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Delhi 2018 Round 8: Arkadij Naiditsch's victory is almost certain!

by Sagar Shah - 15/01/2018

Arkadij Naiditsch made quick work of Karthikeyan Murali's Berlin Wall. He played strong and logical chess and moved to 7.5/8. He is now one point ahead of the entire field. It was also a day of upsets - Andrey Deviatkin beat Farrukh Amonatov, Ziaur Rahman got the better of Ivan Rozum, Akash Iyer beat Vitaly Sivuk and Sammed Shete was able to defeat Timur Gareyev. The tournament seems to be running Naiditsch's way as he faces the unheralded Akash Iyer in the ninth round. Will the Tamil Nadu boy be able to stop the Azeri super-power? We will know today! For now, here's the round eight report. 

There are two dreams of every organizer of a grandmaster tournament in India:

1. Participation in huge numbers

2. Norms getting scored


At the Delhi International 2018, Bharat Singh Chauhan and his team have fulfilled both their dreams. They were able to accommodate nearly 2250 players in A, B and C categories combined and they have been successful in getting huge number of players close to their norm chances in the event. We will come to the norm seekers later. For now let's focus on the all important top board clash between Arkadij Naiditsch and Karthikeyan Murali. Both of them were on 6.5/7 and it was clear that the one who would win this game, will have the best chances to win the tournament.

Let the game begin! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Karthikeyan went for the Berlin and played a relatively unknown line. When I was young I read this very nice book on the Berlin by John Cox. In it he mentions that the e6 bishop is very important for Black and hence it should be protected from being exchanged. Hence, the two squares that should be controlled are the d4 square and the g5 square.

The d4 square is out of reach for White (Naiditsch) because of the knight on f5, but the g5 square is available and he played Ng5 and took on e6. That is the reason why I feel Be7 before Be6 was more accurate. In any case Karthikeyan go absolutely no play in the game. White just doubled on the d-file and going into the minor piece endgame with the exchange of rooks was dangerous because the kingside pawns were over extended. All in all it turned out to be a one-sided battle that was won by the Azeri player in 29 moves.

Andrei Deviatkin is showing some of the best chess of his life here and is on 6.5/8. He beat Farrukh Amonatov in the eighth round | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Deviatkin doesn't like opening theory, he prefers chess960! But if he manages to get out of the opening without any issues, he is an extremely strong player. This is what he showed Farrukh Amonatov in the eighth round, as he slowly and steadily built up a menacing advantage. This was a great game which is worth studying and learning from.

I liked this poetic position where the bishops are surely superior to the rooks! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

It seemed as if Ziaur Rahman had run out of steam after his loss to Arkadij Naiditsch. But the Bangladeshi GM proved that it was too early to write him off as he beat another strong grandmaster Ivan Rozum (2595). | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Domination is the right word for Ziaur's victory over Ivan. Just have a look at the diagrammed position below:

The knight on d4 is powerful. The bishop on g2 is passive. And Black is beginning his play on the kingside with g5-h5.

What would you play as Black?

One of the common errors made by all the inexperienced players is that they always keep playing with their active pieces. But experienced guys like Ziaur know that it is important to bring all the pieces to the party! And hence, the correct move is ...Kf6! Black activates his king and once his majesty joins in, the attack is going to be unstoppable. Ziaur Rahman won in style.

One player who has surprised everyone with his chess is Akash PC Iyer. Just have a look at his scorecard: | Photo: Chess Illustrated

Win against Solodovnichenko, draws with David and Tiviakov and now another win against Sivuk! This takes him to the top board in the penultimate round!

White (Sivuk) has just played his bishop to c3 in this position. How should Black (Akash Iyer) close the game?

"Neighbour's envy, owner's pride!" | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Sammed Jayakumar Shete closed the game with a fine tactic! Can you spot what Black played here?

In the battle between two Delhi players it was Abhijeet Gupta who came up on top! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Youngster D. Gukesh has not been able to shine at the event. He is losing 15 Elo points, but has made a comeback by winning three points in the last four rounds.  | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Each one of them has worked day in and out to make this tournament a success! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

A famous personality in Indian chess: IM Vishal Sareen with his wonderful family!

Norm chances at the event:

By Priyadarshan Banjan

Delhi GM Open 2018 has been home to several norm seekers over the years and this edition is no different. Tamil Nadu's IM Aakash Pc Iyer needs a draw on the top table against the top seed Naiditsch to score a GM norm. Maharashtra's IM Md. Nubairshah Shaikh needs a win against IM P. Karthikeyan, rated 2497, to score a GM norm.

