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World Youth Olympiad Round 2+3: India and Russia!

by Sagar Shah - 13/12/2017

It was just the second day at the World Youth Olympiad 2017 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and already we have huge amounts of blood being spilled. Iran was the biggest casualty of day two as they were held to a draw by unheralded Uzbek team. First and third seeds India and Russia fared better by winning both their matches and have now setup the top board clash in the fourth round. For India it is nice to see different players chipping in. While against Turkey it was Aryan Chopra and Pragg who won their games, against Armenia it was Nihal and Iniyan who brought home the full point. A power packed report with game analysis, videos, interviews, and a 30 minute master class with Nihal Sarin. 

The second day of the World Youth Olympiad 2017 was a hectic one. It was a double round day and the timings were 9.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. While generally at the open events I could see players yawning, at this youth event the double rounds didn't really affect the players! They were as always full of enthusiasm. After three rounds we have only two teams with a 100% score India Green and Russia. Let's have a look at what happened in the day.

India Green:

This is the crowd puller team. With the lone GM of the tournament Aryan Chopra, two young talents Pragg and Nihal, the aggressive genius of Iniyan and woman power of Vaishali R. every Indian fan is hoping for the India Green team to win this event. And it did everything right on day two.

Round two was inaugurated by Sahapol Nakvanich, Secretary of Thai Chess Federation | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The opening of the top board match between India and Turkey  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The match went as per plan for the Indians as Aryan Chopra and Pragg fired from the front and Nihal and Vaishali held draws on board three and four. A clinical 3-1 victory:

Bo.1  India GreenRtgFED-8  TurkeyRtgFED3 : 1
Aryan, Chopra
Ozen, Deniz
2412TUR1 - 0
Praggnanandhaa, R
Ozenir, Ekin Baris
2377TUR1 - 0
Nihal, Sarin
Dedebas, Emre Emin
2258TUR½ - ½
Vaishali, R
Isik, Alparslan
2239TUR½ - ½

Aryan's play was excellent as he destroyed his opponent's French Defence with ease  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Pragg's win wasn't as smooth as Aryan's. In mutual time trouble the youngster was able to outwit his opponent.

The last two boards ended in draws and India scored a convincing 3-1 win over Turkey.


In the third round India faced a much stronger challenge in the form of Armenia. The Armenians are the fourth seeds and have 2450 players on the top two boards and 2350+ guys on bottom two. It was a close match. This time it was Nihal Sarin and Iniyan who gave India a 2.5-1.5 victory over their rivals.

A small video that gives you the feel of the start of the match between India and Armenia

Few of the famous personalities included in the inauguration of round three of the World Youth Olympiad were Joy Chauhan, organizer from Mumbai Praful Zaveri and GM Tejas Bakre  | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Bo.4  ArmeniaRtgFED-1  India GreenRtgFED1½:2½
Hakobyan, Aram
Aryan, Chopra
2536IND1 - 0
Sargsyan, Shant
Praggnanandhaa, R
2517IND½ - ½
Mirzoyan, David
Nihal, Sarin
2507IND0 - 1
Gharibyan, Mamikon
Iniyan, P
2452IND0 - 1

We asked coach Prasenjit Dutta as to what does he speak to the boys in the team meeting. The coach preferred to keep it a secret. But whatever it is, it is working out!  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

It was Iniyan who got the team the first point with a quick win!  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A quick win can really boost the morale of the entire team. It means that even if all the other games end in a draw, your team goes through. One of P. Iniyan's biggest assets is his confidence. And he made the move 3.a3 with great conviction:

"My opponent likes to develop his bishop to b4 and hence I played the move 3.a3. It's true that against QGD and Benoni this move is not particularly useful, but then my opponent has less experience in these lines!" - P. Iniyan

Iniyan played a game where it was all about piece power. He navigated the complications well and brought home the full point. His opponent missed many chances to play better as shown in the analysis below:

The hero of the day was definitely Nihal Sarin | Photo: Priyadarshan Banjan

Nihal Sarin was up against David Mirzoyan (2345). Seeing him play, took me back in time. The young boy hardly used to sit in his chair in 2014 and things haven't changed. He is just walking around and calculating his moves. Seeing Nihal play like this might give you the false impression that the boy is tensed. Far from it, he is enjoying every bit of the struggle. He just cannot sit down!


