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London 07+08: Swayams Mishra in the joint third position

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 11/12/2015

The eighth round saw GM Vishnu Prasanna and IM Crg Krishna take a hit as they lost their games to players rated higher than them. V. Ap Karthik and IM Tania Sachdev continue to remain undefeated in the tournament. While the Indians are performing on par with their ratings, there is nothing remarkable to talk about. In the Classic, Vishy blundered and lost his second game of the tournament, this time to Grischuk.

London 07+08: Swayams Mishra in the joint third position

The eighth round saw GM Vishnu Prasanna and IM Crg Krishna take a hit as they lost their games to players rated higher than them. They had played each other in the seventh round and had settled for a draw. The seventh round also saw untitled V. Ap Karthik continue with his fairytale run, as he beat IM Jonathan Westerberg (2497). IM Tania Sachdev remained undefeated, by drawing both her games, while IM Sagar Shah drew in the seventh round and won in the eighth.


IM Swayams Mishra was the only Indian to win both the seventh and the eighth rounds, and with 6.0/8, he is tied for the third spot.

The playing arena 

The top board clash resulted in a win for GM Benjamin Bok over GM Eric Hansen, which makes Bok the sole leader with 7.0/8

IM Swayams Mishra (2477) defeated FM Michal Petarak (2293) and IM Sopiko Guramishivili to move to the joint third spot with 6.0/8

 GM Vishnu Prasanna (2514) lost to GM Alex Lenderman (2626) of USA to remain stranded at 5.5/8

 IM Crg Krishna (2367) also lost to GM Tigran Gharamian (2654) to get stuck at 5.5/8

 V. Ap Karthik is having probably the tournament of his life. After defeating IM Westerberg (2497) in the seventh round, he held GM GM Alexander Cherniev (2441)

 The lowest rated Indian at the tournament, V. Haribalu (2175) also had a good performance to show with two draws against players rated higher than him

 IM Tania Sachdev had a solid two rounds, as she drew Adam Bokojemski (2243) and GM Francesco Rambaldi (2560)

 IM Sagar Shah, who also moved to 5.5/8, interviewing IM Tania Sachdev...

 What transformation!

Rank after round 08:

Rk. SNo     Name   Rtg.
1 8   GM Bok Benjamin NED 2594 7,0
2 1   GM Postny Evgeny ISR 2670 6,5
 3 3   GM Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2654 6,5
5   GM Lenderman Alex USA 2626 6,5
13   GM Vakhidov Jahongir UZB 2546 6,5
6 2   GM Gharamian Tigran FRA 2654 6,0
4   GM Edouard Romain FRA 2627 6,0
7   GM Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2599 6,0
9   GM Hansen Eric CAN 2577 6,0
10  10   GM Hawkins Jonathan ENG 2569 6,0
11  14   GM Baron Tal ISR 2544 6,0
12  18   IM Sadzikowski Daniel POL 2506 6,0
13  26   IM Swayams Mishra IND 2477 6,0
14  28   GM Hebden Mark L ENG 2469 6,0
15 6   GM Grigoriants Sergey RUS 2603 5,5
16  11   GM Dragun Kamil POL 2564 5,5
17  15   GM Hillarp Persson Tiger SWE 2521 5,5
18  16   GM Vishnu Prasanna V IND 2514 5,5
19  17   IM Gledura Benjamin HUN 2513 5,5
20  21   GM Blomqvist Erik SWE 2493 5,5

Classic: Anand loses to Grischuk 

 GM Alexander Grischuk managed to beat Anand yet again, after the win at the Sinquefield Cup

 Black to play and draw

Yes, Anand could have held this position to a draw! Perhaps it was a lapse of concentration, if anything, that Anand's speedy calculations did not come to his aid. 


Black has to play 51... d3! 52. Rb7 Kd4!, which is the most accurate move to secure the half point. 53. a5 d2 54. Rd7+ Kc3 55. b6 Kc2 and Black's counterplay is strong enough to make a draw.


