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Asian Nations Cup 03: back in business

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 31/03/2016

The third round of the Asian Nations Cup saw India take on the Kazakhs in the Open section while our women's team battled it out against Mongolia. While our men had no qualms destroying their lower rated colleagues, the women's team had to work for its victory. Report.

Asian Nations Cup 03: back in business

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.


In the men's section, after the second round draw against the Mongolians, it was imperative that India went all guns blazing in the third round clash with Kazakhstan.


Adhiban sacrificed a pawn for some activity, but it was just a compensation by nature, nothing more. He held Jumabayev with the black pieces.

Sethu, on the other hand, was a completely different beast with the white pieces and absolutely crushed Ismagambetov. 

Meanwhile, Khusnutdinov just blundered in a bad position and gifted Sasi a point.

The game of the match was surely this gem played by Vidit with the black pieces

Kazhgaleyev-Vidit (Notes by IM Sagar Shah)

[Event "Asian Nations Cup 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.31"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Kazhgaleyev, Murtas"]
[Black "Gujrathi, Vidit"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E61"]
[PlyCount "128"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 {White's somewhat cunning move
order has stopped Vidit from playing his favourite Grunfeld Defence. But as we
have seen recently, this young guy doesn't mind to experiment. King's Indian
it is!} d6 6. e3 $5 {This is quite an odd line in the fianchetto variation of
the King's Indian. Most of the times the knight goes to f3. However,
Kazhgaleyev tries to play something off beat to trick his opponent.} e5 {
Why not!} 7. Nge2 Nbd7 8. O-O Re8 9. h3 c6 10. Qc2 exd4 $5 11. Nxd4 (11. exd4 {
looks more natural but it gives Black some valuable tempi to complete the
development.} Nb6 12. b3 Bf5 13. Qd1 Ne4 $1 14. g4 Nxc3 15. Nxc3 Be6 $11 {
Followed by d5 next move and Black shouldn't be worse.}) 11... Nb6 12. b3 c5 $1
{Very alert. The weakness on the h8-a1 diagonal will be exploited by Vidit.}
13. Nde2 Bf5 $1 (13... d5 14. cxd5 Nfxd5 15. Rd1 {causes some grief to Black.})
14. Qd1 (14. e4 $2 Nxe4 $1 $17) 14... d5 $1 15. Ba3 (15. cxd5 Nfxd5 16. Bb2 Nb4
{And it seems like Black has the initiative. Although truth be told this
position is somewhere around even. This was the best option for White.}) 15...
dxc4 $1 16. Qxd8 Raxd8 17. Bxc5 Ne4 18. Bxe4 Bxe4 19. Bd4 (19. Nxe4 Bxa1 20.
Nd6 $1 Rxd6 21. Bxd6 Bb2 22. bxc4 Nxc4 {is round about even but wasn't so easy
to calculate for White.}) 19... Bd3 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Rfc1 g5 $5 {One could
say that this move can be made either by a very strong player or a complete
amateur. Why exactly did Black push his g-pawn at a moment when there could
have been other pressing matters to attend to? Well there isn't much to do and
hence Vidit limits the scope of the e2 knight to some extent and also gains
space on the kingside.} 22. Nd4 h5 23. Rd1 Bg6 24. Rac1 {White has been
playing quite logically and the position is round about equal.} a6 25. bxc4
Nxc4 26. Na4 b5 27. Nc5 Rd6 28. Rc3 g4 29. h4 Kf6 30. Rdc1 Ne5 31. Ra3 Ra8 $6 (
31... Kg7 32. Rxa6 Rxa6 33. Nxa6 Ra8 $11) 32. Nxb5 $1 {White has won a pawn.}
Nf3+ 33. Kg2 Rd2 {Black has some activity but with accurate play things can be
kept under control by White.} 34. Nc3 Kg7 35. Rxa6 Rc8 $5 {A practical
decision by the Indian player. He attacks the c5 knight and White has only one
way to keep his edge.} 36. Nb3 $2 (36. Ra5 $1 {This keep control and Black is
struggling to prove his compensation.}) 36... Rd3 $1 37. Ne2 Rxc1 38. Nbxc1 Rd1
{Suddenly the bishop is coming to e4 and a mating net is getting formed around
the White king.} 39. Ra4 Ne1+ 40. Kh2 Nf3+ 41. Kg2 Bf5 (41... Nd2 $1 {is an
excellent move. It prepares Be4+ which cannot be stopped.} 42. Nb3 Be4+ 43.
Rxe4 Nxe4 $17) 42. e4 Bd7 43. Ra6 Bb5 44. Rb6 Bc4 45. Rc6 Bb5 46. Rb6 Bc4 47.
Rc6 Ne5 $5 {A bold decision by Vidit to continue the game but absolutely
correct as the White pieces are completely tied down.} 48. Rc5 Kf6 49. a4 Re1 {
The knight cannot move as c1 hangs.} 50. Rxc4 Nxc4 51. f3 gxf3+ 52. Kxf3 Rf1+
53. Kg2 Ne3+ 54. Kh2 Ke5 55. a5 Kxe4 56. a6 Rf6 57. Nc3+ Kf3 58. a7 Ra6 59.
N1e2 Rxa7 60. Kh3 Ng4 61. Nd4+ Kf2 62. Nd1+ Kg1 63. Ne2+ Kh1 $1 {This is
aesthetically beautiful!} 64. Nf4 Ra2 {A very interesting battle where we
could see how the superfluous knights are completely useless defending each
other. Vidit made full use of that factor.} 0-1

Thus, India almost blanked Kazakhstan, with a score of 3.5-0.5

Things were much more interesting in the women's section, though. On the first board, Harika inflicted the early damage on the Mongols with the white side of a Meran. Actually, things were moving fine for Black, until one erratic move won a piece for Harika!

[Event "Asian Nations Cup 2016-Women"]
[Site "Abu Dhabi"]
[Date "2016.03.30"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Harika, Dronavalli"]
[Black "Nomin-Erdene, Davaademberel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D49"]
[WhiteElo "2515"]
[BlackElo "2489"]
[Annotator "ChessBase"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r6r/3nkp1p/1q2pp2/1Bbb4/Pp1p4/5NB1/1P2QPPP/R2R2K1 b - - 0 19"]
[PlyCount "12"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventCountry "UAE"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "Mongolia"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "MGL"]
[TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"]
19... Nf8 {? Breaking the connection between the rooks, thus allowing} 20. a5 {
!} Qa7 (20... Bxf3 21. Qxf3 Rxa5 (21... Qxb5 22. Qxa8 {is the point.}) 22. Rxa5
Qxa5 23. Qb7+ {+-}) 21. Rac1 Bxf3 (21... Ng6 22. Nxd4 Rhc8 23. Nf5+ Kf8 24. Nd6
{+/-}) 22. Qxf3 Ng6 23. Rxc5 {! winning a piece} Rac8 24. Rxc8 Rxc8 25. a6 {
+- Harika (white) went on to win the game, of course.} 1-0


But then, things went awry on the second board -- Tania Sachdev was black here, and, already in a difficult position, played ...Rg8 and lost.


With the score tied 1-1, Padmini settled for a repetition to make it 1.5-1.5, and once again, it was left to Soumya to rise to the occasion.

Soumya was an exchange up, and although her game was the last to finish during the third round, she managed to convert and win. Thus, India reached home with 2.5-1.5.

India stay in the race

Round 04 games are in progress. Watch the games LIVE, with unique features like Livebook and top class Engine Analysis, here.


Standings for Open and Women

Games in PGN for Open and Women