Can Nubairshah Shaikh beat P. Karthikeyan and score his maiden GM norm? | Photo: Niklesh Jain

West Bengal's Kaustuv Kundu rated 2324 needs a draw against IM Harsha Bharathakoti to score an IM norm. Arjun Tiwari of the Railways with a humble rating for 2179 has outperformed the expectations and now needs a draw in the final round against IM Rahul Sangma to score an IM norm.

Arjun Tiwari doesn't need an IM norm. He has plenty of them. But it is always a nice feeling to score one more just to remind everyone that you are as strong as an IM! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Maharashtra's Sammed Shete rated 2337 has completed his IM norm requirements with a round to spare. Shete had caused a flutter in the eighth round when he defeated GM Timur Gareyev of the USA rated 2605.

Sammed Shete is a changed man after he played at the National Premier 2017 this year! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Results of round 8:

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
GMNaiditsch Arkadij27011 - 0GMKarthikeyan Murali2580
GMDeviatkin Andrei24711 - 0GMAmonatov Farrukh2636
GMRozum Ivan25950 - 1GMRahman Ziaur2472
IMVignesh N R2470½ - ½GMSengupta Deep2586
GMTiviakov Sergei25841 - 0IMHarsha Bharathakoti2451
GMDavid Alberto2553½ - ½GMDzhumaev Marat2434
GMSivuk Vitaly25500 - 1Akash Pc Iyer2415
GMVaibhav Suri2542½ - ½IMMohammad Nubairshah Shaikh2380
Koustav Chatterjee2288½ - ½GMPruijssers Roeland2536
GMGupta Abhijeet261051 - 05IMHemant Sharma (Del)2348
GMGareyev Timur260550 - 15Sammed Jaykumar Shete2337
Kaustuv Kundu23245½ - ½5GMTran Tuan Minh2548
GMLalith Babu M R25425½ - ½5Saravana Krishnan P.2323
IMKarthikeyan P.249751 - 05Sankalp Gupta2303
GMHorvath Adam248451 - 05IMKathmale Sameer2300
IMSardana Rishi24025½ - ½5GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.2475
IMKhusenkhojaev Muhammad246251 - 05FMGajwa Ankit2284
WIMSrija Seshadri220350 - 15IMNitin S.2422
IMSindarov Javokhir24291 - 05Tiwari Arjun2179
FMRathanvel V S22840 - 1GMTukhaev Adam2570

Standings after round 8:

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11GMNaiditsch ArkadijAZE27017,50,040,545,0
223GMRahman ZiaurBAN24726,50,039,042,5
37GMTiviakov SergeiNED25846,50,038,542,5
48GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND25806,50,037,540,5
535Akash Pc IyerIND24156,50,034,037,5
624GMDeviatkin AndreiRUS24716,50,030,033,0
712GMDavid AlbertoITA25536,00,039,542,5
816GMVaibhav SuriIND25426,00,038,542,5
942IMMohammad Nubairshah ShaikhIND23806,00,038,541,5
1071Koustav ChatterjeeIND22886,00,038,041,0
1149Sammed Jaykumar SheteIND23376,00,038,041,0
126GMSengupta DeepIND25866,00,037,541,0
1318GMPruijssers RoelandNED25366,00,036,039,5
143GMGupta AbhijeetIND26106,00,036,038,5
1521GMHorvath AdamHUN24846,00,035,039,0
1626IMVignesh N RIND24706,00,033,536,5
1719IMKarthikeyan P.IND24976,00,032,536,5
1834IMNitin S.IND24226,00,032,535,5
1928IMKhusenkhojaev MuhammadTJK24626,00,032,035,5
2032GMDzhumaev MaratUZB24346,00,031,034,0

Pairings for round 9:

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
135Akash Pc Iyer2415GMNaiditsch Arkadij27011
223GMRahman Ziaur2472GMTiviakov Sergei25847
38GMKarthikeyan Murali2580GMDeviatkin Andrei247124
43GMGupta Abhijeet261066IMVignesh N R247026
56GMSengupta Deep258666Koustav Chatterjee228871
634IMNitin S.242266GMDavid Alberto255312
732GMDzhumaev Marat243466GMVaibhav Suri254216
818GMPruijssers Roeland253666IMKhusenkhojaev Muhammad246228
942IMMohammad Nubairshah Shaikh238066IMKarthikeyan P.249719
1049Sammed Jaykumar Shete233766GMHorvath Adam248421

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