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Lake Sevan 2016: Vidit becomes champion after Sevian loses on time!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 29/07/2016

This was the third time Vidit was competing in the annual invitational tournament of Lake Sevan in Armenia. The first time he played, back in 2014, he had won the tournament. But the task looked a tad bit onerous after the drawing of lots. The tournament remained exciting until the very end, when in the penultimate round, Sevian overstepped the time-limit handing over the game and the tournament to Vidit Gujrathi.

Lake Sevan 2016: Vidit becomes champion after Sevian loses on time!

The 2016 Lake Sevan International Tournament began in Martuni, Armenia. The tourney is a 10-player round-robin with an average rating of 2629 and a prize fund of $9200, that is, approximately Rs. 6,18,000. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment from the first move.

The tournament was an exciting affair and you can read our early report here

"I hadn't played a chess tournament for few months, so I was very eager to play some good chess," says Vidit when asked how he approached the tournament. "There was no strategy as such, but I wanted to avoid repeating my last years' mistakes."


This was the third time Vidit was competing in the annual invitational tournament. The first time he played, back in 2014, he had won the tournament. But the task looked a tad bit onerous after the drawing of lots. "I knew that I had 5 blacks and 4 whites, so it was not going to be easy."

 The opening ceremony and the drawing of lots

But pleasant memories from his previous outings did create a favourable atmosphere for him. Vidit began comfortably with a win in the very first round with the black pieces. "Of course, it is very pleasant to play in a tournament where you have good memories. And I think this positive vibe definitely helps the quality of play."


GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan of Armenia (2605)

After the third round, Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, Vladislav Artemiev, Vidit Gujrathi and Jan-Krzysztof Duda were leading the table with 2.0/3. Vidit, though, settled for a draw in the fourth round. Ter-Sahakyan defeated Hovhannes Gabuzyan with the black pieces.


Duda vs. Artemiev, a clash between two young and exciting grandmasters

Artemiev and Duda, two young and exciting grandmasters, played a 99-mover. Duda gained a sizable edge, but a faulty queen trade meant that Artemiev could hold. The Russian, though, erred and Duda took the round. The young Pole now led the tournament with Ter-Sahakyan.

[Event "Lake Sevan 2016"]
[Site "Martuni ARM"]
[Date "2016.07.21"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Duda, J."]
[Black "Artemiev, V."]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2671"]
[BlackElo "2653"]
[PlyCount "197"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Qc7 7. Be2 d6 8. O-O
b6 9. Be3 Bb7 10. f3 Be7 11. Qd2 O-O 12. Rfc1 Rc8 13. Kh1 Nbd7 14. a4 Rab8 15.
b4 Qd8 16. Nb3 Ba8 17. a5 bxa5 18. Nxa5 Rxb4 19. Nb5 axb5 20. Qxb4 bxc4 21.
Rxc4 Rb8 22. Qa4 d5 23. Nc6 Bxc6 24. Rxc6 dxe4 25. fxe4 h6 26. Bf4 Rb2 27. Bf3
Nf8 28. Rd1 Qe8 29. Qa6 Ra2 30. Qxa2 Qxc6 31. e5 Nd5 32. Bxd5 exd5 33. Qxd5 Qa4
34. Rf1 Ne6 35. Be3 Bd8 36. Qf3 Qd7 37. h3 Bc7 38. Qa8+ Bd8 39. Qe4 Qb5 40. Qf3
Qd7 41. Rd1 Qa4 42. Qg4 Qxg4 43. hxg4 f6 44. exf6 Bxf6 45. Kg1 Kf7 46. Kf2 Ng5
47. Rd5 Kg6 48. Ra5 Ne4+ 49. Ke2 Ng5 50. Kf2 Ne4+ 51. Kf3 Ng5+ 52. Kg3 Ne4+ 53.
Kf4 Ng5 54. Ra6 Nf7 55. Bd4 Ng5 56. Bb2 Nf7 57. Bc3 Ng5 58. Bb4 Nf7 59. Be7 Ng5
60. Rc6 Nf7 61. Rb6 Ng5 62. Ra6 Nf7 63. Ke4 Kg5 64. Ra7 Kg6 65. Bf8 Ne5 66. Kf4
Nd3+ 67. Kg3 Ne5 68. Bd6 Nf7 69. Bf4 Ng5 70. Ra6 Nf7 71. Kf3 Ng5+ 72. Ke3 Kf7
73. Kd3 Ne6 74. Be3 Ng5 75. Kc4 Ne6 76. Ra7+ Kg6 77. Kd5 Ng5 78. Ra5 Nf7 79.
Ke6 Ng5+ 80. Kd7 Nf7 81. Bf4 Ng5 82. Ke8 Ne4 83. Ra4 Ng5 84. Bd2 Ne6 85. Be3
Ng5 86. Kf8 Ne6+ 87. Kg8 Ng5 88. Ra6 Ne4 89. Ra4 Ng5 90. Bd4 Ne4 91. Ra6 Kg5
92. Ra4 Bxd4 93. Rxd4 Nf6+ 94. Kxg7 Nxg4 95. Rd3 h5 96. Rd5+ Kh4 97. Kg6 Kg3
98. Rg5 Kf4 99. Kxh5 1-0


