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Men's Premier 03: Captain Evans' gambit!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 17/11/2015

Four decisive games meant that it was a fighting Tuesday here at Thiruvarur. Kunte and M. Karthikeyan managed to open their accounts, the latter at the expense of an extremely consistent Venkatesh who remains at a sorry 0/3. To both Vidit and P. Karthikeyan's dismay, they were held to draws. Deep and Rathnakaran lost their second consecutive games, the former tragically from a won position. Praneeth caused yet another upset when he took down Dhopade while Shyam Sundar and Arghyadip played out an entertaining draw. The tournament was also graced by a hero of yesteryears: the Evans Gambit!

GM Neelotpal Das welcomed on stage the chief guest of the day, a hero of yesteryears, the Evans Gambit! And then, Vidit who had never played Pelikan in a known game before, chose to give it a go.


Round 3 witnessed four decisive results: Both the co-leaders, Vidit and P. Karthikeyan, were held to draws. Kunte and M. Karthikeyan managed to open their accounts, the latter at the expense of an extremely consistent Venkatesh who remains at a sorry 0/3. Praneeth caused yet another upset when he took down Dhopade, who failed to find the right moves as they sailed towards the time-control while Shyam Sundar and Arghyadip played out an entertaining draw.

Neelotpal Das surprised P. Karthikeyan with the Evans Gambit, and the latter chose to play 7...Qf6, an idea that was chosen by Kasparov in a game against Short in 2011. Neelotpal then proceeded to sacrifice a second pawn, trying to build up some initiative, but Karthikeyan found all the right moves to diffuse the pressure and hold equality, as he was already two pawns ahead.


Chief Guest: Evans Gambit 

IM P. Karthikeyan diffused the Evans Gambit without any problems against...

GM Neelotpal Das, who must be credited for trying to be original
[Event "NP2015"]
[Site "Trivarur"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "3.2"]
[White "Neelotpal Das"]
[Black "Karthikeyan P."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C52"]
[WhiteElo "2475"]
[BlackElo "2441"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:05:35"]
[BlackClock "0:08:05"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 {Really?} Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 {This allows
other Black pieces to develop without meddling in their affairs. But it takes
away the a5 square from the Knight.} 6. d4 exd4 7. Qb3 {Black can't play ...
Na5.} Qf6 8. O-O Nge7 9. cxd4 Bb6 {The position is equal. For a pawn, white
has a good center and some purposeful pieces. Black has ideas with ...Na5
apart fromthreatening d4.} 10. e5 Qf5 11. d5 Nd4 (11... Na5 $1 12. Qb4 Nxc4 13.
Qxc4 O-O $15 {It is a question if White has enough compensation for a pawn.}) (
11... Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Qxe5 13. Bb2 Qd6 14. Nc3 $1 $16) 12. Nxd4 Bxd4 13. Nc3 Bxe5
14. Ba3 d6 15. Nb5 Qd7 (15... O-O 16. Nxc7 Rb8 17. Rae1 $15) 16. Rac1 O-O 17.
f4 Bf6 18. Bd3 c5 19. dxc6 bxc6 20. Nxd6 $11 Bd4+ 21. Kh1 c5 22. Ne4 Qg4 23.
Bxc5 Be6 24. Qa3 Bxc5 25. Nxc5 Bd5 {is just equal.} 1/2-1/2

GM Vidit Gujrathi displayed yet another case of a well prepared line...

