From a slow start at the Prague Challengers 2019, Praggnanandhaa has picked up pace and scored two back to back victories to catapult himself into the leaders group with 3.5/6. Pragg's win against Ju Wenjun was a fine technical effort, while his sixth round victory against Alexei Shirov was a game where the 13-year-old's opening preparation and lack of opening knowledge for Shirov led to a dominant position for Praggnanandhaa in just 15 moves. Rest of the game was all about how well Pragg could convert his edge. Although Pragg was not 100% clinical, his technique was good enough to get the full point. The Masters section had a rest day so Vidit and Harikrishna will be back in action from the 12th of March.
GM Stanislav Bogdanovich maintains half point lead by beating the defending champion GM Sandro Mareco after the former trapped his opponent's Queen at the center of the board. Wang Hao went for Keres Attack against Dutch GM Loek Van Wely and managed to win the Rook-Knight endgame when Van Wely mistimed the Knight exchange. Iturrizaga made his third consecutive draw, this time against the hometown favorite Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son in just 16 moves. Among Indians, WIM Divya Deshmukh had a great day when she defeated GM Tu Hoang Thong. Photo: Shahid Ahmed
Ju Wenjun is the current Women's World Champion in Classical and Rapid chess. She was also instrumental in China winning the gold medal at the Batumi Olympiad 2018 by playing on board one. At the Prague Challengers Wenjun was leading the tournament with a score of 3.0/4 with wins over David Paravyan (2627) and Peter Michalik (2565). It was clear that she was in great form. On the other hand Pragg had had a slow start to his event. He lost to Bartel in round one and then three draws against Jiri Stocek (2592), Nguyen Thai Dai Van (2546) and David Paravyan (2627). Clearly he wasn't the favourite when facing Ju Wenjun in round five. But the 13-year-old prepared his opening to perfection, played the middlegame with care, and the endgame like a machine to bring home the full point. Complete analysis of this interesting encounter.
GM Stanislav Bogdanovic of Ukraine drew with overnight leader GM Eduardo Bonelli Iturrizaga of Venezuela in round 5, after Iturrizaga defended the endgame well despite being down by an exchange. In the following round Bogdanovic defeated GM Ivan Cheparinov of Georgia and took sole lead in 9th HDBank International Open 2019. Cheparinov went for a wrong chain exchange in Giuco Piano and his position became worse. Eventually rectifying that mistake cost him the game eventually. Among the Indians, IM Leon Mendonca Luke and GM Karthik Venkataraman are the most impressive so far. Photo: Shahid Ahmed
Five rounds have been completed at the World Team Championships 2019. India has faced some really strong teams like China, Iran, England, but we haven't lost a match. Before the rest day team India is on 7.0/10, two points behind Russia, in the second position. The nice thing to see is that in each match a different player is coming up with the goods. For example against China it was Ganguly who beat Yu Yangyi and equalized the score, while against England it was Sethuraman who beat Gawain Jones for 2-2 tie. Adhiban has been in great form on board one with 4.0/5. In the women's section China is leading with a score of 10/10. Indian women's team with 6.0/10 have a chance to fight for the bronze medal, but need a strong finish in the last four rounds.
GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo and GM Stanislav Bogdanovich defeated GM Gukesh D and GM Sandipan Chanda respectively to take joint lead at the conclusion of round 4 in 9th HDBank International Open 2019. Gukesh's pawn sacrifice went wrong, things slowly started to get out of hand and eventually the game. Sandipan made a tactical error which cost him an exchange and the position became difficult. Leon and Laxman drew with GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and GM Tranh Tuan Minh. The report contains selected games, photos and interviews. Photo: Shahid Ahmed
The Prague Chess Festival has organized six events simultaneously - Masters, Challengers, Open, E, F, G tournaments. All eyes are on the Masters section where we have eight out of the ten players above the rating of 2700 fighting it out for the top spot. You know it is a strong event when Boris Gelfand is the last seed. India no.2 and 3 Harikrishna and Vidit are both participating in the event and the duo have shown some sparkling chess in last two rounds. Vidit managed to beat Boris Gelfand by showcasing flawless technique, while Harikrishna showed how important development is in chess by beating Jan Krzsyztof Duda. After three rounds Vitiugov, Duda, Vidit and Wojtaszek jointly lead the tournament.
We have a lot of talented youngsters coming up in India chess. Many players have crossed the 2600 Elo mark in the past, but breaking into the 2700 zone has remained quite elusive for Indians. Anand was the first Indian to breach the 2700 mark in 1993. It took another two decades for India to produce its next 2700 player. It was Sasikiran in January 2012. Harikrishna was next in February 2013. After another four years Vidit Gujrathi crossed 2700 in September 2017. And now we have the fifth Indian in Adhiban Baskaran who broke into the magical 2700 mark on 8th of March 2019. A proud moment for Indian chess.
