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Karthikeyan Murali: Indian Champion — Twice!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 05/12/2016

The 2016 National Premier Championship was a heavyweight affair with Adhiban and Vidit among the participants. The tournament saw an early leader in Aravindh Chithambaram as he rolled through the opposition, but Karthikeyan Murali caught up with his city-mate. In the final round, Aravindh lost to R.R. Laxman, while Karthikeyan won his game, making him the Indian Champion again. We have a special report with analysis by Karthikeyan.

Karthikeyan Murali: Indian Champion  — Twice!

 

Indian Premier Champion 2015 and 2016

When 16-year-old Karthikeyan Murali resigned in the second round of the 2015 National Premier Championship, few in the country imagined that he could win the title that year. The tournament situation painted a bleak mask on his face. But then, he got his act together and punched victory after victory. he even beat Vidit Gujrathi in the final lap and won the title despite losing the final round.

 

The 2016 edition of the Premier Championship in Lucknow saw him start the tournament better. he started off with 3.0/4, including a lucky win on time against Vidit Gujrathi.

 

Karthikeyan was apologetic about it: "First of all, I didn't see the clock when his flag fell. He made his move Bf4 so I was writing on the score sheet and after writing the move, I noticed it. My opponent was claiming the clock ran even after pressing but in the urge of 1 second anything can happen. If I had seen what happened, I would have supported the reality. But unfortunately, I didn't see the clock. So the Chief Arbiter claimed a win for me. I feel very sorry for this."

 

In the fifth round, he took on Aravindh Chithambaram. Tese two talents are India's future but, of late, Karthikeyan had been struggling against his city-mate. He lost this time as well. Karthikeyan clarifies: "It was a healthy game on the board and both of us played well. It does not relate with any kind of luck."

But after this loss, Karthikeyan gathered himself and went on a winning spree, except a solitary draw against Adhiban in the ninth round. Two walkovers, due to the withdrawals by Praneeth Surya andNeerajj Kumar Mishra, helped.

When we asked him about his mindset after the loss to Aravindh, Karthikeyan said, "Actually, I didn't calculate about the future rounds. I was concentrating on the present games only. In that case, I feel my game with Nitin S was the important moment. I had to take decision whether to take risk or settle for equality in that game."

Nitin-Karthikeyan (Notes by Karthikeyan)

 

