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World Teams R04: Indian explosion in Khanty Mansiysk

by Sagar Shah - 21/06/2017

The Indian men's team showed what they are really capable of. They ruthlessly demolished USA 3.5-0.5. Adhiban, Sasikiran, Negi scored wins over Akobian, Robson and Xiong. Vidit drew his game against Onischuk. This was the second consecutive win for the men's team. The women's team also delivered. After the scores tied at 1.5-1.5, Padmini Rout rose to the occasion and scored a fine win to give India a 2.5-1.5 victory over Poland. We have all the four games annotated in depth with key positions and explanations.

Photos by Anastasiya Balakhontseva

Indian men beat USA 3.5-0.5; women beat Poland 2.5-1.5

It's true that the USA team wasn't at their full strength. So, Nakamura and Caruana were busy playing at the Norway Chess. Yet, with a rating average of 2673, the American team was far from being a pushover. The top board Samuel Shankland was rested for the encounter. Now, Onischuk, Akobian, Robson and Xiong can give the best of the teams a run for their money. But on Tuesday, they were absolutely clueless. Only Onischuk on the top board could manage to eke out half a point against Vidit Gujrathi. That too, after being a pawn down and under great pressure for nearly fifty moves. Let's have a look at the three wins now!

Adhiban's tactical mastery:

Adhiban's beast mode is on! The Indian women's team is in awe!
Adhiban began with two losses in this event. The logical thing to do would have been to rest him for a round. But coach Ramesh put faith in Adhiban's abilities and let him play the third round. The boy from Chennai delivered and India beat Belarus. Once Adhiban is in form, it is quite difficult to stop him and Varuzhan Akobian must have felt it in the fourth round!
White's play at best can be called over ambitious. His king is in the centre and pieces undeveloped. How did Adhiban (black) finish off his opponent?

The geometry is just tremendous! Adhiban took the knight on f3 with ...Rxf3. And after Bxf3, he came up with the nice little ...Qf8! threatening Qxf3 and Bb4 pinning the queen. This move Qf8 is easy to miss. White went Ke2 and after b4, White had to stop Ba6. So he went Qc4 and Adhiban struck with Qxf3+! with Ne5 fork coming up! Replay the game below.

[Event "11th World Teams 2017"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2017.06.20"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Akobian, Varuzhan"]
[Black "Adhiban, Baskaran"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D45"]
[WhiteElo "2673"]
[BlackElo "2670"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[EventDate "2017.06.17"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "India"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "IND"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 {Adhiban likes to play the triangle variation. He
is not averse to trying out the Noteboom and he quite likes the Meran.} 4. e3
Nf6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Be7 $5 {Bd6 is by far the main move in the position.
But Adhiban is looking for something that is not deeply analyzed by Var.} 7. g4
{Now this move might not be as potent as it is against Bd6.} dxc4 8. g5 Nd5 9.
Bxc4 b5 10. Be2 (10. Bxd5 cxd5 $5 {is also interesting.} (10... exd5 $15) 11.
Nxb5 O-O $44) 10... Nxc3 11. Qxc3 Bb7 12. d5 $2 {Adhiban's provocation has
worked. Instead of continuing normal development, Akobian wastes precious time
with this pawn push. He is severely punished.} O-O $1 13. dxe6 (13. dxc6 Rc8
14. Bxb5 Nb8 $1 $17) 13... fxe6 {True the isolated pawn on e6 looks weak, but
apart from that everything is in Black's favour. The f-file just opened up and
the rook on f8 is jumping with joy. The c6 pawn is about to move and the
bishop on b7 will be unleashed. All in all this is quite a bad position for
White already.} 14. h4 (14. Nd4 {was the only logical move.} Nc5 $1 $17 15. b4
$2 Qd5 16. Rg1 Ne4 $19) 14... Rxf3 $1 {The geometric motif is very nice.} (
14... c5 $19 {was good, but the text is way stronger.}) 15. Bxf3 Qf8 {[%cal
Gf8f3,Ge7b4] Not only attacking f3 but also threatening Bb4 winning the queen.
White has only one move at his disposal.} 16. Ke2 b4 $1 {Ba6+ cannot be
allowed.} 17. Qc4 {Everything seems under control? If Ne5 then the e6 pawn
falls with a check.} Qxf3+ $1 {Of course Adhiban had seen it all when he went
for Rxf3.} 18. Kxf3 Ne5+ 19. Kg3 Nxc4 $19 {The rest as they say, is just a
matter of technique. White is unconditionally lost.} 20. Rd1 c5 21. b3 Nd6 22.
Bb2 Rf8 23. f4 Bd5 24. Kh3 Ne4 25. Rf1 g6 26. Be5 a5 27. Bc7 Ra8 28. Kh2 a4 29.
Be5 Kf7 30. Rfd1 Nf2 31. Re1 Nd3 32. Rf1 axb3 33. axb3 Rxa1 34. Bxa1 Bxb3 35.
e4 c4 36. f5 exf5 37. exf5 c3 38. h5 gxh5 39. Rg1 c2 40. g6+ hxg6 41. fxg6+ Kg8