IM Shyaamnikhil P. knew the positions well enough, but could not pose any problems to Black
[Event "NP2015"]
[Site "Trivarur"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "3.1"]
[White "Shyaamnikhil P"]
[Black "Vidit Santosh Gujrathi"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B33"]
[WhiteElo "2436"]
[BlackElo "2651"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:03:01"]
[BlackClock "0:00:40"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bf4 e5 8.
Bg5 a6 9. Na3 b5 10. Nd5 Be7 {Vidit had not played the Pelikan previously.} 11.
Bxf6 Bxf6 12. c3 Rb8 13. Nc2 Bg5 14. Bd3 (14. a4 {is the most common move here.
}) 14... O-O 15. h4 {Not as famous as simply 0-0, still equal.} Bh6 16. Nce3
Bxe3 17. Nxe3 Be6 18. Be2 Ne7 19. Qd2 d5 20. exd5 Nxd5 21. Nxd5 Bxd5 22. O-O
Bc4 23. Qxd8 Rfxd8 24. Rfe1 Rd2 25. Bxc4 bxc4 26. Rxe5 f6 27. Re4 Rbxb2 28. Rf1
Rxa2 29. Rxc4 h6 30. Rc7 a5 31. c4 a4 32. g3 Rac2 (32... h5 {says the computer,
but what differnce does it make?} 33. c5) 33. Ra7 Rxc4 34. Re1 h5 35. Ree7 Rg4
36. Ra5 Rc4 37. Raa7 Rg4 38. Ra5 Rb4 39. Raa7 Rg4 $11 1/2-1/2

Post game chat with Shyaamnikhil P.:

PB: Today's game looked like prep. Were you surprised?

Shyaamnikhil: He played the Caro-Kann in the first round. Nevertheless, I was expecting some kind of Sicilian. Actually, I play 6.Be2 in the scheveningen move-order, but I was not sure about playing the 6...Bb4 line against him. So I thought,'Okay, he has never played the Pelikan, so let's try it.' I had prepared it with Black, but I did not remember the perfect move order. That is why I invested some fifteen minutes on just checking that I was playing it right.


PB: And after that, how did it pan out?

Shyaamnikhil: 14.Bd3 and 15.h4 were mistakes he said, because I couldn't castle immediately. Actually, I was even thinking about ideas with Qf3 and g4 around that point. However, I did not see the point of lashing out like that. He had a slightly better position. His pieces were active after ...Ne7, ...d5, etc. and then he has those rooks invading my camp.


PB: It did not turn into anything substantial it seems. It looked like a symbolic plus after 22...Bc4. The ending was a straightforward draw?

Shyaamnikhil: I'm not sure now. Also, it is difficult to defend such positions when low on time. There were some chances. We were thinking about 32.a3. He believes it gives him better chances. It is not that clear and I think it would take an engine to reach a conclusion there.


GM S.P. Sethuraman decided to surprise his opponent in the second move itself...

...but GM Deep Sengupta took his time, and reached a won position right out of the opening

And what do they say about winning a won position? Deep did take his time to pin Sethu down, but the time pressure escalated in the end to the point that he just blundered!

Thus, Deep lost his second game on the trot to stay at 0.5/3.

[Event "NP2015"]
[Site "Trivarur"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "3.4"]
[White "Sengupta Deep"]
[Black "Sethuraman S.P."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B28"]
[WhiteElo "2589"]
[BlackElo "2651"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:05"]
[BlackClock "0:02:45"]
1. e4 {0} c5 {0} 2. Nf3 {0} a6 {3} 3. c3 {13} d5 {31} 4. exd5 {10} Qxd5 {7} 5.
d4 {4} Nf6 {12} 6. Be2 {7} e6 {14} 7. O-O {12} Nc6 {5} 8. Be3 {646} cxd4 {7} 9.
Nxd4 {10} Nxd4 {120} (9... Bd7) 10. Bxd4 {127 Sethu: I just did not know what
to do!} Bd7 {2275} (10... Bc5) 11. Bf3 {524} Qd6 {10} 12. Bxb7 {880} Rb8 {4}
13. Bf3 {5} Rxb2 {351} 14. Nd2 {53} Qc7 {449} 15. Nb3 {424} Bd6 {9} 16. Qc1 {
1070} Ba3 {43} (16... Bxh2+ 17. Kh1 Qf4 18. Be3 {and I am just lost!} (18. Qxb2
Qh4 19. Rfc1 {Only move.} (19. Rfd1 Bf4+ $1 {is accurate.} 20. Kg1 Qh2+ 21. Kf1
Bb5+ {leading to mate.}) 19... e5)) 17. Qg5 {37} Be7 {105} 18. Be5 {328} Qc4 {
749} 19. Qc1 {628} Ba3 {45} 20. Qg5 {8} Be7 {14} 21. Rfd1 {528} Rxf2 {710} 22.
Rd4 {354} Qc8 {43} 23. Qg3 {203} Rc2 {810} (23... Rxf3) 24. Rad1 {2} Bb5 {16}
25. a4 (25. Qxg7 Rg8 26. Qxf6 Bxf6 27. Bxf6 Bd7 28. Rxd7 Qxd7 29. Rxd7 (29. Bc6
Rgxg2+ {is the problem.}) 29... Kxd7) (25. Bd6 Bd8 $18) 25... Be2 26. Bxe2 (26.
Qxg7 Rg8 27. Rd8+ $3 Bxd8 (27... Qxd8 28. Bc6+ $18) 28. Rxd8+ Qxd8 29. Bc6+ Nd7
30. Qxg8+ $18) 26... Rxe2 27. Kf1 (27. Qf3 Rxe5 28. Rc4 Re1+ 29. Rxe1) 27...
Nh5 28. Qd3 Rxe5 29. Rc4 Qb7 30. Nc5 Qd5 31. Rd4 Rf5+ 32. Ke1 Qe5+ 0-1

