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The Saravana Krishnan fireworks at Sivakasi!

by Prof. R. Anantharaman - 19/05/2016

At the Hatsun Idhayam 2nd SCS Fide rating tournament held in Sivakasi, Saravana Krishnan was not the favourite to win the title. He started as the fifth seed with one GM and three IMs ahead of him. But such statistics didn't matter for the boy from Tamil Nadu, who played some scintillating chess to win the tournament with a score of 8.0/9. Ram S. Krishnan scored the same points but had to settle for the second spot. In this article Saravana not only teaches us how to attack with the help of a beautifully annotated game, but also shows how one should celebrate his first wedding anniversary!

P. Saravana Krishnan wins Hatsun – Idhayam 2nd SCS Fide Rated Tournament

P. Saravana Krishnan, rated 2312 and seeded fifth, won the Hatsun – Idhayam 2nd SCS Fide rated chess tournament, ahead of a grandmaster and five international masters in the fray. The tournament, organised by Sivakasi Chess Sparklers at Sivakasi Institute of Printing Technology, attracted 527 participants including strong players like grandmaster RR Laxman of ICF, IM S. Nitin of Southern Railways, IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh of TN, IM VAV Rajesh of AAI, IM BT Murali Krishnan of Southern Railways  and FM P. Maheswaran of Postal Services. It was a five-day event from the 11th to the 15th of May 2016.

With the support rendered by Hatsun Agro Product, manufacturers of popular Arun Ice Cream and Arogya Milk and Idhayam Group of Companies, a domestic household name in South India because of its Idhayam brand sesame oil, the organisers increased the prize money (from last year’s) by more than 50%. The total prize fund was Rs. 4,50,000.

Early rounds did not produce any hiccups, except the draw between former World Under-16 Olympiad gold medallist Gireman Ja of Coimbatore and Kamalanathan of Tamil Nadu in the third round. Rajesh VAV of Chennai had to split the point with his city mate Prasanth Nayagam in the fourth round. Former state champion Niranjan Navalgund was also subdued by young LR Sri Hari in this round. International arbiter S. Ganesh Babu of Madurai held the top seed GM Laxman in fifth round, paving way for nine players, including four international masters and a fide master to share the lead with five points each.


Former national blitz champion Ram S Krishnan shocked GM Laxman in the final round and...
...won Rs.50,000 for his second place finish. He receives the trophy from Sri. VR Muthu.

Saravana Krishnan emerged sole leader with a perfect score of 6.0/6, defeating IM R. Balasubramanian of ICF in the sixth round.  Nine players trailed the leader by half a point. His winning spree did not stop until the seventh round, wherein he outwitted international master S. Nitin in a beautiful game. Saravana has annotated this complex battle for ChessBase India.

