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Vaibhav halts the Akash juggernaut

by Satanick Mukhuty - 17/12/2019

The 23-year-old Akash G, who has been in brilliant form lately at the ongoing National Senior Championship, was finally given his first taste of defeat by Delhi's Grandmaster Vaibhav Suri. Vaibhav registered a powerful win against Akash in the eighth round of the event and emerged as the sole leader with an impressive score of 7.0/8. While the latter has slipped down the leaderboard following his loss to share the second place along with Aravindh Chithambaram and Sandipan Chanda. In this illustrated report on round eight we bring you the detailed analysis of Vaibhav's encounter against Akash and also photos from the venue.

Vaibhav Suri made quite a slow start at the National Senior Championship 2019, barely drawing his game against a much lower rated opponent in the very first round of the event. But as they say, it is the slow and steady who wins the race. After eight rounds Vaibhav has now emerged as the sole leader beating the in-form Akash G.

Vaibhav in action against Akash in the eighth round of the event | Photo: IA Dharmendra Kumar

Playing the White side of a Sicilian Moscow, the 21-year-old Grandmaster started off convincingly seizing more space out of the opening. The balance really started to tilt in his favour around move 28 when he managed to break open the kingside with the move f2-f4. The game was finally brought to a spectacular combinative finish when Akash committed the decisive blunder only six moves after that.


Vaibhav Suri - Akash G, Round 8

Vaibhav avoided the popular 6.Bxd7+ line and chose 6.Be2 instead keeping his bishop pair on the board.

And 9.c4 came next establishing the typical Maróczy Bind. The difference was that White's light-squared bishop which usually is exchanged off on d7 was now inside the pawn chain.

Perhaps in the above position 9...Nc5 10.Nc3 Bd7 would have been a bit more active. Note that White doesn't really gain anything by driving the knight away from c5 with 11.b4 as after 11...Na4 12.Nxa4 Bxa4 Black gets his bishop on a nice square and stops the very important Rd1. In the game however, Akash went 9...0-0 10.Nc3 b6 11.Rd1 Bb7 which gave Black a solid but a somewhat passive structure. 

After 11...Bb7 White's position was freer but Black too was solid.

The side which has more space always finds it easier to get their pieces developed on the ideal squares. This is what Vaibhav managed to do pretty well. In the above position you can see how nicely all of White's pieces are stanced. They are ready to spring to life once the pawn structure liquidates.  

...And as White got in f2-f4 the bishop along the a1-h8 diagonal suddenly started making a lot of sense. The major pieces were also prepared to flow in through the f-file. 

With 34.Rf4 already ideas of Rxf6 sacrifice were in the air. Black made the critical mistake of playing 34...Qc8 here. Can you come up with a better defensive plan? 

Apparently the only move that sort of holds the position together is 34...Be8! The point is now Black can block the g-file if need be with Bg6 and slow down White's onslaught. 34...Qc8 on the other hand failed immediately as after 35.Rcf1 Qd8 Vaibhav straightaway went in with 36.Rxf6!!

36.Rxf6 was definitely the move of the game! Check out the brilliant finish in the annotation below.

Photo Gallery

Aravindh Chithambaram (left) is just half a point behind Vaibhav with 6.5/8 points. In the eighth round he drew against Lalith Babu M R | Photo: IA Dharmendra Kumar

IM Nitin S held Deepan Chakkravarthy in the eighth round with the white pieces | Photo: IA Dharmendra Kumar

Deep Sengupta beat Ratnakaran K and is now on 5.5/8 points | Photo: IA Dharmendra Kumar

Neelotpal Das defeated Sikkim's Rahul Gurung | Photo: IA Dharmendra Kumar

Laxman Rajaram, who has also scored 5.5/8 so far, beat Manigandan S S of Tamil Nadu with black pieces | Photo: IA Dharmendra Kumar 

Shyamnikhil P beat Navalgund Niranjan with black pieces | Photo: IA Dharmendra Kumar

13-year-old Harshad S held Grandmaster Tejas Bakre to a draw | Photo: IA Dharmendra Kumar 

Results of round eight

Bo.No.NameRtgPts. ResultPts. NameRtgNo.
13GMVaibhav Suri 25976 1 - 0 IMAkash G 243121
22GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr. 26056 ½ - ½ GMLalith Babu M R25565
31GMGupta Abhijeet 2611 ½ - ½ GMAnurag Mhamal 249011
412IMVignesh N R 2475 ½ - ½ GMGhosh Diptayan 25556
588Grahesh Y 2029 0 - 1 GMChanda Sandipan 25457
636IMNitin S. 23295 ½ - ½5 GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J. 25358
79GMVisakh N R25165 ½ - ½5 IMSaravana Krishnan P. 230441
848FMAaryan Varshney 22695 0 - 15 GMVishnu Prasanna. V 249310
916IMRavi Teja S. 24555 1 - 05 Subhayan Kundu 222253
1052FMNavalgund Niranjan 22315 0 - 15 IMShyaamnikhil P 245517

Standings after round eight

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/City TB1 
13GMVaibhav SuriIND2597Delhi7,0
22GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND2605Tamil Nadu6,5
7GMChanda SandipanIND2545West Bengal6,5
21IMAkash GIND2431Tamil Nadu6,5
51GMGupta AbhijeetIND2611PSPB6,0
5GMLalith Babu M RIND2556PSPB6,0
6GMGhosh DiptayanIND2555West Bengal6,0
10GMVishnu Prasanna. VIND2493Tamil Nadu6,0
11GMAnurag MhamalIND2490Goa6,0
12IMVignesh N RIND2475RSPB6,0
16IMRavi Teja S.IND2455RSPB6,0
17IMShyaamnikhil PIND2455RSPB6,0
22GMNeelotpal DasIND2430PSPB6,0
31IMKonguvel PonnuswamyIND2367PSPB6,0

Complete results and standings

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