Asian 2019 Round 3-4: Praggnanandhaa pulls off a shocking upset against Vidit, Bhakti is now an IM
Praggnanandhaa R. pulls off a shocking upset by defeating the top-seed and compatriot Vidit Gujrathi. Nihal Sarin cruises through with the King's Indian while Abhijeet Gupta falters against Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja. Murali Karthikeyan foils Vishnu Prasanna's ambitious exchange sacrifice and holds Sethuraman to a steady draw. Elsewhere in the Women's section Bhakti Kulkarni draws against higher rated IM Dinara Saduakassova and emerges as the latest International Master of the country. Four rounds have ended in the Asian continental open and women's championships 2019, in this report we bring you the glimpses of the most important moments of rounds 3 and 4.
In round 3, Murali Karthikeyan continued his brilliant streak by winning against Vishnu Prasanna V. The following was a key moment from their encounter when the latter decided to sacrifice an exchange for just a pawn:
Vishnu Prasanna - Karthikeyan Murali, Round 3
In the above position White could have gone for 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Qc2 Rxd1 28.Qxd1 Qxe4 29.Bxc5 which gives a perfectly equal position. But White ventured with 26.Bxc5 instead!
After 26...Nxd5 27.exd5 b4 28.d6 Rd7 White hopes to generate counter-play with his d-pawn but how?
In the game 29.Nd2?! was played but this is a mistake and Black immediately seized the opportunity with 29...Re5!
After 30.Qc4 Rd5 31.Qc2 Bc3 any initiative that White had was gone.
How could white's play be improved? To know check the annotated game below!
In round 4 today, Praggnanandhaa R. pulled off a stunning upset when he defeated Vidit Gujrathi with the black pieces. Vidit, who is more than 150 points higher rated than Prag, gave up a rook for a knight and three pawns but thereafter failed to assess the right continuation and ended up in a completely lost ending. Let us have a look at this critical moment from the game.
Vidit Gujrathi - Praggnanandhaa, Round 4
Vidit decided in the above position to give up a rook for a knight and three pawns. The game went 31.Qxb6 Nd7 (fork) 32.Qxa6 Nxe5 33.Nxe5 Qe4 34.Nxf7
It soon became apparent that Black's rooks were way too active and White's queen-side pawns way too loose, with 34...Rf8 35.Qe6 Qxe6 36.dxe6 Re8 the queens were off the board and Black easily picked up the extra white pawns!
So the question is, where did Vidit actually go wrong? Well, 31.Qxb6 itself wasn't a bad idea but after 31...Nd7 the very instinctive reply 32.Qxa6 is a mistake. Better would have been 32.Qb7 Nxe5 33.Nxe5 Qh5 34.Nc6!
Disconnecting the rooks, the point being that now the d5 pawn can't be easily captured due to the existence of Ne7+ fork. White has nice activity on the queen-side and the position in this case is dynamically balanced.
Replay the full game here:
Nihal Sarin found an easy victory today against Xu Zhihang when the latter played a dubious move in the King's Indian Defense. The following shows position after Black's 9...exd4
In the game White went 10.Qxd4 and after 10...Nxe4 11.Qxe4 Bxc3 12.Qh4 Bxb2 he lost two pawns with very little compensation.
However, White could have done things differently, the right alternative is pointed out in the annotations below:
Abhijeet Gupta suffered a tough loss against Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja. Let us check the key moments from their encounter.
White has to be very careful here or else the black pawn on c3 will become a real problem for him. The game went 12.a3 a5 13.axb4 Bxb4 14.Ra4 0-0 15.Ba3 Qe7 and the following position was reached:
Abhijeet Gupta could have gone for a simplification with 16.Bxb4 axb4 17.Rxa8 Bxa8 18.Qa1 f6 19.Nd3 after which White still has to keep an eye on the c3 pawn but the position is dynamically balanced. In the game however 16.Qc1 was played and after 16...Rd8 17.e3 Black broke out with 17...c5
This forced a series of exchanges: 18.Bxb7 Qxb7 19.dxc5 Na6 20.Nc4 Nxc5 21.Nxa5 Rxa5 22.Rxb4
Pair of rooks and minor pieces were further exchanged and the following position was reached:
From here White tried to defend in vain... The c3 pawn was pushed further and the game was resigned on move 39.
Rank after round 4
|7||14||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2598||3,0||2545||6,5||8,0||0,0||4||3||2,46||0,54||10||5,4|
|16||19||GM||Lalith Babu M R||IND||2571||3,0||2402||7,0||8,5||0,0||4||3||2,90||0,10||10||1,0|
|17||31||GM||Vishnu Prasanna. V||IND||2511||2,5||2612||9,0||9,5||0,0||4||2,5||1,85||0,65||10||6,5|
In the women's section Bhakti Kulkarni maintained her remarkable form by winning her round 3 encounter against Mahalakshmi M. and drawing her round 4 encounter against Dinara Saduakassova. Bhakti began the Asian Championships 2019 with a rating of 2380. The 3.5/4 start helped her gain 20 Elo points and go past the 2400 Elo mark, thus making her India's latest International Master!
Let us check out the key moments from her round 3 win against Mahalakshmi.
Bhakti vs Mahalakshmi, Round 3
The above roughly equal position was reached out of a closed Catalan. Black here lashed out with 23...g5?! which let's White to gain a dangerous initiative with 24.hxg5 Qxg5 25.a5! b5 26.Ne5 Bxe5 27.Rc5 But in the game Bhakti chose a less deadly continuation with 24.hxg5 Qxg5 25.Nd2
Next, after 25...Qe7 26.a5 h4 27.gxh4 c5 28. Bxb7 Qxb7 the following position was reached:
29.Rxc5 is a crushing move in this position - 29...Rxc5 30.dxc5 Qa6 31.cxb6 axb6 32.Qxb6 is completely winning. Bhakti went for 29.dxc5 in the game which spared Black a little but was still enough to bring home the full-point. Fast forward a few more moves and White has created a winning passer on the queen-side:
In round 4 Bhakti Kulkarni held the higher rated IM Dinara Saduakassova to a comfortable draw, this game is presented below:
Standings after round 4
|3||4||IM||Sukandar Irine Kharisma||INA||2378||3,5||2294||7,5||9,0||0,0||4||3,5||2,60||0,90||10||9,0|
|7||10||WGM||Vo Thi Kim Phung||VIE||2337||2,5||2331||7,0||8,5||0,0||4||2,5||2,33||0,17||10||1,7|
|10||13||WGM||Hoang Thi Bao Tram||VIE||2293||2,5||2280||7,5||9,0||0,0||4||2,5||2,31||0,19||10||1,9|
|13||7||IM||Pham Le Thao Nguyen||VIE||2370||2,5||2253||6,5||8,0||0,0||4||2,5||2,81||-0,31||10||-3,1|
|17||29||WIM||San Diego Marie Antoinette||PHI||2080||2,0||2306||6,5||7,5||0,0||4||2||1,04||0,96||20||19,2|
|19||24||WFM||Mendoza Shania Mae||PHI||2171||2,0||2290||6,5||7,5||0,0||4||2||1,73||0,27||20||5,4|