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Aeroflot 2019 R07: Sasikiran loses, Nihal beats Pragg

by Sagar Shah - 26/02/2019

Sasikiran tasted his first defeat at the Aeroflot Open 2019. It came at the hands of the talented Armenian Haik Martirosyan. In spite of the defeat Sasikiran continues to lead the tournament with 5.5/7. But now he has two more people on the same score - Martirosyan and the Estonian GM Kaido Kulaots. Sasikiran still has excellent chances of winning the event if he can get the better of Kulaots in round 8. Another important game of the round was Nihal Sarin against Praggnanandhaa. The battle between these two talents was a hard fought one and Nihal came out on top playing an excellent endgame. We have the report of round 7 with some excellent pictures sent to us by David Llada, who is present in Moscow.

At the Batumi Olympiad 2018 India lost a crucial match against Armenia. While the top three games had ended in draws, it had all boiled down to Sasikiran playing on the fourth board against Haik Martirosyan. Sasi fought valiantly, but in vain. In the end, it was Martirosyan who helped Armenia score a big victory over India.

Sasikiran lost his game against Haik Martirosyan at the Batumi Olympiad | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Sasi and Martirosyan were paired once again in the seventh round of the Aeroflot Open 2019. Sasikiran was leading the tournament by half a point and had played brilliantly until then with a score of 5.5/6.

Sasikiran was looking for his revenge | Photo: David Llada

But Martirosyan was extremely calm and he played one strong move after another in the King's Indian to hand Sasikiran his first defeat in the tournament. In spite of the loss Sasikiran kept his lead but was joined at the top by Martirosyan as well as Kulaots.

The thing to note about Sasikiran is that even after his defeat he analyzed the game and did it with great energy and purpose. Our friend David Llada, who is present at the venue sent us the video of Sasikiran analyzing after the game:

Sasikiran's concentration and willingness to learn even after a loss is worth emulating

Kulaots Kaido is having the tournament of his life. The Estonian GM started as the 62nd seed. In this tournament he has beaten four super strong opponents - Wei Yi (2733), Parham Maghsoodloo (2666), Alireza Firouzja (2616) and Daniil Dubov (2703). He will next face Sasikiran in round 8.  | Photo: David Llada

Round 7 at the Aeroflot Open witnessed a very interesting struggle between two future champions of Indian chess - Nihal and Praggnanandhaa. | Photo: David Llada

In December 2017 when I interviewed Nihal at the end of the World Youth Olympiad 2017, he mentioned that Praggnanandhaa was the stronger player when it came to calculation. Making sure that he avoided sharp positions, Nihal played with great calm at the Aeroflot Open and managed to create small problems for his opponent. Pragg had things under control for quite some time, but on move 55 he blundered. Nihal was not very alert and for a moment gave his opponent a chance to come back. But Pragg missed it and Nihal was back in driver's seat, not missing his chance again.

Nihal versus Pragg analyzed by Sagar Shah

Gukesh hasn't been having a great event. He is on 2.5/7 with three losses and one win and is losing 10 Elo points | Photo: David Llada

Aditya Mittal with 3.0/7 and a 2525 performance is well on track for making his final IM norm | Photo: David Llada

Alireza Firouzja is on 4.5/7 and with two fine games can end on the top. He lost a crucial game in the event to Kulaots Kaido. | Photo: David Llada

Padmini Rout has been playing solid chess at the event and has already gained 10 Elo points | Photo: David Llada

Ranking after round 7

Rk.SNoNameTypFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2 
162GMKulaots KaidoEST25425,542646
211GMSasikiran KrishnanIND26785,542604
328GMMartirosyan Haik M.ARM26165,532543
443GMTabatabaei M.AminU18IRI25905,042600
541GMPetrosian Tigran L.ARM25955,032594
621GMSarana AlexeyRUS26305,032561
730GMChigaev MaksimRUS26135,032559
83GMWang HaoCHN27144,542594
99GMKorobov AntonUKR26874,542575
107GMInarkiev ErnestoRUS26924,542574
1129GMZhou JianchaoCHN26154,542571
1247GMVaibhav SuriIND25754,542547
1325GMKhismatullin DenisRUS26214,542516
1453GMFier AlexandrBRA25614,532649
1535GMDeac Bogdan-DanielU18ROU26034,532644
1632GMLupulescu ConstantinROU26104,532625
171GMWei YiCHN27334,532586
1815GMAnton Guijarro DavidESP26424,532552
1912GMMaghsoodloo ParhamIRI26664,532551
2026GMFirouzja AlirezaU18IRI26184,532521

