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World Youth Olympiad Round 6+7: There's no stopping Russia, India green heading for Silver

by Sagar Shah - 17/12/2017

With a three point lead over the field Russians seem invincible. They have a perfect 14.0/14 score. India green team has secured the sole second position with 11.0/14. However, they have Armenia and Iran right on their heels. The sixth and the seventh round was played on the 16th of December and we witnessed a lot of exciting chess. We bring you some very instructive moments from the games. The article is also packed with videos and excellent photos by Amruta Mokal. 

Round 6: Russia crushes Iran

16th of December 2017 was a double round day at the World Youth Olympiad 2017. Rounds six and seven were played. After Round five Russia was on a perfect score of 10.0/10, with rest of the teams being two points away from them. Russia's final test came in the form of Iran in the sixth round. I call it the 'final test' because they had already played India before and some other strong teams like Uzbekistan.

Russia vs Iran

The most important clash of round six was Iran taking on Russia | Photo: Amruta Mokal

If Iran had to win this match, then all their boards had to fire. The first problem occurred when Amin Tabatabaei who played the Dragon repeated the position thrice with the black pieces, and later was clearly unhappy with the result.

On board two Alireza Foruzja seemed to have continued from where he left (5.0/5), as won a pawn against his opponent Sergei Lobanov.

Na5-b3 by Lobanov turned out to be an error as now White could take on d6 Qxd6 Bxh7+! A move that Sergei had missed. After Kxh7 Qd3+ picked up the b3 knight.

Although Black was a pawn down, Lobanov did not feel that his position was so bad. He fought on and Alireza got into tremendous time pressure. When the young Iranian made an uncharacteristic mistake, Lobanov took his chance and launched a mating attack.

Taking the pawn on a5 was just too greedy! Black made the powerful move Qh4! and there was no way to stop both Qf2+ or Qxg2+ followed by Re2.

After the game, I caught hold of Lobanov, who is surely having one of the finest tournaments of his life. Not only did he beat Alireza, but he also got the better of Praggnanandhaa a few rounds ago. Beat two huge talents in one tournament means that you yourself are a special talent. Check out his analysis of his game against Firouzja.

Sergei Lobanov analyzes his game against Firouzja and shows us some key moments

Board three between Gaifullin and Aryan Gholami ended in a draw and board four between Fakhrutdinov and Mahdi Gholami was a victory for the Russia team. The final scoreline of the match was 3.0-1.0 in the favour of Russia.

Artur Gaifullin following the footsteps of Alexander Grischuk?! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Bo.3  RussiaRtgFED-2  IranRtgFED3 : 1
1.1IM
Lomasov, Semen
2516RUS-IM
Tabatabaei, M.Amin
2573IRI½ - ½
1.2IM
Lobanov, Sergei
2441RUS-IM
Firouzja, Alireza
2526IRI1 - 0
1.3FM
Gaifullin, Artur
2417RUS-IM
Gholami, Aryan
2479IRI½ - ½
1.4FM
Fakhrutdinov, Timur
2408RUS-
Gholami Orimi, Mahdi
2298IRI1 - 0

 

India green vs India red

India green (right) clashed against India red (left) in round six | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Another match-up that everyone was looking forward to was the India green versus India red. It's true that the green team has all the stars (Pragg, Nihal, Aryan) but the red team had shown consistent performance. Also players like Rajdeep Sarkar, Jayakumaar, Arjun Ergiasi and Mitrabha Guha are pretty strong players. They usually do not give in so easily! However, the green team proved that having a rating edge mattered as they beat the red team with a score of 3.5-0.5. Quite a curious decision by the team was to rest one of their strongest players on board four Mitrabha Guha. This created quite some confusion for Iniyan who had prepared against Guha and had to face Harshita Guddanti.

Iniyan explains his win over Harshita

Aryan Chopra who has been in pretty dismal form in this event, showed some excellent bit of chess to beat Rajdeep on the top board. This game is a model example of how Black should not play against the Scotch.

The move Nge7 was a bad move by Rajdeep in the opening. It seems pretty natural as you want to castle and quickly play f5, but the resulting structure favours White greatly. Hence, it was important for Black to develop his knight to f6. Such errors are quite uncommon at such a high level, but it also shows how a natural move in the opening can give you a bad position after which there is nothing much left to fight for.

