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Asian Continentals: Vidit beats Ganguly to hop into the joint lead

by Aditya Pai - 16/12/2018

Vidit Gujrathi, after a rather disappointing start to the tournament, has come back with a bang after six rounds. In his sixth round game, he defeated the tournament leader, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly to make dramatic changes on the leaderboard. After the sixth round, Ganguly, who was the overnight sole leader, is joined by Vidit and six others. SP Sethuraman also took this opportunity to step up and join tournament lead by defeating GM Wen Yang. In the women's group, IM Padmini Rout increased her tournament lead by a full point by defeating Singaporean WGM Gong Qianyun. With three rounds to go, she is now a hot favourite to clinch the title. Round 6 report. 

Vidit catches Ganguly

After a tough start, the super GMs at the Asian Continental Chess Championship finally made their way to the top of the leaderboard. Six rounds into the event, Wei Yi, Wang Hao and Vidit Gujrathi share the tournament lead alongside Surya Ganguly, SP Sethuraman, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Nguyen Ngoc Troung Son and Amin Tabatabaei. Half-a-point behind are Le Quang Liem, Ni Hua, Xu Yi and Parham Maghsoodloo.


Ganguly’s lead from the previous round turned out to be rather short-lived. In round 6, the top board result turned the tournament on its head. Ganguly, who was half-a-point ahead of the field until this point, was defeated by GM Vidit Gujrathi. All of a sudden, there were eight takers to the top spot on the leaderboard.

Vidit Gujrathi's win over GM Surya Ganguly drastically changed the standings | Photo: Sagar Shah (archive)

GM SP Sethuraman, who had lost in the previous round to Ganguly, also took this opportunity to get back into the tournament lead. On board 5, he defeated Chinese GM Wen Yang with the white pieces. In an Italian Opening, Sethuraman generated a strong initiative in the middle game and was in a virtually winning position within the first 25 moves. And when Wen tried looking for counter chances on the queenside, he ended up getting his queen trapped on the kingside.

SP Sethuraman got back into the joint lead after a fine win over GM Wen Yang in round 6 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

After a dominating win in round five, top seed, GM Wang Hao whipped out another brilliant win with black over Nodirbek Yakobboev to make it into the 8-way tie at the conclusion of the sixth round.

Position after 31...h4

White had just played 31.h4? to kick the knight away. A serious drawback of the move is that it weakens white's kingside. Wang plunged in immediately with 31...Ngxe4! and after 32.Bxe4, unveiled 32...Qg4. The bishop, of course, is indefensible as both 33.Re1 and 33.Bd3 spell instant doom after 34...Qxg3+.

Position after 32...Qg4

White limped on with 33.Qc3 Qxe4 34.Re1 Rd3 35.Qxe5 but Yakobboev had lost too many pawns at the end of the sequence.

Padmini leads the Women's group

In the Women's group, IM Padmini Rout is heading strongly towards the title. Winning all except one of her games -- which she drew against Zhu Jiner in round three -- she has now brought her score to 5½/6, a full point ahead of her nearest rival. After taking sole lead at the conclusion of the fifth round, Padmini defeated WGM Gong Qianyun in round six to increase her lead to a full point. 

Padmini Rout is now a full point ahead of her nearest rival | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nandhidhaa PV had an extra exchange in the endgame against Mobina Alinasab and even came close to winning several times. However, with the limited material remaining on the board, converting the game wasn't an easy task. In the end, after 154 moves (!), Nandhidhaa had to acquiesce and let her opponent slip away with a draw. 

Nandhidhaa PV played a 154 move marathon in round 6 | Photo: Amruta Mokal 

Standings (open)


RkSNo NameFEDRtgIBdldPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 Rpnwwew-weKrtg+/-
GMGANGULY Surya ShekharIND26214,50,0261521,023,5280864,53,031,471014,7
GMWEI YiCHN27284,50,0260220,023,5279564,53,970,53105,3
GMSETHURAMAN S.P.IND26644,50,0254119,522,5273464,53,970,53105,3
GMABDUSATTOROV NodirbekUZB25464,50,0250217,519,5269564,53,321,181011,8
GMNGUYEN Ngoc Truong SonVIE26414,50,0249516,518,5268864,54,100,40104,0
GMTABATABAEI M.AminIRI25874,50,0247615,518,0266964,53,880,62106,2
GMWANG HaoCHN27304,50,0243815,017,5263164,55,01-0,5110-5,1
GMVIDIT Santosh GujrathiIND27014,50,0243017,520,0262364,54,76-0,2610-2,6
GMNI HuaCHN26834,00,0257418,521,02699643,860,14101,4
IMXU YiCHN25364,00,0255418,020,02679642,851,151011,5

Standings (women's)

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgIBdldPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 Rpnwwew-weKrtg+/-
IMPADMINI RoutwIND23455,50,0227920,021,5267265,53,571,931019,3
WIMZHU JinerwCHN24094,50,0230521,024,0248964,53,900,602012,0
WFMMUNKHZUL TurmunkhwMGL22554,00,0236121,024,02423642,611,394055,6
IMPHAM Le Thao NguyenwVIE23634,00,0228218,521,02394643,760,24102,4
WGMGONG QianyunwSGP23124,00,0226820,021,52374643,440,562011,2
IMGUO QiwCHN23684,00,0225717,519,52383643,850,15101,5
WGMVO Thi Kim PhungwVIE23524,00,0220518,019,52319644,13-0,1310-1,3
LI XueyiwCHN21874,00,0218515,518,02307643,020,982019,6
WGMWANG JuewCHN23674,00,0217515,518,02287644,54-0,5410-5,4
WIMGU TianluwCHN22314,00,0215516,519,02280643,550,45209,0

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