Post game chat with Sethu:

PB: This O'Kelly Sicilian was played with the intention to surprise him?

Sethu: Yes, because we often work together. So, it was necessary.


PB: But then, you ended up taking a lot of time for 10...Bd7. What transpired there?

Sethu: Actually, I could not remember the details at that point after taking on d4. I played 10...Bd7 -- I just did not know what to do and messed up badly.


PB: It steadily went downhill from there. What were your calculations around here, when you thought for so long?

Sethu: Yes, the position is just losing. While calculating originally, I reached till 15...Bd6 16.Qc1, and I was banking on this trick: 16...Bxh2+ 17.Kh1 Qf4 with the idea of ...Qh4 if White takes the rook. What I completely missed was the simple 18. Be3 and I am just lost!

When Sethu realized that his response to Qc1 is not working

PB: Okay, so you were just losing. He messed up towards the end. Did you see any way to convert for him?

Sethu: In mutual time-trouble, I played 24...Bb5 which was my only chance to complicate matters. And now, he could just take on g7 instead of 25.a4.


PB: The engine pointed out simply 25.Bd6.

Sethu: Okay, at least the King cannot go anywhere now.


PB: He had clear wins after that as well?

Sethu: Instead, he allowed me to play 25...Be2 and now, he can take on g7 once again.

The point is: 26. Qxg7 Rg8 27. Rd8+!! Bxd8 (27... Qxd8 28. Bc6+) 28. Rxd8+ Qxd8 29. Bc6+ is just winning for White. Of course, it is very difficult to find in time-trouble.


IM K. Rathnakaran landed in a bad version of French Advanced variation...

...allowing GM Abhijit Kunte to finally get on the scoreboard after two unfortunate losses
[Event "NP2015"]
[Site "Trivarur"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "3.7"]
[White "Rathnakaran K."]
[Black "Kunte Abhijit"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B40"]
[WhiteElo "2447"]
[BlackElo "2515"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 d5 4. Nbd2 Nc6 5. g3 g6 6. Bg2 Bg7 7. O-O Nf6 8. c3
O-O 9. e5 Nd7 10. d4 a5 11. Re1 cxd4 12. cxd4 f6 13. Bh3 fxe5 14. Bxe6+ Kh8 15.
Bxd5 exd4 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Ne4 Nf6 18. Neg5 c5 19. Qb3 Qd5 20. Re5 Qxb3 21.
axb3 Bb7 22. Nh4 Bd5 23. Bd2 Bxb3 24. Rxc5 a4 25. Re1 Rae8 26. Rc7 Rxe1+ 27.
Bxe1 Re8 28. Ba5 Kg8 29. Nhf3 h6 30. Nh3 g5 31. Nxd4 Nd5 32. Rxg7+ Kxg7 33. f4
Re4 34. Nxb3 axb3 35. fxg5 hxg5 36. Nf2 Ra4 37. Be1 Rc4 38. Kf1 Rc2 39. Nd1
Rxh2 40. Nf2 Kg6 41. Ke2 Rh8 42. Kd3 Rc8 43. Kd4 Nb6 44. Ne4 Rc2 45. Nd2 Rxb2
46. Kd3 Na4 47. Kd4 0-1


GM-elect Swapnil Dhopade had a decent position against... 
FM K. Praneeth Surya, the lowest rated player in the tournament

In this battle between the 2015 National Challengers champion and the runner-up, Praneeth punched in an enticing knight sacrifice, after which Swapnil did not find the saving continuation, failing to a tactic, while sailing towards the time-control.

