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Edmonton: Ganguly ties for first, cedes the spot to Shankland

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 01/07/2016

Surya Shekhar Ganguly had a blistering start to his tournament racing away to a Caruanasque streak—7.0/7! With two rounds to go, he was facing Shankland in the eighth round, and Shirov in the ninth. Shankland played a crazy game with Ganguly, eventually winning the point to snatch the lead and the tournament from the Indian ace. Ganguly then beat Shirov, but was second on tiebreak. Sethuraman had a mercurial tournament, while Bitan Banerjee scored an IM norm, his fourth. An illustrated report.

 

Edmonton: Ganguly ties for first, cedes the spot to Shankland

The 11th edition of the Edmonton International Chess Festival is taking place at the Edmonton Chess Club between June 17-26, 2016. The main event is a ten-player Round Robin tournament.  This year's event features the legendary GM Alexei Shirov.  Other participants include Indian GMs Surya Shekhar Ganguly and S.P. Sethuraman. Also in the fray are GM Sam Shankland, GM Bator Sambuev, IM Richard Wang, India's Bitan Banerjee, Belsar Valencia, FM Ian Findlay and FM Dale Haessel.

 

Surya Shekhar Ganguly had a blistering start to his tournament when he crossed off his Indian rivals Bitan Banerjee and S.P. Sethuraman quite early to race away to a caruanasque streak—7.0/7! One would predict, by looking at the starting list, that the main rivals for each of the contenders were the other three stars in the fray. For Ganguly, it had to be Shirov, Sethu and Shankland, in that order. He had already got past Sethu with a win, and now, he was standing regally on a perfect score, with two rounds to go. He was facing Shankland in the eighth round, and Shirov in the ninth. Sam Shankland of the USA, was not far behind, though, as he stood at 6.5/7.

 

Shankland, playing white, sacrificed two minor pieces for a rook and two pawns, the latter impressively positioned on e4 and d4, at the epicenter. Curiously, a couple of moves later, the material imbalance shifted again, this time it became Ganguly's knight versus three pawns for White, with their central dominance still intact. Shankland eventually rolled across the black position to land a crucial blow—he had overtaken Ganguly and was now in the lead with 7.5/8!

[Event "11th Edmonton International"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.06.25"]
[Round "8.2"]
[White "Shankland, Samuel L"]
[Black "Ganguly, Surya Shekhar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2646"]
[BlackElo "2654"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]
[WhiteClock "0:27:44"]
[BlackClock "0:22:34"]
1. d4 {0} Nf6 {0} 2. c4 {0} e6 {7} 3. Nc3 {0} d5 {12} 4. cxd5 {0} Nxd5 {10} 5.
e4 {0} Nxc3 {8} 6. bxc3 {3} c5 {9} 7. Rb1 {4} Be7 {16} 8. Bc4 {5} O-O {82} 9.
Ne2 {81} Nc6 {389} 10. O-O {24} b6 {29} 11. Be3 {6} Bb7 {163} 12. Nf4 {6} cxd4
{2064} 13. cxd4 {7} Rc8 {285} 14. Nxe6 {860} fxe6 {14} 15. Bxe6+ {3} Kh8 {8}
16. Bxc8 {7} Qxc8 {129} 17. Qa4 {548} b5 {571} 18. Rxb5 {784} Ba6 {6} 19. Rfb1
{242} Bxb5 {52} 20. Qxb5 {5} h6 {327} 21. h3 {179} a6 {369} 22. Qb7 {119} Qxb7
{344} 23. Rxb7 {8} Bg5 {19} 24. Rc7 {478} Nb4 {30} 25. a3 {183} Nd3 {8} 26. e5
{708} Rb8 {56} 27. Kh2 {449} Kh7 {248} 28. Kg3 {436} Rf8 {250} 29. Rc6 {533}
Bf4+ {120} 30. Kf3 {249} Ne1+ {344} 31. Ke4 {30} Nxg2 {6} 32. d5 {45} Nxe3 {78}
33. fxe3 {3} Bg3 {7} 34. d6 {62} Re8 {80} 35. d7 {71} Rd8 {4} 36. e6 {10} Bh4 {
4} 37. Kd5 {67} Kg8 {28} 38. Rxa6 {230} Kf8 {8} 39. Ra4 {28} Bf6 {236} 40. Rc4
{71} Ke7 {26} 41. Rc8 {50} Bg5 {0} 42. a4 {0} Bxe3 {0} 43. a5 {0} h5 {0} 44.
Kc6 {0} 1-0

 

First with 8.0/9: Sam Shankland (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

Only a loss, to the much lower rated IM Richard Wang, could have given the tournament a surprise winner. Sam Shankland chose to take a draw with a forced sequence of moves and was crowned the champion of the 11th Edmonton International Tournament 2016.