Sasikiran's brilliant preparation in the forests of Meran!

While the match was in progress I was chatting with GM Vishnu Prasanna. We enjoyed Adhiban's brilliant combination together and when we moved to Sasikiran's board, Vishnu said, "Sasi is very dangerous against the Slav." And it is true. When I was Sasi's team mate at the Maharashtra Chess League in 2016 I realized what phenomenal preparation Sasi had against the Slav. He had worked tons of hours on different lines. I am sure that he also had similar notes against different openings! Just that four days were too less a time to see the work of a player who has been toiling since the past 25 years!

Until this position we have the game between Nakamura and Giri from Bilbao Masters 2017. Nakamura went g3 here. Sasi's dxe5 has been played in only one game before and that too was a correspondence game!

Sasi took the knight on g4 inviting Black to take the pawn on h2

As Sasikiran would say, "This is no longer logical chess. This is opening preparation. You have to work on such positions before the game."

A confident Sasi walks around the hall as Robson tries to get to grips with the new position
[Event "11th World Teams 2017"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2017.06.20"]
[Round "4.3"]
[White "Sasikiran, Krishnan"]
[Black "Robson, Ray"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D45"]
[WhiteElo "2669"]
[BlackElo "2656"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2017.06.17"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O
dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Be2 Bb7 11. a3 a5 (11... a6 {is the main move.}) 12. e4 e5
13. Rd1 Qc7 {The players are following the game Nakamura vs Giri from July
2016.} 14. dxe5 $5 {There is only one game which has seen this move. It was a
correspondence game between Otspere and Narozhny. Sasi must have surely
studied it.} Nxe5 15. Nd4 Neg4 (15... Bc5 16. Bf4 Bxd4 17. Rxd4 Nf3+ 18. Bxf3
Qxf4 19. Ne2 Qe5 20. Rc1 Rfe8 21. g3 Rac8 22. Qc5 g6 23. Bg2 Qxc5 24. Rxc5 Rcd8
25. Re5 Kf8 26. Rxe8+ Rxe8 27. f3 c5 28. Rd6 Nd5 29. Rd7 Re7 30. Rxe7 Nxe7 31.
Kf2 b4 {1/2-1/2 (31) Otspere,U (2209)-Narozhny,Y (2334) ICCF email 2013}) 16.
Bxg4 {Sasi quickly picked up the bishop and Robson sank into deep thought.
Should he take the h2 pawn or the bishop on g4. After some time he grabbed the
pawn on h2, which is the correct move.} Bxh2+ (16... Nxg4 17. h3 $14) 17. Kf1
Nxg4 18. g3 {This is once again part of the preparation by Sasi.} f5 (18...