GM Samuel Sevian

Not far behind the leaders, the youngest grandmaster in the world currently, American Samuel Sevian who has Armenian roots, sacrificed his knight in the eleventh move against Vladimir Onishchuk (2615). Sevian is known to have a brashly aggressive style of play, and this makes his games a treat to watch.

[Event "Lake Sevan 2016"] [Site "Martuni ARM"] [Date "2016.07.21"] [Round "?"] [White "Sevian, Samuel"] [Black "Onischuk, V."] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2595"] [BlackElo "2615"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 c6 5. Qd2 Nbd7 6. Nf3 e5 7. Bc4 h6 8. O-O Ng4 9. h3 Nxe3 10. fxe3 Qe7 11. Nxe5 $5 {Sevian could have continued with many 'normal moves' at his disposal. But in a trademark style that has been championed by Tal and Shirov in the past, Sevian places his bets on moves such as these!} dxe5 12. Rxf7 ({Stockfish:} 12. Bxf7+ Kd8 13. d5 Kc7 14. Rad1 a5 15. a3 Qg5 16. Rf3 $11) 12... Qg5 13. Qf2 Be7 14. g3 Rf8 (14... h5 $1 {is the right way to continue} 15. h4 Qg4 16. Kg2 exd4 17. exd4 Nf6 18. Rh1 Be6 $17) 15. h4 Qg4 16. Rd1 Rxf7 $2 (16... exd4 17. exd4 Kd8 $15) 17. Qxf7+ Kd8 18. Kh2 exd4 19. Be6 Qh5 20. exd4 $16 Nf6 {loses quickly} (20... Bxh4 21. gxh4 Qxh4+ 22. Kg2 Qg5+ 23. Kf2 $16) 21. d5 {What else?} cxd5 22. Nxd5 Qe2+ 23. Kh3 Bxe6+ 24. Qxe6 Nxd5 25. Rxd5+ Ke8 26. Qxg6+ 1-0

GM Arman Pashikian (2615)

In the fifth round, Duda went down to Arman Pashikian, who was at the bottom of the table until then.

Sevian continued to breathe fire

Ter-Sahakyan was pitted against Sevian, who was in the third place. The American managed to win a 103-move-long game. Thus, for the first time, the tournament got its sole leader. Sevian had scored 3.5/5, with three wins, and a loss and draw apiece. He settled for another draw in the sixth round with Anton David-Guijarro (2627). 

Onischuk vs. Vidit

Vidit, who had been on a drawing spree after his first round win, came back to life once again, as he beat the tournament's punching-bag Vladimir Onischuk. Duda too won his game, and so, at the end of six rounds, Duda, Vidit and Sevian led the table.

[Event "Lake Sevan 2016"] [Site "Martuni ARM"] [Date "2016.07.23"] [Round "?"] [White "Vidit, S."] [Black "Onischuk, V."] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2658"] [BlackElo "2615"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r2r2/ppp1qpk1/2n1b1pp/4p3/2P1N3/6P1/PP2PPBP/R1QR2K1 w - - 0 17"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 17. Nc3 Bxc4 {White has sacrificed c4, but can you see his point?} (17... f5 18. Bxc6 bxc6 19. Na4 f4 20. Qc3 $14) 18. b3 Ba6 (18... Be6 {runs into the same idea, but the Be6 is hitting on the granite of b3.}) 19. Bxc6 $1 {the point} bxc6 20. Qe3 {White begins to pile up on the weaknesses. Impressive display.} Ra8 21. Rac1 Rfe8 22. Rc2 Bc8 23. Ne4 Bf5 24. Rxc6 Rad8 25. Rdc1 Qb4 26. R6c4 Qb6 27. Nc5 Rd5 28. Qc3 Qd6 29. e4 Rd1+ 30. Kg2 Bg4 31. Rxd1 Qxd1 32. Qd3 Rd8 33. Qxd1 Bxd1 34. Ra4 g5 35. h3 h5 $1 {with a very cunning idea} 36. g4 $1 (36. Rxa7 $4 g4 37. hxg4 hxg4 {and all of a sudden, White kingis feeling very uncomfortable! For example} {But if} 38. Rxc7 $4 (38. f3 gxf3+ 39. Kf1 Rh8 40. Kg1 Rh3 41. Rxc7 Rxg3+ 42. Kf1 (42. Kf2 Rg2+ $17) 42... Rg2 43. a4 Ra2 $15) 38... Bf3+ 39. Kg1 Rd1+ 40. Kh2 Rh1#) 36... h4 (36... hxg4 37. hxg4 Bxg4 38. Rxa7 $16) 37. Rxa7 Be2 38. Rxc7 Rd1 39. Nd7 Bf1+ 40. Kh2 Rd2 41. Nxe5 Kf6 $18 ( 41... Rxf2+ 42. Kg1 $18) 42. Nxf7 Rxa2 43. e5+ Kg6 44. Nh8+ Kh6 45. Nf7+ Kg6 46. Nd6 Re2 47. Rc1 1-0