[Event "NP2015"]
[Site "Trivarur"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "3.6"]
[White "K. Praneeth Surya"]
[Black "Swapnil S. Dhopade"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2413"]
[BlackElo "2497"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "1:30:53"]
[BlackClock "1:30:39"]
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxc5 7. b4 Bb6 8. Bb2 f6
9. Nbd2 Nh6 10. exf6 Ng4 11. Qe2 gxf6 12. b5 Bxf2+ 13. Kd1 Na5 14. h3 Ne3+ 15.
Kc1 Qc7 16. Nd4 Qf4 17. Qh5+ Ke7 18. Bc3 Nac4 19. Bxc4 Nxc4 20. Ne2 Qh4 21.
Bb4+ Nd6 22. Qf3 Bb6 23. g3 Qg5 24. Nf4 Qe5 25. c3 Kd7 26. Kc2 Nf7 27. Rad1 Kc7
28. Rhe1 Qf5+ 29. Kb2 Ne5 30. Qe2 a5 31. bxa6 bxa6 32. Rf1 Qg5 33. Nf3 Nxf3 34.
Qxf3 a5 35. Nxd5+ exd5 36. Rxd5 Bb7 (36... Qe3 $1 {was the only move to save
some chances.} 37. Bd6+ Kb7 38. Qg2 Bxh3 $1 39. Qxh3 Rac8 $14) 37. Rd7+ Kxd7
38. Qxb7+ Bc7 39. Rd1+ Ke6 40. Qe4+ Be5 41. Rd6+ Ke7 42. Qb7+ Ke8 43. Qd7+ 1-0 

GM M. Karthikeyan finally chalked up his first point in the tournament...

...but in the process, left GM Venkatesh in a miserable 0/3
[Event "NP2015"]
[Site "Trivarur"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Karthikeyan Murali"]
[Black "Venkatesh M.R."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C73"]
[WhiteElo "2498"]
[BlackElo "2464"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:09:18"]
[BlackClock "0:13:11"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. Bxc6+ bxc6 6. d4 f6 7. O-O Ne7 8.
Nc3 Ng6 9. Qd3 Qd7 10. Rd1 Qf7 11. Ne2 Be7 12. Ng3 O-O 13. h3 Re8 14. Qc3 Bb7
15. Re1 Bf8 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Nxe5 fxe5 18. Rf1 d5 19. f4 d4 20. Qd3 c5 21. c4
exf4 22. Bxf4 Qg6 23. Rae1 Bd6 24. Nf5 Be5 25. Rf3 Qc6 26. Qd2 Bxf4 27. Qxf4
Kh8 28. Qg3 Qd7 29. Qh4 Re6 30. Rg3 Rg8 31. Qf4 Qf7 32. Qg4 Qf6 33. Rf3 Qe5 34.
Rf4 d3 35. b3 d2 36. Rd1 Bxe4 37. Rxd2 Bxf5 38. Qxf5 Qe3+ 39. Rdf2 Rf6 40. Qe4
Qc1+ 41. Kh2 Rxf4 42. Qxf4 Qe1 43. Rd2 h6 44. Rd7 Qa1 45. Rxc7 Qxa2 46. Qe3 Qc2
47. Rxc5 Rb8 48. b4 Rxb4 49. Rc8+ Kh7 50. Qe6 1-0


Finally, IM Arghyadip Das held...

GM Shyam Sundar M. to a draw in a game of swinging fortunes

Interestingly, Shyam Sundar was playing Arghyadip after more than a decade! The last time they played, Shyam recalled that he was rated in the 1900s.