Bxg3 {looked more natural.} 19. fxg3 {Now Qxg3 is met with Qg2, hence Black
has to be disruptive.} b4 20. Nd5 Qxg3 21. Ne7+ Kh8 22. Qg2 $13 {It's a crazy
line, but Sasi has it all worked out and for Robson to find all the resources
for Black on the board is next to an impossible task.}) 19. Bf4 Qf7 20. Nxf5
Qh5 $2 {This is the decisive mistake of the game. Although at first it might
not really be apparent.} (20... g6 {It was important to play this move.} 21. f3
$5 (21. Nd6 Qe6 {is complicated. Black is looking to take on g3 here. And
after that fxg3 would be met with Qxd6 and Bxg3 with Ne3+.} 22. Kg2 g5 $5 23.
Be3 Nxe3+ 24. fxe3 Bxg3 25. Kxg3 Rf3+ $1 26. Kxf3 Qh3+ 27. Ke2 Qh2+ 28. Kd3
Qxd6+ 29. Ke2 Qh2+ $11 {And Black holds the balance.}) 21... Bxg3 22. Bxg3 Ne3+
23. Nxe3 Qxf3+ 24. Kg1 Qxg3+ 25. Ng2 $14) 21. Rd7 Rxf5 22. exf5 Qh3+ 23. Ke1
Re8+ 24. Kd2 {The king is safe on d2 and White is already a lot of material up.
} Bc8 25. Qb3+ Kh8 26. Qf7 (26. Rd6 $18 {would have been stronger.}) 26... Bxd7
27. Re1 Rg8 (27... Rd8 28. Qe7 Rg8 29. Qxd7 $18) 28. Qxd7 Nxf2 29. Re8 h5 (
29... h6 30. Rxg8+ Kxg8 31. Qe8+ Kh7 32. f6 $1 gxf6 33. Qf7+ Kh8 34. Qxf6+ Kg8
35. Qg6+ Kf8 36. Bd6#) 30. Rxg8+ Kxg8 31. Qe8+ Kh7 32. Qg6+ Kg8 33. Qe8+ Kh7
34. f6 $1 {It's all over.} Ng4 35. Qe4+ Kg8 36. Qe6+ Kh7 37. f7 Bxg3 38. f8=Q {
A great win for Sasi, who completely outplayed Robson in the forests of Meran.}

An extremely complex and high level game, you have to agree.

Parimarjan Negi - the endgame virtuoso!

A relaxed Negi exercises between the round in the playing hall!

On the fourth board of the match between India and USA was a duel of contrasts. On the white side was a young 16-year-old boy, who is the current World Junior Champion and the next big thing in the world of chess. Playing black was the third youngest GM in the history of chess, who has now retired from competitive play (!) and is a sophomore at Stanford. It is obvious that Jeffery Xiong who had the white pieces had a substantial edge over Parimarjan Negi.


But experience in chess is not to be underestimated. Parimarjan might have not played much chess in the last few years, but he has surely seen a lot more than Jeffery has in his career. Negi realized that all that he had to do was keep the position simple. Xiong is tactically very strong and it made sense to play dry and simple positions against him. This is exactly what he did and the Indian was able to outplay his American opponent without too many difficulties.

