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Fagernes GM Open 2023 R1-2: Savitha and Vantika slay top GMs

by Shahid Ahmed - 04/04/2023

World Rapid Women 2022 Bronze medalist, WIM Savitha Shri B stunned the top seed GM Sethuraman S P. The former Asian Continental champion, opted for an experimental Nimzowitsch Defense opening. He landed himself in an uncomfortable position out of the opening. The teenager seized her opportunity and scored a clinical victory. India's recently crowned IM Vantika Agrawal defeated the Poland no.4 GM Bartosz Socko. The Pole went for a passive defense of a backward pawn early in the middlegame. Vantika had no trouble converting her positional advantage into a win. 16 players including six Indians have won their first two games at Fagernes GM Open 2023. Round 3 starts today at 2 p.m. local time, 5:30 p.m. IST. Photo:  Anniken Vestby/SjakkTromsø

Tanmay and Sanket beat IMs

FM Tanmay Chopra and Sanket Chakravarty has defeated IM Sammed Shete and IM Prraneeth Vuppala in the second round. A total of 23 players out of 92 are Indian participants, 38 players are GM, IM, WGM and WIM. In the first round, an IM was playing on the last board. That should certainly speak volumes about the strength of the tournament. The first prize is €2400.

WIM Savitha Shri B and IM Vantika Agrawal made a fantastic start | Photo: Anniken Vestby/SjakkTromsø

Round 2: Savitha - Sethuraman: 1-0

GM Sethuraman S P (2639) decided to surprise WIM Savitha Shri B (2411). Things did not go well for him as he landed himself in an inferior position early in the middlegame.

Position after 21.Rea3

The above position seems like King's Indian Defence gone wrong for Black. The queen and knight are misplaced, White is controlling the a-file. 21...Rb8 only worsened things further 22.R1a2 White is biding her time Qe7 23.Nc3 Nd8 time to invade with the rook and attack the c7-pawn at the same time 24.Ra7 Rc8 25.c5 striking at the weakness. 25...bxc5 26.bxc5 fxe4 27.Nxe4 Nf7 28.R2a6 Rfd8 29.h4 dxc5?? 30.d6 Nxd6 and it's over as White can take 31.Nxd6. Black has no way to regain the material.

WIM Savitha Shri B scored a clinical victory over GM Sethuraman S P | Photo: Anniken Vestby/SjakkTromsø

Vantika - Bartosz: 1-0

IM Vantika Agrawal (2407) got a substantial position advantage out of the Open Catalan as her opponent GM Bartosz Socko (POL, 2601) went for a passive defense of his backward pawn.

Position after 16...Ne8

16...Ne8 was uncalled for. What Black should have done instead is 16...Qd7 17.Nxd6 Bxd5 and exchanged the d-pawns. 17.Be3 Ba6 18.Nd4 maneuvering the knight to the c6-square. 18...Qd7 19.Nc6 Nc7 20.Rfd1 Kh8 21.Bxc5 dxc5 22.Ne5 Qd6 23.Nxc4 Bxc4 24.Qxc4 Rab8 25.Rac1 Na6 26.Bf1 Rb6 27.a4 White is in complete control of the position. Vantika converted her advantage into a win without any difficulty.

IM Vantika Agrawal scored a huge victory over GM Bartosz Socko | Photo: Tom Eriksen

WGM Nandhidhaa P V - GM Raja Rithvik R: 0.5-0.5 | Photo: Tom Eriksen

FM Tanmay Chopra - IM Sammed Shete: 1-0 | Photo: Tom Eriksen

IM Prraneeth Vuppala - Sanket Chakravarty: 0-1 | Photo: Tom Eriksen

The tournament hall at Scandic Valdres in Fagernes, Norway | Photo: Anniken Vestby/SjakkTromsø

A total of 92 players including 14 GMs, 21 IMs, 2 WGMs and a WIM are taking part from 25 countries across the world in the GM (>2000) Open section. The tournament is organized by IO IA Hans Olav Lahlum in cooperation with Sotra SK and Innlandet Sjakkrets from 2nd to 9th April 2023 at Scandic Valdres hotel in Fagernes, Norway. The nine-round Swiss league tournament had a time control of 100 minutes/40 moves + 40 minutes/rest with 30 seconds increment from move no. 1.

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