Sethuraman wins silver at the 2nd Binhai Open in China
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.
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.
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.
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.
Final Standings of players after nine rounds