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World Junior 05: Chennai champs win the day!

by Aditya Pai - 18/11/2017

Nearing halfway stage, the World Junior Championship finally has found a sole leader in GM Kirill Alekseenko with a perfect 5.0/5 score. However, the little Indian star, R Praggnanandhaa is right under his nose with 4.5/5. In the fifth round, Praggna survived a hurricane of an attack by SL Narayanan to emerge victorious. Another Chennai lad in the fray, Aravindh Chithambaram also scored an impressive win over IM Pier Luigi Basso. Round 5 report.

The champs from Chennai won the hearts of the spectators on the fifth day of the World Junior Chess Championship with their exceptional flair in Tarvisio yesterday. While the 12-year-old IM R Praggnanandhaa defended what was nothing short of a monstrous attack by SL Narayanan, GM Aravindh Chithambaram drew blood out of stone in his game against IM Pier Luigi Basso.

SL Narayanan was in the mood to go wild in his game against... | Image: Amruta Mokal

 

R Praggnanandhaa

Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan had come to the board with a clear aim yesterday. He wanted to checkmate the black king and was willing to go to any length to achieve that. With the white pieces in the Archangelsk variation of the Spanish Opening, Narayanan sacrificed his knight on g5 early in the game and went on to sack another piece. As compensation, the Kerela boy had a strong attack on Praggnanandhaa's king along with a seemingly unbreakable pin on the f6 knight.

Position after 13.Nxg5

 

But the knight sac wasn't the only surprise Narayanan had in store for his 12-year-old opponent. A few moves later, he sacrificed another bishop and came up with a novelty that enabled his queen's rook to swing over to the kingside and join the attack on the black king. Matching his opponent's wits, Praggnanandhaa defended tenaciously and returned his some material to get his knight out of the pin. But this was not where the fireworks fizzled. Hell-bent on breaking through to the black king, Narayanan sacrificed another exchange which put him a whole rook down on the material count!

After 24.Rxe4 dxe4 25. Qf6 Qxf6 26. Bxf6 Narayanan did win the knight on g7, but this sequence also forced the exchange of queens

This was, however, only a temporary sacrifice. Just a couple of moves later, Narayanan was able to grab Praggnanandhaa's pinned knight on g7. But this came at a cost -- a queen exchange! Players had now reached an endgame where white was down an exchange. Even though Narayanan tried to continue energetically, Praggnanandhaa's extra material made itself count towards the end.

Aravindh Chithambaram is making a splendid comeback after his first round loss. In round 5, he won his fourth game in a row! | Image: Amruta Mokal

Aravindh Chithambaram went for the calm and solid exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit declined in his game against IM Basso. Nothing spectacular happened in the opening or the middlegame. It was all standard play, neither side could really boast of an advantage. Also, pieces were being traded at regular intervals. It seemed the game was cruising towards a draw.

This position was reached after 31 moves of play. It's true that black has a theoretical weakness on c6. But it's hard to believe white could make anything of it.

After some back and forth shuttling of pieces, Basso cracked and allowed white's pieces to advance. After 48.Ra7+, Basso went 48...Kf8 and Aravindh seized the opportunity to get his king further into the black camp with 49. Rc7 and 50.Kh6.

Soon white's king and rook gobbled up the f7 pawn and f4-f5, white's the f pawn became a strong passer! What looked like a dead draw had so much more than what appeared at the outset!

After five rounds, Praggnanandhaa is leading the Indian contingent with 4.5/5. On the leaderboard, he is joint second. GM Arvindh Chithambaram is half a point behind him at 4.0/5 and is joint third while GMs Murali Karthikeyan and Shardul Gagare alongwith IM Harsha Bharathakoti are on 3.5/5.

Results of Round 5

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
111
GMAlekseenko Kirill256341 - 04FMSorokin Aleksey2483
32
214
GMLiang Awonder2558½ - ½GMOparin Grigoriy2606
2
35
GMTari Aryan25811 - 0GMSarana Alexey2543
20
421
IMXu Xiangyu25431 - 0GMKarthikeyan Murali2578
6
523
GMYuffa Daniil2527½ - ½GMMartirosyan Haik M.2561
12
64
GMSunilduth Lyna Narayanan258530 - 1IMPraggnanandhaa R2509
26
77
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.257231 - 03IMBasso Pier Luigi2470
38
89
GMDonchenko Alexander25673½ - ½3IMLivaic Leon2470
40
937
IMZanan Evgeny247131 - 03GMBoruchovsky Avital2565
10
1017
GMBai Jinshi255330 - 13IMDragnev Valentin2461
44
1142
IMChristiansen Johan-Sebastian24683½ - ½3GMShevchenko Kirill2550
18
1230
IMLomasov Semen249031 - 03GMKobo Ori2460
45
1333
GMGagare Shardul24823½ - ½3IMHarsha Bharathakoti2445
47
1449
IMLobanov Sergei243530 - 13IMLi Di2479
34
151
GMVan Foreest Jorden26160 - 13FMLiu Yan2422
56