[Event "NP2015"]
[Site "Trivarur"]
[Date "2015.11.17"]
[Round "3.5"]
[White "Shyam Sundar M."]
[Black "Das Arghyadip"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A06"]
[WhiteElo "2481"]
[BlackElo "2456"]
[PlyCount "148"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:04:12"]
[BlackClock "0:03:13"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 Nf6 5. O-O O-O 6. c3 c6 7. Nbd2 Bf5 8. Re1
Nbd7 9. h3 h6 10. g4 Be6 11. g5 Nh7 (11... Nh5 12. Nf1 hxg5 13. Nxg5 Bf5 14.
Ng3 Nxg3 15. fxg3 e5 16. g4 Be6 17. e4 exd4 18. cxd4 dxe4 19. Nxe6 fxe6 20. Kh1
$11) 12. gxh6 Bxh6 13. Nf1 Bxc1 14. Qxc1 Kg7 15. e4 Rh8 (15... dxe4 16. Rxe4
Rh8 17. Rxe6 fxe6) 16. e5 (16. exd5) 16... Qc8 17. Qf4 a5 18. Rad1 a4 19. h4
Qg8 20. Ne3 Kf8 21. b3 Qg7 22. c4 Nb6 23. c5 Nd7 {Til this point, White has
been clearly better.} 24. bxa4 Rxa4 25. Rc1 (25. Rb1 Nxc5 $1 {is what Shyam
Sundar missed while calculating.}) 25... Kg8 26. Nf1 Ndf8 27. Rb1 Bc8 28. Qg3
Ne6 29. Bh3 Nhf8 30. Rb2 Ra7 31. Ne3 Bd7 32. Reb1 Bc8 33. Bg4 Ra4 34. Rd1 Ra8
35. Rdb1 Ra4 36. Rd1 Ra8 37. Rc1 Ra4 38. Rd2 Ra8 39. Rb1 Ra4 40. Bh3 Ra8 41.
Kf1 f5 42. exf6 exf6 43. Ke2 Rh7 44. Rg1 Qc7 45. Qxc7 Rxc7 46. Bxe6+ Bxe6 47.
Rb2 Kf7 48. Ne1 {Now, Black has a clear advantage.} Bc8 49. N1c2 Ne6 50. a3 Re7
51. Kd2 Ng7 52. f3 Bf5 53. Re1 Ra7 54. Rb4 Bxc2 55. Nxc2 Rxe1 56. Nxe1 Nf5 57.
Ng2 Kg7 58. a4 Kf7 59. Ke2 Ke7 60. Kf1 Kd7 61. Kg1 Kc7 62. Kh2 Ra8 63. Kh3 Rh8
64. Kg4 Rh7 65. a5 Re7 66. Nf4 Nh6+ 67. Kg3 g5 68. hxg5 fxg5 69. Nh3 Rg7 70.
Ra4 g4 71. fxg4 Rxg4+ 72. Kf3 Re4 73. Ng5 Re8 74. a6 bxa6 {Ke4} 1/2-1/2 

Post game chat with Shyam Sundar:

PB: What was your opening choice based on?

Shyam Sundar: I was just in the mood to play this, so I played it!


PB: What were your calculations for 11...Nh5? Black gets in the ...e5 break in this line.

Shyam Sundar: Okay, 11... Nh5 12.Nf1 hxg5 13.Nxg5 Bf5 14.Ng3 Nxg3 15.fxg3 e5, so now I can also play e4 at some point. Example 16.g4 Be6 17.e4. I think it is alright for me.


PB: After 15.e4, what if he goes 15...dxe4?

Shyam Sundar: Then, Re6 idea is always in the air. I will just give the exchange and I get a great deal of play in return.


PB: After 16.e5 it is just bad for him...

Shyam Sundar: Yes, it was very good attack for me and the problem here was that I had too many plans! Here, I messed up. I think I played correctly...


PB: Till a point. Where do you think you went wrong?

Shyam Sundar: I think it was at 24.bxa4. Instead, I should play 24.Rb1. What I missed after 24.bxa4 Rxa4 is 25. Rb1 Nxc5.


PB: Okay, you avoided repetition, but then landed in a bad position as your pawns became weak. 

Shyam Sundar: Yes, I thought I had something there. That was very strange. The pawns were strong in the middlegame but then became weak in the ending. Anyway, he missed some chances in the endgame. Fortunately, there were no mishaps.

Pairings for Round 4:


Ranking Crosstable:

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