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Lakecity GM R01 to 03: Bihar talent Kumar Gaurav stuns Grandmaster Laxman Rajaram

by Satanick Mukhuty - 15/09/2019

The princely city of Udaipur in Rajasthan is witnessing the 1st Lakecity International Grandmaster Open which is taking place from 13th to the 20th of September 2019. A total of 223 players from 11 different countries have come to participate including 13 GMs and 9 IMs. The Russian Grandmaster Ivan Rozum is the top seed of the tournament with a rating of 2596; while the Indian contingent, consisting of 186 participants in all, is led by the country's 13th GM and the event's second seed Deepan Chakkravarthy. Three rounds have been completed so far, in this consolidated report we bring you the jist of the most important moments from the same.

The Chess in Lakecity - Udaipur Chess club is also organizing rapid and blitz tournaments alongside the classical GM open. The total prize fund of this grand chess gala is 20 Lakh Indian Rupees. The GM open is a ten-round swiss event being played from the 13th to 20th of September following a time control of 90 minutes for the entire game plus 30 seconds increment per move from move one. 

The venue of the event is the sprawling Orbit Resort in New Bhopalpura, near Miraj Malhar, Udaipur | Photo: Chess in Lakecity

The divisional commissioner of Udaipur Mr. Vikas Sitaram Bhale graced the event on the opening day by being present as the chief guest and making the ceremonial first move of the tournament | Photo: Chess in Lakecity

As anticipated, most of the top players won their games pretty smoothly in the first three rounds. However, the beginning has not been altogether unsurprising. In round one Gautam Kataria (1625) unexpectedly held the strong Russian IM Denis Eraschenkov (2390) to a draw playing the black side of Caro-Kann Panov-Botvinnik variation. Similarly, round two also saw a couple of surprising results as Abhay Bandewar (1815) and 12-year-old Garv Gaur (1801) drew their substantially higher-rated opponents Siddharth Jagadeesh and IM Sidhant Mohapatra respectively. But the biggest upset was actually in store for the third round.

In round three, Bihar's up-and-coming talent Kumar Gaurav (right) shocked the blitz king of India, Grandmaster Laxman Rajaram | Photo: Niklesh Jain / ChessBase India

Laxman Rajaram has been in impressive form lately as he had won the Pearl City Hyderabad Open just before arriving at Udaipur. However, yesterday when he sat across Bihar's Gaurav Kumar, things didn't turn out well at all for him. The Indian Grandmaster had the black pieces and he went for the rather obscure 1.e4 b6 line, the so-called Owen's defense. Faced with such an unusual opening Kumar didn't lose his cool, he played on resourcefully to capitalize on the little chances he got and ultimately ended up registering a crushing victory over his superior opponent in just 31 moves.


Gaurav Kumar - Laxman Rajaram, Round 3

Black's play in the Owen's defense is primarily hinged on the counterplay generated against the e4 pawn. He also intends to break with moves like d5 and c5 at an opportune moment and challenge White's center.

Black played 8...Be7 in the above position but possibly going 8...c5 directly followed by a5 and restricting White's queenside expansion would have been his best bet.

White punished Black's slow plans right away by lashing out with 10.b4 and gaining more control on the critical c5 square.

White could have played something like Bxh7 here but he decided, in view of Black's vulnerable kingside, to keep his bishop pair and give away the b5 pawn temporarily. This indeed proved to be a wise choice.

With 14.Ng5! Kumar made his first stride towards the black king. Laxman exchanged off his dark-squared bishop here with 14...Bxg5 but something like 14...h6 15.Qh5 wouldn't have been very good for him either.

White was all in for the attack with 16.f4! Now f5 was only imminent.

Black played 20...gxf5 in this position which allowed faster infiltration with 21.a4 Ba6 22.Rxf5. Probably 20...exf5 would have been better resistance. 

The full game with brief annotations is presented below:

The third round saw a few more surprising results as Grandmasters Swapnil S. Dhopade, Ziaur Rahman, Neelotpal Das, and Himanshu Sharma were held to draw by their lower rated opponents Pranav Shetty, Thanki Hemal Karsanji, Arya Bhakta, and Ashutosh Kumar respectively.

Swapnil S. Dhopade (2501), who is the third seed of the event, was held to draw by Pranav Shetty (2124) in round three | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Bangladeshi Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman (2492) was held to draw by Thanki Hemal Karsanji in the third round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Neelotpal Das (2433) was held to a draw by 13-year-old Arya Bhakta (2081) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

India's 47th GM Himanshu Sharma (2408) had to split the point with Ashutosh Kumar (1978) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Some more photos from opening ceremony

Chief guests during the opening ceremony with the flags of eleven participating nations behind them | Photo: Chess in Lakecity

Divisional Commissioner of Udaipur, Mr Vikas Bhale, during his speech | Photo: Chess in Lakecity

Tribute to the late N.L.Pandiyar. The tournament is being organized in his memory | Photo: Chess in Lakecity

A view of the spacious tournament hall | Photo: Chess in Lakecity

Standings after three rounds

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
GMManik MikulasSVK23753,00,04,06,06,003
GMSaptarshi RoyIND24803,00,04,05,55,503
GMVasquez Schroeder RodrigoCHI24763,00,04,05,05,003
FMMitrabha GuhaIND24143,00,04,05,05,003
Sahoo Utkal RanjanIND23293,00,04,05,05,003
GMHesham AbdelrahmanEGY23963,00,04,04,04,003
GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND25393,00,03,55,05,003
FMShailesh DravidIND22993,00,03,55,05,003
GMRozum IvanRUS25963,00,03,54,54,503
IMVlassov NikolaiRUS23843,00,03,54,54,503
IMKonguvel PonnuswamyIND23743,00,03,54,54,503
Bharat Kumar Reddy PoluriIND23043,00,03,54,54,503
Kumar GauravIND20963,00,03,54,54,503

See detailed results here.

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