Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Round 1: White is Right!!

The first round at the National Premier Championship took place in the afternoon on 17th december. Unlike first rounds of major tournaments, where players feel each other, Here, there were no such formalities! The White players got down to business right from the start with 4 decisive games out of 7 and all of them going to white pieces.
Statues dressed in typical Maharashtrian dress welcome you at the entrance of the tournament hall.
The Beautiful Playing Hall.
GM Sasikiran Vs GM Vishnu Prasanna 1-0
One of the favourites of the tournament, Krishnan Sasikiran, made a strong start to his title defense as he won a Nimzo Indian game from the White side against Vishnu Prasanna. Though the game was well fought, Sasikiran always had the slight positional advantage due to his double bishops and kingside majority. In the end Vishnu got a little desperate and sacrificed a piece for insufficient compensation which was eaten digested and savoured by the GM rated 2666.
IM Ashwin vs GM Negi 0.5-0.5

After, the Anand Carlsen match the Berlin Defense just like a variation which is taboo for the white players to allow!! Today as Negi played 4...Nf6, Ashwin went into some deep thought about how to win the Berlin endgame against his well prepared opponent and finally decided that it was a wise decision to just call it a day when he went for Re1 instead of d4. As Ashwin himself said, its very difficult for white to lose but of course black also is pretty safe. Mass exchanges followed and soon the players shook hand. A good beginning for both.
GM Adhiban vs IM Ratnakaran. 0.5-0.5
Maybe the most entertaining game of the day! Ratnakaran stayed true to his Benoni defense as both the players appeared extremely well prepared. Both were at 1 hr 35 mins at one point after 12 odd moves. Adhiban who is known for his fierce attacking style, was in his element today, showing thorough disrespect for material as he sacrificed pawns and then a piece. This went a little too far as Ratnakaran chomped up everything and had a huge advantage. But in chess its not just about computer evaluation. When you have less time and your king is in danger even a huge advantage can seem like a lost position. Adhiban managed to land a perpetual check and the game was drawn!
IM Akshat vs IM Akash. 1-0
The King's Indian  Defense can lead to very interesting games, some of which so rich in material imbalance that one really wonders if a knight is worth 3 points and a rook worth 5. Akshat was his usual courageous self as he won a pawn and then sacrificed an exchange for complete control over the position. There were mutual tactical shots in the position but one gets the feeling that Akshat was always in control. He scored a very nice victory over the defending champion!
IM Stany vs IM Debashis 0.5-0.5
The two room mates faced off each other in the first round of the tournament! Now this can really be an uncomfortable feeling as you really cannot prepare so well before the game. But Stany showed no such signs. As is so usual for him he started pushing pawns all over the board capturing space in the Maroczy bind of Paulsen Variation of the Sicilian. Debashis was pushed onto the backfoot. Just when we thought that its all over for black, The players repeated the position and a draw was agreed. It was a typical case of first round jitters. Debashis was lucky today but I dont think Stany's opponents will be so lucky if they play so passively against him

 GM Deepan vs IM Shyam Nikil 1-0
GM Deepan's pragmatic play is very well known. Today he made simple central moves in the Qc2 Nimzo Indian and developed a totally winning position against Shyam Nikil. However when the moment was ripe for taking concrete action, the GM didnt seem upto the mark. The game which could have been over by the 40 move mark went on and on upto the 87th move when finally it was the little 'a' pawn which became the man of the match. A marathon game and truly one which shows that winning a won position in this National A wont be very easy!!
GM Lalith vs IM Thejkumar 1-0
It was truly a fantastic game played by Lalith Babu. In a Queens Gambit declined, Lalith displayed excellent hold over the position. Thejkumar sacrificed a pawn in order to rip open the white king and even though it seemed that white king was quite exposed, Lalith had things under control. With very good technique and endgame play, he converted the position to score a full point.

The presence of the very experienced and jovial Abhijit Kunte is reassuring for both players and organisers.

Live games are relayed on huge screens in the playing hall and the man responsible for that is....

The very affable Mr Vijayaraghavan!

The National Premier chmampionship has taken no time to build up. We have seen blood being shed in the first round itself. It will be interesting to see if any of the 4 players on 1 point can score another victory tomorrow! These are the pairings for tomorrow!
1142507IMDebashis DasIMThejkumar M. S.24528
292411IMRathnakaran K.GMLalith Babu M.R.25697
3102420IMShyam Nikil P.GMAdhiban B.25696
4112523GMVishnu Prasanna. VGMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.24625
5122671GMNegi ParimarjanGMSasikiran Krishnan26664
6132343IMG. AkashIMAshwin Jayaram24873
712397IMStany G.A.IMAkshat Khamparia24092

The game to watch out for tomorrow is definitely GM Negi vs GM Sasikiran! As the top two seeds take on each other it will be a sight to behold. Both would want to stamp their authority on the tournament with a win but my prediction is a draw! :) What do you think?!!!

You can download the PGN for the games from here:

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