Duda fell out of the race in the seventh round after he lost to Onischuk. Vidit and Sevian drew their respective games to enter the penultimate round as co-leaders, and as befits such a scenario, they were facing each other!

The title-decider: Samuel Sevian vs. Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit was clearly in the mood to fight with the black pieces. "I got double black for the game and he was playing good chess, so, I was aiming for a fighting position. I played a relatively rare line and got a decent position," he said.


Vidit got a stable advantage in the middlegame, but then he missed a knight move, then another move — this time a rook — and was just two pawns down. The exciting game that lasted for almost six hours saw an anti-climax in the end, when Sevian, two pawns up, lost on time!

Sevian-Vidit (Comments by Vidit)

[Event "Lake Sevan 2016"] [Site "Martuni ARM"] [Date "2016.07.25"] [Round "?"] [White "Sevian, Samuel"] [Black "Vidit, S."] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2595"] [BlackElo "2658"] [PlyCount "189"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] 1. e4 e5 {Vidit: I got double black for the game and he was playing good chess, so, I was aiming for a fighting position. I played a relatively rare line and got a decent position.} 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Nd7 12. dxc5 dxc5 13. Nbd2 Bb7 14. Qe2 Qc7 15. Nf1 Nc4 16. b3 Nd6 17. c4 Rfe8 18. Bb2 Bf8 19. Bc3 f6 20. N3d2 Nb8 21. Ne3 Nc6 22. Nd5 Qf7 23. Bd3 b4 24. Bb2 a5 25. a3 Ra6 26. Qf1 Nc8 27. g3 Bd6 28. Ra2 N8e7 29. Rea1 Rea8 30. Qd1 bxa3 31. Rxa3 Nb4 32. Bf1 Nec6 33. Ra4 Kh8 34. Bc3 Bf8 35. Nf3 Rd8 36. Qc1 Ra7 37. Nh4 Bc8 38. Qb2 Bd7 39. R4a3 Rb8 40. Bg2 Rab7 41. Qe2 Nd4 42. Bxd4 cxd4 43. Rxa5 d3 44. Qd1 Nc2 45. Rb1 Na3 46. Rc1 Rxb3 47. Kh2 Nc2 48. Qf1 {Vidit: I had a very nice position and I had more than one way to increase my advantage. I chose Qh5 with idea Qe2, but as soon as I played it I realized that I am losing the d3 pawn. Luckily enough my position was so good that even after Nf4, the position is balanced.} Qh5 (48... Nb4 49. Nf3 Qh5 $17) 49. Nf4 Qh6 50. Nxd3 Nd4 51. Rd1 Rc3 52. f4 Be6 53. fxe5 Bxc4 54. exf6 gxf6 55. Qf4 Nc6 (55... Rxd3 $1 {Vidit: It was a pity to miss Rd3 and end up in such an endgame.} 56. Qxh6 Bxh6 57. Rxd3 Bxd3 58. Rd5 Be3 59. Nf5 Bc4 60. Nxd4 Bxd5 61. Nf5 Bxe4 62. Bxe4 Rb2+ $19) 56. Qxh6 Bxh6 57. Rc5 Ne7 58. Nf4 Bb3 59. Rxc3 Bxd1 60. Rc7 Re8 61. Rxe7 Rxe7 62. Nhg6+ hxg6 63. Nxg6+ Kh7 64. Nxe7 Bf8 65. Nd5 Kg7 66. h4 {The position might be a draw practically due to the tendency of opposite colour bishops.} Bc5 67. Bh3 Bd4 68. Kg2 Bc2 69. Bf5 Be5 70. Ne3 Bb3 71. Kf3 Bd4 72. Bd7 Be5 73. Bc6 Kh7 74. Bd5 Ba4 75. Bc4 Kg6 76. Be6 Bd4 77. Bf5+ Kg7 78. Nd5 Bd1+ 79. Kg2 Be5 80. Ne3 Bb3 81. Bd7 Bc7 82. Kf3 Bb6 83. Be8 Be6 84. Bc6 Bc5 85. Bd5 Bd7 86. Bb3 Bc8 87. Ng2 Bb6 88. Nf4 Bd7 89. Bc4 Ba5 90. Be6 Bc6 91. Bd5 Bd7 92. Ba2 Bc3 93. Be6 Bc6 94. Bd5 Bd7 95. Be6 {And here, White's flag fell. He is two pawns up but lost on time!} 0-1

