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Gibraltar R02: Adhiban turns his beast mode on

by Satanick Mukhuty - 23/01/2020

Vaibhav Suri and Karthikeyan Murali are the two Indians who have scored a perfect 2.0/2 after two rounds of Gibraltar Masters but if there's anyone whose performance absolutely stood out in the second round of the event, it has to be that of Adhiban Baskaran. Adhiban drew his first round game somewhat uneventfully, in round two however he was truly able to channel his inner beast out. Raunak Sadhwani, Gukesh D, Raahil Mullick, Praggnanandhaa R, and other Indian youngsters all came back strongly in the second round after either losing or being held to draws in the first. We bring you a detailed and illustrated report.

Adhiban's sublime brilliancy

Things didn't really click for Adhiban Baskaran in the first round of Gibraltar Masters as he was held to a solid draw by Ritvars Reimanis of Latvia. But in the second round the Indian returned with all guns blazing to register an emphatic victory over the German International Master Dr. Oswald Gschnitzer. Adhiban played with the white pieces in this encounter and got a tangible edge out of the opening itself when his opponent made a small inaccuracy on move 12. The beast, as he known by his fans, built up from here and finished things off elegantly with a direct tactical attack on Black's king. 

Adhiban was absolutely in his element in the second round of the event, producing some very entertaining chess | Photo: Niki Riga

Adhiban Baskaran - Oswald Gschnitzer, Round 2

The above position was reached out of a Nimzo-Indian defense. White has just played 12.a3 threatening the b4 bishop. The most popular continuation here is to simply retreat with 12...Be7 but Dr.Oswald chose the somewhat dubious 12...a6 and after 13.axb4 axb5 14.Rxa8 Qxa8 Adhiban was already a tad better.

However, things almost evened out a few moves later but in the above position Adhiban decided to cripple Black's kingside pawns with 19.Bxf6 gxf6 which later proved key to his main idea. The game followed 20.Qc1 Kg7 21.Qc7 and the position stirred up with dangerous tactical possibilities.

Position after 21.Qc7: Can you see what White's threat is? How should Black continue?

Well, White is certainly looking to pick up the b6 pawn but he has much more serious ideas in mind exploiting the pin on seventh rank and the dormant bishop-knight battery on h1-a8 diagonal. The b6 pawn is the least of Black's concern at the moment, he must actually give it up in order to prevent the far more lethal threats hidden in the position.

In the game the German player simply failed to see the crisis in the situation and went with 21...Rd6 which immediately allowed Adhiban to make the decisive blow. Can you guess what White played above? 

Yes, it was the powerful move 22.e4! that broke all hell loose. Black was now under serious pressure.

But what happens if Black simply takes on e4? Well, then comes 22...Bxe4 23.Ne5! hitting f7, followed by 23...Bg6 24.Nxg6 hxg6 25.Qxd6 etc. Similarly, if 22...Bc6 is played then 23.e5! is devastating. In the game Black continued with 22...Rc6 and after 24.Ne5 fxe5 25.Qg5+ Kf8 26.exd5 e4 27.dxe6 once again White crashed through.

Black resigned in the above position. There's really nothing he could do to save the game as his king is just too exposed on f8. For example, after 27...fxe6 White simply gets 28.Qf6+ rampaging all over the board; and after something like 27...Qe8 28.exf7 Qxf7 29.Ra1 White brings his rook into the foray and Black is dead. Replay the full game with analysis below.

Adhiban explains his win after the game and also sheds light on how he got his nickname!

Vaibhav and Karthikeyan on 2.0/2

The only two Indians with perfect 2.0/2 after two rounds of the Masters event are Grandmasters Vaibhav Suri and Karthikeyan Murani. While Vaibhav registered a crushing victory over Irina Bulmaga in just 27 moves in round two, Karthikeyan had to wait till the endgame to find his winning chance against Dominik Horvath.

Vaibhav in action against Atousa Pourkashiyan in round one on Tuesday | Photo: John Saunders

Vaibhav Suri - Irina Bulmaga, Round 2

Vaibhav started to take control today in the game right out of the opening. In the above position 10.Bb5 has just been played with the threat of d3-d4 how would you continue as Black here?

Irina lashed out with g7-g5 and rerouted her knight to f4 but this only incurred more weaknesses and hardly slowed White's activity in the center. 

Vaibhav soon took complete control with all his pawns in the center. The worst part of it all was the fact that Irina's king was stuck in the middle.

The game ended with 27.Qf4. Black didn't really have a good way to defend her king. 27...Rg7, for instance, runs into 28.Qf6 after which checkmate is inevitable. 

Photo Gallery

Raunak Sadhwani registered a fine win against Tim Wall in round 2 after drawing his previous round and is now all set to play David Navara in the third round | Photo: John Saunders

Divya Deshmukh drew against Martyn Hamer of England | Photo: John Saunders

Krishnan Sasikiran Nurgyul Salimova of Bulgaria | Photo: Niki Riga

Gukesh D beat Victor Plotkin | Photo: John Saunders

Results of second round

11GMMamedyarov Shakhriyar277011 - 01GMGordon Stephen J250470
269IMFlom Gabriel25101½ - ½1GMVachier-Lagrave Maxime27702
33GMWang Hao27581½ - ½1IMPetrov Martin250472
473GMBarbosa Evandro Amorim25011½ - ½1GMTopalov Veselin27384
55GMNavara David27171½ - ½1GMLei Tingjie249374
675GMTan Zhongyi249310 - 11GMLe Quang Liem27136
77GMAlekseenko Kirill270411 - 01GMHenderson De La Fuente Lance249276
878IMGines Esteo Pedro Antonio248210 - 11GMIvanchuk Vassily26988
980GMGagare Shardul24811½ - ½1GMAdams Michael269410
1011GMCheparinov Ivan268611 - 01GMAbergel Thal247882
1113GMMaghsoodloo Parham267411 - 01IMQuintiliano Pinto Renato R.247188
1283IMDi Berardino Diego Rafael24781½ - ½1GMSaric Ivan265514
1385WGMGirya Olga247710 - 11GMEsipenko Andrey265416
1417GMLagarde Maxime265111 - 01GMStefanova Antoaneta246990
1519GMDonchenko Alexander264711 - 01GMGunina Valentina246194
1687IMAbdumalik Zhansaya247111 - 01GMTabatabaei M.Amin263820
1789GMCramling Pia247010 - 11GMParavyan David262922
1891IMPaehtz Elisabeth246710 - 11GMDurarbayli Vasif262524
1925GMVocaturo Daniele262210 - 11GMBatsiashvili Nino245696
2093IMJavakhishvili Lela246310 - 11GMChigaev Maksim261626

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