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GM Himanshu Sharma bags top prize at the Barbera Del Valles Open

by Niklesh Jain - 17/07/2017

Thanks to Himanshu Sharma’s fantastic run at the Barbara Open, the Indian charge continued its dominance at the second coveted event of the Catalan circuit in Barcelona, Spain. In the previous tournament of the circuit, the Montcada Open, it was Shyam Sundar who brought glory to India by clinching the title prize. As for GM Sharma, this is his first title prize at an Open outside his home country. Throughout the tournament, his play was aggressive and filled with energy. But to win such a prestigious tournament, it is indeed essential to find the balance between offence and defence. In this article, we shall look closely into how he composed himself to maintain this balance while also looking at the overall performance of the Indian contingent.

Another major event of the Catalan Circuit took place in Barbera, Spain between 4th and 12th July 2017

The Barbera Del Valles Open successfully completed its 40th edition this year. And to tell you the truth, I think this is just as big an achievement as that of any accomplished Grandmaster.

GM Himanshu Sharma had to miss the first tournament of the Catalan Circuit in Montcada because of visa delay. But once he reached Barbera, he made sure to make his presence felt.

The captain of the Indian Olympic team in his heyday, Anup Deshmukh is currently India’s only player above the age of 50 to regularly attend major open tournaments. This trip too has proved to be a new experience for him and in this digital world of today, he’s been able to make a lot of new friends.

So playing in Spain doesn’t just give one the joy of playing in a foreign land, it also helps you make lifelong friendships!

Going into the final round, GM Himanshu Sharma only needed a draw to win the title. But he had to work up a sweat to get that half point.

It’s only one’s determination to fight on that helps them survive in grave situations. Playing with the white pieces, GM Sharma got into quite a bit of trouble in his final round game. But thanks to his cool and composed play, he was able to exploit his opponent’s mistakes.

52…Bc5 was Himanshu’s last hope. But even after this, Melih could have turned the game in his favour. Both players were under tremendous pressure.

Black to play. This is that very moment which brought Himanshu back into the game and won him the title prize. Now it’s your turn to step into the Grandmaster’s shoes.
[Event "40th Barbera International "]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.12"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Himanshu, Sharma"]
[Black "Yurtseven, Melih"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C04"]
[WhiteElo "2498"]
[BlackElo "2353"]
[Annotator "Niklesh"]
[PlyCount "119"]
[EventDate "2017.07.13"]
[SourceDate "2017.07.13"]
[SourceVersionDate "2017.07.13"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nc6 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 Nd7 6. Nb3 Be7 7. Bb5 a5 8. a4
Na7 9. Be2 b6 10. Bf4 c5 11. c3 Bb7 12. Nc1 Nc6 13. O-O h6 14. Re1 Qc7 15. Bb5
c4 16. Nd2 Na7 17. Bxd7+ Kxd7 18. Ne2 Rag8 19. Rf1 h5 20. Be3 h4 21. f4 h3 22.
g3 f5 23. Nf3 Nc6 24. Kf2 Nd8 25. Ng5 Rf8 26. Ng1 Nf7 27. Nxf7 Rxf7 28. Nf3
Rff8 29. Ke2 Bc6 30. Ng5 Bxg5 31. fxg5 Kc8 32. Bf4 Kb7 33. Qb1 Ka6 34. Rf2 Rb8
35. Kf1 b5 36. axb5+ Rxb5 37. Qd1 Be8 38. Kg1 Bh5 39. Qf1 Bg4 40. Ra3 Rhb8 41.
Bc1 Rb3 42. Rxb3 Rxb3 43. Qe1 g6 44. Qd2 Qc6 45. Qc2 Qa4 46. Kf1 Qa1 47. Ke1 a4
48. Rf1 Ka5 49. Kd2 a3 50. bxa3 Rxa3 51. Bxa3 Qxf1 52. Bc5 Qf2+ 53. Kc1 Qe1+
54. Kb2 Bd1 55. Qc1 Kb5 56. Ka3 Ka5 57. Bd6 Qe2 58. Qb2 Qxb2+ 59. Kxb2 Ka4 60.
Bc5 1/2-1/2

A win would have catapulted Yurtseven, Melih, Himanshu Sharma’s opponent, to the third place on the leaderboard.