No ChessBase prizes for guessing whose WhatsApp status this was...

Vidit adds: "Well, overall, I think the game was good — it was a long 5.5-hour game with very interesting and fighting chess. And definitely, one which will be the most memorable because of the rollercoaster of emotions experienced during it."

Last round: Duda vs. Vidit

All Vidit needed to do in the last round was hold the top seed Duda to a draw, which he did without any issues. He won the Lake Sevan 2016 tournament with 6.0/9. It did not matter that Russian GM Artemiev too scored the same number of points, but had to settle for the second spot on the basis of Sonneborn-Berger.

Artemiev cleaned up the tail-end of the field to take second place on the tie break.

The final round game by Artemiev was particularly interesting because, apparently, his opponent forgot about the dragon bishop!

[Event "Lake Sevan 2016"] [Site "Martuni ARM"] [Date "2016.07.26"] [Round "?"] [White "Hovhannisyan, R."] [Black "Artemiev, V."] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2640"] [BlackElo "2653"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r2rk1/2q1ppb1/p2p1n1p/1p1B1P1P/n2NP1p1/6B1/PPP1Q1P1/1K1R3R w - - 0 20"] [PlyCount "26"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] {Black has some pressure on the queenside.} 20. c3 $4 {But this is not the solution!} ({Stockfish:} 20. Be1 Kh7 21. Rh4 Qb6 22. Bb3 Nc5 23. Bd5 $11) 20... Qxc3 $1 {Tadaa!} 21. Be1 Qc7 {Black just picked a pawn.} 22. Nc6 {White commits suicide.} (22. Bb3 Nb6 $17 {will continue the game.}) 22... Nxb2 23. Rd4 (23. Qxb2 Nxd5 $19) 23... Nc4 24. Bc3 Qd7 25. Rxc4 bxc4 26. Qxc4 Kh8 27. Rc1 Rc7 28. Bxf6 Bxf6 29. Bxf7 Rxc6 30. Qxc6 Qxc6 31. Rxc6 Rxf7 32. Rxa6 Rf8 0-1

Artemiev fought back well to tie for the first place with 6.0/9. The drama of the penultimate round left its mark on the tie breaks, as Vidit took the top spot, while the Russian phenom was second. Interestingly, one may note that Artemiev could have won the event clearly had the 3-1-0 system been in force, which was recently seen in Bilbao, where Magnus Carlsen won.

Anyway, Vidit won the tournament. Notice that 'Holland' hand-band? Well, guess why is he turning up as 'Oranje' these days?

Vidit has joined the Oranje, led by Anish Giri.

Seconding an elite grandmaster speaks enough for your credentials as a strong theoretician, which Vidit is. In Lake Sevan 2016, his superior opening preparation was displayed in all its glory. Vidit said, "I don't think that's anything special nowadays. It's simply the current trend to mix up the openings." What effect has the work with Giri had on Vidit's results? "Unfortunately,  I can't tell anything about it."

What is a tournament victory without a celebratory dance?

And what good is a celebration that is not shared with your friends?

Final Standings:

Rk. Title Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1 TB2 TB3
1 GM Vidit Santosh  IND 2658 6 24.75 5 0
2 GM Artemiev Vladislav  RUS 2653 6 23.25 4 0
3 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof  POL 2671 5.5 25 4 0
4 GM Sevian Samuel  USA 2595 5 21.75 5 0
5 GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel  ARM 2605 5 21 4 0
6 GM Guijarro Anton David  ESP 2627 4.5 18 5 0
7 GM Hovhannisyan Robert  ARM 2640 4 15 5 0
8 GM Pashikian Arman  ARM 2615 3.5 16.75 4 0
9 GM Onischuk Vladimir  UKR 2615 3 13.75 5 0
10 GM Gabuzyan Hovhannes  ARM 2607 2.5 9.75 4 0


Official Website and PGN

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Photos from the Official Website