But I did make him sit besides me for a full thirty minute session. We analyzed the game in great depth. We even looked at the Benko where Nihal showed the best line that Black can play, soon we also had Pragg who finished the game join in, so overall it was a fun session. The thing that struck me as most unique about Nihal is the logical way in which he would think. The entire game is like a story unfolding for the boy. Each move has its role to play in the tale and it has to be backed up with accurate reasons (calculations). I would try to rush ahead with a few moves, but he would ask me to come back and consider another possibility for his opponent. This boy is really thinking about the best moves for both the sides. If you ask me, I find him as an epitome of objectivity. It's a 30 minute masterclass from a future champion - learn from Nihal:

Analyzing the exciting game with Nihal in great depth!

After Iniyan and Nihal had won, team India green needed just half a point out of the remaining two games. But Aryan Chopra was losing his game on the top board, while Pragg was in grave danger. Finally Aryan lost, but Pragg managed to eke out the half point and took India over the finish line for a 2.5-1.5 victory over Armenia.

Aram Hakobyan, board number from Armenia played a fine game against Aryan Chopra to give Armenia the lone victory in the match  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Pragg miraculously survived and with the half point helped India win the match  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Pragg was lost on many occasions by Sargsyan couldn't finish him off:


In the second round Russia was pitted against Belarus. They had a tough match but managed to win thanks to the last board victory by Anna Obolentseva over Kotau Arseni.

Bo.3  RussiaRtgFED-10  BelarusRtgFED2½:1½
Lomasov, Semen
Zarubitski, Viachaslau
2330BLR½ - ½
Lobanov, Sergei
Badelka, Olga
2388BLR½ - ½
Gaifullin, Artur
Ivannikau, Maksim
2221BLR½ - ½
Obolentseva, Alexandra
Kotau, Arseni
2145BLR1 - 0

One thing which did catch my attention in the Russia - Belarus match was the top board encounter between Semen Lomasov and Viachaslau Zarubitski. The Belarussian player came prepared with a very strong idea and put Lomasov in great trouble, before he wriggled out.

Opening of the day:

Semen Lomasov vs Viachaslau Zarubitski

The opening of the day was played by Vichaslau Zarubitski of Belarus against Semen Lomasov of Russia on the top board

The move ...Bh5, moving the bishop without any provocation really caused White a lot of headaches and Lomasov wasn't able to respond well.

In the third round Russia had very little difficulty in overcoming Mongolia. They beat them with a score of 3.5-0.5

Bo.13  MongoliaRtgFED-3  RussiaRtgFED½ :3½
Batsuren, Dambasuren
Lomasov, Semen
2516RUS0 - 1
Ganerdene, Sugar
Gaifullin, Artur
2417RUS½ - ½
Amartuvshin, Ganzorig
Fakhrutdinov, Timur
2408RUS0 - 1
Chinguun, Sumiya
Obolentseva, Alexandra
2328RUS0 - 1

Chinguun Sumiya watches the game of his top board player Dambasuren Batsuren | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Russia has now won all of its three matches and so has India green. They are the only two teams on 100% and they setup the top board clash in fourth round.


The other team which is extremely strong and have great chances of winning this championship for the third time in a row is Iran. However, it seems as if the team is not getting its act together. It drew its third round match against Uzbekistan. But even in the second round, Aryan Gholami was completely lost. It was only through a miracle that he saved the game.

In a Houdini act, Aryan Gholami won the game and led his team to a victory over Kazakhstan  | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Bo.11  KazakhstanRtgFED-2  IranRtgFED1 : 3
Nogerbek, Kazybek
Tabatabaei, M.Amin
2573IRI0 - 1
Zhalmakhanov, Ramazan
Firouzja, Alireza
2526IRI0 - 1
Nurzhanov, Timur
Gholami, Aryan
2479IRI0 - 1
Bekturov, Tamerlan
Mahdian, Anousha
1998IRI1 - 0

In round three top rated player of the tournament Amin Tabatabaei lost to Nodirbek Yakubboev. While Firouzja and Gholami delivered on second and third boards, Mahdi Gholami lost on the last board to Daler Vakhidov.

