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Asian Nations Cup 02: India hold China!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 31/03/2016

The poor live transmission has hit the coverage of the prestigious Asian Nations Cup 2016, with an ancient website of the Asian Chess Federation well below the mark in promoting our game. In the women's section, India took on China for a mouth-watering clash, and nobody had any clue what the results were. Indian Men's team was expected to roll through Mongolia. So, what exactly happened? A report with games.

Asian Nations Cup 2016: India hold China!

The Asian Nations Cup Chess Championship has begun at the Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan hotel with 20 countries competing for the right to represent Asia in the World Chess Team Championship. Team India, led by top coaches R.B. Ramesh and Vishal Sareen, are obvious contenders for the title in both the men's and women's section, but we are facing the great wall of China, the country that remains the overwhelming favourite.

 

Speaking of India and China, both the heavyweights faced off in the women's section in the second round itself. India had held China to a draw last time, and the ideal aim would be to be slightly better this time!

 

Before the game, coach Vishal Sareen was optimistic about the team's chances

India could not go one up  -- the team held China to a draw. However, things weren't as placid as one may think.

 

The team employed a very interesting idea: IM Tania Sachdev (2370) was placed on the second board to take on the experienced GM Zhao Xue (2504) while IM Padmini Rout (2439), was stationed on the third to face WGM Tan Zhongyi (2518). The board one game comprised of the Teheran GP winner GM Ju Wenjun (2568) taking on GM Dronavalli Harika (2515), while WGM Soumya Swaminathan (2384) took on WGM Tingjie Lei (2495) on the fourth board.

White to play

Soumya rose to the occasion brilliantly by playing the only move that maintains the advantage for her.

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.29"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Swaminathan, Soumya"]
[Black "Lei, Tingjie"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B83"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[SourceDate "2016.03.29"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be2 Nf6 7. O-O Be7 8.
Be3 d6 9. f4 O-O 10. Kh1 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 b6 12. Bf3 Bb7 13. Rf2 Rfd8 14. Nb5 Qb8
15. c4 a6 (15... d5 16. cxd5 exd5 17. e5 a6 18. Nd6 Bxd6 19. exf6 Bc5 20. Qd3
g6 $11) 16. Nc3 Nd7 17. Qd2 Qc7 18. Rc1 Rac8 19. b3 Qb8 20. f5 Bf6 21. fxe6
fxe6 $14 22. Bg4 Re8 23. Nd5 Bc6 24. Nxf6+ Nxf6 25. Rxf6 $1 gxf6 26. Bd4 Qc7
27. Bxf6 Qf7 28. Rf1 Qg6 29. Bh3 Bxe4 30. Qxd6 Rc6 31. Qe5 h6 32. Re1 Bd3 33.
Re3 Rc5 34. Bxe6+ Kh7 35. Qd4 Rc7 36. h3 Rf8 37. Qd6 Qxf6 38. Qxc7+ Kh8 39. Rf3
Qa1+ 40. Kh2 Rxf3 41. Qd8+ Kg7 42. Qg8+ Kf6 43. Qh8+ 1-0

 

While Tania had a better position for the most part of her game, she could not convert and settled for a draw. Padmini, who had a fine position, played inaccurately and botched the game up to lose.

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.30"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Tan, Zhongyi"]
[Black "Rout, Padmini"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A22"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[SourceDate "2016.03.30"]
1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nb6 6. e3 Nc6 7. Nge2 Nb4 8.
O-O Nd3 9. f4 exf4 10. Nxf4 Nxf4 11. gxf4 Be7 12. b3 f5 13. Bb2 c6 14. Qh5+ g6
15. Qe2 O-O 16. Rad1 Bf6 17. d4 Be6 18. e4 fxe4 19. Nxe4 Bd5 20. f5 gxf5 21.
Rxf5 Bg7 22. Rdf1 Rxf5 23. Rxf5 Qh4 (23... Qe7 $1 $11) 24. Nd6 h6 25. Ne8 Bxd4+
26. Kh1 Bf7 27. Nf6+ Bxf6 28. Bxf6 Qb4 29. a3 Qxb3 30. Qg4+ Kf8 31. Rf1 Qe6 32.
Qg7+ Ke8 33. Bh4 Rc8 34. Re1 1-0

One for the What ifs... Padmini was in no manner worse, but she ended up losing, while Harika had a minus position, and she hung on to a draw. How such dynamics eventually affect the results!

