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Chennai 01-03: Upsets galore!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 20/01/2016

The Indian chess capital hosts its eighth International Grandmaster tournament. This tourney began a day after the one in Delhi finished and one needn't wait long to witness some exciting results! The event is producing upsets since the very first round. Of course, what else can you expect from a grandmaster tourney in Chennai anyway? An illustrated report of the India vs. Rest of the World clash from Chennai.

Chennai 01-03: Upsets galore!

Pictures by Sa Kannan and Nitin Pai


The city of Chennai, which was at the receiving end of the devastating floods recently, is still limping back to normalcy. However, things appear to be fine this month as the Indian chess capital hosts its eighth International Grandmaster tournament. This tourney began a day after the one in Delhi finished – on 18 January – and for players searching for their GM and IM norms, this was a wonderful opportunity to play two back-to-back tournaments of a very high caliber. For the foreign grandmasters, it was a chance to play in an interesting country during the winter. 


The Chennai tournament does not have categories like in Delhi. It is a single Open tournament with a total prize fund of Rs. 11, 00,000, which is close to 15,000 Euros.

 India's first International Master, the legendary Manual Aaron, who in his heydays has played both the experienced Bobby Fischer and the young Vishy Anand, makes the first move.

This is Chennai -- the cradle for many a talent that has shone at the international level making India proud. What would you expect if you let a bunch of hungry, ambitious, talented and, make note of this, extremely underrated Indian chess players loose in a field teeming with higher-rated titled players? Of course, you will witness upsets galore!


Anyway, due to a messup that occured for unclear reasons, a handful of foreign grandmasters arrived late to the playing arena, delaying the start of the games on many boards. Thier lower rated Indian opponents were made to wait for quite some time, and the Indians sportingly were willing to hold on.

The second seed Ivan Popov (2650), winner of the 2016 Delhi Open won his first two games, but in the third round split the point with...

...IM Ravi Teja (2385)

His compatriot, the top seed GM Boris Grachev (2652) won his first game, but in the second round he was held by...

...Chennai's own Ram Krishnan (2212)

The very first round saw a line of higher rated players settling for draws with their much lower rated opponents.

Maharashtra's Shweta Gole (1915) held Tamil Nadu's GM Deepan Chakkravarthy (2478)

Another Maharashtrian Soham Datar (1961) held Russian GM Vladimir Belous (2556)

Yet another Maharashtrian Divya Deshmukh (1784) held IM Sameer Kathmale (2306)

Raja Rithvik (1887) held GM M.R. Venkatesh (2443)

Even Likhit Chilikuri (1867) of Karnataka drew with higher rated Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh (2422)

And there were more, many more upset draws in these three rounds. And not just draws, there were upset victories recorded as well, the most notable being...

Mr. Re6!, Shailesh Dravid (2230) of Maharashtra (again) beat Vietnamese GM Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy (2489) and is among the leaders with 3.0/3!

The 'Dravid' of Indian chess found a cute way to win against the grandmaster... [Comment your solutions in the new comments section below and compete!]

Hemant Sharma (2242) of Delhi beat GM Valeriy Neverov (2506) of Ukraine, also moving to 3.0/3.