Even after such a nerve-wracking game, GM Himanshu Sharma spoke to ChessBase

His sixth round win against GM Kevel Oliva was the most special one
[Event "XL Open Int. Barbera del Valles 2017"]
[Site "C/ Torre d’en Gorgs, nº 40,"]
[Date "2017.07.09"]
[Round "6.2"]
[White "Oliva Castaneda, Kevel"]
[Black "Himanshu, Sharma"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "2497"]
[BlackElo "2498"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2017.07.04"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "CAT"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. O-O Bg4 5. d3 e6 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. h3 Bh5 8. g4
Bg6 9. Ne5 Nbd7 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. Nf3 Qc7 12. c4 dxc4 13. dxc4 Bc5 14. Qb3 e5
15. Rd1 a5 16. Ng5 O-O 17. Qg3 Rfe8 18. Bd2 Nf8 19. b3 Qe7 20. Rab1 Bb6 21. Bc3
Bc7 22. Qe3 N6d7 23. Qd2 Rad8 24. Ne4 Ne6 25. Ng3 Ndc5 26. Qe1 Ra8 27. e3 Qh4
28. f3 Qh6 29. Nf1 f5 30. Rd2 e4 31. f4 Nd3 32. Qd1 Rad8 33. gxf5 gxf5 34. Ng3
Nexf4 35. exf4 Qxf4 36. Rxd3 exd3 37. Nf1 Re2 38. Be1 Bb6+ 39. Kh1 Qd4 0-1


Dhulipalla Chandra Prasad drew his game against the Armenian GM Karen Grigoryan in the final round and scored yet another IM norm at the Catalan Circuit and finished sixth on the leaderboard. He had won his previous norm at the Montcada Open, earlier this month.

GM Grigoryan finished 2nd after his draw against Dhulipalla with a score of 7.0/9

Bangladeshi FM Nasir Ahmed (right) scored 6.5/9 and bagged the 7th prize.

Kevel Oliva made a strong comeback after his loss against GM Himanshu Sharma and finished 4th with a score of 6.5/9.

India’s P Iniyan finished 18th this time, having scored 5.5/9

Devarshi Mukherjee also scored 5.5/9 and finished 22nd

Anish Gandhi gained a whopping 71 rating point having scored 5.5/9. He finished 24th in the final standings.

Abhishek Das scored 5.0/9 and took the 27th place.

IM Anup Deshmukh (5.0/9) and Vantika Agarwal (4.5/9) finished first in their respective rating categories.
The young talent from Madhya Pradesh, Anuj Shivatri, gained another 71 rating points at this event and finished 37th. This means that the young genius has gained 188 rating points in just two tournaments!

Final Ranking

Rk. SNo     Name Typ sex Gr FED RtgI RtgN Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 6   IM Himanshu Sharma       IND 2498 0 7,5 42,0 53,0 0,0
2 2   GM Grigoryan Karen H.       ARM 2555 0 7,0 40,5 52,0 0,0
3 12   GM Perez Mitjans Orelvis       ESP 2407 2414 6,5 40,5 52,5 0,0
4 7   IM Oliva Castaneda Kevel       CUB 2497 0 6,5 40,5 51,5 0,0
5 18   FM Soysal Serkan A     TUR 2367 0 6,5 39,5 50,5 0,0
6 26     Dhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad A     IND 2335 0 6,5 38,5 49,5 0,0
7 41   FM Ahmed Sk. Nasir B     BAN 2221 0 6,5 37,0 45,0 0,0
8 21   FM Yurtseven Melih A     TUR 2353 0 6,5 36,5 47,0 0,0
9 36   FM Ayats Llobera Gerard A-U1   2326 ESP 2261 2270 6,5 34,5 43,5 0,0
10 5   GM Burmakin Vladimir       RUS 2505 0 6,0 40,5 52,0 0,0


 Life in Spain !!

This 52 day long trip gave us enough time to play chess while unwinding with friends at the same time.

Barcelona! What an environment conscious city this is! No wonder, I’m in love with the place. But even besides this, the responsibility with which people approach work here is simply awe-inspiring.


                    This video will give you an idea about our life here!

We hope you’re enjoying reading these reports. For now, it’s time to pack our bags for Sant Marti.

Your Friend, Niklesh Jain!


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