So far so good, but things began to look grim for India on the top board where Harika overstretched and ended a pawn down, but with opposite coloured bishop, she fought resourcefully to hold the balance in the game as well as the match.

 

Now, on a side note, imagine GM Koneru Humpy leading the team in such a scenario -- beating the Chinese and gunning for the gold becomes a realistic aim!

Team Performance

India Men's team, on the other hand, was expected to outrun, if not outplay, the Mongolian team. Each member outrated his opponent by two hundred points, if not more. Yet, like death, chess is a great leveller.

 

GM S.P. Sethuraman (2658) lost to GM Tsegmed Batchuluun (2460) while GM K. Sasikiran settled for a draw with FM Sumiya Bilguun (2363). GM B. Adhiban faced no issues in dismantling GM Sayarsaikhaan Gundavaa (2517).

 

But the biggest scare India suffered was on board three, where GM Vidit Gujrathi sacrificed his queen for a rook, under rough circumstances! He managed to create a fortress though and held a draw. India settled for a 2-2 tie with Mongolia.

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.30"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Gujrathi, Vidit"]
[Black "Munkhgal, Gombusuren"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D38"]
[PlyCount "208"]
[SourceDate "2016.03.30"]
[WhiteClock "0:10:44"]
[BlackClock "0:17:19"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Qb3 c5 8.
cxd5 exd5 9. a3 Bxc3+ 10. Qxc3 c4 11. b3 b5 12. a4 b4 13. Qxb4 Nc6 14. Qc3 Bg4
15. bxc4 Bxf3 16. gxf3 dxc4 17. e3 O-O 18. Bxc4 Qxf3 19. Rg1 Qf6 20. Rc1 Rad8
21. Rg4 Ne7 22. Ke2 Rc8 23. Rcg1 g6 24. Qd3 Kg7 25. Rf4 Qd6 26. d5 f5 27. Qd4+
Kh7 28. Rh4 f4 29. Rxf4 Rxf4 30. exf4 Qb4 31. Rc1 Nf5 32. Qxa7+ Kh8 33. Qa6 Nd6
34. Kd3 Rf8 35. Qa7 Rxf4 36. Qe3 g5 37. Ba2 Qa3+ 38. Rc3 Qxa2 39. Qe5+ Kh7 40.
Rc7+ Nf7 41. Qxf4 Qb1+ 42. Ke2 gxf4 43. Rxf7+ Kg6 44. Rxf4 Qc2+ 45. Kf3 Qd1+
46. Ke3 Qc1+ 47. Kf3 Qh1+ 48. Ke2 Qxh2 49. Rd4 Kf7 50. d6 Ke8 51. d7+ Kd8 52.
Rd3 h5 53. a5 Qe5+ 54. Re3 Qxa5 55. Kf1 Qg5 56. Rg3 Qf4 57. Kg2 Kxd7 58. Rd3+
Ke6 59. Re3+ Kd5 60. Rd3+ Ke4 61. Re3+ Kd4 62. Rg3 h4 63. Re3 Qg4+ 64. Kh2 Kd5
65. Rd3+ Ke5 66. Re3+ Kf5 67. Rh3 Qc4 68. Kg2 Qe4+ 69. Kh2 Kg5 70. Kg1 Qf5 71.
Kg2 Kg4 72. Re3 Qh7 73. Kh2 Qc7+ 74. Kg2 Qc1 75. Re4+ Kf5 76. Re3 Kf4 77. Rf3+
Kg4 78. Re3 Qb1 79. Rh3 Qh7 80. Kh2 Qf7 81. Kg2 Qf4 82. Re3 Kg5 83. Rh3 Qg4+
84. Kh2 Kf4 85. Re3 Qd1 86. Kg2 Qd5+ 87. Kh2 Kg4 88. Rh3 Qb5 89. Kg2 Qh5 90.
Kh2 Qh6 91. Kg2 Qh5 92. Kh2 Kf4 93. Kg2 Qd5+ 94. Kh2 Qd1 95. Kg2 Kg4 96. Re3
h3+ 97. Rxh3 Qd5+ 98. Kh2 Kf4 99. Rg3 Qc6 100. Kg1 Qe4 101. Re3 Qh7 102. Kg2
Qh5 103. Rg3 Qd5+ 104. Kg1 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Team Performance

ChessBase India will update more games as and when we come across them. Our readers are requested to understand that the shoddy manner of live transmission of the games has virtually resulted in no accurate notations at all! Feedback and comments welcome.