[Event "National A Chess chmp "]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.11.29"]
[Round "12.3"]
[White "Nitin, S."]
[Black "Karthikeyan, Murali"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C48"]
[WhiteElo "2415"]
[BlackElo "2530"]
[Annotator "KM"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O Nxb5 6. Nxb5 c6 7. Nc3 d6 8.
d4 Qc7 9. h3 Be7 10. a4 O-O 11. b3 $5 (11. a5 Be6) 11... b6 (11... d5 $5 12.
exd5 e4 13. Ne5 cxd5 $11) (11... a5 12. Ba3 (12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. d5
Be7) 12... b6 13. Qd2) 12. Re1 a6 (12... a5 {was also interesting}) 13. Ba3 Bb7
14. Qd3 Rfd8 (14... Rad8 $5 15. Rad1 (15. Qe3 c5 16. dxe5 (16. d5 Nh5 $15)
16... dxe5) (15. Qc4 Rfe8 $11) 15... c5 (15... b5 16. axb5 axb5 17. Qe3) 16.
dxc5 dxc5 17. Qc4 $11) (14... b5 {was also possible} 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Bxe7
Qxe7 17. axb5 axb5) 15. Qe3 (15. Qc4 exd4 16. Qxd4 c5) (15. Rad1 b5) (15. d5
Rac8 16. dxc6 Qxc6) 15... c5 (15... b5 16. axb5 axb5 17. dxe5 dxe5 18. Bc5) 16.
d5 (16. dxe5 dxe5 17. Bb2 Bf8 $11) 16... Bc8 (16... Qd7 17. b4) 17. Reb1 (17.
b4 Bd7 {tr} 18. Reb1) 17... Nh5 (17... Bd7 18. b4 cxb4 19. Rxb4 Rdc8 $13) 18.
b4 Nf4 $6 (18... f5 19. bxc5 (19. a5 cxb4 20. Bxb4 b5) 19... bxc5 20. Nd2 (20.
exf5 Nf4 $15 (20... Bxf5 21. g4 Bxc2 22. Rb2)) 20... f4 21. Qe2 Nf6 {would
have been more of a kings indian with attack on kingside with more effect}) 19.
Ne2 (19. a5 cxb4 20. Bxb4 b5) 19... g5 (19... Nxe2+ 20. Qxe2 Bd7 (20... c4 21.
Bc1 $11 (21. b5 axb5 22. axb5 Bd7)) 21. a5 b5 22. bxc5 dxc5 23. c4 b4 24. Bb2 {
would also be equal}) 20. a5 (20. Nxf4 gxf4 21. Qc3 (21. Qe2 Bd7) 21... f5) (
20. Ng3 Rb8 (20... h5 21. bxc5 bxc5 22. Ne2 Bd7 $11) 21. a5 b5 22. bxc5 dxc5)
20... cxb4 $6 (20... b5 21. bxc5 (21. c4 cxb4 22. Bxb4 bxc4 23. Nxf4 gxf4 24.
Qa3 {could have given black some chances} Bf8) 21... dxc5 22. Bb2 f6 {would
have been equal}) 21. axb6 (21. Bxb4 b5 22. Nxf4 gxf4 23. Qd3 Kh8 $132) (21.
Nxf4 gxf4 22. Qxb6 Qxb6 23. axb6 bxa3 24. b7 Rb8 25. bxc8=Q Rxb1+ 26. Rxb1 Rxc8
) 21... Qxc2 (21... Qc5 22. Bxb4 Qxe3 23. fxe3 Nxe2+ 24. Kf2) (21... Qc4 22.
Rxb4) 22. Rxb4 $1 (22. Nxf4 gxf4 23. Qc1 Qxe4 24. Rxb4 Qxd5 25. b7 (25. Qc7 Rd7
26. Qc2 (26. b7 Rxc7 27. bxa8=Q Qxa8) 26... Bb7) 25... Bxb7 26. Qc7 Bf6 $1 27.
Qxb7 (27. Rxb7 Rac8 28. Qb6 e4) 27... Qxb7 28. Rxb7 e4 29. Bb2 Bxb2 30. Rxb2
exf3 $17) 22... Nxe2+ (22... Qxe2 23. b7 Rb8 (23... Bxb7 24. Rxb7 Re8 25. Qxe2
Nxe2+ 26. Kf1 Nc3 27. Nd2 Nb5 28. Bb4) 24. bxc8=Q Rdxc8 (24... Rbxc8 25. Qxe2
Nxe2+ 26. Kf1 Nc3 27. Bb2) 25. Rxb8 Rxb8 26. Qa7 $14 (26. Qxe2 Nxe2+ 27. Kf1
Nc3 28. Nxe5 $11)) 23. Kh2 (23. Kf1 Bd7) 23... Qc3 (23... Rb8 24. Rb2 Qc3 25.
Qxe2 Rxb6 26. Rxb6 Qxa1 27. Qe3) 24. b7 (24. Qxc3 Nxc3 25. b7 Rb8 26. bxc8=Q
