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Nihal, Gukesh, Rakshitta and Mrinmoy advance to the Semi-Finals of FIDE Online World Cadets and Youth Rapid

by Shahid Ahmed - 21/12/2020

Four out of twelve Indian players have advanced to the Semi-Finals of FIDE Online World Cadets and Youth Rapid Championships. They are - Nihal, Gukesh, Rakshitta and Mrinmoy. Nihal beat Just Wang by 1.5-0.5, Gukesh beat Pranav 2-1, Rakshitta beat Hernandez 2-1 and Mrinmoy was the only Indian to beat his opponent Ryo Chen by 2-0. They all have advanced in the Semi-Finals in Under-18 Open, Under-14 Open, Under-16 Girls and Under-10 Open respectively. India's medal hopes lie in these four players. Semi-Finals will take place today in best of two games and Armageddon if the score ends up in a 1-1 tie. Photo: Various sources

And there were four

Only four out of 12 Indians qualified in various age groups from Under-10 to Under-18 in both Open and Girls category to the Semi-Finals of FIDE Online World Cadets and Youth Rapid Championships. They are GM Nihal Sarin, GM D Gukesh, WIM Rakshitta Ravi and Mrinmoy Rajkhowa.

Under-18 Open: IM Justin Wang - GM Nihal Sarin 0.5-1.5

Nihal had decisive advantage in quite a few different occasion but his Justin Wang fought well and seized the opportunity to regain equilibrium.

Wang - Nihal, Game 1

Position after 25.Rf3

What is the best continuation for black after 25.Rf3 ?

Position after 27.Ng6+

Evaluate 27.Ng6+. Is it good for white or not? Of course Nihal did not blunder his queen, he saw the entire variation thoroughly.

Justin Wang got an advantage in the middle game but he couldn't capitalize on it.

Nihal - Wang, Game 2

Position after 29...Rb8

Find out why 29...Rb8 is a mistake and what black should have played instead.

Position after 46...Rb6

If anyone can win this position then it's white. How?

Position after 90...Ke6

White needs to place his rook correctly to make sure he gets the win soon. Where should white move the rook?

Nihal advanced to the Semi-Finals with two long games

GM Iniyan P - GM Shant Sargsyan 1-2

Iniyan scored the first win after Shant made an unforced error in an already difficult position.

Iniyan - Shant, Game 1

Position after 19...h5

How should white exploit black's unprovoked error with 19...h5 ? Iniyan correctly played and checkmated his opponent in another 20 moves.

Iniyan needed a draw in the second game to advance to the Semi-Finals. Just when it seemed like he is cruising towards a draw and secure his place in the Semis, he blundered a mate in one.

Shant - Iniyan, Game 2

Position after 47.Rd2+

Black has four possible moves, two of them are terrible and remaining two are candidate moves. Which is the move black should not even consider playing here?

The score is level at 1-1. So Armageddon was enforced as per the tournament regulations. Iniyan got the black pieces which means a draw is enough for him to advance to the Semi-Finals. Iniyan made a couple of mistakes in a seemingly equal position and both occasion it was Nc5.

Shant - Iniyan, Armageddon

Position after 46...Nc5

What was the correct way for black to save the f6-pawn?

Position after 56...Nc5

Ten moves later again black played Nc5 which was the final mistake of the game. Instead 56...Ke6 would have kept drawing chances alive. Thus Iniyan got eliminated and Shant advanced to the Semi-Finals.

Iniyan was very close to advancing to the Semi-Finals

Under-18 Girls: WIM Priyanka Nutakki - WIM Elizaveta Solozhenkina 0.5-1.5

First game was a well fought draw. However Elizaveta had an opportunity to push for decisive advantage in the endgame.

Priyanka - Elizaveta, Game 2

Position after 32.Bxb6

Find out the best continuation for black after 32.Bxb6.

In the second game, Priyanka allowed her opponent to attack freely on the kingside without putting up enough resistance.

Elizaveta - Priyanka, Game 2

Position after 28.Qxf5

The position looks dangerous for black but it's not over yet. What is the correct for black after 28.Qxf5 ?

Priyanka Nutakki got eliminated | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Under-16 Girls: WFM Ineymig Hernandez Gil - WIM Rakshitta Ravi 1-2

Rakshitta got a fantastic position in the first game against Ineymig. She missed two wonderful opportunities before blundering her queen and losing the game.

Ineymig - Rakshitta, Game 1

Position after 26.Kh2

Find out the best continuation for black here.

Position after 29.Be3

This was a better and more definite opportunity for black. What is winning continuation for black after 29.Be3 ?

Rakshitta immediately struck back and won the second game with ease after her opponent went wrong early in the middlegame.

Rakshitta - Ineymig, Game 2

Position after 14...Nd7

Find out why 14...Nd7 is a mistake and what black should have played instead.

Since score was tied 1-1, Armageddon was forced. Rakshitta got the black pieces which means a draw was enough for her to advance to the Semi-Finals as per Armageddon rules. Rakhitta opted for a sideline in Evan's Gambit which her opponent was unaware of.

Ineymig - Rakshitta, Armageddon

Position after 7...Na5

7...Na5 was not the best move but it worked since white was unable to figure out the correct continuation. What is the best way for white to reply here? With this win Rakshitta secured her place in the Semi-Finals.