[Event "Hatsun Idhayam 2nd SCS Open Sivakasi"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.05.14"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Saravana Krishnan, P."]
[Black "Nitin, S."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B50"]
[WhiteElo "2312"]
[BlackElo "2377"]
[Annotator "Saravana Krishnan"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2016.01.24"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.20"]
{At the end of 6 rounds I was leading the tournament with 6/6, half a point
ahead of 9 players at 5.5. The last month triumph at Kottayam where I had
incidentally scored 7/7 gave me enough confidence to play for a win this game
as a draw would mean that as many as 4 players had a chance to catch up with
me.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 {Before the round I had predicted that my
opponent would go for 2... e6. Nitin thought that I would not go for 3.Bc4 in
this crucial encounter and hence played 2...d6.} Nf6 4. Qe2 {4.d3 is another
main alternative.} g6 5. c3 Bg7 6. d4 cxd4 {came with a draw offer.} 7. cxd4
O-O 8. e5 {When you have decided to go for c3-d4 you have to go for this break
as well. Otherwise it gives Black many options such as Nc6 and/or Bg4 with
considerable pressure on the d4 pawn.} Ne8 (8... dxe5 9. dxe5 Ng4 {is a trappy
line shown to me by Niranjan Navalgund later in the day.}) 9. O-O Nc6 10. h3 {
Looked logical enough to prevent Bg4.} Nc7 11. Rd1 ({If} 11. Nc3 d5 12. Bb3 b6
{gives Black additional options and this was the reason why 10.. d5 was
delayed by Black.}) 11... d5 12. Bb3 a5 (12... b6 {This is not as effective as
it was against 11.Nc3. Ba6 is not a threat and I can respond with 13.Bf4/Bg5.
13... Ba6 is met by 14.Qe3 with play on the kingside.}) 13. Nc3 {I had not
seen the idea with a5 coming up and after it was on board, the text move
developing the Queen's knight seemed the most natural response.} b5 14. Nxb5 ({
I had rejected} 14. a4 {during the game because of} b4 {But I failed to spot}
15. Nxd5 $5 Nxd5 16. Qb5 $16 (16. Qc4 $2 Qb6 $1 17. Qxd5 Be6 $19)) 14... Ba6
15. a4 Qd7 {Threatening Rfb8.} (15... Rb8 {runs into} 16. Qc2 $1 {where he has
to either give a pawn or give his bishop for the knight. Both ways to my
advantage.}) (15... Na7 16. Qe1 {wins a pawn}) 16. Bf4 Nb4 (16... Rfb8 $2 17.
e6 $1 $16) 17. Qd2 Nxb5 18. axb5 Bxb5 19. Ra3 Ra6 20. Rda1 Rfa8 $14 {The
position looks equal but White actually has a minimal edge because I could
shift my action to the kingside at an appropriate moment as happened in the
game.} 21. Bh6 Qf5 22. Bxg7 (22. Bd1 {without Bg7 was another interesting
option.}) 22... Kxg7 23. Bd1 {Though the position looked non-venomous few
moves ago. I already have threats such as Ng5 after which the Rook shift to f3
and the bishop could go to g4.} h6 24. Ne1 {Threatening Bg4.} Qd7 (24... Qg5 {
making me commit f4 was interesting but I still hold the aces in the position.}
) 25. h4 {With the clock timings also in my favour here I completed started
believing that I could win the game, as it is very difficult to defend as
Black in a practical game.} Qc7 26. Rc3 (26. Nc2 {exchanging the knights
followed by h5 was also possible and may be better than the text move but I
took a practical decision.}) 26... Rc6 27. h5 Rc8 (27... g5 28. f4 $5) 28. Raa3
$1 {I liked this move very much as it gives even more headache for Black in a
practical game and was my best bet as well.} Qb6 29. hxg6 (29. e6 $1 {This
move was always in my plans as I had imagined the positon in my mind as if his
knight comes to c6 I could play e6 fe6 Qc2 when the bishop cannot go back to
e8 and g6 will be undefendable. But in the current position I had come to the
conclusion that e6 though good was worse to hg6 but the engines proved me
wrong- e6 was the best move!} Rf8 (29... fxe6 30. Rg3 $1 $18) 30. exf7 g5 31.
Rg3 {with a very strong attack almost close to winning.}) 29... fxg6 {even
after missing the e6 blow I was still on top and continued with..} 30. Bg4 Rh8
31. e6 {Putting few of his pieces out of the kingside contact.} (31. Nf3 {
switching gears to positional chess was later found in analysis as better
option}) 31... Rxc3 32. Rxc3 Qd6 (32... Rf8 {first was his best resource as
after the natural} 33. Nf3 {Black has} Nd3 {and I cannot take on d3 because of}
34. Rxd3 Bxd3 35. Qxd3 Qxb2 $1 $17) 33. Nf3 Nc6 34. Nh4 (34. Rc5 {was an
equally strong alternative.}) 34... Rf8 {My initial intention when I played
Nh4 was to take on g6 but with the practical time control pressure I was not
100% sure that I had seen all of his defences and controlled myself from
playing the same and went for} 35. g3 (35. Nxg6 $3 {but the engines were 100%
sure in the post game analysis.} Kxg6 36. Rg3 $1 {Threatening Qc2+ and Bh5+
and Qg6. Black has to give up his Queen.} Rf6 37. Bh5+ Kh7 38. Qc2+ Kh8 39. Bf7
$1 Qb8 $8 40. Rg8+ Qxg8 41. Bxg8 Kxg8 42. Qc5 $18) 35... Rf6 $6 (35... Qb4 $5 {
was a strong resouce available to my opponent attacking the d4 pawn.} 36. Nf3
a4 $15) 36. Rc5 $1 Bc4 37. Qe3 a4 38. Nf3 {With the idea of Ne5} Nd8 39. Ne5 {
White is already winning here. But my opponent had only seconds on the clock
and replied...} Nxe6 40. Rc6 {wins a piece by force and Black resigned.} 1-0


