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Super Juniors Cup: Srihari and Aronyak are the 'Giant Killers'

by Shahid Ahmed - 06/12/2020

Super Juniors Cup had an explosive start as two GMs already got eliminated on Day 1. IM Aronyak Ghosh gave himself a perfect birthday gift by eliminating GM Prithu Gupta and FM Srihari L R played some fantastic and practical chess to eliminate GM Harsha Bharathakoti from the tournament respectively. WFM Savitha Shri B managed to survive a completely lost position against the top seed of the event GM Nihal Sarin. IM Aditya Mittal, IM Raja Rithvik R, GM D Gukesh, IM Harikirshnan Ra and GM Abhimanyu Puranik are the other six players who won their respective matches to advance to Round 2. Photo: ChessBase India

Savitha's consolation: A draw with Nihal

Two Grandmasters got eliminated on the first day of ChessBase India Foundation presents Super Juniors Cup. IM Aronyak Ghosh and FM Srihari L R eliminated GM Prithu Gupta and GM Harsha Bharathakoti respectively. WFM Savitha Shri B saved her first game from a completely lost position against the top seed of the event GM Nihal Sarin. Nihal obviously bounced back and smashed with two consecutive wins in the next two games, once again showing why he is one of the best juniors in the world.

8 eliminated out 32 after the end of Day 1 in Super Juniors Cup | Photo: ChessBase India

Nihal - Savitha: 2.5-0.5

Nobody expected Nihal to start the tournament with a draw, not even Savitha, especially considering the postion was in - on the brink of a loss.

Savitha - Nihal, Game 1

Position after 19.Nc1

Can you find out the finish for black here? Nihal made a couple of inaccuracies, still he was winning but somehow Savitha found resources, managed to equalize and eventually salvage a draw.

In the second game, Savitha blundered early in the opening and lost a piece as early as move no.11. She had to resign because there was no point in playing against the top seed of the tournament with a complete piece down and without any compensation.

In the third game, Nihal opted for the Marshall Attack. Savitha couldn't develop her pieces properly and got herself into a cramped position.

Savitha - Nihal, Game 3

Position after 17.Nd2

White should have played 17.Be3 first before Nd2 according to Nihal in a post-match analysis as it becomes difficult for white to develop the c1-bishop later which is what happened in the game.

Nihal is off to a good start with 2.5-0.5 victory | Photo: ChessBase India

Harsha Bharathakoti - Srihari L R: 1.5-2.5

One of the biggest upset of the day was caused by FM Srihari L R as he beat GM Harsha Bharathakoti to advance to Round 2. Srihari started his campaign with a victory over Harsha.

Harsha - Srihari, Game 1

Position after 19...Be6

19...Be6 is a mistake. Why? Srihari arrived at lost endgame but he managed to win the game on time as Harsha's last move 40.Ne6+ did not register on the server.

The second game was a roller-coaster one which Srihari won after Harsha made an incorrect pre-move at the end which cost him a winning game.

Harsha opted for Bird's Opening in a must-win situation. He won another topsy-turvy counter which was dominated by Harsha for the better part of the game.

Harsha - Srihari, Game 3

Position after 24...g5

It is evident that white is the one who is in firm control of the position. However few inaccuracies in the later part of the game allowed Srihari to bounce back but he missed them.

In what would have been a perfect comeback for Harsha to force the second Armageddon of the event, Harsha made an inaccuracy which allowed his opponent Srihari to tip the scale of the balance in his favor.

Srihari - Harsha, Game 4

Position after 13...Qc6

Instead of 13...Qc6, what black could have played to have things in his favor?

Srihari caused the biggest upset of the day by eliminating Harsha | Photo: ChessBase India

Raghunandan - Aditya: 1-3

IM Raghunandan Kaumandur Srihari made a positional mistake in a seemingly equal endgame against IM Aditya Mittal.

Raghunandan - Aditya, Game 1

Position after 23.Qc3+

Find out why 23.Qc3+ is a mistake and what white could have played instead.

Raghunandan missed quite a few opportunities in the second game.

Aditya - Raghunandan, Game 2

Position after 20.Bxe5

One of the best opportunity black had in the game was after 20.Bxe5.

In the third game, Aditya got early in trouble as he made an incorrect exchange.

Raghunandan - Aditya, Game 3

Position after 13...Nxd4

Find out why 13...Nxd4 is a mistake.

Requiring just a draw in the fourth game, Aditya scored a comfortable victory to advance to Round 2.

Aditya beat Raghunandan 3-1 to advance to Round 2 | Photo: ChessBase India

Harshit - Rithvik: 2-2 (Armageddon 0-1)

IM Harshit Raja missed his opportunity to equalize and blundered a pawn. Then he lost another pawn and the position completely turned into IM Raja Rithvik's favor.

Harshit - Rithvik, Game 1

Position after 27.Rh3

White should have taken the knight with 27.Bxf5, the postion still would have been worse for white after 27...Nxf5 but at least it's better than what happened in the game.

In the second game, Harshit got his chance in the middle game, but he did not take it.

Rithvik - Harshit, Game 2

Position after 20.Qe4

The game continued with 20...Qb4. What was the opportunity black had which he should have taken instead?

Harshit was in a must-win situation and he won the Game 3 to keep his chances alive in the tournament.

Harshit - Rithvik, Game 3

Position after 19...d2

Find out why 19...d2 is a tactical error on black's part. Rest was just a matter of technique and Harshit won it comfortably.

In the fourth game, Rithvik blundered a piece in an advantageous position and lost the game.

Rithvik - Harshit, Game 4

Position after 20...bxc6

White miscalculated and went with 21.e5 dxe5 22.Bxc6 which cost him the bishop and eventually the game.

