Friday, December 20, 2013

Rd.3 :Can anyone stop Lalith?!!

Today as I entered the dining room for breakfast, I saw a very unique scene. The two opponents sitting next to each other and laughing at a joke! I went there and sat next to them. One of them was the birthday boy Rathnakaran and with him was his opponent Thejkumar. Chess, Ratnakaran said is the only game where opponents sit next to each other  for their meals not only before the game but also after it!! Yes, all the participants at the ongoing National Premier are excellent friends with each other, but on the board, they spare no chance to take down the opposite guy! Once again in round 3 the white players showed the power of making the first move with all the 4 decisive games ending in white victories.

A beautiful gesture by the organisers was when they themselves arranged a cake for the birthday boy Rathnakaran and all the partipants joined in to wish him before the game! It was a wonderful sight to behold. Players are usually tensed before the start of the game but this little celebration made the mood quite upbeat in the hall.

Sasikiran with white is a fierce opponent. He has a lot of theoretical knowledge and it really is very difficult to outprepare him. But Akash who is almost 350 points rated lower than his opponent equalised out of the opening. It completely puzzled me as to what was the logic of the moves like h3 or Re1 in the opening. Maybe Sasikiran wanted to just throw the ball back in black's court and give his opponent the chance to go wrong. As we already know, Akash is not a player who can sit doing nothing. He tried for active play but thats when Sasikiran's bishops started to emanate fire! If you go through the game, one gets the feeling that the stronger player outplayed his opponent with ease. With a start of 2.5/3 Sasikiran is waiting for Lalith to go wrong so that he can take the lead!

Fortunes fluctuated from one side to another in this game. While Akshat was better in the opening, Debashis took over the initiative in the middlegame. However Debashis made a mistake and it was Akshat who was now pressing. With a series not so accurate moves in time pressure Akshat let the advantage slip! And as the game went into the final time control it was Debashis who had a clearly winning position. As he sat there and thought at the board how to finish his opponent, All that Akshat could do was to drink one coffee after another! Was it the coffee or unknown power, but Debashis went for a 3 fold repetition in a position that was completely winning for him! The players agreed for a draw and when they met in the Dining room for dinner all they could do was laugh at what they had just done! The fact that Debashis is still in good spirits after botching up in all 3 games means that he has excellent chances of making a comeback!

DEEPAN vs NEGI 0.5-0.5
The semi-tarrasch variation of the Queen's Gambit is an unusual variation. Black places his hopes on the fact that white will be ambitious and will try for a win, only then can black have some chances. As things stood, once Negi seemed better prepared than his opponent, Deepan decided to play it safe. Now thats the disadvantage of having the black pieces sometimes. Even though you haven't made a mistake and you are ready to make all the best moves, yet it might not be possible to win if White doesnt want to take his chances. A draw is certainly not a bad result, but with 3 draws in a row Negi must be itching for a win now!!

Vishnu's opening preparation is quite phenomenal and more often than not he is always one step ahead of his opponents when it comes to knowing the theory. In his game against Adhiban he once again gained a wonderful position out of the opening, But a poor move in the middlegame meant a completely lost endgame for Vishnu. However Adhiban gave a master class in how a knight can handle two connected passed pawns. It was some excellent technique which gave Adhiban the full point. After a slow start the talented GM is now in full flow and we can expect some more wins from him!! 

The biggest advantage that strong GMs like Lalith Babu have over other players is that they not only know what is the theoretical recommendation but they can also punish their opponent if they try to play something extravagant! In the cambridge springs variation of the QGD, Shyam tried a dubious idea with Ne4. From that moment on it was Lalith in his element as he cut off the black queen and bishop on the queenside and launched a fierce attack in the center. Facing a passed pawn on d file, weak king and a Queen which had given up all her worldly duties, Shyam couldnt resist anymore and lost in less than 2 hours. 3/3 for Lalith in such a strong field! It surely means he is in top notch form!

ASHWIN vs STANY 0.5-0.5

After drawing a winning position against Debashis and beating Akshat in a fierce attacking game, Stany had given enough evidence that he is a man on business. But it seemed Ashwin didn't read the signs too well. As Stany blitzed the moves of the Catalan from black side, Ashwin was under the impression that he was going for a line that was slightly better for white. But 1 hr 38 mins on Stany's clock should have cautioned him. As Ashwin played the natural move Rac1 defending his c5 pawn, Stany shocked him with Nxc5 taking the pawn!! Ashwin must have thanked his stars that he still had a way to safely draw the game. Mass exchanges too place and a draw was agreed. In such a strong tournament, getting a draw with black in which you don't even have to think for more than 5 moves is really a huge success!As Stany said after the game, whatever he had prepared happened on the board! Now thats job well done! Stany is really showing some impressive chess here.
I have always wondered how Rathnakaran manages to create so much mess on the board in just about every game! Today I was a live witness to this. The players had a theoretical discussion in a quite variation of the Benoni. Now things were developing at a slow pace when Ratnakaran made the move c4??!!!?? I dont even know what sign to give this move! It followed the saying of Tal who said take your opponent deep into the forest where 2+2 =5 and the path leading out is only good for one! Well Tal had some good intentions when he said this but when Ratnakaran went deep into complications, the path leading out of the forest was a highway for Thejkumar who won a fine game! With two consecutive wins, Thejkumar also looks in fine form for the tournament!!

In case you just noticed, All the players had a cake next to their boards in celebration for Ratnakaran's birthday!

One of my friend Atul Dahale asked me once, Why do chess players put hands on their head when they think during the game?!! Well it was truly an excellent question. While keeping the hand on the head and thinking is natural for chess players, for other spectators it can really seem unusual! :)
I think as the years progress, the players develop a specific style of sitting and posture in order to think better during the game. Here are a few players with their typical poses. 
Rathnakaran: I have never seen this guy ever sit with a hunched back or with his hands on his head. He maintains a perfect posture and plays with great confidence.

Sometimes the way Deepan thinks, makes me feel his entire life depended on the next move he has to make!! :)

With smart dressing sense and a thinker's pose, many girls would go gaga over Akshat Khamparia's style!!

Once a famous player told me, if you want to know how to sit calmly and coolly on the chessboard then just look and learn from Thejkumar!

Sasikiran hardly sits on his chair after making his move. It seems it his reflex action to get up after he makes a move!

Now thats the confidence of a man who has come well prepared!!

If Negi was not a chess player, I am sure he would be a philosopher. He has got this lost look which is so common in people with great minds!

Here are tomorrows pairing:
1142507IMDebashis DasIMRathnakaran K.24119
2102420IMShyam Nikil P.IMThejkumar M. S.24528
3112523GMVishnu Prasanna. VGMLalith Babu M.R.25697
4122671GMNegi ParimarjanGMAdhiban B.25696
5132343IMG. AkashGMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.24625
612397IMStany G.A.GMSasikiran Krishnan26664
722409IMAkshat KhampariaIMAshwin Jayaram24873

As two of India's biggest talents play each other tomorrow i.e Adhiban and Negi it will be a match to watch out for! Also will Stany's excellent form keep him in good stead against the man of all seasons : Krishnan Sasikiran!! It will be an exciting round!

You can download the games from this link:

Video for Round 3.
Its a small amateurish attempt by me to make a video for the round. The quality may not be the best but I think you will have a general idea of what the tournament hall is like!!

Stay Tuned for more updates from Jalgaon!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for covering this event well. Keep up the great work!