World Junior 05: Chennai champs win the day!
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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
|1||11||GM||Alekseenko Kirill||2563||4||1 - 0||4||FM||Sorokin Aleksey||2483||32|
|2||14||GM||Liang Awonder||2558||3½||½ - ½||3½||GM||Oparin Grigoriy||2606||2|
|3||5||GM||Tari Aryan||2581||3½||1 - 0||3½||GM||Sarana Alexey||2543||20|
|4||21||IM||Xu Xiangyu||2543||3½||1 - 0||3½||GM||Karthikeyan Murali||2578||6|
|5||23||GM||Yuffa Daniil||2527||3½||½ - ½||3½||GM||Martirosyan Haik M.||2561||12|
|6||4||GM||Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan||2585||3||0 - 1||3½||IM||Praggnanandhaa R||2509||26|
|7||7||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||2572||3||1 - 0||3||IM||Basso Pier Luigi||2470||38|
|8||9||GM||Donchenko Alexander||2567||3||½ - ½||3||IM||Livaic Leon||2470||40|
|9||37||IM||Zanan Evgeny||2471||3||1 - 0||3||GM||Boruchovsky Avital||2565||10|
|10||17||GM||Bai Jinshi||2553||3||0 - 1||3||IM||Dragnev Valentin||2461||44|
|11||42||IM||Christiansen Johan-Sebastian||2468||3||½ - ½||3||GM||Shevchenko Kirill||2550||18|
|12||30||IM||Lomasov Semen||2490||3||1 - 0||3||GM||Kobo Ori||2460||45|
|13||33||GM||Gagare Shardul||2482||3||½ - ½||3||IM||Harsha Bharathakoti||2445||47|
|14||49||IM||Lobanov Sergei||2435||3||0 - 1||3||IM||Li Di||2479||34|
|15||1||GM||Van Foreest Jorden||2616||2½||0 - 1||3||FM||Liu Yan||2422||56|
Rank after Round 5
|5||12||GM||Martirosyan Haik M.||ARM||2561||4,0||0,0||13,5||15,5||3||3,0||4||3,27||0,73||10||7,3|
|15||7||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2572||4,0||0,0||9,5||11,5||2||4,0||4||3,80||0,20||10||2,0|
Round 6 Pairing
|1||5||GM||Tari Aryan||2581||4½||5||GM||Alekseenko Kirill||2563||11|
|2||26||IM||Praggnanandhaa R||2509||4½||4½||IM||Xu Xiangyu||2543||21|
|3||2||GM||Oparin Grigoriy||2606||4||4||IM||Lomasov Semen||2490||30|
|4||32||FM||Sorokin Aleksey||2483||4||4||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||2572||7|
|5||12||GM||Martirosyan Haik M.||2561||4||4||IM||Zanan Evgeny||2471||37|
|6||34||IM||Li Di||2479||4||4||GM||Liang Awonder||2558||14|
|7||56||FM||Liu Yan||2422||4||4||GM||Yuffa Daniil||2527||23|
|8||44||IM||Dragnev Valentin||2461||4||3½||GM||Donchenko Alexander||2567||9|
|9||6||GM||Karthikeyan Murali||2578||3½||3½||IM||Jarmula Lukasz||2470||39|
|10||16||GM||Petrosyan Manuel||2554||3½||3½||IM||Sosa Tomas||2469||41|
|11||18||GM||Shevchenko Kirill||2550||3½||3½||IM||Harsha Bharathakoti||2445||47|
|12||20||GM||Sarana Alexey||2543||3½||3½||IM||Christiansen Johan-Sebastian||2468||42|
|13||22||GM||Tran Tuan Minh||2538||3½||3½||FM||Tutisani Noe||2361||80|
|14||36||IM||Van Foreest Lucas||2474||3½||3½||IM||Bellahcene Bilel||2510||25|
|15||40||IM||Livaic Leon||2470||3½||3½||IM||Gholami Aryan||2483||31|
|16||46||IM||Bilguun Sumiya||2460||3½||3½||GM||Gagare Shardul||2482||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.
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