[Event "11th World Teams 2017"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2017.06.20"]
[Round "4.4"]
[White "Xiong, Jeffery"]
[Black "Negi, Parimarjan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C53"]
[WhiteElo "2658"]
[BlackElo "2670"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "128"]
[EventDate "2017.06.17"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "India"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "IND"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. O-O h6 7. Re1 O-O 8. Nbd2
a6 9. Nf1 $5 {Bold play by Xiong. He is not afraid that Na5 will win his c4
bishop. Usually White would play Bb3 in such positions to preserve the light
squared bishop. But that's a tempo loss and Black usually replies with Be6.}
Na5 10. b4 $5 {This was Xiong's idea which has been seen in the game between
Giri and Mamedyarov.} Nxc4 11. bxc5 Na5 12. a4 (12. cxd6 cxd6 13. a4 b5 14.
axb5 axb5 15. Rb1 Qc7 16. Bd2 Re8 17. h3 Nb7 18. Nh4 d5 19. exd5 Nxd5 20. Rxb5
Nxc3 21. Bxc3 Qxc3 22. Nf3 Ra5 23. Rxa5 Qxa5 24. Qd2 Qb5 25. Qc3 f6 26. d4 exd4
27. Nxd4 Qd7 28. Rxe8+ Qxe8 29. Ne3 Nd6 30. Qc5 Qe5 31. Qxe5 fxe5 32. Nc6 e4
33. Kh2 Kf7 34. Kg3 g5 35. h4 Nf5+ 36. Nxf5 Bxf5 37. hxg5 hxg5 38. Ne5+ Kf6 39.
Nc4 Be6 40. Ne3 {1/2-1/2 (40) Giri,A (2755)-Mamedyarov,S (2761) Moscow 2016})
12... Re8 13. cxd6 Qxd6 14. Ba3 Qd8 15. Ng3 b6 {The bishop will be well placed
on b7, but this does seem a tad slow.} 16. d4 $1 {Xiong is quick to realize
that this is his opportunity.} Nc4 17. Nxe5 (17. Qb3 Nxa3 (17... Na5 18. Qc2
$16) 18. Nxe5 $16) 17... Nxe5 18. dxe5 Qxd1 19. Raxd1 Rxe5 20. f4 Re8 21. e5 {
White is pushing on. And optically it does seem that he is better. But Black
has no weaknesses and it is not so easy to find out, which is the point that
White should be attacking in Black's position.} Nd7 22. a5 {A little bit too
overambitious.} (22. Nf5 {was interesting threatening Ne7 and Nxc8.} Nc5 23.
Ne3 Nxa4 24. Nd5 Ra7 25. Ne7+ Kh7 26. Nxc8 Rxc8 27. Rd7 {with good play for
the pawn.}) 22... Kh7 23. axb6 Nxb6 24. Rd4 f6 $1 {Black's position doesn't
look too attractive. The rooks are disconnected, the pawns seem isolated, yet
there is no way for White to take advantage of it and hence the position is
equal.} 25. f5 $2 {Now this just loses a pawn.} Rxe5 26. Rxe5 fxe5 27. Rg4 Bd7
{It would be interesting to know what was it that Jeffery had prepared.
Because he just lost a pawn!} 28. c4 a5 29. Kf2 a4 30. Ke1 Rg8 (30... Be8 $1 {
The idea is to play Bf7 and get the knight to c4 and evict the bishop out of
a3.} 31. Ne4 Rd8 (31... Bf7 32. Nd2) 32. f6 g5 $19) 31. Bb2 g6 {Parimarjan
plays in a very pragmatic fashion. He gives back the pawn, just so that he can
free up his position.} 32. c5 Nd5 33. fxg6+ Rxg6 34. Rxg6 Kxg6 35. Bxe5 {
The material is even, but the a4 pawn is a real trump.} a3 36. Kd2 a2 37. Ne2
Nb4 38. Nc1 Kf5 39. Bb2 Be6 40. Nd3 Na6 41. Ke3 Bc4 42. Ne5 (42. Kd4 Bxd3 43.
Kxd3 Nxc5+ 44. Kc4 Ne4 45. Kb3 {This should end in a draw.}) 42... Bd5 43. g4+
Kg5 44. c6 Nb4 45. Kd4 Be6 46. Kc3 Nd5+ 47. Kd4 Kh4 48. Ke4 Nb4 49. Nd3 Nxc6 {
By nimble manuevring Black has won a pawn!} 50. Bf6+ Kxg4 {And another!} 51.
Ne5+ Nxe5 52. Bxe5 Kh3 53. Kf3 c5 {This opposite coloured endgame is
completely winning because Black will give up his a-pawn for winning the h2
pawn and the resulting two pawns would be just too far away for White to
handle.} 54. Kf2 a1=Q 55. Bxa1 Kxh2 56. Bg7 h5 57. Bf8 c4 58. Bb4 Bd5 59. Bc3
Kh3 60. Be5 Kg4 61. Ke3 h4 62. Kd4 h3 63. Ke3 Bf7 64. Bd6 Be8 (64... Be8 65.
Be5 Bb5 66. Bd6 c3 67. Be5 Ba4 68. Kd3 c2 69. Kd2 Kf3 $19) 0-1

