chessbase india logo

Sethuraman wins silver at the 2nd Binhai Open in China

by Satanick Mukhuty - 20/01/2020

S.P. Sethuraman, the 24th Grandmaster of India, kick-started the new year with an emphatic unbeaten performance at the second Binhai Chess Open in China. The week-long swiss tournament took place from the 13th to the 18th of January in the beautiful coastal metropolis of Tianjin in Northeastern China. Sethuraman was the only Indian in the event which attracted a total of ninety-eight participants, including four GMs and eight IMs, from around the world. Nine rounds were played following classical time control of 90 minutes plus 30 seconds increment for every move from move one.  

Sethuraman begins new year by taming the chinese

The second edition of Binhai Open under the aegis of the chess federation of China hosted ninety-eight participants this year from eight different countries. However no less than eighty-eight of them were from the Chinese federation itself. Grandmaster S.P. Sethuraman, the only player from India, actually started off as the top seed of the event with China's Zhou Jianchao and Tsegmed Batchuluun of Mongolia following him closely in the second and third places respectively.   

Sethuraman during the opening ceremony of the event | Photo: S.P. Sethuraman

As expected, Sethuraman did live up to his class. He managed to remain unbeaten throughout the event scoring a commendable 7.0/9 points via five wins and four draws. And in the last two rounds he also made two solid draws against the best of the rest, namely Zhou Jianchao and Tsegmed Batchuluun. Sethuraman and Zhou were both equally in contention for the first place towards the end of the event. However, Zhou managed to edge out narrowly by beating Dai Changren in the final round and Sethu had to be content with the second spot.

Sethuraman returned home with a cash prize of 50,000 yuans or 5 Lakh INR | Photo: S.P. Sethuraman

The Indian mostly faced Chinese opposition and came out with flying colours, performing at a rating of 2614!

Although the 26-year-old played quite a few good games to start off the new year with a bang, here we would like to quote two of his games from rounds three and six that were particularly noteworthy!


S.P. Sethuraman - Lin Yi, Round 3

Sethuraman began his campaign by winning three games in a row. The above was the third game against Lin Yi where he managed to secure a long-term advantage in terms of superior pawn structure and then convert a fine victory by liquidating into a superior endgame. Black chose a somewhat unusual variation of the English in this encounter by going Nc6 too early (see diagram) and blockading the c-pawn.

8...Na5 was one of those unpleasant choices that one has to make. It was putting away the knight away from the center and a waste of good tempo but it was needed to keep the queenside together. 

Soon the hapless a5 knight was picked up and White happily grabbed an extra pawn on c6!

After move 20 White stood clearly better with a healthier pawn structure and an extra pawn. Black had the bishop pair but they really didn't have a target to hit at.

In no time White's c and d pawns started looking quite dangerous.

After the queens were traded Black was just left in a hopeless ending with massive lightsquare weaknesses. 29...g6-g5, putting a fourth pawn on a dark square, was all the more worse!

White proceeded with activating his king and Black didn't have a choice but to be a mute witness to his own demise! Check out the full game below.

Zhang Ziji - S.P.Sethuraman, Round 6

This was the critical position in Sethuraman's sixth game which he played after slowing down a bit in rounds four and five with two draws. The above came out of a Queen's Gambit Accepted and here White played the move 23.Bf4 which was an inaccuracy and allowed Black to seize the edge with 23... Nxf3+ 24.Bxf3 Bxf3 25.Bxb8. Can you do better in this position playing as White?


Interestingly the only move that doesn't give away the advantage to Black and even maintains some initiative is 23.Bxb4! After 23...Bxf3 24.Bc3 Bxe2 25.Bxe5 Rb5 26.Qb2 White's position is pleasant to play.


Analysis Board

Even though Black has the bishop pair but White's passed c-pawn is a real asset and gives White good chances. Zhang Ziji erred with 23.Bf4 and Sethuraman converted the rest flawlessly.

Sethuraman in action in Tianjin! | Photo: S.P.Sethuraman

Final Standings of players after nine rounds

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
GMZhou JianchaoCHN26237,5649,553,5
GMSethuraman S.P.IND26387,0549,054,0
GMLiu YanCHN25136,5548,552,0
IMKaiyrbekov RustamKAZ23296,5541,544,5
GMBatchuluun TsegmedMGL25306,5448,053,0
Huang RenjieCHN24166,0547,552,0
IMDai ChangrenCHN25066,0547,051,5
Nie XinyangCHN23796,0543,046,0
Gu JiazhenCHN20126,0542,045,0
IMZhang ZijiCHN24326,0448,553,5

Contact Us