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How not following top level games can make you lose out on important points

by Sagar Shah - 26/01/2020

The life of a professional chess player is not easy. He has to be updated with all the latest wrinkles in opening theory. If he misses one of the important games that has happened in his line, then that same variation can be sprung upon him as a surprise. This is what happened with D. Gukesh, who played against Gawain Jones at the fifth round of the Gibraltar Masters 2020. The English GM played the Rossolimo against Gukesh following the line Carlsen had played against Dubov. Gukesh was unprepared and took a lot of time for his moves. Very soon he succumbed to a defeat. Praggnanandhaa played some fantastic chess to score his fourth consecutive win and move to 4.0/5. Check out both the games analyzed in great detail. 

One of the key jobs of professional chess players is to follow top level encounters. The main reason for the same is that opening trends develop based on top games and players all across the world are busy preparing new ideas after watching games by Carlsen, Caruana, Anand and other world class players. The general thinking is - if a player like Anand has played this opening with his super strong computer, and seconds, it must be good. Two high profile events are running simultaneously - the Tata Steel Masters and the Gibraltar Masters. Players at both the events are following the games of the other one and drawing ideas from it. In the fifth round Gawain Jones played the Rossolimo against D. Gukesh. Gukesh started taking a lot of time right from the opening, while Gawain was well prepared, not just because he himself plays a lot of Rossolimo, but also because he had improved upon the recent Carlsen versus Dubov game from the Tata Steel Masters 2020.

The dangers of being unprepared against a player like Gawain Jones is huge! | Photo: John Saunders
Gawain Jones speaks with Tania Sachdev after his win

Praggnanandhaa is back in the groove after four consecutive wins and is now on 4.0/5 | Photo: John Saunders

Praggnanandhaa showed how being updated with the latest trends is very useful. The line that he chose from the black side of the Catalan has been very popular recently. It was played by Ganguly to beat Saduakassova and also Ding Liren essayed it against Alexander Grischuk at the World Cup 2019. Pragg was a step ahead of his opponent. Although it took him time to recollect his analyses, it was clear that he had worked on the system and knew the intricacies. The result was a solid point against the strong Indian IM Ravi Teja.

S.L. Narayanan is playing powerful chess at the event and is on 4.0/5. In the fifth round he drew his encounter against Jan Werle. | Photo: Niki Riga
Sasikiran won his last two rounds against Gunay Mammadzada and Moroni Luca and is on 4.0/5. In round six he is taking a half point bye. Check out his fine analysis with Tania on his win against Mammadzada.

Youngster Aryan Chopra held B. Adhiban to a draw and is on 3.5/5 | Photo: John Saunders

India's national champion Bhakti Kulkarni didn't have a great day at the office and lost to Anna Muzychuk | Photo: Niki Riga

On the top board it was a battle between two good friends Topalov and Cheparinov. In fact Cheparinov has worked as the second of Topalov for several years. The game ended in a draw. Cheparinov is one of the five leaders with 4.5/5. | Photo: John Saunders

Another leader on 4.5/5 is Andrey Esipenko | Photo: John Saunders

Raunak Sadhwani played with the Iranian players in the blitz event. The team finished second | Photo: John Saunders

Standings after round 5

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1 
111GMCheparinov IvanGEO26864,52920
23GMWang HaoCHN27584,52884
316GMEsipenko AndreyRUS26544,52877
413GMMaghsoodloo ParhamIRI26744,52870
522GMParavyan DavidRUS26294,52849
647GMAntipov Mikhail Al.RUS25624,02850
74GMTopalov VeselinBUL27384,02779
856GMWerle JanNED25454,02757
946GMYuffa DaniilRUS25664,02751
1012GMJones Gawain C BENG26794,02702
1127GMKobalia MikhailRUS26094,02692
1318GMSasikiran KrishnanIND26484,02680
1463GMKotronias VasiliosGRE25264,02671
1530GMPichot AlanARG26064,02639
1664GMHjartarson JohannISL25244,02630
1731GMPraggnanandhaa RIND26024,02601
1843GMPeralta FernandoARG25743,52729
1952GMIbarra Jerez Jose CarlosESP25483,52704
2034GMMoussard JulesFRA26003,52699

Pairings of round 6

Bo.No.NameRtgPts. ResultPts. NameRtgNo.
111GMCheparinov Ivan 2686 GMEsipenko Andrey 265416
213GMMaghsoodloo Parham 2674 GMParavyan David 262922
331GMPraggnanandhaa R 26024 4 GMTopalov Veselin 27384
447GMAntipov Mikhail Al. 25624 4 GMJones Gawain C B 267912
521GMNarayanan.S.L 26374 4 GMYuffa Daniil 256646
627GMKobalia Mikhail 26094 4 GMHjartarson Johann 252464
763GMKotronias Vasilios 25264 4 GMPichot Alan 260630
81GMMamedyarov Shakhriyar 2770 GMAryan Chopra 256248
92GMVachier-Lagrave Maxime 2770 GMPeralta Fernando 257443
1045GMSanal Vahap 2569 GMLe Quang Liem 27136
117GMAlekseenko Kirill 2704 GMKaidanov Gregory 254654
1250GMLalith Babu M R 2558 GMAdams Michael 269410
1351GMMaze Sebastien 2550 GMSaric Ivan 265514
1415GMAdhiban B. 2654 IMFlom Gabriel 251069
1517GMLagarde Maxime 2651 GMGagare Shardul 248180

Among the many interesting games that will take place on the top boards, Pragg vs Topalov is definitely a mouth watering encounter that is worth following!

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