Rdxc8 $11) 24... Qxe3 (24... Rb8 25. bxc8=Q Rdxc8 (25... Rbxc8 26. Qxc3 Nxc3
27. Bb2) 26. Rxb8 Rxb8 27. Qa7 Re8 28. Qd7) 25. fxe3 (25. bxa8=Q Qf4+ 26. Kh1
g4) 25... Rb8 26. bxc8=Q Rbxc8 $6 (26... Rdxc8 27. Rxb8 Rxb8 28. Nxe5 Bf6 (
28... Nc3 29. Nc6) 29. Bxd6 Re8 (29... Rb6 30. Bc7 Rb7 31. Rxa6) 30. Re1 (30.
Rxa6 Rxe5 (30... Bxe5+ 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. Ra8+ Kg7 33. d6)) 30... Bxe5+ 31. Bxe5
Rxe5 32. Rxe2 Rxe4 $11 {would have been a clear draw}) 27. Rb7 Re8 (27... Bf6
28. Rb6 Nc3 29. Nd2) 28. Bb4 Rc4 $2 (28... Bf8 29. Nxg5) (28... h5 29. Ra2 a5 {
a very good intermezzo} (29... Nc1 30. Rxa6) 30. Bxd6 (30. Bxa5 Nc1) (30. Rxa5
g4) 30... Bxd6 31. Rxe2 Rb8 $11) 29. Rxa6 $6 (29. Nxe5 Rxb4 30. Rxb4 Bf6) (29.
Nd2 Rc2 30. Rxa6 Nc3 31. Bxc3 Rxc3 32. Raa7 Bf8 33. Nf1 $18 (33. Rxf7 Rxe3 34.
Rxh7 g4 $16)) 29... g4 30. hxg4 Rxe4 31. Ra2 $2 (31. Raa7 Rxg4) (31. Bxd6 Bxd6
32. Rxd6 Rxg4 33. Rh6 {should be equal} (33. Rdd7 e4 34. Ng1 Nxg1 35. Kxg1 Re5
36. Rxf7 Rxd5 $11)) (31. g5 Bf8 32. Bxd6 Rxe3 33. Rb8 $14) (31. Rxe7 Rxe7 32.
Ra8+ Kg7 33. Bxd6 Rd7 $11) 31... Rxe3 32. Bd2 (32. Raa7 Re4 $1 {was good
intermezzo} (32... Bf8 33. Ng5) 33. Bd2 {tr to game} (33. Rxe7 Rxe7 34. Rxe7
Rxb4)) 32... Re4 33. Raa7 (33. Bh6 Bf8 34. Bxf8 Rxf8) 33... Bf8 34. Rxf7 (34.
Ng5 Rxg4) 34... Rxg4 35. Rxh7 e4 (35... Nf4 36. Bxf4 Rxf4 37. Ng5) 36. Ng1 e3 (
36... Nxg1 37. Bc3 Re7 38. Rhxe7) 37. Be1 Nf4 (37... Nxg1 38. Kxg1 (38. Bc3 Re5
39. Kxg1 (39. Bxe5 dxe5 40. Kxg1 e2 41. Kf2 Rxg2+ 42. Kxg2 e1=Q) 39... e2 40.
Be1 Rf4) 38... Bg7 {was also better for black}) 38. Bc3 (38. g3 Nxd5 $17 39.
Ne2 Bg7 {with more tries for black}) 38... Rxg2+ 39. Kh1 Rxg1+ 40. Kh2 $4 (40.
Kxg1 Ne2+ 41. Kg2 Nxc3 42. Rh3 Re7 (42... Bg7 43. Rg3) (42... e2 43. Rg3+ Kh8
44. Rh3+) 43. Rxe7 Bxe7 44. Rxe3 Nxd5 {black has very good chances to win})
40... Rg2+ 41. Kh1 Re5 $1 42. Bxe5 dxe5 43. Rhb7 e2 44. Ra1 Rg6 (44... Rg3 {
was also good} 45. Rc7 (45. Rb8 Rd3 46. Rg1+ Kf7) 45... Nd3) (44... Rg6 45. Rb8
(45. Rbb1 Rh6+ 46. Kg1 Bc5#) (45. Kh2 Nd3) 45... Nd3 46. d6 Rxd6 47. Rg1+ Kf7)
0-1

From our Archives:

After winning World U-12 Championship in Brazil in 2011: Karthikeyan poses with his victor's medal, celebratory garb given at his reception at the airport, and a souvenir from Brazil in his hand: a replica of Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer.

 Being received at the airport.

When he was 12, he wrote a letter to ChessBase describing his favourite player as "Grandmaster And World Champion, The Tiger Of Indian Chess, Viswanathan Anand."

 

Related:

  1. Revisiting the 2015 National Premier Championship
  2. National Premier 2016: Karthikeyan is National Champion again!