Overview of Indian performances

11GMSasikiran Krishnan2678IND11111½05,52Open A
14GMSethuraman S.P.2651IND½10½½½½3,548Open A
18GMGanguly Surya Shekhar2636IND1½½½½0½3,557Open A
38GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2601IND11000½13,555Open A
42GMNarayanan.S.L2593IND11½½0104,028Open A
45GMNihal Sarin2578IND110½½014,030Open A
47GMVaibhav Suri2575IND0½11½1½4,512Open A
49GMNarayanan Srinath2572IND½001½0½2,590Open A
55GMKarthikeyan Murali2560IND½011½0½3,552Open A
57GMLalith Babu M R2556IND00½1½½½3,070Open A
63GMAryan Chopra2540IND½½½½01½3,545Open A
65GMPuranik Abhimanyu2538IND½01½½103,553Open A
67GMDebashis Das2532IND½1½½½003,073Open A
68GMPraggnanandhaa R2532IND010½1½03,066Open A
71GMVishnu Prasanna. V2524IND00½½½½½2,591Open A
74IMGukesh D2508IND001½0½½2,589Open A
78GMGagare Shardul2495IND00½1½½½3,063Open A
79GMKarthik Venkataraman2494IND0½0011½3,079Open A
84IMIniyan P2480IND½½0½½½13,547Open A
87GMHarika Dronavalli2471IND1½00½½½3,076Open A
88IMPrithu Gupta2470IND0½0½1½½3,065Open A
91CMAditya Mittal2454IND½010½013,078Open A
93IMSadhwani Raunak2448IND½1½½½½½4,032Open A
94IMArjun Kalyan2444IND½½0½00½2,096Open A
95IMRaja Rithvik R2443IND001½½½½3,082Open A

Standings after round 7 in B group

Shyam Sundar and Sammed Shete are in top 20 in the B group (2300 to 2550)

Rk.SNoNameTypFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2 
13GMBogdanovich StanislavUKR25366,542424
229IMMuradli MahammadU18AZE24445,542386
37GMLintchevski DaniilRUS25175,542385
425IMDrygalov SergeyRUS24505,532407
55IMHarutyunian Tigran K.ARM25325,042418
69GMLevin Evgeny A.RUS25125,042403
719GMKostenko PetrKAZ24665,042360
827IMAsadli VugarU18AZE24495,042358
943Pershin DenisRUS24005,042321
1041IMSchekachikhin MaksimRUS24025,032509
1148FMOfitserian BorisRUS23955,032432
1210GMShyam Sundar M.IND25125,032408
1315IMDrygalov AndreyRUS24925,032349
1418IMBilguun SumiyaMGL24715,032335
1539FMDavtyan ArturU18ARM24134,542434
1653Sammed Jaykumar SheteIND23874,542399
176IMDemidov MikhailRUS25204,542394
1811IMKhanin SemenRUS25124,542363
191GMVaganian Rafael AS60ARM25464,542359
204IMLi DiCHN25344,532408

Overview of Indian performances in B group

10GMShyam Sundar M.2512IND10111½½5,012Open B
17GMSwapnil S. Dhopade2488IND11½100½4,046Open B
46IMNitin S.2395IND½1½010½3,571Open B
51IMKrishna Teja N2391IND½½10½103,567Open B
53Sammed Jaykumar Shete2387IND½11½½014,516Open B
60CMMendonca Leon Luke2376IND½0011½½3,576Open B
72Sankalp Gupta2345IND0½½101½3,573Open B
79Koustav Chatterjee2332IND11½½½½04,032Open B
82CMAronyak Ghosh2324IND½½½01½½3,569Open B
85FMDixit Nikhil2318IND0½½½1½03,084Open B
86WGMGomes Mary Ann2317IND½½001013,096Open B
88IMPadmini Rout2315IND½½01½½14,042Open B
92Ajay Karthikeyan2298IND½0100113,564Open B
98WIMNandhidhaa P V2268IND0½½1½002,5105Open B
109Bhambure Shantanu2220IND½0101½½3,570Open B
110FMSrihari L R2211IND½01½1104,045Open B
114WIMMahalakshmi M2185IND0½010113,566Open B
121Jaeel Atharva2145IND½0½½0½02,0118Open B
122WIMPujari Rucha2133IND01001½½3,083Open B
123WIMChitlange Sakshi2127IND00½11103,562Open B
124WIMDivya Deshmukh2126IND½110½014,043Open B
125Rakshitta Ravi2105IND00½0000000,5126Open B
126WIMGagare Shalmali2026IND000½1001,5123Open B

Overview of Indian performances in C group

13Pranavananda V2234IND10111015,010Open C
34WIMPujari Rucha2133IND101½0½14,034Open C
40WFMBommini Mounika Akshaya2076IND10101½14,523Open C
48Priyanka K2033IND10101½½4,033Open C
51Sanskriti Goyal2006IND01100013,067Open C
59WCMIsha Sharma1935IND0111½½04,027Open C
60Ghosh Samriddhaa1913IND0101½103,545Open C
69Varsha Ramesh1831IND010011½3,557Open C
74Sunyuktha C M N1804IND011½0103,543Open C

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