Instead, Vishy played 51...d3 and crashed to a defeat.

Analysis by IM Sagar Shah:

[Event "7th London Classic 2015"]
[Site "London ENG"]
[Date "2015.12.10"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Grischuk, Alexander"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2803"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "107"]
[EventDate "2015.12.04"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
1. c4 e5 2. d3 $5 {After the game Grischuk mentioned that he had prepared this
move, which mainly leads to original game without much preparations. In the
past he had played 1.c4 and his opponents had replied with 1...Nf6 and hence
he couldn't use this idea. But today Anand went 1...e5 and Grischuk could push
his pawn to d3 which is much less common than Nc3, Nf3, g3 or even e3.} Nc6 3.
Nf3 f5 $5 {Seeing that White hasn't gone for the most ambitious move order,
Vishy goes for an aggressive setup.} 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Bxd2+ 7. Qxd2
O-O 8. Nc3 d6 {Usually in this opening the bishop on b4 takes the knight on c3
and White is left with the dark squared bishop. But here the knight on c3
remains and it is much more useful than the bishop because the knight can jump
to d5 and attack the c7 pawn. If it is taken then after cxd5 the c-file is
opened up and the c7 pawn is weak.} 9. O-O Bd7 (9... Qe8 {is the usual idea in
this opening with the plan being Qh5, f4, Bh3 and Ng4 with a strong attack.
But here we can see the usefulness of the knight on c3.} 10. Nd5 $1 $14) 10.
Nd5 Nxd5 11. cxd5 Ne7 12. Qb4 $5 Nxd5 (12... a5 $5 {could have been an
interesting option.} 13. Qxb7 Rb8 14. Qa6 Rxb2 15. Rab1 $1 Rxe2 $2 16. Qc4 $16
{The rook on e2 feels very uncomfortable.}) 13. Qxb7 c6 14. Nd2 Nb6 15. Qa6 (
15. Bxc6 Rb8 $19) 15... d5 16. Rac1 f4 17. Nf3 Qf6 18. Qa5 {As Grischuk
correctly pointed out after the game: Black has a perfectly sound position.
His only defect is that the knight on b6 is quite passive. If that were not
the case then Black would have had the advantage.} Kh8 (18... g5 $5 {Followed
by a pawn storm could have led to a very tense battle with mutual chances.})
19. b3 Bg4 20. Qc3 $1 {This move was missed by Vishy. Now the e5 pawn is
attacked and so is the one on c6. Black has to make the concession of giving
up his bishop on f3.} e4 $6 {But Vishy doesn't believe in taking a slightly
inferior position. He tries to complicate the matters.} (20... Bxf3 21. Bxf3
Rac8 {Would have been better although here White has a clear edge.} 22. e3 $1
$14) 21. Qxf6 Rxf6 22. Nd4 $1 {The e4 pawn is falling and so is the guy on c6.
Black has to play sharply to keep things together.} f3 (22... exd3 23. exd3 Rc8
24. Rfe1 $1 $16) 23. exf3 exf3 24. Bh1 {The bishop on h1 is not going to be
trapped forever. Next up is h3 and bishop will be released from the prison.}
Rc8 25. Rfe1 h6 26. b4 $1 {Cementing everything before going for h3.} Na4 27.
Re3 Rcf8 28. h3 Bxh3 29. Rxf3 Bd7 30. Bg2 g5 31. Rxf6 Rxf6 {The material is
equal but White is clearly better. Let us try to understand why: 1. The knight
on d4 is excellently posted. In fact Grischuk improves it further with Nf3-e5
maneuvre. The knight on e5 is extremely strong hitting the weak c6 pawn. 2.