Three players – IM BT Murali Krishnan, Ram S Krishnan and local boy P. Maheswaran were breathing on Saravana's shoulders with 6.5 points each after seven rounds. Both the top board games – Saravana facing Murali and Ram clashing swords against Mahesh ended without any decisive result.

Saravana Krishnan drew the penultimate round game against IM BT Murali Krishnan

This helped Sarvana to maintain his slender lead of half a point and three more players joined the fray on the second spot - GM Laxman, who defeated Commonwealth category medallist Barath Kalyan, another youngster Manu David Suthandram, who scalped IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh and N. Lokesh who overwhelmed B. Sekar. All the seven players had chance to win the title, with Saravana and Manu David having maximum chances, because, if Saravana drew against Lokesh and Manu David defeated N. Surendran, the latter would have been the surprise winner thanks to more number of wins.

In the climax round, first Saravana Krishnan drew his game and Manu David also could not get much out of his game and settled for draw. But, Ram S Krishnan shocked the top seed RR Laxman, to be on par with Saravana, with eight points each. As both had same number of wins, next tiebreak Buchholz, which was in favour of Saravana. Thus Saravana not only won the title but also pocketed a cash prize of Rs.70,000/- plus a glittering trophy.

Full credit to Siva Ranjani, Saravana's wife who has made sure that her husband's career graph keeps moving in the upward direction!

Six players tied from places from three to eight; IM Nitin clinched the third place, followed by IA Ganesh Babu, Manu David, FM Maheswaran, IM BT Murali Krishnan and N Lokesh in that order.


The podium finishers: Ram S. Krishnan, Saravana Krishnan and S.Nitin


IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh did not play up to expectations


Complete list of final standings


A view of the glittering trophies

The organisers did not lag behind in offering good facilities to players and parents. Sumptuous unlimited food was provided at a very nominal cost. A tournament for parents was conducted and fun games were held for them. Before the beginning of the final round, all players voted to predict the winner of the tournament. Three players who made the correct prediction were awarded prizes. In the colourful prize distribution function, Mr. VR Muthu, CEO of Idhayam Group of Companies made an inspiring speech. 80 year old Mr.T.D. Rajendran, who won five gold and one silver medal for India in the Asian Masters Athletic championships in Singapore in the first week of May was felicitated. He has a chess connection, as his daughter Giri Rajakumari was runner up in Tamil Nadu State Under 14 Girls’ championship in 1991!

About the Author 

Prof. Anantharaman is not only the best International Arbiter in India but is an extremely well educated and learned person, who was the Head of Chemistry department in the college where he used to teach a few years ago. He is a member of Swiss pairings Programs Commission, FIDE, and has the following achievements to his credit:
  • Councillor, Arbiters' Commission, FIDE
  • Chairman, Arbiters' Commission, AICF
  • Chief Arbiter, World Junior Championship – twice
  • Chief Arbiter, World Schools Championship
  • Chief Arbiter, Chess Olympiad for Blind
  • Dy. Chief Arbiter, World Youth Championships – thrice
  • Chief Arbiter for nine Asian championships
  • Sector Arbiter for Chess Olympiad Norway 2014 and Baku 2016