Rank after Round 5

 

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 wwew-weKrtg+/-
111
GMAlekseenko KirillRUS25635,00,012,514,525,053,341,661016,6
25
GMTari AryanNOR25814,50,012,014,024,04,53,451,051010,5
326
IMPraggnanandhaa RIND25094,50,011,514,034,04,52,791,711017,1
421
IMXu XiangyuCHN25434,50,011,513,524,04,53,341,161011,6
512
GMMartirosyan Haik M.ARM25614,00,013,515,533,043,270,73107,3
632
FMSorokin AlekseyRUS24834,00,013,014,034,042,761,241012,4
714
GMLiang AwonderUSA25584,00,012,514,023,043,240,76107,6
23
GMYuffa DaniilRUS25274,00,012,514,023,043,270,73107,3
92
GMOparin GrigoriyRUS26064,00,012,513,533,043,620,38103,8
1030
IMLomasov SemenRUS24904,00,012,014,523,042,721,281012,8
1156
FMLiu YanCHN24224,00,012,013,533,042,091,911019,1
1244
IMDragnev ValentinAUT24614,00,012,013,034,043,160,84108,4
1337
IMZanan EvgenyISR24714,00,010,512,523,043,610,39103,9
1434
IMLi DiCHN24794,00,010,011,034,043,580,42104,2
157
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND25724,00,09,511,524,043,800,20102,0
166
GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND25783,50,015,017,533,03,53,250,25102,5
1747
IMHarsha BharathakotiIND24453,50,013,515,523,03,52,910,59105,9
189
GMDonchenko AlexanderGER25673,50,013,015,022,03,53,480,02100,2
1920
GMSarana AlexeyRUS25433,50,012,513,533,03,53,350,15101,5
2018
GMShevchenko KirillUKR25503,50,012,014,532,03,53,460,04100,4

Round 6 Pairing

 

 

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
15
GMTari Aryan25815GMAlekseenko Kirill2563
11
226
IMPraggnanandhaa R2509IMXu Xiangyu2543
21
32
GMOparin Grigoriy260644IMLomasov Semen2490
30
432
FMSorokin Aleksey248344GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2572
7
512
GMMartirosyan Haik M.256144IMZanan Evgeny2471
37
634
IMLi Di247944GMLiang Awonder2558
14
756
FMLiu Yan242244GMYuffa Daniil2527
23
844
IMDragnev Valentin24614GMDonchenko Alexander2567
9
96
GMKarthikeyan Murali2578IMJarmula Lukasz2470
39
1016
GMPetrosyan Manuel2554IMSosa Tomas2469
41
1118
GMShevchenko Kirill2550IMHarsha Bharathakoti2445
47
1220
GMSarana Alexey2543IMChristiansen Johan-Sebastian2468
42
1322
GMTran Tuan Minh2538FMTutisani Noe2361
80
1436
IMVan Foreest Lucas2474IMBellahcene Bilel2510
25
1540
IMLivaic Leon2470IMGholami Aryan2483
31
1646
IMBilguun Sumiya2460GMGagare Shardul2482
33

About the Author

Aditya Pai is an ardent chess fan, avid reader, and a film lover. He has been an advertising copywriter and is currently pursuing a Master's in English Literature at the University of Mumbai. He loves all things German and is learning the language. He has also written scripts for experimental films.

Previous Reports on World Junior Championship

Coverage in English

World Juniors 01: Event opens with early shocks

World Junior 02: Four on a perfect score

World Junior 03: Only one Indian remains at the top

Praggnanandhaa stuns top seed Jorden van Foreest at the World Juniors

World Juniors 04: Harsha Bharathakoti loses his lead

Coverage in Hindi

विश्व जूनियर चैंपियनशिप :भारत की युवा उम्मीद !!

विश्व जूनियर चैंपियनशिप 2017 - अभी तो ये आरंभ है !

Coverage on Firstpost

World Juniors: Harsha Bharathakoti quickly off the mark, Aravindh Chithambaram suffers shock defeat