Ramesh comes in to congratulate his boy! Negi had done his job!

The question on everyone's mind is whether Negi would come out of his retirement! Well, we hope so. As of now we are happy that we will be seeing him in action for another five games. 

Results of round four:

Rank Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 MP Pts.
1 CHINA *         2   7 11½
2 RUSSIA   *   2       3 7 11
3 POLAND     *       3 6
4 TURKEY   2 *   2       6 9
5 INDIA     *       4 9
6 UKRAINE     2   *   3 2   4
7 UNITED STATES 2     ½   *     3
8 NORWAY         1 *   2
9 BELARUS ½ 1     2     *   1 5
10 EGYPT ½ ½ 1           * 0

China and Russia now lead with 7.0/8. India has moved up to fifth position. Surprise pack are still the Turkish guys who haven't lost a match until now!

Sethuraman, one of India's top players, sends his wishes to the team! Such a positive environment in Indian chess.

Women's section:

Together we are strong! Team India before the start of the match against Poland.
Harika was her usual solid self on the top board. She held Monika Socko to a draw. However things weren't looking too good for the team on boards two and four. Tania was caught in opponent's opening preparation and as is not so unusual for Viji, she was in an inferior position.
That was close! Tania drinks some water after that long defensive effort!
Viji too managed to hold a draw in the rook endgame. And she doesn't look very tired! That's the thing about Viji. No matter how lost the position is, she defends it with all her might with little or no desperation!
It all hinged now on Padmini's game against Karina Szczepkowska
The difference between strong players and champions is very subtle. When the situation demands the champion can raise the bar of his/her play much more than normal players. Now, when we reach the endgame between Padmini and Karina, the position was equal. Padmini could have accepted a draw and no one would have blamed her for her decision. After all there was nothing much and her opponent was also rated higher than her. But Padmini has nerves of steel. She played on. Kept moving her pieces to and fro just to confuse her opponent. Within a few moves, things started to look bright for the Indian team. Padmini had managed to win a pawn. But would she be able to convert it into a full point?
 Making the final moves of the game
When the position was winning, Padmini's resolve was even stronger. She played carefully and without giving her opponent any opportunity, she managed to win the game!
A true champion!
[Event "11th World Teams Women"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2017.06.20"]
[Round "4.3"]
[White "Padmini, Rout"]
[Black "Szczepkowska, Karina"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C86"]
[WhiteElo "2375"]
[BlackElo "2414"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "153"]
[EventDate "2017.06.17"]
[WhiteTeam "India"]
[BlackTeam "Poland"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "IND"]
[BlackTeamCountry "POL"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Qe2 $5 {Something
different!} b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5 $1 {Black plays in the most ambitious
possible way.} 9. d3 Bb7 10. Nbd2 h6 {This has not been played in many games.}
11. Re1 Re8 12. Nf1 Bf8 13. Ng3 Na5 14. Bc2 c5 15. Bd2 Nc6 16. exd5 Qxd5 17. a4
b4 18. Ne4 Nxe4 19. dxe4 Qe6 {Black has a decent position and nothing much to
worry about.} 20. a5 c4 $1 21. Be3 b3 $2 {A bad move by the Polish player. and
the reason is that it gives White a clear target on c4, while Black has none.}
(21... Na7 $1 22. Nd2 bxc3 23. bxc3 Nb5 24. Qxc4 Qxc4 25. Nxc4 Nxc3 $11) 22.
Bd1 Rac8 23. Nd2 Nd8 24. Qg4 (24. Ra4 $1 $16) 24... Bc5 25. Bxc5 $6 (25. Ra4 $1
) 25... Rxc5 26. Qxe6 Nxe6 27. Be2 Rd8 28. Nxc4 Bxe4 {And this is a pretty
good deal for Black. She lost her c4 pawn, which she anyway was going to, but
in return she got the e4 pawn.} 29. Bf1 Bd3 30. Nxe5 Bxf1 31. Kxf1 Rdd5 32. Nf3
Rxa5 33. Rxa5 Rxa5 34. g3 Kf8 35. Nd2 Ra2 36. Nc4 Ra4 37. Ne5 Ra2 38. Nd3 Ke7
39. f4 g6 40. Rb1 Ra4 41. Rd1 Ra2 42. Ke2 a5 43. Kd2 a4 44. c4 a3 45. Kc3 axb2
46. Nxb2 {With nimble play, White has been able to get his king activated and
also win the b3 pawn.} Nc5 47. Rd5 Ra5 48. Kb4 Ra2 49. Rd2 Ne4 50. Re2 f5 51.
Kxb3 Ra8 52. c5 Kd7 53. Nd3 Kc6 54. Kc4 {Padmini's play in the next phase of
the game is something to learn from. She keeps her cool even when she knows
that everything depends on her.} Ra3 55. Ne5+ Kc7 56. Rc2 g5 57. Kd5 Ra8 58.
Ke6 Rf8 59. Ke7 Ra8 60. c6 Nd6 61. Ke6 Re8+ 62. Kf6 gxf4 63. gxf4 h5 64. h4
Rf8+ 65. Ke6 Re8+ 66. Kd5 Ne4 67. Rb2 Nf6+ 68. Kc5 Ne4+ 69. Kd5 Nf6+ 70. Kc4
Ra8 71. Rb7+ Kd6 72. Kb5 Kd5 73. Nc4 Rg8 74. c7 Ke6 75. Nb6 Ne4 76. c8=Q+ Rxc8
77. Nxc8 {A fighting game by Padmini who did not give up when the position was
equal.} 1-0