In the second round, IM Chakkravarthy Reddy (2176) of Telangana beat Russian GM Artur Gabrielian (2545)
[Event "8th Chennai Open International Grandmast"]
[Site "JawaharlalNehruStadium,Chennai"]
[Date "2016.01.19"]
[Round "2.9"]
[White "Chakravarthi Reddy, M."]
[Black "Gabrielian, Artur"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E76"]
[WhiteElo "2176"]
[BlackElo "2545"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[EventDate "2016.01.18"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. f4 O-O 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Be3 Nfd7 8. Be2
a5 9. O-O Bxf3 10. Bxf3 e5 11. fxe5 dxe5 12. d5 Na6 13. a3 Qe7 14. Rb1 b6 15.
b4 Rfd8 (15... axb4 16. axb4 Nxb4 17. d6 $1) 16. Qe1 axb4 17. axb4 Nf6 18. Nb5
Ne8 19. Qc3 Bf8 20. Rfc1 Qd7 21. Qxe5 Nxb4 22. Qg3 Bc5 23. Bxc5 bxc5 24. e5 Ra2
25. Bg4 Qe7 26. e6 f6 27. h4 c6 28. dxc6 Rd3 29. Qf4 Nxc6 30. Rd1 Ne5 31. Rxd3
Nxd3 32. Qb8 Kf8 33. Nc3 Rc2 34. Nd5 Qd6 35. Qxd6+ Nxd6 36. Rb8+ Kg7 37. e7
Rc1+ 38. Kh2 Ne5 39. Be6 f5 40. e8=Q Nxe8 41. Rxe8 Ng4+ 42. Kg3 Rxc4 43. Re7+
Kh8 44. h5 gxh5 45. Bxf5 h6 46. Rh7+ Kg8 47. Ne7+ Kf8 48. Ng6+ Ke8 49. Be6 Rc3+
50. Kh4 Kd8 51. Rd7+ Ke8 52. Rc7 Rd3 53. Kxh5 Nf6+ 54. Kxh6 Rd6 55. Rc8+ 1-0


Although Mikhail Mozharov (2559) was held in the third round by Tamil Nadu's Al Muthaiah (2272), he did show the spectators a useful pattern to remember in the first round....
[Event "8th Chennai Open International Grandmast"]
[Site "JawaharlalNehruStadium,Chennai"]
[Date "2016.01.18"]
[Round "1.7"]
[White "Mozharov, Mikhail"]
[Black "Mota, Pankit"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2559"]
[BlackElo "1967"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r4rk1/pp3pp1/4p3/q3N1B1/3Pp3/1P6/P1Q5/2R2NK1 w - - 0 27"]
[PlyCount "9"]
[EventDate "2016.01.18"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
27. Bf6 gxf6 (27... Qb4 28. Qg2 Qxd4+ 29. Kh1 {happened inthe game and Black
resigned.}) 28. Qg2+ Kh7 29. Qh3+ Kg7 30. Qg4+ Kh8 31. Rc2 1-0

 Tamil Nadu's GM R.R. Laxman (2435) is coming back strongly after a period of slump a year or so back and is among the leaders with 3.0/3.

A couple more choice tactics for you to solve:

GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy's young opponent Raghunandan Srihari has just blundered with 31.Qe2??

GM Yuri Solodovnichenko has sacrificed a pawn for open lines towards the black king. Now is his chance to tactically prove his hypothesis.

Pairings for Round 04:

Bo. No.     Name FED Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name FED Rtg   No.
1 24   IM Shyaamnikhil P IND 2428 3   3 GM Solodovnichenko Yuri UKR 2581   5
2 6   GM Sivuk Vitaly UKR 2566 3   3 GM Laxman R.R. IND 2435   23
3 26   IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh.R IND 2414 3   3 GM Tukhaev Adam UKR 2556   9
4 10   GM Bernadskiy Vitaliy UKR 2546 3   3   Shailesh Dravid IND 2230   58
5 56     Hemant Sharma (del) IND 2242 3   GM Grachev Boris RUS 2652   1
6 2   GM Popov Ivan RUS 2650     Kunal M. IND 2390   29
7 4   GM Demchenko Anton RUS 2596   IM Ravi Teja S. IND 2385   32
8 28   IM Nitin S. IND 2400   GM Mozharov Mikhail RUS 2559   7
9 8   GM Belous Vladimir RUS 2557     Kulkarni Rakesh IND 2349   35
10 12   GM Ernst Sipke NED 2536   WGM Kulkarni Bhakti IND 2313   37

View the complete pairing for Round 04 here.

Complete results of Round 03.

Download important Round 01-03 games in PGN.

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