Pragg won a complicated game with the black pieces against Jayakumaar | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nihal wasn't able to make much of a progress against super solid Arjun Ergiasi | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Bo.1  India GreenRtgFED-6  India RedRtgFED3½: ½
2.1GM
Aryan, Chopra
2536IND-FM
Rajdeep, Sarkar
2406IND1 - 0
2.2IM
Praggnanandhaa, R
2517IND-
Jayakumaar, S
2254IND1 - 0
2.3IM
Nihal, Sarin
2507IND-FM
Erigaisi, Arjun
2359IND½ - ½
2.4IM
Iniyan, P
2452IND-
Harshita, Guddanti
2014IND1 - 0

 

Turkey managed to show some great bit of chess to beat Uzbekistan on the third board with a score of 3.0-1.0 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Results of round 6

No.SNo TeamPts.MPRes.:Res.MPPts.Team SNo
13
Russia15½103:1813½Iran
2
21
India Green127:½813India Red
6
35
Uzbekistan1371:3712Turkey
8
49
Israel11½62:2712Mongolia
13
511
Kazakhstan1460:4613Armenia
4
612
Argentina136:613½Belarus
10
77
India Blue12½5:613½Canada
15
820
South Africa A75:510½Malaysia
14
918
Iraq4:½5South Africa B
24
1016
Bangladesh43:14Australia
21
1119
Sri Lanka4:½47Thailand
22
1217
Indonesia834:035Nepal B
25
1323
Nepal A512:23Mozambique
28
1429
Kenya - Ndovu511:33Kyrgyzstan
27
1526
Kenya - Simba422:000bye
-1
1630
Uganda00:00not paired
-2

Round 7: Russia unstoppable, India on second place

The Russians mean business as they enter the hall at the start of the seventh round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Coach Mikhail Kobalia has been a huge ingredient in the success of the Russian team | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The inauguration of the seventh round with the moves 1.f4 h5!? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The match against Turkey begins with Semen Lomasov taking some rest. Lobanov played on the top board. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Lobanov and Obolentseva made quick draws on boards one and four respectively. On boards two and three Gaifullin and Fakhrutdinov provided the Russians two victories. Thus Russia managed to beat Turkey with a solid 3:1 scoreline.

Bo.8
  Turkey
RtgFED-3
  Russia
RtgFED1 : 3
1.1FM
Ozen, Deniz
2412TUR-IM
Lobanov, Sergei
2441RUS½ - ½
1.2FM
Ozenir, Ekin Baris
2377TUR-FM
Gaifullin, Artur
2417RUS0 - 1
1.3FM
Dedebas, Emre Emin
2258TUR-FM
Fakhrutdinov, Timur
2408RUS0 - 1
1.4FM
Isik, Alparslan
2239TUR-WIM
Obolentseva, Alexandra
2328RUS½ - ½

India green team faced Belarus in the seventh round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nihal was rested for the encounter and Vaishali played her third game of the tournament, which is the minimum required number of games from the girl player. While the boards two, three and four fired, it was Aryan Chopra on the top board who lost his way against Viacheslau Zarubitski.

Praggnanandhaa's positional win against Olga Badelka was quite nice. But even better was the way he conducted himself after the victory. We have captured Pragg's reaction in the video below after his win over Badelka and also his loss to Alireza. Nothing much changes in Pragg's expressions because of the result of the game. And this is quite refreshing from the normal tantrums that young kids throw up after losing their game.

Learning the art of equanimity from Praggnanandhaa

Bo.10  BelarusRtgFED-1  India GreenRtgFED1 : 3
2.1FM
Zarubitski, Viachaslau
2330BLR-GM
Aryan, Chopra
2536IND1 - 0
2.2WIM
Badelka, Olga
2388BLR-IM
Praggnanandhaa, R
2517IND0 - 1
2.3
Ivannikau, Maksim
2221BLR-IM
Iniyan, P
2452IND0 - 1
2.4
Kotau, Arseni
2145BLR-WIM
Vaishali, R
2329IND0 - 1

 

India red team was blanked by Iran 4-0 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Surprisng was the result on board four where Mitrabha Guha had a 300 point advantage of his opponent. However, the most interesting game was definitely on board where where Amin Tabatabaei played a beautiful game of chess that was crowned by a stunning finale.

h4 definitely didn't seem the right way to play in this position for White, but the practical problems turned out to be quite huge for Rajdeep

How would you continue as White?

Give yourself a pat on the back if you spotted the mating combination beginning with Rxh7!! Kxh7 Rh1+ Kg8 Bh6

There's no stopping Bg7 with a mate on h8!
Bo.2
  Iran
RtgFED-6
  India Red
RtgFED4 : 0
3.1IM
Tabatabaei, M.Amin
2573IRI-FM
Rajdeep, Sarkar
2406IND1 - 0
3.2IM
Firouzja, Alireza
2526IRI-
Jayakumaar, S
2254IND1 - 0
3.3IM
Gholami, Aryan
2479IRI-FM
Erigaisi, Arjun
2359IND1 - 0
3.4
Mahdian, Anousha
1998IRI-FM
Mitrabha, Guha
2315IND1 - 0