Bo.2  IranRtgFED-5  UzbekistanRtgFED2 : 2
Tabatabaei, M.Amin
Yakubboev, Nodirbek
2448UZB0 - 1
Firouzja, Alireza
Vokhidov, Shamsiddin
2412UZB1 - 0
Gholami, Aryan
Saydaliev, Saidakbar
2362UZB1 - 0
Gholami Orimi, Mahdi
Vakhidov, Daler
2250UZB0 - 1


If Iran wants to win the championship, it has to quickly get its act together  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Mongolia beat India red in the second round  | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Bo.13  MongoliaRtgFED-6  India RedRtgFED2½:1½
Batsuren, Dambasuren
Rajdeep, Sarkar
2406IND0 - 1
Ganerdene, Sugar
Erigaisi, Arjun
2359IND1 - 0
Amartuvshin, Ganzorig
Mitrabha, Guha
2315IND½ - ½
Chinguun, Sumiya
Harshita, Guddanti
2014IND1 - 0


It was a fantastic feat by Malaysia to hold the much higher rated India blue to a draw  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Coach Peter Long said, " I am happy with my team's draw, but at the same time I was expecting a 3:1 result judging from how the games were progressing." Malaysia's performance shows that as a chess nation they are surely climbing up the ladder.

Bo.7  India BlueRtgFED-14  MalaysiaRtgFED2 : 2
Rahul, Srivatshav P
Wong, Yinn Long
2242MAS0 - 1
Rakesh, Kumar Jena
Lye, Lik Zang
2247MAS1 - 0
Aronyak, Ghosh
Tan, Jun Ying
2070MAS1 - 0
Vantika, Agrawal
Ng, Jen Sheng
2075MAS0 - 1


In the third round, the Indian teams were paired against each other.  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The first three boards ended in draws, and on the fourth board Mitrabha Guha managed to beat Vantika Agarwal and helped team Red to overcome team blue.

Bo.6  India RedRtgFED-7  India BlueRtgFED2½:1½
Rajdeep, Sarkar
Rahul, Srivatshav P
2331IND½ - ½
Jayakumaar, S
Rakesh, Kumar Jena
2394IND½ - ½
Erigaisi, Arjun
Aronyak, Ghosh
2293IND½ - ½
Mitrabha, Guha
Vantika, Agrawal
2314IND1 - 0


Chess has the ability to quieten out the surroundings and take you to a place of inner peace!  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Clash of styles! Photo: Amruta Mokal

A team tournament always means that you are distracted with the games of your team mates!  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

When you play for your country, you leave no stone unturned in trying to giving your best  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The youngsters of Gujarat are getting a great opportunity to mingle with the international players  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

It's nice to see a feeling of camaraderie and friendship between the coaches!

Arbiter of the day:

The arbiter of the day is V. Vijayaraghavan from Tamil Nadu. He has worked as the chief arbiter at the women's national premier 2017. Hailing from Coimbatore, he played chess when he was young, but later decided to shift his focus to teaching and working as an arbiter. He is one of the respected arbiters of our country.

Quick chat with V. Vijayaraghavan

Results of round two:

No.SNo TeamPts.MPRes.:Res.MPPts.Team SNo
11India Green23:123Turkey8
613Mongolia42:2India Red6
77India Blue22:224Malaysia14
923Nepal A100:40½Bangladesh16
1025Nepal B000:400Iraq18
1119Sri Lanka003:100South Africa B24
1227Kyrgyzstan002:200South Africa A20
1321Australia½04:000Kenya B26
1429Kenya A00½:0½Thailand22
1630Uganda00:00not paired-2

Results of round three:

No.SNo TeamPts.MPRes.:Res.MPPts.Team SNo
14Armenia74:4India Green1
46India Red52:3India Blue7
912Argentina2:23Sri Lanka19
1220South Africa A21:12Mozambique28
1326Kenya B003:101Nepal A23
1424South Africa B104:000Nepal B25
1529Kenya A½02:000bye-1
1630Uganda00:00not paired-2

Rankings after Round 3:

Rk.SNo TeamGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
21India Green330069,0063,021,5

Follow the games live. Round 4 at 15.30 hours on 13th of December.