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Hoa Nguyen wins the 10th Mayor's Cup 2017

by Sagar Shah - 13/06/2017

After 20 rounds of nerve wracking chess the Vietnamese GM went back home with two back to back titles on Indian soil - the 10th KIIT Open in Bhubaneshwar and the 10th Mayor's Cup in Mumbai. It was fine performance by Hoa Nguyen as he beat Neelotpal Das in the last round to clinch the top spot. Farrukh Amonatov finished second and Diptayan Ghosh third. Sagar Shah went to the venue on the last day and picked up some interesting stories to share with you. This report has analyzed games, loads of pictures, videos and more. Don't miss it!

Hoa Nguyen makes it a grand double in India!

The round was scheduled to begin at 9.30 a.m. It was 9 a.m. but Hoa Nguyen was already sitting in his chair. It was the last round of the 10th Mumbai Mayor's Cup. It was a typical high pressure finale in which he and his opponent Neelotpal Das were on 7.5/9, half a point ahead of the field. In fact after drawing the second and losing the third round, Hoa must have never imagined that he would have been in such a position, where he could win the championship. But just like the KIIT Open, he had scored six wins in a row and was now sitting on the top board.


With his eyes closed he was gearing up for the round began. Neelotpal Das arrived. They shook hands. The grandmaster from Bengal had played a wonderful tournament. He had beaten strong grandmasters like Ziaur Rahman and Deepan Chakravarthy. But Nguyen had the white pieces and had prepared well for the game. The clock struck 9.30 a.m. and he pushed his pawn to 1.d4.

The all important clash between Hoa Nguyen and Neelotpal Das
Nguyen is well known for his opening preparation. He played this interesting 7.Ne5!? line in the Open Catalan and then instead of the more popular 8.Bxc6, he went for the safe 8.Nxc6!? A good opening choice for the last round is very important. As Neelotpal rightly said after the game, my opponent chose the right variation for this crucial encounter.
[Site "Mount Litera School Internatio"]
[Date "2017.06.11"]
[Round "10.1"]
[White "Nguyen, Duc Hoa"]
[Black "Neelotpal, Das"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E05"]
[WhiteElo "2477"]
[BlackElo "2438"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2017.06.04"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 {The Open
Catalan. This was played by Neelotpal twice in the tournament. Once against
Diptayan with the black pieces and Raja Rithvik with the white.} 7. Ne5 $5 {
An interesting line. And a wise choice when you are playing for two results.
Because usually Black sacrifices a pawn in this line for activity, but never
really is able to spice up the play.} Nc6 8. Nxc6 $5 {Another interesting
decision.} (8. Bxc6 {is much more common with great amounts of theory that
Kramnik has developed in recent times.}) 8... bxc6 9. Na3 Ba6 {This has hardly
been played, which means that it was not a good decision by Neelotpal.} (9...
Bxa3 10. bxa3 Nd5 {is the more common way for Black to play.}) 10. Qa4 Qc8 11.
Nxc4 {White should already be very happy with the opening position he has.
Everthing being equal, he has the nice juicy targets on the c-file to attack.
While Black is pretty much stuck with what is to be done.} Nd5 12. Bd2 Rb8 (
12... Nb6 13. Nxb6 axb6 14. Qxc6 Bxe2 15. Rfe1 Qa6 16. Qxc7 Ra7 17. Qf4 {
was a complex line, but White is just better.}) 13. b3 Rd8 14. Rfc1 {I like
the way Hoa is playing. Strong and solid chess.} Nb4 $6 (14... c5 $5 {could
have been a good way to get rid of all the weaknesses in the position} 15. dxc5
Bxc5 16. Ne5 Bb5 17. Qh4 Ba3 $14 {I have a feeling that Black will survive
this position.}) 15. a3 (15. Ne5 $1 Rxd4 16. Bxb4 Rdxb4 17. Nxc6 $1 $18) 15...
Nd5 (15... Bb5 16. Qxa7 Ra8 17. Qxa8 Qxa8 18. Bxb4 Bxb4 19. axb4 Qb7 20. e3 $16
{In some ways is similar to the game.}) 16. Ne5 Bb5 17. Qa5 Rb6 18. a4 $1 {
Good play by Hoa. He sees that losing his queen is fine in the position.} Ra6
19. axb5 Rxa5 20. Bxa5 (20. Rxa5 {was also strong.}) 20... cxb5 21. Bxc7 Nxc7 (
21... Re8 22. Rxa7 $16 {This is quite a difficult position for Black to defend.
}) 22. Rxa7 $1 Bd6 23. Bb7 Qb8 24. Nc6 Qxa7 25. Nxa7 {The entire net result of
the entire transaction was that White emerged as a pawn up.} b4 26. e4 Rb8 27.
Nc8 $5 (27. Bc6 $18) 27... Nb5 28. Nxd6 Nxd6 29. Bc6 Rc8 30. Rc5 Kf8 31. f3 Ke7
32. Kf2 f6 33. Ke3 {White has an extra pawn and complete control over the
position. A player of Hoa Nguyen's calibre should convert this with ease.} g5
34. Kd3 Kd8 35. Ba4 e5 36. Rd5 Rc3+ 37. Ke2 Kc7 38. dxe5 fxe5 39. Rxe5 Nb7 40.
Rxg5 Nc5 41. Rg7+ Kb6 42. Rxh7 Nxb3 43. Bxb3 Rxb3 44. Rd7 Kc5 45. e5 Ra3 46. f4
b3 47. Rb7 Kc4 48. e6 Ra2+ 49. Kf3 b2 50. e7 {A great game under the high
pressure situation by Hoa Nguyen. With this win he won two back to back strong
open events in India!} 1-0