Rakshitta made a strong comeback after losing her first game in which she was winning | Photo: Amruta Mokal

IM Bibisara Assaubayeva - WFM Jyothsna L 1.5-0.5

Kazakhstan no.3 female chess player Bibisara gained substantial advantage when Jyothsna created a weakness of her own accord.

Bibisara - Jyothsna, Game 1

Position after 27...f5

27...f5 was uncalled for. White would definitely want the position to open up as she has a bishop pair, black should not facilitate that.

Position after 60.Kc3

It is not over for black yet. How can black try to salvage a draw after 60.Kc3

Jyothsna tried too hard but worsened her position. Bibisara accepted a draw because it was enough for her to advance.

Jyothsna - Bibisara, Game 2

Position after 28.g4

There isn't much for white to go on. 28.g4 is one last desperate attempt but it only worsens things for white.

Jyothsna tried a lot but her opponent was too strong | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under-14 Open: GM D Gukesh - Pranav V 2-1

In the first game, Gukesh's simple threats turned out to be devastating as Pranav couldn't anticipate it properly.

Gukesh - Pranav, Game 1

Position after 34...Qd7

Find out why 34...Qd7 is erroneous and what black should have done instead.

Pranav's brave play in the second game provoked Gukesh to make a mistake.

Pranav - Gukesh, Game 2

Position after 15...Nd4

White pounced the opportunity and played 16.Qa4+ which turned things in his over. After 16...Ke7, what is the correct continuation? It is more of anti-positional move.

Position after 18...Kf8

Black's final mistake in the game was 18...Kf8. What was the better continuation for black instead?

Since Pranav leveled the score 1-1, Armageddon was enforced. Gukesh got the black pieces. Pranav managed to lock the position from a difficult situation, however even if he got a draw it would have favored Gukesh only as draw was enough for him to advance as per Armageddon rules.

Pranav - Gukesh, Armageddon

Position after 35.Bd6

Pranav pushed too hard for a win but it only made things worse with 35.Bd6.

Gukesh advanced to the Semi-Finals | Photo: John Saunders

Pranav was quite impressive against Gukesh | Photo: Niklesh Jain

FM Denis Lazavik - IM Aditya Mittal 2-0

Aditya got a brilliant position in the first game but he could not convert it into a full point.

Lazavik - Aditya, Game 1

Position after 33.Kg2

The game went on with 33...h3+ which is not the best move for black here. Find out the better continuation for black.

Unlike the first game, Lazavik gave no opportunity to Aditya and scored a solid win to advance to the Semi-Finals.

Aditya needed to win the first game after getting such a fantastic position | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Under-14 Girls: WFM Savitha Shri B - WIM Rochelle Wu 0.5-1.5

Savitha had a fantastic chance in the middlegame and she was also winning in the endgame. However she missed both opportunities.

Savitha - Wu, Game 1

Position after 20...Qxe4

Find out the winning continuation for white after 20...Qxe4

Position after 31...Kd4

Almost everything should win for white. However which is the most precise way for white to continue after 31...Kd4 ?

Wu had decisive advantage for the better part of the game but she missed them all and Savitha managed to salvage a draw. However it was not enough as she had already lost the first game.

Savitha needed to capitalize on her chances in the first game

Under-12 Girls: Valeria Kleymenova - Anupam M Sreekumar 1.5-0.5

The first game between Valeria and Anupam was a 90-move long marathon draw. Valeria was better for the majority of the middlegame, however she couldn't capitalize.

Anupam managed to get some advantage in the second game, however she blundered in the endgame which Valeria capitalized to liquidate into a winning king and pawn endgame.

Anupam - Valeria, Game 2

Position after 31.h3

Find out why 31.h3 is a blunder.

Anupam needed to capitalize on her opportunities | Photo: IA Jitendra Chowdhury

Under-10 Open: Mrinmoy Rajkhowa - Ryo Chen 2-0

Mrinmoy blazed through his opponent Ryo in the first game and scored a victory in just 21 moves.

Mrinmoy made an unnecessary queen sacrifice in the second game but he eventually managed to win and advance to the Semi-Finals.

Mrinmoy is the only Indian to advance to the Semi-Finals by scoring a 2-0 win in the Quarter-Finals

Under-10 Girls: WCM Omya Vidyarthi - Shreya G Hipparagi 2-1

Shreya lost the first game after going wrong in the opening which allowed her opponent Omya to gain huge advantage.

Shreya made a tactical error in the second game which her opponent did not notice and she converted her advantage into a win.

Shreya - Omya, Game 2

Position after 25.Qg5

25.Qg5 is a blunder. Why?

Shreya tied the score 1-1. So Armageddon became inevitable. Shreya got the black pieces but repeated the same opening as the first game. Eventually she made a tactical error which cost her a piece and eventually the game.

Shreya needed to do something different in the Armageddon | Photo: Gujarat State Chess Association

Replay the live stream

FIDE Online World Cadet & Youth Championships 2020 Quarter-Finals live commentary by GM Aleksandr Shimanov | Video: FIDE

Replay all Indian players' games from Quarter-Finals


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