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Gujarat GM Open 2018 R5: GA Stany leads with Levon Babujian

by Aditya Pai - 08/10/2018

The fifth round of the 1st Gujarat International Grandmaster Open saw two players share lead at its conclusion -- Levon Babujian and Stany GA. Stany benefitted from his opponent's overzealous play and won his fifth straight game against Vitaly Sivuk. On board three, Babujian defeated Lalith Babu to make it to the joint lead. The round also saw three big upsets. While Niranjan Navalgund brought down GM Ziaur Rahman, Kumar Gaurav and N Surendran held Sergey Kasparov and Neelotpal Das to draws. Round five report.

Two leaders remain

After the fifth round of the 1st Gujarat International Grandmaster Open, tournament leaders were chopped to a third. Out of the six players who were leading after the fourth round, only two managed to keep their lead – India’s Stany GA and Levon Babujian of Armenia. Both are on a perfect score of 5.0/5.


Meanwhile, India’s newly minted grandmaster, Harsha Bharathakoti, drew against GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan. With this draw, both players have now slipped to the third place along with three other players.


An important result for India came from board two where GM Stany GA scored a win over GM Vitaly Sivuk.


In the game, a Gruenfeld Defence had gone terribly wrong for Stany. Playing from the black side, he was much worse very early in the game. However, Sivuk did not manage to exploit this and gave his opponent an opportunity to equalize in the middlegame.


By the 40th move, both players were playing with around a minute on their clock. Stany had achieved full equality by this point. Sivuk could have forced perpetual checks at several junctures but the Ukrainian grandmaster did not want to settle for a draw.


In his quest to win, however, Sivuk pressed too hard.

Position after 48…Kg7

Here, white had already repeated twice with queen checks on d8 and e7. One more repetition and the game would have ended in a draw. But Sivuk chose to continue, even if it meant ruining his position. 49.Nd3 followed. And after 49…Qd2+ 50.Kg1 Ng5, Black was much better. A couple of moves later, Sivuk missed a tactic that lost him a piece and resigned soon afterwards.

GM Vitaly Sivuk pressed a bit too hard to force a win against GM GA Stany | Photo: Niklesh Jain
Interview with GM Stany | ChessBase India Youtube

On the third board, GM R Lalith Babu was the rating favourite against Levon Babujian. The Armenian grandmaster, however, kept the position balanced all through the game and even retained a very slight edge. An inaccuracy by Lalith Babu on the 34th move increased Babujian’s advantage further.

Position after 37,Nxc3

After 37.Nxc3 Bxc5 38.Kh1, there followed 34…b5. As play progressed, Black’s b-pawn turned out to be extremely fast and decided the matters on its own, about 10 moves later.

GM Lalith Babu lost his first game in Gujarat against GM Levon Babujian in round 5 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Back to back upsets

On boards 12 to 14, the round witnessed upsets on the trot: FM Niranjan Navalgund defeated GM Ziahur Rahman on board 12; on board 13, Kumar Gaurav from Bihar held GM Sergey Kasparov to a draw; and on the 14th board, Surendran N managed to hold ground against Neelotpal Das.


The fianchetto variation of the King’s Indian had been reached via transposition in the game between Ziaur Rahman and Niranjan Navalgund. The latter had the black pieces in the game and managed to equalize comfortably.


In the middle game, inaccurate play on the part of Rahman gave Navalgund the advantage. About 30 moves into the game, Navalgund already had an extra pawn and was pushing for victory. After Navalgund had managed to trade pieces and enter an endgame, his advantage became decisive. Rahman resigned on the 55th move in the rook endgame that had ensued.

FM Niranjan Navalgund scored the biggest upset of the round by defeating GM Ziaur Rahman | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Kumar Gaurav versus Sergey Kasparov was a sharp battle in the Pirc which fizzled out after a mass exchange of pieces. Kasparov managed to get a strong passer on the queenside but misplay by both parties rendered the position equal. Kasparov was down an exchange but had one pawn as compensation. By the 45th move, a draw was agreed by repetition.

Kumar Gaurav managed to hold GM Sergey Kasparov to a draw | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Neelotpal Das, with the black pieces, was very much in the mood to annihilate the enemy king but his plan did not quite work out the way he had intended. He had got a much better position out of the opening in a 5.Bf4 Queen’s Gambit after his opponent, N Surendran, allowed a strong bishop sacrifice on h3.

Position right before 20…Bxh3!

Das had acquired a decisive advantage after this but did not manage to find his way in the dense woods of variations. Around move 30, he missed the best continuation. Instead, he gave up a full rook and drew the game by repeating moves.

N Surendran withstood a monstrous attack by Neelotpal Das to hold the Grandmaster to a draw | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Standings (top 10)

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
IMStany G.A.IND2502KAR5,00,017,014,517,005
GMBabujian LevonARM2456ARM5,00,016,013,516,505
GMNeverov ValeriyUKR2488UKR4,50,018,015,015,754
IMHarsha BharathakotiIND2492TEL4,50,016,514,514,254
GMMalakhatko VadimBEL2552BEL4,50,016,013,514,004
GMKravtsiv MartynUKR2654UKR4,50,016,013,513,754
GMTer-Sahakyan SamvelARM2547ARM4,50,016,013,513,754
GMSivuk VitalyUKR2545UKR4,00,018,015,512,504
GMLalith Babu M RIND2518PSPB4,00,017,515,512,504
GMAmonatov FarrukhTJK2615TJK4,00,017,515,013,004

Complete list

Sharan Rao wins in Category B

The B category tournament of the event came to a close on Monday. After 10 rounds, Sharan Rao of Karnataka won the event with an unbeaten 8.5/10. Donior Safarov from Uzbekistan and Gujarat's Sarthak Patel also scored 8.5 points but were awarded the second and third spots respectively after the application of tiebreaks.

The top three finishers of Category B: (L to R) Donior Safarov, Sharan Rao and Sarthak Patel | Photo: Niklesh Jain
Niklesh Jain had a chat with the three winners after the event | ChessBase India Youtube

Standings of Category B (top 10)

Rk.SNo NameTypsexGrFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
Sharan RaoB200IND1895KAR8,51,569,565,057,507
Safarov DoniorB200UZB1920UZB8,51,068,564,054,507
Sarthak PatelB200IND1930GUJ8,50,570,065,557,758
Mushini AjayB200IND1966AP8,00,064,559,051,007
Joshi AbhijeetB200IND1861MAH8,00,063,560,545,007
Kadav OmkarB200IND1859MAH8,00,061,558,048,007
Akshay AnandB200IND1853PUN8,00,058,054,044,757
Nikhil MB200IND1891AP8,00,056,052,543,506
Anchit VyasB200IND1871MP7,50,068,563,047,757
Rishabh NishadB200IND1874UP7,50,063,558,544,757

Complete list


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