Harshit won the toss in the Armageddon and he got white which meant he had 5 minutes against Rithvik's 4 minutes. He was once again in a must-win situation for the third straight game in a row which is definitely a big ask considering he started the day with 0-2.

Harshit - Rithvik, Armageddon

Position after 26.Bh4

Harshit got a fantastic position in the middle game, but instead of tightening the noose, he made it loose which is exactly what Rithvik was hoping for and he seized the opportunity. What was the better continuation for white instead of 26.Bh4 ?

Rithvik won the 'Battle of the Rajas' | Photo: ChessBase India

Gukesh - Vaishali: 3-0

In the first game, WGM Vaishali erred by exposing her own king with an incorrect break against GM D Gukesh.

Vaishali - Gukesh, Game 1

Position after 20.g4

It is evident that if 20.g4 helps anyone then that has to be black. Find out what white could have done instead.

Vaishali once again went for an incorrect break in the endgame, which allowed Gukesh to gain decisive advantage.

Gukesh - Vaishali, Game 2

Position after 37...g5

Find out why 37...g5 is incorrect and what black could have done instead.

In the third game, Gukesh got a huge initiative in the middle game as Vaishali made an inaccuracy which activated her opponent's bishop.

Vaishali - Gukesh, Game 3

Position after 26.cxd5

Find out what white should have played instead of 26.cxd5 ?

Gukesh had a perfect start with a 3-0 win over Vaishali | Photo: ChessBase India

Prithu Gupta - Aronyak Ghosh: 1-3

GM Prithu Gupta might be the rating favorite but it was IM Aronyak Ghosh who got a pleasant position out of the opening in the first game.

Prithu - Aronyak, Game 1

Position after 12...0-0

The position definitely feels good for black after 12...0-0. Soon black got a dominating position and he converted his advantage into a victory without any difficulty.

In the second game, Prithu erred early in the opening when he miscalculated a tactic.

Aronyak - Prithu, Game 2

Position after 8...Bxc5

Find out why 8...Bxc5 is a mistake. Soon afterwards black got his knight trapped in an already difficult position and lost the game in just 23 moves.

Prithu bounced back in a must-win by winning against Aronyak.

Prithu - Aronyak, Game 3

Position after 22...dxe3

Find out why 22..dxe3 is a mistake and what black could have played instead to hold the position. 22...dxe3 destroyed black's pawn structure and gave white the opportunity he was looking for.

Aronyak went into the fourth game being a 2-1 up, meaning he just a needed a draw to advance to the next round. Naturally when he got the opportunity, he pounced on it.

Aronyak - Prithu, Game 4

Position after 8.Rb1

Prithu knowing that draw meant, he will be out of the tournament, so he made a brave attempt by sacrificing his queen with 8...Rxb1 but unfortunately for him Aronyak maintained his advantaged and converted it into a win.

Aronyak Ghosh eliminated the first GM of the event Prithu Gupta| Photo: ChessBase India

Saksham Rautela - Harikrishnan Ra: 0-3

IM Saksham Rautela made a positional mistake in the middlegame against IM Harikrishnana Ra in the first game.

Harikrishnan - Saksham, Game 1

Position after 16...Bf4

Find out why 16...Bf4 is a positional mistake and what black could have done instead. Eventually in the Rook endgame black almost managed to save the game but he ran out of time.

Harikrishnan scored a comfortable victory in the second game too.

Harikrishnan won the third game with ease too as his opponent blundered an exchange on the fourteenth move of the game.

Harikrishnan breezed through Saksham with a 3-0 win to advance to the second round | Photo: ChessBase India

Abhimanyu Puranik - Divya Deshmukh: 3-1

GM Abhimanyu Puranik won the first game of the match against WIM Divya Deshmukh. However it was not a smooth start for him.

Divya - Abhimanyu, Game 1

Position after 11...Na5

Black's king is lying at the center of the board. Can you make things interesting for white after 11...Na5 ?

Position after 16...Nc4

The game continued with 17.Bxc4 which is not the best move. It is true black is threatening to checkmate at b2, but white does not need to remove the threat immediately. How should have continued instead?

Abhimanyu had no trouble winning the second game after Divya made a positional mistake in the middle game and lost valuable time on the board.

Abhimanyu - Divya, Game 2

Position after 28...Na4

Find out why the idea behind 28...Na4 is incorrect for black.

Divya made a strong comeback by winning in a must-win situation to keep her Pre Quarter-Final hopes alive.

Divya - Abhimanyu, Game 3

Position after 15...Rae8

The e6-pawn is ripe for picking but which is the correct way for white to take it - 16.Nxe6 or Rxe6 ? Abhimanyu eventually blundered in time-pressure and lost the game.

Divya made a questionable decision early in the middle game which destroyed her pawn structure and thus the position too.

Abhimanyu - Divya, Game 4

Position after 13...Rb8

Find out why 13...Rb8 is a positional mistake and what black could have done instead.

Abhimanyu advanced to the second round without any huge difficulty | Photo: ChessBase India

Replay all Round 1 games from Day 1

Replay the live stream

Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal | Video: ChessBase India


6th, 7th and 8th December - Matches start at 2 p.m. IST

9th and 10th December - Matches start at 3 p.m. IST


Prizes Prizes
1st 125000
2nd 75000
3rd 40000
4th 25000
5th 15000
6th 15000
7th 15000
8th 15000

9th - 16th ₹10000 each, 17th - 32nd ₹5000 each.

Total Prize Fund: ₹520,000. The Best Female prize of ₹20000 is sponsored by IM Tania Sachdev.



Tournament Announcement

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