[Event "11th Edmonton International"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.06.26"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "Wang, Richard"]
[Black "Shankland, Samuel L"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A47"]
[WhiteElo "2341"]
[BlackElo "2646"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r4rk1/p3qpb1/1pnNp1pp/3pP3/3P4/3BQ3/PP3PPP/R3R1K1 b - - 0 17"]
[PlyCount "25"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]
[WhiteClock "1:02:18"]
[BlackClock "0:44:30"]
17... Nxd4 {18} 18. Nxf7 {122} Qxf7 {383} 19. Qxd4 {5} Rac8 {5} 20. Rac1 {98}
g5 {125} 21. g3 {499} Bxe5 {748} 22. Qxe5 {110} Rxc1 {26} 23. Rxc1 {17} Qxf2+ {
5} 24. Kh1 {3} Qf3+ {5} 25. Kg1 {3} Qf2+ {200} 26. Kh1 {4} Qf3+ {3} 27. Kg1 {5}
Qf2+ {2} 28. Kh1 {12} Qf3+ {3} 29. Kg1 {2} Qf2+ {4} 1/2-1/2

 

Ganguly taking on the might of Latvia's legendary GM Alexei Shirov

Shirov played a concept that may arguably be too bold, and it backfired. Ganguly kept grabbing territory until Shirov could do nothing but squirm in his chair, and eventually give up. Indeed, a powerful performance, as you can see in this game annotated by Johannes Fischer. 

[Event "11th Edmonton Festival 2016"]
[Site "Edmonton"]
[Date "2016.06.27"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ganguly, Surya Shekhar"]
[Black "Shirov, Alexei"]
[Result "*"]
[WhiteElo "2654"]
[BlackElo "2682"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
[TimeControl "60"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8.
Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 Bg5 12. Nc2 Rb8 13. a4 bxa4 14. Ncb4
Nxb4 15. cxb4 O-O 16. Rxa4 a5 17. h4 Bh6 18. b5 Bd7 19. Nc3 d5 20. exd5 e4 $5
$146 {[#] A new move. Black is ready to sacrifice a pawn or two for the
initiative.} ({A previous top-level game continued} 20... Kh8 21. Be2 f5 22. g3
Qb6 23. O-O Rbd8 24. Kg2 Bc8 25. f4 Rfe8 26. fxe5 Rxe5 27. Qd4 Qf6 28. Rc4 Bd7
29. Rf3 Bxb5 30. Nxb5 Rxe2+ 31. Kh3 Rxb2 32. Rc6 Qxd4 33. Nxd4 Rd2 34. Ne6 Re8
35. Rxf5 g6 36. Rf6 Kg8 37. d6 Bg7 38. Nxg7 Kxg7 39. Rf4 Kg8 40. Rc7 Rxd6 41.
Rff7 {1/2-1/2 (41) Anand,V (2804)-Grischuk,A (2781) Stavanger 2015}) 21. Be2 ({
After} 21. Rxe4 f5 22. Rd4 Re8+ 23. Be2 Rxb5 24. O-O Rxb2 {Black has almost
equalized.}) 21... f5 22. d6 Kh8 23. g3 f4 $6 {[#] Black is a pawn down and
wants to open lines, even if he has to sacrifice the pawn on e4. But
objectively this concept might be too bold.} ({A safer alternative was} 23...
Rf6 {with sharp and complicated play.}) 24. Rxe4 Bf5 25. Re5 Qf6 26. Qd5 fxg3
27. fxg3 Qg6 {[#]} 28. g4 $1 {This counter destroys Black's attacking plans
and refutes the black concept.} Bc8 ({After} 28... Bxg4 {White wins with the
simple pin} 29. Rg1) 29. Ne4 Bb7 30. h5 {White is two pawns up and forces a
trade of queens.} Qxe4 31. Qxe4 Bxe4 32. Rxe4 Rfd8 33. Rd4 Bc1 34. d7 Bxb2 35.
Rd5 Rb7 {[#]} 36. O-O $1 {It is not every day that you castle on move 36. Now
Black cannot take on d7 because his back rank is too weak.} g6 37. h6 Ba3 38.
Rf7 a4 39. Re5 Rbb8 40. Bc4 Bf8 41. Kg2 a3 42. Ba2 Bd6 43. Re6 Bf8 44. b6 {
Black resigned. The white pawns are too strong.} *