Venezuela no.1 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo, GM Stanislav Bogdanovich, India's youngest GM Gukesh D and GM Sandipan Chanda are at 3.0/3 each, in a four-way lead at the end of round 3 in 9th HDBank International 2019. GM Laxman R R drew with the defending champion GM Sandro Mareco and IM Nitin S drew with second seed of the tournament GM Ivan Cheparinov in round 3. Untitled Sammed Shete drew with GM Loek Van Wely in round 2. IM Rakesh Kulkarni made a brilliant start by defeating GM Tu Hoang Thong in round 2 and drew with GM Laylo Darwin in round 3. The report contains selected games, photos and videos from round 2 and 3. Photo: Shahid Ahmed
Top two seeds GM Wang Hao and GM Ivan Cheparinov had a less than desirable start as both of them were held by much lower rated opponents IM John Miciano Marvin of Philippines and untitled Vignesh B of India. IM Rakesh Kulkarni defeated GM Alexander Predke of Russia, WIM Priyanka Nutakki held GM Wen Yang of China. Reigning National Blitz champion IM D K Sharma drew with GM Tranh Tuan Minh, IM Vignesh N R lost to WIM Nandhidhaa P V among the notable upsets. The report contains photos, games and videos from Round 1 and inauguration ceremony. Photo: Shahid Ahmed
Day two of the World Team Championships 2019 was quite exciting. Adhiban scored an excellent win on board 1 against Parham Maghsoodloo. Sasikiran lost his game against Idani Pouya. Ganguly had excellent chances of winning his game against Amin Tabatabaei, but he wasn't able to convert it. Sethuraman drew his game against Firouzja. India had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Iran. In the women's section the top two boards ended in a draw. Padmini slumped to a second straight defeat, but this was compensated by Bhakti's win. The biggest news of the round was surely USA beating China in the men's section. We have pictures, game analysis and videos from Astana, Kazakhstan.
India started the year 2019 with 58 GMs. On 15th of January we got the next two GMs - Visakh NR (59th) and D. Gukesh (60th). After roughly one and a half month we now have our 61st GM P. Iniyan from Erode, Tamil Nadu. Born on 13th September 2002, Iniyan is just 16 years and 6 months old. He scored his first GM norm at the Montcada Open 2017, second one at the Bobligen Open 2018 and the final one at Barbera Del Valles 2018. After achieving his final GM norm it took him some time to reach the 2500 Elo mark, which he managed to achieve on 5th of March 2019 at the Noisiel Open in France by beating GM Sergey Fedorchuk in round 6. A detailed report with game analysis by India's 61st GM and interview with the man of the moment.
The 9th edition of HDBank International Open 2019 will witness the record number of Indian participants in the tournament - 58. HDBank regular Wang Hao will be making his fourth consecutive appearance and this time he is the top seed of the tournament. In 'Drawing of lots' he got white in round 1. Sandipan Chanda will spearhead the Indian contingent closely followed by India's youngest and world's second youngest GM D Gukesh. Total 25 GMs, 39 IMs, 7 WGMs and 8 WIMs comprising of 304 players from 28 different countries. Total US$ 60000 prize is up for grabs. Photo: Shahid Ahmed
With a rating average of 2658 India is definitely not the favourite to win the World Team Championships 2019. But it is a team which no one can take lightly. When you see games like the one Adhiban played against Nils Grandelius in round one and Surya Sekhar Ganguly against Axel Smith, then the hopes for Team India putting up a spectacular show increase. The boys beat Sweden with a score of 3.5-0.5 in round one. In the women's section, India was able to hold their own against Georgia. Padmini's defeat was compensated by Soumya fighting hard until the end and scoring a win. A detailed round one report with breakup of the most important positions of the day.
The super couple of chess Niklesh and Angela will head ChessBase India's Group Tour to Sharjah and Dubai05/03/2019 -
The Sharjah and Dubai Masters 2019 is coming up. Two strong tournaments with some of the strongest grandmasters in the world playing at the UAE. ChessBase India in accordance with its motto of "Powering chess in India" is going to UAE with a Group Tour. The manager of the group tour would be Niklesh Jain. This is the second ChessBase India Power Group Tour. The first one to Barcelona, Spain was very successful with all the players cumulatively gaining 4359 Elo points! This time we are going to Sharjah from the 21st to 30th of March and to Dubai from the 1st to 10th of April 2019. The idea of the Group Tour is to give exposure to the youngsters so that they can travel to tournaments without their parents and guardians, thereby making them more capable individuals. Not to forget, it is extremely cost effective!