With this win Hoa Nguyen became the sole winner of the 10th Mayor's Cup 2017. He had also won the 10th KIIT Open a few days ago. Winning two back to back grandmaster opens in India is simply an amazing feat by the Vietnamese GM.

Lifting the 10th Mayor's Cup
When Hoa Nguyen arrived in Bhubaneshwar on 25th of May, he would surely have not imagined that he would go back as the winner of both the tournaments. Especially because he was playing a tournament after nearly a gap of one year!
Rs. 2,00,000 at the KIIT Open (left) and Rs.3,00,000 at the Mayor's Cup (right). Rs.4,00,000 (not forgetting about the 20% tax) in a span of twenty days is quite a good sum of money!
With the only player on 8.0/10, Farrukh Amonatov finished second. In the last round....
...he was able to win with the black pieces against Andrey Deviatkin
The super solid and, I wouldn't be wrong to say unbeatable, GM Diptayan Ghosh scored 7.5/10 and finished third
Barring the last round Neelotpal had a good tournament. He scored 7.5/10 and finished fourth.
One of things that can be noted from Neelotpal's games at this event - he wasn't shy to push his pawns and gain space. He took some tough decisions and both his games against Ziaur Rahman and Deepan Chakravarthy were very nice. Ziaur speaking to ChessBase India on the last day said, "I played Neelotpal after a long time and I wasn't able to estimate his style of play." Here's the game without any annotations:
[Site "Mount Litera School Internatio"]
[Date "2017.06.08"]
[Round "7.4"]
[White "Neelotpal, Das"]
[Black "Rahman, Ziaur"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B41"]
[WhiteElo "2438"]
[BlackElo "2526"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2017.06.04"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "IND"]

1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 c5 3. c4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. e4 Nf6 7. a3 Nc6 8. Be3
Nxd4 9. Bxd4 d6 10. Bd3 Be7 11. O-O O-O 12. Rc1 b6 13. Qf3 Nd7 14. Rfd1 Bb7 15.
Qg3 g6 16. h4 Bf6 17. Bxf6 Nxf6 18. Qf4 Nh5 19. Qe3 Rab8 20. Be2 Ng7 21. h5
Rfd8 22. h6 Ne8 23. b4 Ba8 24. Rd2 Qe7 25. Rcd1 Rdc8 26. e5 dxe5 27. Qxe5 Qc7
28. Qg5 Bc6 29. a4 Qa7 30. b5 axb5 31. axb5 Qa5 32. Qe5 Bd5 33. Nxd5 exd5 34.
Rxd5 Qa3 35. Rd7 Qc5 36. R1d5 Qf8 37. Qf4 Ra8 38. Bf3 Ra1+ 39. Kh2 f6 40. Rd8
Rxd8 41. Rxd8 Re1 42. Bd5+ Kh8 43. Be4 1-0

A short chat with Ziaur Rahman, who finished fifth, about his experience of playing in India and whether Indians are stronger than other players all around the world. 
Ziaur Rahman's wife along with the first WIM from Sri Lanka Sachini Ranasinghe
Sachini speaks about the current chess scene in Sri Lanka and about her first Open tournament in India
P. Karthikeyan scored a fine win in the last round against Niranjan Navalgund and finished sixth.
Levon Babujian (left) finished seventh with 7.5/10
That's Sai Krishna from 2011! We deliberately used an image from six years ago because that's when the boy was in his prime. He had become the National Sub Junior champion and with a rating of 2358 was one of the top young players in India. Perhaps it was boredom from chess, or the excitement of becoming an engineer, Sai stopped playing competitively and started his long academic journey.
The last competitive rating tournament that he had played was two years ago. Sai Krishna came to the Mumbai Mayor's Cup and surpassed all expectations scoring 7.5/10, beating GMs Abdulla Al-Rakib and Deepan Chakravarthy and finishing eighth. He also scored an IM norm. We can only hope that Sai continues playing in more events and becomes a grandmaster soon!
Sai Krishna in 2017! IM norm and 35 Elo - that's a pretty hefty gain!
The fact that he scored 7.5 points and was placed last on tie-break on that score was not an enjoyable experience for Sai, especially because the prizes are not shared. He has an interesting suggestion for the tiebreak system. What are your thoughts?

