opponent off guard. This is unusual at the same time aggressive.  

But one of its shortcomings is definitely the lack of d4 ... Note that playing d3-d4 (instead of g3) in the above position is not really a good idea as after cxd4 Nfxd4 Nxd4 Nxd4 Black is absolutely doing well.

The French defense thrives on counterplay and Black always have to be in search of creative combative ideas to compensate for its slightly passive structure. The move 9...Be7 above looks normal but wasn't the best choice on Aakanksha's part, can you suggest a better plan?

Well, the simple 9...fxe5 would have been better here than what happened in the game as after 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.fxe5 the e-file remains closed and White still has to work hard to make progress. But the really best way perhaps would have been 9...Nh6! the idea is after 10.exf6 gxf6 11.Qe2 Kd8 12.Bh3 Kc7 13.O-O Ne7 14.Kh1 Rg8 15.a4 Nef5 (see diagram below) Black not only takes his king to safety on the queenside but also stirs up good counterplay.


Analysis Board

After 15...Nef5 Black initiates a double-edged battle with kings on the opposite sides of the board. White's plan will be to create a pawn storm on the queenside, while Black can make use of the semi-open g-file to launch a kingside onslaught.

However in the game 9...Be7 really dimmed the prospects. Even visually 10.exf6 Bxf6 11.Qe2 Nge7 12.Bh3 Nd8 looked awful. It was from here that Mrudul slowly started to take control of the game.

Position after 12...Nd8: Black was tied down to the defense of the e6 pawn!

After 18.Bf2 White was decisively better and moves like b4 and Ng5 were in the air now.

21.b4! was the beginning of the avalanche. The position was beginning to open up and White's pieces were ready to storm in!

After 21...cxb4 and 24.cxb4 even the c-file got opened and in came 25.Rac1! White had all her pieces placed on optimal squares. On the other hand, Black was reduced to the sixth rank. 

And here came the final blow... Is White's queen on h5 trapped? Can you guess what Mrudul played in this position?

Of course, it was 31.Qxh6 and after 31...gxh6 32.e6+ White's bishop pair unleashed its wrath! Aakanksha had to call it a day after only four moves from here. Check out the full game with annotations below.

The smile of victory! Mrudul Dehankar with Tanishka Kotia, Ana Gavasheli, and Luong Phuong Hanh | Photo credit: Bhavesh Patel

Mrudul gave a performance rating of 2359 and also pocketed a prize money of 1.6 Lakh rupees!

Results of all players in the last round

Bo.No.FEDRtg NameResultName FEDRtgNo.
WGMNguyel Thi Mai1 - 0WIMGavasheli Ana
WFMHarshini A1 - 0WFMTanishka Kotia
WIMPratyusha Bodda½ - ½WGMEnththuul Altan Ulzii
Priyanka K1 - 0WGMKurbonboeva Sarvinoz
WGMBabiy Olga1 - 0WIMLoung Phuong Hanh
WIMMrudul Dehankar1 - 0WIMAakanksha Hagawane

Final Rankings after eleven rounds

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgIPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 Krtg+/-
WIMMrudul DehankarIND21148,00,039,00700,0
WGMNguyel Thi MaiVIE22707,01,036,25400,0
WGMBabiy OlgaUKR22497,01,035,75500,0
WIMAakanksha HagawaneIND22277,01,033,25400,0
WIMLoung Phuong HanhVIE22596,50,033,75500,0
WIMPratyusha BoddaIND22855,51,028,50400,0
Priyanka KIND20675,50,027,25400,0
WIMGavasheli AnaGEO22405,00,026,25400,0
WGMEnththuul Altan UlziiMGL22374,51,020,50300,0
WFMHarshini AIND20204,50,021,75300,0
WGMKurbonboeva SarvinozUZB22664,00,017,50300,0
WFMTanishka KotiaIND19091,50,08,75000,0

Related news:
AICF Gujarat WGM: Aakanksha and Mrudul leads

@ 17/11/2019 by Satanick Mukhuty (en)
Six Indians in the hunt for norms at AICF Gujarat WGM Tournament

@ 13/11/2019 by Satanick Mukhuty (en)

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