 

Second on tiebreak with 8.0/9: Surya Shekhar Ganguly (Photo: John Saunders)

Ganguly was performing rivetingly, as you can observe in this sharp fourth round French battle against GM Bator Sambuev, analysed lightly by Andre Schulz.

[Event "11th Edmonton GM 2016"]
[Site "Edmonton CAN"]
[Date "2016.06.21"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ganguly, Surya Shekhar"]
[Black "Sambuev, Bator"]
[Result "*"]
[WhiteElo "2654"]
[BlackElo "2540"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Ba5 6. b4 cxd4 7. Qg4 Ne7 8. bxa5
dxc3 9. Qxg7 Rg8 10. Qxh7 Nbc6 11. Nf3 Qc7 12. Bf4 Bd7 13. a6 O-O-O 14. axb7+
Kb8 15. Qd3 Rg4 16. g3 Ng6 17. Qxc3 Nxf4 18. h3 Nxh3 19. Rxh3 Re4+ 20. Kd2 f6 (
{The first new move. A previous game continued} 20... Qb6 21. Rh2 d4 22. Qb3
Qa5+ 23. Kc1 Nxe5 24. Nxe5 Qxe5 25. Bd3 Re1+ 26. Kb2 Rxa1 27. Kxa1 Bc6 28. Rh7
Rd7 29. Qb4 a5 30. f4 axb4 31. fxe5 bxa3 32. Ka2 Kxb7 33. Kxa3 Kb6 34. Kb4 Ra7
35. g4 Ra4+ 36. Kb3 Ra7 37. Kc4 {1/2-1/2 (37) Dos Santos,R (2376)-Converset,J
(2270) Buenos Aires 2006}) 21. Bd3 Qb6 22. Rh2 {[#]} Rxe5 {Black decides to
give the exchange to create counterplay. But objectively this should not be
enough.} ({However, after} 22... Rg4 23. exf6 {White is three pawns up and it
is difficult to see how Black can create convincing threats.}) 23. Nxe5 fxe5
24. Kc1 Nd4 25. Rb1 Qd6 26. Rh7 Nc6 27. Bb5 Nd4 28. Bd3 Nc6 {Offering a
repetition of moves - which White declines more or less politely.} 29. f3 Be8
30. Rh8 e4 31. fxe4 dxe4 32. Bxe4 Nd4 33. Qd3 Ne2+ 34. Kd2 (34. Qxe2 $4 Qxa3+
35. Rb2 Qa1+ 36. Rb1 Qa3+ {and Black has a perpetual.}) 34... Nd4 35. Rb4 e5
36. Rc4 Qe7 37. Rc8+ {Now it is White who attacks.} Rxc8 38. bxc8=Q+ Kxc8 39.
Qa6+ Kd8 40. Qa5+ Kc8 41. Ke1 Qg5 42. Qc5+ Kd7 43. Rh7+ Ke6 44. Qd5+ *

 

GM S.P. Sethuraman en route to a loss against Canadian GM Bator Sambuev in the final round.

The 2016 Asian Champion was out of sorts and had a mercurial tournament. He lost to grandmasters Shankland and Ganguly, and even Sambuev, but managed to toy with, and crush, Alexei Shirov! You can watch the game with notes by Johannes Fischer:

