Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Rd.7: The Sasi-Lalith song continues!!

The average age of this National Premier Championship is 23.5 years. Now thats really amazing isnt it? The oldest player is Thejkumar at 32 years and youngest Akash at 17 years. Thats the reason why I see something very positive here. While Sasi,Lalith and Adhiban are zooming ahead there are many players who are yet to win their 1st game. Yet after every loss I see them analysing their games, taking defeat within their stride and looking out for something positive to gain. No one speaks about leaving chess as many players do after losing and no one talks ill about the tournament. They are all happy to be here and making use of their opportunity. Once again you might think this attitude exists because they are playing in National Premier but I say: Its because of this attitude that they are playing National Premier!! :)

The game between Parimarjan Negi and Rathnakaran ended in a win for the prodigious Negi. Negi scored his first win in the tournament. Rathnakaran did a good job of playing an unorthodox opening in the Sicilian and taking the game out of theoretical paths. When asked if white was fine in the position, Rathnakaran said white was fine but he was not fine! It meant that position can be equal but Rathnakaran doesnt like playing equal positions!! Negi played a nice game and took his tally to 50% with 3.5 out of 7. In a way this can be a start of a comeback for Negi as he has already played all the leaders of tournament i.e Sasi, Lalith,Adhiban,Deepan and Thej.

Why is Debashis sitting in the above picture all alone? Where is his opponent Sasikiran? The truth is that for almost half of the game, this was the situation at Debashis's board! He was sitting all alone trying to figure out what's going on and Sasikiran had it all prepared at home!

Debashish thinking to himself: Is there any move in the position that my opponent must not have analysed?

As the players played a popular line in Catalan, Sasikiran introduced a novelty on 17th move with Qe2. This can be an excellent novelty and many players might follow it. However as Sasi said after the game, there is a way to equalise for black. So a well prepared opponent might not face too many difficulties. But for Debashis who was seeing this position for the first time it was a totally different story. When Sasi pushed his pawn to e6,Debashis had to play f6. However he took the pawn. Now this was a inferior move. But as they say sometimes you forget the analysis of the inferior move of your opponent. Sasi made a mistake by playing Bh3 when infact taking the pawn with the queen would have ended the game pretty soon. But white kept good compensation in the position and the main factor was Debashis's time. He had to make 10-12 moves with just 30 secs on his clock. A task which proved too difficult for Debashis as he blundered and lost a game. A truly class apart game from Sasi who showed what excellent World class preparation actually means!

SHYAM vs VISHNU 0.5-0.5
The two room mates faced off each other. Shyam tried to avoid the theory altogether by playing 1.b3. Pieces got exchanged periodically and soon a draw was made, Maybe not the most entertaining game one can see.

A wild game and filled with ups and downs is how I will describe the game between Lalith and Stany. First of all Stany made a mistake in the opening. He lost an exchange. Many people thought he had just blundered but as Stany said after the game, that he thought he would get good compensation. However that was not the case as Lalith was cruising towards victory. But Lalith started making uncharacteristic mistakes and soon Stany was a rook down but had his pawns all the way down to b2 and c3. Lalith had his back against the wall and in one position, Stany could have even made a draw but it was not to be.Lalith gave back the rook and tried for activity. Inspite of being a pawn up, Stany couldnt save his position against Laliths active pieces. That means Lalith is now 6.5/7. But today there were some hiccups towards victory. Will his next opponent be able cause an upset?


Thejkumar was well prepared for the game today as he played his moves quickly and got a good time advantage against Akash. I dont even know why black players play this line in Ragozin, for there is absolutely no chance for black to win. Thejkumar was a pawn up in the rook ending. It was a question between whether Akash would hold a draw or Thej would brek through. Defense of course is not Akash's strong point and endgame technique is definitely Thej's forte. So it was not a surprise that Thejkumar was able to win the game! Quite a depressing game for Akash who had defend through out the game and that oo unsuccessfully. Thej is doing pretty well in the tournament with 4.5/7 after his first round loss to Lalith.

Sometimes Caissa, goddess of chess rewards you for your tenacity and fighting attitude. In this game, it was Adhiban all the way from opening into the middlegame and upto the endgame. However Aksat's grim defense was truly exemplary. He put maximum difficulties to Adhiban who couldnt really finish his opponent off. The result was the draw which not only meant that Adhiban has 5.5/7, he is also a whole point behind the leaders now.
DEEPAN vs ASHWIN 0.5-0.5
This promised to be a good game, as both the players were in good form. The game witnessed a Maroczy bind Sicilian. Deepan had the space advantage and a slightly better position but Ashwin was always aware that he must not let things go out of hand. Periodically he exchanged pieces and was closing in on the draw. Deepan could have made his opponent suffer a little in the major piece ending but he went for a pawn and that meant Ashwin activated his rook and as Deepan said after the game, before things went out of hand, he offered a draw! :) Deepan is 5/7 now and sits in the 4th place behind sasi, lalith and Adhiban.