Results of round 7

Round 7 on 2017/12/16 at 1530
No.SNo TeamPts.MPRes.:Res.MPPts.Team SNo
18
Turkey1591:31218½Russia
3
210
Belarus1681:3915½India Green
1
32
Iran14½84:0813½India Red
6
44
Armenia1783:1814Mongolia
13
514
Malaysia1371:3714Uzbekistan
5
69
Israel13½7½:715India Blue
7
711
Kazakhstan1463:1611½Bangladesh
16
815
Canada156:614½Argentina
12
919
Sri Lanka1363:1612Iraq
18
1027
Kyrgyzstan10½5½:512Indonesia
17
1124
South Africa B1051:35South Africa A
20
1228
Mozambique40:44Australia
21
1326
Kenya - Simba633:135Nepal B
25
1423
Nepal A723:116Kenya - Ndovu
29
1522
Thailand42:000bye
-1
1630
Uganda00:00not paired
-2

Rankings after round 7:

Rk.SNo TeamGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
13
Russia77001421,50348,5115,0
21
India Green75111118,50298,5119,0
34
Armenia75021020,00309,0111,5
42
Iran74211018,50311,8123,0
57
India Blue7412918,50241,893,0
65
Uzbekistan7412917,00266,8115,5
78
Turkey7412916,00246,3114,5
810
Belarus7403817,00230,8108,0
912
Argentina7403817,00229,898,5
1011
Kazakhstan7403817,00197,097,5
1119
Sri Lanka7403816,00183,394,0
1213
Mongolia7322815,00213,5111,5
136
India Red7403813,50206,3114,0
1417
Indonesia7313715,50177,589,5
159
Israel7313714,00195,5105,0
1614
Malaysia7313714,00164,393,5
1720
South Africa A7313711,50138,596,5
1815
Canada7304616,50187,8105,5
1918
Iraq7304613,00124,393,0
2016
Bangladesh7304612,52159,8103,0
2121
Australia7304612,50135,892,0
2224
South Africa B7214511,00112,885,5
2327
Kyrgyzstan7214511,00110,084,5
2422
Thailand721459,5077,896,0
2526
Kenya - Simba721459,0061,082,5
2623
Nepal A7124410,0076,074,0
2728
Mozambique712449,5071,379,0
2825
Nepal B711536,0030,080,5
2929
Kenya - Ndovu701617,0046,070,5
3030
Uganda100100,000,070,0

With two rounds to go it seems highly unlikely that any team can bridge the three point gap that Russia has over the other teams. With the gold deservedly going to Russia, it's going to be a tough fight for the silver.

Round 8 on 2017/12/17 at 1530
No.SNo TeamPts.MPRes.:Res.MPPts.Team SNo
13
Russia21½14:1020Armenia
4
21
India Green18½11:917Uzbekistan
5
37
India Blue18½9:1018½Iran
2
46
India Red13½8:916Turkey
8
513
Mongolia158:817Belarus
10
612
Argentina178:817Kazakhstan
11
714
Malaysia147:816Sri Lanka
19
817
Indonesia15½7:714Israel
9
921
Australia12½6:711½South Africa A
20
1015
Canada16½6:612½Bangladesh
16
1122
Thailand5:613Iraq
18
1227
Kyrgyzstan115:4Mozambique
28
1329
Kenya - Ndovu71:59Kenya - Simba
26
1425
Nepal B63:410Nepal A
23
1524
South Africa B1152:000bye
-1
1630
Uganda00:00not paired
-2

Pictorial impressions by Amruta Mokal:

The camaraderie and sportsman's spirit goes all the way to the coaches!

Very stylish! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The two south african teams fought it out against each other in round seven. South Africa A won 3:1. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Anantha Reddy, a player from South Africa, lost his sixth round game because of wearing an electronic watch. His watch did not beep and he had been wearing this in all the previous rounds. But the arbiters spotted it towards the end of round six and awarded him a zero. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The look of fear and courage all rolled into one! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Chess can confuse the brightest of minds! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Chota (young) Ivanchuk?! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Australian mothers are having a great time in India! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The open tournament has begun in the Karnavati club. GM Deepan Chakkravarthy (left) is the top seed. The other titled players at the event IM C. Praveen Kumar and IM Shyam Nikhil. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In order to win at chess you have to reach the last bit of energy levels in your body! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Masking his intentions! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Malaysian tigers! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Those final exchanges before the quiet for four hours! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In the zone! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Backing up your team mate! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

ChessBase India accessories just launched with Pragg and Vaishali being gifted "a motivational chess poster!" Stay tuned for more information on this!

To end this article we would like to show you a very interesting interview of 84-year-old S.C. Subramanium who has been playing chess for 60 years now. What does he have to think about Fischer's "Chess is Life" quote? Bekaar (Useless)!!