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Praggnanandhaa wins 5th Saturday Online Blitz Open 2020

by Shahid Ahmed - 22/04/2020

Chessworld1 - GM R Praggnanandhaa finished his Saturday Online Blitz Open just the way he started, by winning the tournament. He scored an unbeaten 8.5/9 to win 5th Saturday Online Blitz Open. He finished a full point ahead of the competition. Four players finished at 7.5/9, they are GM Gukesh D, GM Aravindh Chithambaram, GM Arjun Erigaisi and GM Raunak Sadhwani. They were placed second, third, fourth and fifth respectively according to their tie-break score. The third edition of the weekly tournament witnessed the participation of 190 players comprising of 16 GMs, 23 IMs, 3 WGMs and 6 WIMs from India, Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Peru, Romania, Singapore, USA and Uzbekistan. GM Diptayan Ghosh won the Circuit Standings with 33 points, Arjun Erigaisi and Praggnanandhaa finished with 27 and 26 points respectively. Photo: Amruta Mokal

Diptayan wins the season 1 of Saturday Online Blitz Open Circuit

GM R Praggnanandhaa scored an unbeaten 8.5/9, finished a full point ahead of the competition to win 5th Saturday Online Blitz Open. Praggnanandhaa had already won the 1st edition last month. GM Gukesh D, GM Aravindh Chithambaram, GM Arjun Erigaisi and GM Raunak Sadhwani all four of them finished at 7.5/9 each and they were placed second, third, fourth and fifth respectively. GM Diptayan Ghosh scored 7.0/9 and secured sixth position which was enough for him to clinch the Circuit Championship of the inaugural season of Saturday Online Blitz Open.

Champion of Saturday Online Blitz Open once again GM Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Puneet Jaiswal

GM Diptayan Ghosh is the Circuit Champion | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

The Obtuse win against Obregon

The first real challenge Chessworld1 (GM R Praggnanandhaa) faced against GM Andres Obregon of Argentina in Round 5. At first the Indian had a pretty good position.

Chessworld1 - Andres Obregon, Round 5

Find out the correct continuation after 21...Qa5

White had a fine continuation after 21...Qa5 but Pragg opted for the simpler 22.Rc4. What was the better alternative?

Position after 32.Bxf5

White's knight sacrifice has gone wrong and black can defend this position. What should black play here?

Position after 40.Be3

It is still not over. Black could have still maintained a substantial advantage after 40.Be3 if he played the correct continuation. The game continued with 40...Ne4. What was the better alternative?

A great win against Gukesh

India's youngest GM Gk06 (Gukesh D) lost to Chessworld1 in Round 6.

Gk06 - Chessworld1, Round 6

Position after 25..Rce8

White continued here with 26.Qg2 which was a slower plan as black got to bring the queen in action with 26...Qc8. What do you think white should have done to make an attempt to stir up trouble on the kingside in a quicker fashion?

Hitter1999 got squeezed

Reigning National Triple Crown Champion and eventual second runner-up Hitter1999 (GM Aravindh Chithambaram) got completely squeezed by Chessworld1 in Round 7.

Hitter1999 - Chessworld1, Round 7

Position after 15...h5

White continued the game with 16.b4 which allowed black to completely squeeze on the kingside, white's king remained left stranded helpless in the center.

IndianKing97 missed too many chances

Chessworld1 got multiple winning chances which he misplayed and allowed his opponent IndianKing97 (GM Shardul Gagare) to equalize and final opportunity should have led to a draw until his opponent blundered and Chessworld1 won the game inching closer to his championship.

Chessworld1 - IndianKing97, Round 8

Find out the simplest continuation for white after 33...Kf7

White missed a simple tactics here to win the game and played 34.Nc5 instead.

There is only one way for Black to save the game here after 46.Nc4+

Black missed his opportunity to save the game and played 46...Kc6 instead.

Find out the correct continuation for white after 48...a5

White should have simply pushed the pawn to b5 to keep his winning advantage alive, instead gave black another opportunity to get back in the game with 49.bxa5+. Eventually black blundered the bishop and the game after a few moves.

In the final round, Pragg made a uber quick 3-move draw with Devil1234 (GM Raunak Sadhwani) to clinch the championship.

Gukesh survived Harry's horror

Gukesh finished strong with a second place finish

Gk06 (GM Gukesh D) was in a completely lost position for the better part of the game against FM Harry Grieve of England. He misplayed the opening and got into troubled waters early in the opening.

Harry Grieve - Gk06, Round 4

Find out why 10...e5 is a mistake

Black should have continued with 10...Be7 which is the theory.

Position after 29...d5

Black's position after 29...d5 looks completely lost as 30.e6 is devastating for the weak black king. Much to the chagrin of white, he made a series of unforced errors which allowed black to not only get back in the game, but equalize it in the final part of the endgame and eventually win on time.

A game of missed chances

In the penultimate round, the game between Gk06 and Indian-Lion (GM Arjun Erigaisi), the lack of fireworks compensated for the fact with missed chances from both sides.

Gk06 - Indian-Lion, Round 8

Find out the best continuation for black after 31.Kf3

Black continued with 31...Bf5 which allowed white to get back in the game with 32.g4. After 32...Ng5+ white missed the opportunity to seize and continued with 33.Kg3 instead.

Position after 37...Nc5

White got another opportunity to go for a win. What should white do here after 37...Nc5 ?

Position after 48.Kh5

Black can still win the game, find out how.

A not so easy win

In the final round, Gk06 was crusing towards victory against Js3131 (GM Josep Eduardo Martinez of Peru). However he made a blunder in the Rook endgame which allowed his opponent to equalize.

Js3131 - Gk06, Round 9

Position after 50.Ke3

Black is winning after 50.Ke3, however black needs to play correctly. The game continued with 50...Rc2 which is a mistake. Find out why it is incorrect and what black should have done instead.

The Great Escape

GM Aravindh Chithambaram consistently finished in top 10 in all four Saturday Online Blitz events he played in | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Indian-Lion (GM Arjun Erigaisi) missed an easy win early in the middle game and then made an incorrect Rook exchange in a completely drawn endgame to lose against Hitter1999 (GM Aravindh Chithambaram).

Indian-Lion - Hitter1999, Round 4

Find out why 18...Bxd4 is a blunder

Position after 55...Rc5

This I would like to call 'A Ricocheting Conundrum'. When we are in time pressure, we have a tendency to exchange pieces with the hope of positions becoming easier to calculate after simplification. Well that does not sound true in practical situations. The above diagram is a prime example of that. Even if white allows the e5-pawn to be captured, white should still be able to hold a draw easily, but exchanging the rooks is a strict no-no.

Tiger clawed his way out

Uzbektiger95 (GM Jakhongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan) was having an extremely difficult position against Hitter1999 but in the end he managed to escape with a draw.

Uzbektiger95 - Hitter1999, Round 6

Position after 37.Re1

Find out the correct continuation for black after 37.Re1.

What should black play here after 56.Rg2

Black could have kept his winning chances alive with 56...f5, but after 56...h5, draw became the only result.

Final Standings

The top 17 finishers

Complete standings

Circuit Standings

Circuit standings after 5th Saturday Online Blitz Open 2020

Replay all games

That's the conclusion of Season 1. What would you like to see in Season 2? Let us know in the comments below.

Download all the games of the 5th Saturday blitz in PGN

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