The chess in schools which is an initiative by Abhijit Kunte, brought some of the school students to watch the games. They watched the games with full attention!! Maybe if one of them becomes a world champion later, visit to this tournament might be mentioned in some interviews!! :)

Parimarjan Negi seemed extremely focussed during his game with Rathnakaran. So much so that he hardly lifted his head and eyes were transfixed on the 64 squares.

Some of the benevolent mothers, made the monkey's day by giving him a Banana!
Beautiful sunset in Jalgaon.

A few days ago, I asked facebook users that they could ask questions to any player and I would act as a messenger and let you know the answer. Of course majority of the questions were aimed at Sasikiran and I couldnt ask him all of them but I tried my best and here are the questions with their answers! I hope these answers will help you to improve your game of chess in some way or the other.
Q by Debarshi Mukherjee to SASIKIRAN.
How to stay physically fit. Please suggest a diet plan.
Answer: In order to stay fit as a chess player its best to play a sport. I used to play Badminton when I was young. Then I was hooked onto jogging and nowadays I play table tennis. It helps me stay physically fit.
As for a diet plan, I dont know if I am the best person to answer that, but every person has a different diet. What i would suggest in general is that during a tournament, try to eat something that your body will readily accept. I think we all can understand what our body accepts easily and what it doesnt. So that can be the rule of thumb to eat what the body will accept.

Q by Sahil Batra to RATHNAKARAN.
How did you transfer your weight numbers into your rating numbers?!
Answer: Well do I really look thin? I think I look thin when I wear a t shirt! :D But on a serious note, I have started taking chess more seriously and I want to improve at it. I realised that becoming fit was important. In the last 4-5 months I have been seeing what I eat as well as going to the GYM regularly. So in a way I think I have reduced a few kgs but nothing much.

Q by Saravanan to SASIKIRAN
Whats your next target in chess and how do you intend to reach there?
Answer: Really did, Sarvanan ask this question. Well I will call him and let him know!!(takes his phone out and looks at the time its 22.40) ok! Maybe I will call him tomorrow morning!! :) 
PS: Sasikiran and Sarvanan are very good friends!

Q by Vikas Sugathan to all GMs
What chess engine do you use?
Answer: Almost everyone replied Houdini but I think Sasi is the only one who has Houdini 4. Rest all are using Houdini 3. 

Q by Priyadarshan Banjan to Rathnakaran Sir!
What is your approach to a given postion and how do you make things so crazy and complicated?
Answer: I really dont know how I do it. It comes naturally to me. Actually I am very horrible player in dry positions. I like complicated positions. In fact I like minus positions. Because from Minus we can improve our positions! 
(Other players joined in at that time and reminded Rathnakaran as to how he had assessed one position: Rathnakaran had said its a lost position but with counterplay!! Really its a fitting evaluation in Rathnakaran's games!! Everyone had a good laugh!)

Q by Soham Datar to Adhiban
How do you assess a position?
Answer: First thing to look at is Material. If material is imbalanced then usually the evaluation of the position will be related to material factors. However if the material is even then it all depends upon our intuition and knowledge. In order to assess the position better increasing your knowledge by looking at games by good Grandmasters can be a good idea. And of course intuition will develop by playing and working hard consistently.

Q by Vardaan Mongia to Debashis Das.
How should one overcome the irritation one gets after not performing well or losing a winning position?
Answer: Its natural to get a little upset but I think its a question of approach. For me, my aim is to be one of the best players in the world. I always keep that aim in mind. Hence whether I lose or win, I try to learn and keep improving because thats my final aim. In that way I can minimize the irritation after not performing well and can take the defeats in a positive manner.

Q by Amruta Mokal to Lalith Babu
What is the secret behind your inexplicably fast calculation and imaginative thinking.
Answer: I think for fast calculation you must work very hard every day solving lots of puzzles and studies. For my imaginative thinking I think knowledge is very important. Once you have the knowledge you are able to twist and turn it in a way that it will fit into the requirements of the position that you are playing. I would also like to say that playing an endgame is not very difficult. You study an endgame well and then if something similar comes in the game you can just play it from memory! But of course you must have a huge database of known positions in your head!

Q by myself to Sasikiran
I have seen you telling many times that the best way to improve at chess is to analyse our own games. How should we analyse our games?
Answer: Usually in the games we play there 4-5 critical moments. (critical moments are the junctures in the game when you need to make a very important decision) You must identify them and then sit with them at home on a chess board without an engine and try to figure out whats going on. Usually you can sit with one such position for 30 minutes. In this way you can analyse your game in 2-3 hours and then check what you have seen with the engine. This can really help you to improve.
He also mentioned that though Computer is usually superior to human mind, sometimes we are able to come up with better solutions than the computer.

I hope you learnt something from the answers and will apply it to become a better player.
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