[Event "11th Edmonton GM 2016"]
[Site "Edmonton CAN"]
[Date "2016.06.22"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Sethuraman, S.P."]
[Black "Shirov, Alexei"]
[Result "*"]
[WhiteElo "2653"]
[BlackElo "2682"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3
Bb7 9. a3 Bd6 10. O-O O-O 11. Qc2 Rc8 (11... h6 12. e4 e5 13. h3 Re8 14. dxe5
Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Be3 Bd4 17. Bxd4 Qxd4 18. Rad1 Qb6 19. Rfe1 Re7 20. Re3
Rae8 21. Qe2 a5 22. e5 Nd7 23. Bf5 Nxe5 24. Bd7 Rxd7 25. Rxd7 Bc8 26. Rd6 Qc5
27. Ne4 Qa7 28. Rxh6 gxh6 29. Nf6+ Kf8 30. Nxe8 Nc4 31. Re4 Bf5 32. Rf4 Bg6 33.
Nf6 Qe7 34. Qg4 Qe6 35. Qd1 Qe7 36. Nd7+ Ke8 37. Nf6+ Kf8 38. b3 Ne5 39. Ne4
Kg7 40. Qd4 h5 41. b4 a4 42. Nf6 {1-0 (42) Sethuraman,S (2647)-Sengupta,D
(2543) Tashkent 2016}) 12. b4 c5 {A well-known pawn sacrifice - White frees
the diagonal of the bishop on b7.} ({The alternative is} 12... a5) 13. bxc5
Bxf3 14. cxd6 (14. gxf3 Nxc5 15. dxc5 Rxc5 16. f4 Nd5 17. Bb2 Nxc3 18. Bxc3 Qc7
19. Rfc1 Rc8 20. Bb4 Rxc2 21. Rxc2 Qxc2 22. Bxc2 Bxb4 23. axb4 Rxc2 24. Rxa7 g5
25. Rb7 gxf4 26. exf4 Rc4 27. Rxb5 Rxf4 28. Kg2 Kg7 {1/2-1/2 (28) Iturrizaga
Bonelli,E (2646)-Shirov,A (2683) Caracas 2014}) 14... Nd5 15. gxf3 Qg5+ (15...
Nxc3 {might be better:} 16. f4 Nf6 17. Qb2 Qd7 18. Bd2 e5 19. f3 exd4 20. e4 a5
21. Rae1 $14 Rc5 22. Bc1 Nh5 23. e5 g6 24. Qf2 b4 25. axb4 axb4 26. Qxd4 Rd5
27. Qe3 Rc8 28. f5 Ng7 29. f6 Nh5 30. f4 Qg4+ 31. Kh1 Re8 32. Rg1 Qd7 33. Qf3
Nxf6 34. exf6 Rxd6 35. f5 Rxf6 36. Bg5 Rd6 37. Bc4 Rxe1 38. Rxe1 gxf5 39. Be7
Qc6 40. Rg1+ Kh8 41. Qxc6 Rxc6 42. Bxf7 h6 43. Bxb4 Ne4 44. Ba3 Nf2+ 45. Kg2
Nd3 46. Rf1 f4 47. Bd5 Rc2+ 48. Kg1 Kg7 49. Be4 Ra2 50. Bd6 Ra6 51. Bc7 {
1-0 (51) Wojtaszek,R (2734)-Shirov,A (2715) Skopje 2015}) 16. Kh1 Qh5 17. Be2
Nxc3 18. Rg1 Nf6 {Wanting to play ...Nfe4 - but White simply parries Black's
attack by developing his last undeveloped piece.} (18... Rfd8 19. e4 e5 20. Be3
Nxe2 21. Qxe2 exd4 22. Bxd4 Ne5 23. Qe3 Rxd6 24. Rg5 Qxf3+ 25. Qxf3 Nxf3 26.
Rxg7+ Kf8 27. Rxh7 Rc4 28. Bxa7 Ra6 29. Be3 Rxe4 30. Rb1 Ra5 31. Rh3 Ne5 32.
Bb6 Raa4 33. Rxb5 Nc4 34. Bc5+ Kg7 35. Rg3+ Kf6 36. Kg2 Ra8 37. Rb7 Ra5 38. Bb4
Rf5 39. Rc7 Ne5 40. Ra7 Rh5 41. Bc3 Ke6 42. Ra6+ Ke7 43. Bb4+ Kd7 44. Rd6+ Kc7
45. Rf6 Kd7 46. Rd6+ Kc7 47. Rc3+ Kb7 48. Rd5 f6 49. Rg3 Rf5 50. Rg7+ Kc6 51.
Rd6+ Kb5 52. Rb7+ Kc4 53. Rc7+ Kb5 54. Rd5+ Kb6 55. Rc3 Rg4+ 56. Kf1 Rh4 57. h3
Rhf4 58. Bc5+ Kc6 59. Rd6+ Kc7 60. Rd2 Kb7 61. Bd4 Nc6 62. Rb2+ Kc7 63. Bb6+
Kd6 64. Rd2+ Rd5 65. Bc7+ {1-0 (65) Gustafsson,J (2629)-Smirnov,A (2479)
Bangkok 2016}) 19. Bb2 {[#] Black's attack came to a halt and White remains a
pawn up, which is a passed pawn on d6 to boot.} Na4 {Ein neuer Versuch, der
aber die Variante auch nicht rettet.} ({After} 19... Nfe4 {White calmly plays}
20. Rg2) ({And after} 19... Nce4 {White answers} 20. fxe4 Rxc2 21. Bxh5 Rxb2
22. Bf3 Rxf2 23. Rgf1 Rxf1+ 24. Rxf1 e5 25. Rc1 Rd8 26. Rc5 a6 27. Rc6 ({
Even better is} 27. Rxe5 Rxd6 28. Rc5 Rd8 29. e5) 27... Ra8 28. dxe5 Nd7 29.
Bg4 Nxe5 30. Rc5 Nxg4 31. d7 Rd8 32. Rc8 Kf8 33. Rxd8+ Ke7 34. Rf8 Kxd7 35.
Rxf7+ Ke6 36. Rxg7 Nxe3 37. Rxh7 {1-0 (37) Bacrot,E (2711)-Ter Sahakyan,S
(2580) Jerusalem 2015}) 20. Qd2 Rfd8 21. e4 Rxd6 {[#]} 22. e5 ({After} 22. e5 {
Black resigned.} Qxe5 {fails to} 23. Qh6 (23. dxe5 $2 Rxd2 {would be fine for
Black.}) 23... Ne4 24. dxe5 Nxf2+ 25. Kg2 gxh6 26. Kxf2+ Kf8 27. exd6 Nxb2 28.
Bxb5 $18) *