Another star performer at the event was 27-year-old Saravana Krishnan. He scored his 2nd IM norm. And this one came after a gap of eight years! A really long wait. Saravana has won many rating tournaments in India and no one would debate the fact that he is quite capable of becoming an IM. However, the IM norms were always missed. What was the reason for it? And what did he do different in this tournament? We caught up with Saravana after the tournament ended and asked him about the above questions:

Saravana Krishnan on making an IM norm after eight years!
Another name which you will hear a lot about in the years to come is Mrudul Dehankar. The 12-year-old gained 122 Elo points from this event and scored her maiden WIM norm.
Mrudul, with a rating of 1942, is surely under-rated. She gained 90 Elo points in Bhubaneshwar and 122 in Mumbai. With these performances she has catapulted to 2154 on the Elo charts. That makes her clearly the top seed in the under-13 nationals which will begin in a few days from now. As things stand, her rating until the end of June would be 1942 and she would be the third or the fourth seed in the event. It will be interesting to follow her performance in the under-13 nationals.

Final Ranking after 10 Rounds

Rk. SNo     Name sex FED Rtg Club/City Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4   TB5 
1 10   GM Nguyen Duc Hoa   VIE 2477 VIE 8,5 0,0 55,5 58,0 48,75 8,0
2 1   GM Amonatov Farrukh   TJK 2635 TJK 8,0 0,0 60,5 65,5 52,50 7,0
3 2   GM Ghosh Diptayan   IND 2569 WB 7,5 0,0 62,0 66,0 48,25 5,0
4 13   GM Neelotpal Das   IND 2438 WB 7,5 0,0 59,0 63,5 44,75 7,0
5 4   GM Rahman Ziaur   BAN 2526 BAN 7,5 0,0 57,0 60,5 43,75 6,0
6 5   IM Karthikeyan P.   IND 2502 TN 7,5 0,0 56,5 62,0 46,00 5,0
7 12   GM Babujian Levon   ARM 2438 ARM 7,5 0,0 56,0 60,5 43,25 6,0
8 26   FM Sai Krishna G V   IND 2339 AP 7,5 0,0 53,5 57,5 40,50 7,0
9 3   GM Tukhaev Adam   UKR 2567 UKR 7,0 0,0 62,0 67,5 45,25 5,0
10 15   IM Khusenkhojaev Muhammad   TJK 2424 TJK 7,0 0,0 60,5 65,0 43,75 4,0
11 6   GM Grover Sahaj   IND 2485 DEL 7,0 0,0 58,0 63,0 42,25 5,0
12 16   GM Murshed Niaz   BAN 2423 BAN 7,0 0,0 58,0 62,5 40,50 5,0
13 24     Saravana Krishnan P.   IND 2353 TN 7,0 0,0 58,0 60,5 39,00 5,0
14 8   GM Deviatkin Andrei   RUS 2481 RUS 7,0 0,0 57,0 61,5 40,50 5,0
15 7   GM Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib   BAN 2484 BAN 7,0 0,0 57,0 61,0 40,25 5,0
16 14   IM Nitin S.   IND 2427 TN 7,0 0,0 53,5 58,0 40,25 5,0
17 28   FM Rathanvel V S   IND 2332 TN 7,0 0,0 53,0 57,0 39,75 4,0
18 40     Saurabh Anand   IND 2266 BIH 7,0 0,0 52,5 56,5 40,00 4,0
19 23   IM Rathnakaran K.   IND 2378 KER 7,0 0,0 51,0 55,0 36,00 7,0
20 9   GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J.   IND 2480 TN 6,5 0,0 61,0 65,0 39,75 5,0
Complete ranking list
Jishitha scored 6.5/10 and was the best female player at the event. With a performance rating of 2340 she gained 156 Elo points. However, the fact that she couldn't play five titled players (CM is not counted for the norm) made her miss the WIM norm. Yet it was a brilliant performance from the Andhra girl.
WIM P.V. Nandhidhaa scored 6.5/10 and... did WGM Bhakti Kulkarni
WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty scored six points
Seen in action after quite some time: WIM Anupama Gokhale
It's so nice to see some of the legends still playing the game - WIM Bhagyashree Thipsay
Showing great passion for the game is Swapnil Kothari. Swapnil is a noted advocate in Mumbai and is often seen on news channel debating on the latest issues of great importance. However, when it comes to chess, he forgets all his work and gets completely immersed in the game! A true connoisseur.
Abhijeet Joglekar from Mumbai had an inspiring tale to share. He started off with a miserable 0.5/6. After that he came back with four wins to finish with a respectable 4.5/10 and even gained some rating points! When speaking to him, Joglekar said, "When I lost a few games I became desperate for a win. With such an attitude I lost a few more games. After six rounds I decided that I do not want to play for a win or loss. I just would like to play chess. Thanks to this change in attitude I was able to score four consecutive wins." A great advice that should be followed by players of all levels.
Due to some problems of leakage due to rains, the playing hall had to be shifted from the basement to the fourth floor. It was a well-lit and spacious hall.
A video that gives you the feel of the playing atmosphere at the event
The mammoth hall for the B and C category events
The tournament was held in one of the most famous schools in Mumbai, Mount Litera School, Bandra. Even the IIFLW International was held at the same venue. The management of the school has to be thanked for supporting chess in such a big way.
A food court nearby with all the restaurants ensured that the players didn't have any problems related to food.
In fact food and tea stalls were placed in the tournament venue as well
The credit for the successful organization of the Mumbai Mayor's Cup must go to Mr. Ravindra Dongre. After the tournament we caught with him and asked him a few questions not only related to the tournament but also his vision as an organizer and what are the plans he has in store for making chess a popular sport.
Interview with Ravindra Dongre
The arbiter's room, with Chief Arbiter Ephrame on the right, ensured that the entire tournament went smoothly 