Results of round four:

Round 4 on 2017/06/20 at 15:00
No. SNo. Team Res. Team SNo.
3 9 GEORGIA 1.5-2.5 RUSSIA 5
5 2 INDIA 2.5-1.5 POLAND 3

For a board wise break down, click here

Indian women's team now faces Egypt in round five.

Rank Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 MP Pts.
1 RUSSIA *       2 3   3   7 10½
2 UKRAINE   *       2 3   7 10
3 INDIA   * 2         5
4 GEORGIA   2 * 2         4 4
5 POLAND     2 *   2     4 9
6 AZERBAIJAN 2       ½ * 2     4 4
7 CHINA 1 2       2 *     4
8 UNITED STATES     2     *   3
9 VIETNAM 1 1           * 4 2
10 EGYPT       0   0   ½ 0 * 0 ½

Moving up to third position on the rankings is Team India!

Live broadcast and GM commentary

Evgenij Miroshnichenko and Anna Rudolf are doing a great job giving the live commentary
ChessBase India has setup a live games page where you can not only listen to the GM commentary, but also play over the live games, and also check some light annotations by the Tactical Analysis feature.
Follow the games live with commentary

Previous reports on World Teams 2017:

India has excellent chances at World Teams 2017

From Moscow with love

Opening ceremony of World Teams 2017

Live Games from the World Teams 2017

Round one: Viji's unbelievable miss

Round two: Tania powers team India to a win over USA

Round three: The tale of two Hedgehogs

R1-3 on Firstpost: World Team Chess Championship 2017: Vidit Gujrathi shows mettle, but India blunder in initial rounds