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Abu Dhabi 2019 Round 4: How Karthikeyan's pawn grab could cost him the game!

by Satanick Mukhuty - 05/08/2019

It could have been a big blow to the Indian contingent in round four of the 26th Abu Dhabi Masters as Karthikeyan Murali made a reckless pawn grab and found himself in a lost position against Tahbaz Arash of Iran. Fortunately, the latter failed to find the most critical continuation which allowed the Indian Grandmaster to turn the tables and come out victorious in the end. After four rounds of the event Georgian Grandmaster Jobava Baadur has emerged as the sole leader with a score of 4.0/4. Six Indians led by Deep Sengupta share 3.0/4 each. In this report we bring you photos, analysis, and more.

A mistake that didn't blow up!

Things could have gone really wrong for Karthikeyan Murali in round four, but he had it all under control in the end!  | Photo: Rupali Mullick

In the fourth round of 26th Abu Dhabi Festival the top-seed among Indians Karthikeyan Murali was up against the Iranian International Master Tahbaz Arash. The game opened with a Sicilian Dragon and soon turned double-edged with the kings castling on opposite sides of the board. Let us check out what happened next!

Karthikeyan Murali - Tahbaz Arash, Round 4

With 14.Qg5 White offers an exchange of queens but after 14...Qxg5 15.hxg5 Nd7 16.Nd5 White maintains a nagging edge. Hence, in the game Black played the move 14...b5, intending to open up lines with a pawn sac!

Karthikeyan grabbed the pawn immediately with 15.Qxb5 this seemed tad reckless with the bishop still on g7 breathing down the long diagonal.

After 17.Bb5?! Black really had the chance to seize a decisive advantage. Can you find how?

The best move for Black would have been 17...a6! after 18.Bxa6 Ra8 19.f3 Rcb8 the black rooks on a and b-files look menacingly strong and the c3 knight starts to feel uncomfortable.

This is how Black could have seized a dangerous initiative on the queenside. After 20.Nd5 Nxd5 21.exd5 Bxd4 22.Qxd4 Bf5 Black's position looks all the better.

With all these lines beautifully opened up, White has a tremendous attack coming. On the other hand, Black's king is absolutely safe on g8

In the game however Tahbaz Arash missed all these potential variations and went for the meek 17...Qb7, after which came 18.Qxa7 Qxa7 19.Bxa7 and Black was simply down two pawns with not enough compensation.

White didn't have much trouble from here converting this position! The game went on for 54 moves before Black resigned.

Here is the full game with brief annotations:

Deep Sengupta drew the strong Armenian GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel. He is on 3.0/4 and has been paired up against the champion of Biel Masters 2019 Mohammad Amin Tabatabaei in the fifth round | Photo: Rupali Mullick

National triple-crown champion Aravindh Chithambaram drew GM Luka Paichadze with the black pieces. It was a short 21 moves game in closed Sicilian that quickly entered into an equal endgame | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Praggnanandhaa R. beat IM Rakesh Kumar Jena and faces 12th seed Yilmaz Mustafa in the fifth round | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Vaishali R. was held to draw by Sambit Panda | Photo: Rupali Mullick

GM Iniyan P. was held to a draw by FM Rathanvel V S | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Raunak Sadhwani defeated IM Sameer Kathmale with the Black pieces | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Under-18 World no.1 Andrey Esipenko defeated Soumya Swaminathan | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Raahil Mullick drew GM Kirill Shevchenko in round four | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Ankit Gajwa won against Priyanka K. | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Vantika Agrawal drew IM Inna Gaponenko | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Nandhidhaa P V beat Tabada Jobannie C. in the fourth round | Photo: Rupali Mullick

IM Shyaamnikhil P beat Shantanu Bhambure | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Mary Ann Gomes drew Arjun C. Krishnamachari | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Results of round 4

Bo.No. NameRtgPts. ResultPts. NameRtg No.
GMMaghsoodloo Parham 26563 ½ - ½3 GMPetrosyan Manuel 2592
GMJobava Baadur 25843 1 - 03 GMIndjic Aleksandar 2617
GMAleksandrov Aleksej 25713 ½ - ½3 GMAbdusattorov Nodirbek 2594
GMAntipov Mikhail Al. 2599 0 - 1 GMNi Hua 2668
GMBai Jinshi 2599 0 - 1 GMSalem A.R. Saleh 2668
GMCan Emre 2593 0 - 1 GMVolokitin Andrei 2636
GMYilmaz Mustafa 2614 ½ - ½ GMSantos Latasa Jaime 2586
GMYakubboev Nodirbek 2574 ½ - ½ GMBartel Mateusz 2612
GMPaichadze Luka 2570 ½ - ½ GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr. 2607
GMZubov Alexander 2607 ½ - ½ GMSantos Ruiz Miguel 2567
GMTabatabaei M.Amin 2601 ½ - ½ GMIstratescu Andrei 2561
GMTer-Sahakyan Samvel 26322 ½ - ½ GMSengupta Deep 2546
WGMNi Shiqun 24092 0 - 12 GMAkopian Vladimir 2650
WGMSoumya Swaminathan 23772 0 - 12 GMEsipenko Andrey 2625
GMSocko Bartosz 26252 1 - 02 IMMuradli Mahammad 2454
GMKarthikeyan Murali 26122 1 - 02 IMTahbaz Arash 2482
GMPetrov Nikita 25952 1 - 02 FMLee Jun Hyeok 2437
GMVaibhav Suri 25912 1 - 02 IMKrishna C R G 2444
FMAssaubayeva Bibisara 23752 ½ - ½2 GMIdani Pouya 2581
GMYuffa Daniil 25712 1 - 02 GMLaxman R.R. 2426

Standings after round 4

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
126GMJobava BaadurGEO25844,00,025179,5
23GMSalem A.R. SalehUAE26683,50,0256210,5
34GMMaghsoodloo ParhamIRI26563,50,0256010,5
429GMAleksandrov AleksejBLR25713,50,0253210,0
523GMPetrosyan ManuelARM25923,50,0252910,0
621GMAbdusattorov NodirbekUZB25943,50,0251210,0
77GMVolokitin AndreiUKR26363,50,024827,5
82GMNi HuaCHN26683,50,024237,5
928GMYakubboev NodirbekUZB25743,00,0254710,0
1011GMIndjic AleksandarSRB26173,00,0254511,0
1112GMYilmaz MustafaTUR26143,00,0253910,5
1216GMZubov AlexanderUKR26073,00,0251710,5
1313GMBartel MateuszPOL26123,00,025119,5
1410GMSocko BartoszPOL26253,00,025029,0
1537GMSengupta DeepIND25463,00,024959,0
1615GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND26073,00,024949,5
1734GMIstratescu AndreiROU25613,00,024918,5
1817GMTabatabaei M.AminIRI26013,00,024868,5
195GMAkopian VladimirARM26503,00,024868,0
2014GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND26123,00,024818,0


The fifth round of the event starts from 6:30 p.m IST. You can catch the live official broadcast here.

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