The bishop on d7 is highly passive and stuck to the task of defending the
sickly looking c6 pawn. 3. The knight on a4 doesn't really have a good square
where it can go to. All these things put together consitutes White's clear
edge.} 32. Nf3 $1 Kg7 33. Ne5 Be8 34. Bh3 h5 35. d4 Nb6 36. Rc3 (36. Rc5 {
would have been even stronger as now Nc4 is not possible.} Nc4 37. Nxc4 dxc4
38. Rxg5+ $16) 36... Nc4 $5 {Vishy understands that the knight on e5 cannot be
tolerated for long and gets rid of it even at the cost of a pawn.} 37. Nxc4
dxc4 38. Rxc4 Rd6 39. a3 Bf7 40. Rc5 Rxd4 (40... Kf6 41. Bg2 Rxd4 42. Rxc6+ Be6
$16 {would have made White's task a little more difficult than what occured in
the game.}) 41. Rxg5+ Kf6 42. Rf5+ Kg6 43. Rc5 Rd1+ 44. Kh2 Bd5 45. Bg2 Rd2 46.
Bxd5 cxd5 47. Kg2 {Of course to know what is the exact assessment of this
position would require hours of analysis. But I will try my best to give you
an idea whether Black could have held this rook ending or not.} Kf5 {This move
looks completely natural trying to use the king to shepherd the d5 pawn.} 48.
Ra5 {White meanwhile tries to win the a7 pawn.} (48. Kf3 {was not yet possible
due to} Rd3+) 48... Ke4 49. Rxa7 d4 {Of course White's queenside pawns are
extremely threatening but we cannot discount the d4 pawn which is just three
steps away from queening.} 50. b5 Rb2 51. a4 $2 {A pretty bad mistake by
Grischuk which gives Anand excellent drawing chances.} (51. Re7+ $1 {was a
very important check forcing the king on to the d-file.} Kd5 (51... Kd3 {
would be too slow as after} 52. a4 Kc3 (52... Rb4 53. f4 $1 Rxa4 54. b6 Rb4 55.
b7 Kc3 56. Rc7+ Kb3 57. f5 d3 58. f6 d2 59. Rd7 Kc2 60. Rxd2+ Kxd2 61. f7 $18)
53. Rc7+ Kb4 54. b6 Kxa4 55. b7 d3 56. Rd7 $18 {White simply wins.}) 52. Rb7 $1
d3 (52... Ra2 53. Rd7+ Kc5 54. b6 Kxb6 55. Rxd4 $18) 53. b6 d2 54. Rd7+ Kc6 55.
Rd8 $1 Kxb6 56. Kf3 $18 {White will win the d2 pawn and later the one on h5
and will finish off the game.}) 51... Kd3 $2 {An extremely bad move which
throws away the chance given to Anand. He shouldn't have brought the king in
front of the d-pawn. Instead he should have pushed his pawn to d3.} (51... d3
$1 52. Rb7 Kd4 $1 {The most accurate move to secure the half point.} (52... d2
$2 53. Rd7 $1 $18) (52... Rb4 $5 53. b6 Rxa4 54. Rb8 Rb4 55. b7 d2 56. Rd8 Rxb7
57. Rxd2 Rb1 {Here Black has some chances to hold.}) 53. a5 d2 54. Rd7+ Kc3 55.
b6 Kc2 $11 {Black's counterplay is strong enough to make a draw here.}) 52. Rb7
$1 Ra2 53. b6 Rxa4 54. Rb8 {Anand threw in the towel. A very nice game by
Grischuk who started the game with the non theoretical 1.c4 2.d3 but later
played a nearly flawless middlegame.} (54. Rb8 Rb4 55. b7 Kd2 56. Kh3 d3 57. f4
Kd1 58. Rd8 Rxb7 59. Rxd3+ {Followed by Kh4 and Rd5 picking up the h5 pawn.})


 Sagar's latest DVD has hit the stands!

Round 07 (9.30 PM IST):

Round 7 Friday 11 Dec, 16.00-23.00
Fabiano Caruana
Anish Giri
Viswanathan Anand
M Vachier-Lagrave
Michael Adams
Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian
Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen
Hikaru Nakamura


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