  

Bitan Banerjee (2341) scored his fourth IM norm, but evidently, it is the rating points that he is after.

Bitan scored 4.5/9 in this strong field, and his final round encounter was a nail-biter, a game worth enjoying.

[Event "11th Edmonton International"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.06.26"]
[Round "9.4"]
[White "Haessel, Dale R"]
[Black "Bitan, Banerjee"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E73"]
[WhiteElo "2234"]
[BlackElo "2341"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
[TimeControl "5400+30"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:59"]
[BlackClock "0:15:59"]
1. d4 {0} Nf6 {0} 2. c4 {0} g6 {0} 3. Nc3 {0} Bg7 {0} 4. e4 {0} d6 {0} 5. Be2 {
0} O-O {7} 6. Be3 {0} Na6 {9} 7. g4 {266} c5 {23} 8. g5 {798} Nd7 {21} 9. d5 {
826} Nc7 {18} 10. h4 {59} b5 {57} 11. cxb5 {218} a6 {25} 12. bxa6 {869} Bxa6 {
25} 13. h5 {25} Ne5 {334} 14. f4 {544} Nc4 {62} 15. Bxc4 {9} Bxc4 {5} 16. Qd2 {
3} Qd7 {157} 17. Qh2 {1078} Rfb8 {101} 18. hxg6 {35} hxg6 {5} 19. f5 {22} Nxd5
{3108} 20. f6 {622} exf6 {15} 21. exd5 {38} Qe7 {143} 22. Qd2 {48} fxg5 {414}
23. Nge2 {145} Rxb2 {472} 24. Qxb2 {79} Qxe3 {6} 25. Kd1 {383} Bxe2+ {182} 26.
Qxe2 {3} Qxc3 {4} 27. Rb1 {3} Qd4+ {70} 28. Kc1 {9} Be5 {38} 29. Rb3 {93} Qa1+
{33} 30. Rb1 {6} Bf4+ {7} 0-1

 

Ganguly and Shirov indulge in the post-mortem, while the tournament winner Shankland assists.

The Bengali Boys in Canada!

The top three places—Shankland, Ganguly and Shirov

The closing ceremony and the Prize Distribution.

What better way to celebrate the end of a chess tournament but some chess!
Chess, like love and music, and also alcohol, has the power to keep men occupied.

The players conducting a post-mortem

Final Standings:

 

Bhavik Dave took the photographs and the videos presented here. He is a Canada based software engineer and and an intermediate-level player, originally from Gujarat, India.

 

Tournament page

 

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