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Sunway Sitges 2018: 12-year-old Sreeshwan beats Vassily Ivanchuk!

by Sagar Shah - 15/12/2018

The Sunway Sitges 2018 is a tournament to follow. Indian GM Sasikiran Krishnan is the fourth seed. We have two young stars of Indian chess Nihal Sarin and Praggnanandhaa playing out there. As if all of this is not enough we have the young talent Gukesh looking to break Karjakin's record of youngest GM in the world. Also worth keeping an eye on is Raunak Sadhwani who recently gave Vishy Anand a scare at the Isle of Man International 2018. However, day one belonged to a 12-year-old from Hyderabad Sreeshwan Maralakshikari, the current under-12 Commonwealth gold medalist, who beat the great Vassily Ivanchuk in just 26 moves. We have the entire analysis of the game and post-game interview by Rupali Mullick.

At the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival 2018, the second seed is GM Vassily Ivanchuk (2717). In the first round Ivanchuk was facing the young talent from Hyderabad Sreeshwan Maralakshikari (2244) | Photo: RupaI Mullick

Sreeshwan is just 12 years old and born in 2006 | Photo: Sagar Shah

Ivanchuk, with a rating advantage of nearly 500 Elo points, was clearly the favourite. Sreeshwan speaking to ChessBase India after the game said, "I thought I could draw the game against the former World Blitz Champion, but I didn't think I could beat him!" Well, the young boy did beat Ivanchuk and he did it in style. His pieces were all around Vassily's king and on the 26th move, Ivanchuk had to stretch out his hand in resignation. So let's have a look at how the game transpired:

The game opened with 1.d4 and Ivanchuk replied with 1...c5. We soon transposed into a Benoni.

It speaks volumes about the young boy's courage that he was not afraid to go for the most aggressive system against the Benoni with f4

The critical moment in the game came when Sreeshwan played his pawn to e5, opening up his bishop on c2 to attack the g6 pawn. At the same time the bishop on d4 is hanging. The right move here for Black was to take on c3 with his bishop and then get his knight to e5. However, Ivachuk erred big time. He took the pawn on e5 with his bishop and in came a striking blow!

Sreeshwan didn't have to be asked twice! He picked up the pawn on g6 with his bishop

Sreeshwan shunned a repetition with Qf7-h5 and got his bishop to g5, which was a killer blow.

The final nail in the coffin was the rook coming to f4 and delivering a checkmate via h4. Ivanchuk could do nothing better than to resign the game!

This was by far the biggest victory in Sreeshwan's chess career till date

Interview by ChessBase India's Rupali Mullick after Sreeshwan beat Ivanchuk

Know Sreeshwan Maralakshikari better:

This interview was done in July 2018 when Sreeshwan had just become the under-12 Commonwealth champion

Round 1 results of Sunway Sitges 2018:

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
11
GMAndreikin Dmitry271901 - 00Jimenez Ruano Adrian2245
89
290
Sreeshwan Maralakshikari224401 - 00GMIvanchuk Vassily2717
2
33
GMInarkiev Ernesto269301 - 00Blasco Coll Andreu2240
91
492
AGMSiddharth Jagadeesh224000 - 10GMSasikiran Krishnan2673
4
55
GMEdouard Romain264401 - 00FMGarcia Trobat Francisco2239
93
694
IMBlechzin Igor223700 - 10GMVocaturo Daniele2629
6
77
GMAdly Ahmed262601 - 00CMBharath Subramaniyam H2234
95
896
Moksh Amit Doshi223300 - 10GMIndjic Aleksandar2620
8
99
GMLagarde Maxime261601 - 00FMSande Edreira Jose Antonio2230
97
1098
FMMartinez Lopez Ivan222800 - 10GMGordievsky Dmitry2614
10
1111
GMRomanov Evgeny261401 - 00Real Thibault2220
99
12100
Sorensen Hampus221900 - 10GMLiang Awonder2589
12
1313
GMPeralta Fernando258401 - 00FMKholopov Alexander A.2210
101
14103
CMFernandez De Bobadilla Gabriel219600 - 10GMSantos Latasa Jaime2584
14
1515
GMLopez Martinez Josep Manuel258001 - 00IMGluckman David2192
104