Arbiter Nitin Shenvi ensuring that all the participants get their certificates
The man responsible for the live broadcast of the games - T. Shyam Sundar
Ishwar Ramtekke with Nitish Mittal (Aditya Mittal's father). Ishwar is already well over 80 years old but travels to tournaments all over India with great enthusiasm!

An Attacking Gem:

GM Deepan Chakravarthy didn't have a particularly special event but the way he attacked against the top seed Farrukh Amonatov in the seventh round is a game worthy of being played over and over again!
[Site "Mount Litera School Internatio"]
[Date "2017.06.08"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Amonatov, Farrukh"]
[Black "Deepan, Chakkravarthy J"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B81"]
[WhiteElo "2635"]
[BlackElo "2480"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2017.06.04"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "IND"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 {Well, if you want to play
a good Sicilian these days, it has to be the Najdorf!} 6. h3 $5 {One of the
most popular lines against Najdorf.} e6 7. g4 Be7 {Deepan doesn't stop g5 with
h6. He just continues with his normal and natural development.} 8. g5 Nfd7 9.
Be3 b5 10. Qd2 (10. a3 {is the main move here.}) 10... Bb7 11. a3 Nc6 12. Nxc6
Bxc6 13. O-O-O Qb8 $5 {Preparing for b4. A very strong move.} 14. Bf4 Ne5 $1
15. Bg3 b4 {Deepan is in a hurry! He knows that his king is currently safe in
the centre so he gets going with his queenside play. And the hook on a3 comes
to good use.} 16. axb4 Qxb4 17. f4 Rb8 18. b3 O-O $1 {An excellent piece
sacrifice.} 19. fxe5 Qa3+ 20. Kb1 Bxg5 $1 {The queen cannot take the bishop as
it would be all over for White king.} 21. Qh2 (21. Qxg5 Rxb3+ 22. cxb3 Qxb3+
23. Ka1 Qxc3+ 24. Ka2 Rb8 $19) 21... Rb4 $5 {A great idea. Deepan would like
to double his rooks down the b-file.} 22. exd6 Rfb8 23. Bc4 (23. Bd3 Rxb3+ 24.
cxb3 Rxb3+ 25. Kc2 Rb2#) 23... Rxc4 {Just look at how Black has broken through
to the White king.} 24. d7 Rxc3 25. Bxb8 Rxb3+ 26. cxb3 Bxe4+ 27. Qc2 Qxb3+ 28.
Ka1 {And Bf6+ ends the game. Farrukh resigned and it was a great win for the
Indian grandmaster.} 0-1
The Sicilian Najdorf is truly a great opening. The problem that everyone faces while preparing the opening is the huge amount of theory. Yes, it's true that the Najdorf has a lot of literature surrounding it. Anything that is sound has to be studied in depth. However, we have a bestselling DVD in our shop where the leading GM Viktor Bologan teaches you right from the basics and takes you into the complex labyrinths of the Najdorf. If you want to start playing this opening, this DVD can be your excellent guide.
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