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Tata Steel India Rapid Day 2: Nakamura sets the stage on fire!

by Sagar Shah - 11/11/2018

After a relatively sedate start on day one, things have begun to heat up at the Tata Steel Chess India Rapid 2018. On the second day we had eight decisive encounters out of the 15 games that were played. Hikaru Nakamura was on fire as he scored 3.0/3 beating Mamedyarov, Ganguly and Nihal. Levon Aronian has kept up the pace and with 4.5/6 is in joint lead with Nakamura. In this report we have the perfect balance of pictures, videos, and analysis. This article tells you how a tournament like Tata Steel Chess India 2018 is making such a big difference to chess culture of our country. We also bring you exclusive footage of Nihal Sarin battling out the big guys. After all, how often do you see a 14-year-old fighting it out against the big guys!

Day two started with three leaders Mamedyarov, Aronian and Harikrishna and ended with two - Nakamura and Aronian. Nakamura had an amazing day at the office as he scored 3.0/3 on the second day, taking his tally to 4.5/6. Nakamura beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Surya Sekhar Ganguly and Nihal Sarin. Levon Aronian scored 2.5/3 beating Wesley So and Surya Sekhar Ganguly and drawing against Sergey Karjakin.


This super tournament has proved to be a huge boon for the chess fans of India and more so Kolkata. Where else can you see such great players fighting it out under one roof. It has given the youngsters a chance to interact with their idols, to see them in person, to take their autographs. You cannot imagine what an impact it can have on the minds of the youngsters who dream big. When guys like Anand, Aronian, Nakamura and others get swarmed by fans, deep down, even the youngsters start to believe that becoming a chess player is a worthwhile career option!

Look at this young boy sitting in the auditorium | Photo: Amruta Mokal

He is writing down the moves of the game on a piece of paper. This will be a memory etched into the young boy's mind for a lifetime! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

What great joy to get the autographs of the best players of the world! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Every day before the round begins there are people queuing to enter in the tournament hall. We asked them about their favourite chess player. Any guesses on who their favourite was?!

Round 4:

Bo.No.FEDRtg NameResultName FEDRtgNo.
GMGanguly Surya Shekhar0 - 1GMKarjakin Sergey
GMAronian Levon1 - 0GMSo Wesley
GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi½ - ½GMAnand Viswanathan
GMHarikrishna Pentala½ - ½IMNihal Sarin
GMMamedyarov Shakhriyar0 - 1GMNakamura Hikaru

Levon Aronian scored an important win in this round beating Wesley So | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The most amazing part of Aronian's victory was the way he played with the Isolated Queen Pawn. When he played his bishop to e3, many might feel that it was an unambitious attempt. Quite the contrary. The bishop moved to e3 to defend the d4 pawn, just so that the knight can move to e5 and then the bishop could sit on f3 and put great pressure on Black's queenside. This plan is really worth learning from and I explain it in my round-up video of day two:

Aronian's Bishop to e3, Wesley So's mating idea, Vishy Anand's tenacious opening play and Vidit's fine technique. All of this is covered in the video above!

After playing a fine game and getting a winning position Aronian missed what was perhaps the most simple tactic of his chess career.

White to play and win! We are sure that you found it in an instant. Aronian played Nxf6? which transposed the game into an equal endgame. Of course, instead Rc8! finishes off the game.

A game from which you can learn a lot - Aronian versus Wesley So | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The game between Vidit Gujrathi (right) and Vishy Anand was a much anticipated one, but quickly petered out into a draw | Photo: Amruta Mokal  

Nihal Sarin had no real difficulties to hold Pentala Harikrishna to a draw from the black side of a Schliemann | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Mamedyarov was leading the tournament with 2.0/3 but in round four he met his match in the form of Hikaru Nakamura | Photo: Amruta Mokal

This was the start of a great day for Hikaru as he beat not just Mamedyarov, but also Surya Sekhar Ganguly and also Nihal Sarin | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Pay special attention to Nakamura's cool ...f6 move in the game!

Round 5:

Bo.No.FEDRtg NameResultName FEDRtgNo.
GMNakamura Hikaru1 - 0GMGanguly Surya Shekhar
IMNihal Sarin½ - ½GMMamedyarov Shakhriyar
GMAnand Viswanathan½ - ½GMHarikrishna Pentala
GMSo Wesley1 - 0GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi
GMKarjakin Sergey½ - ½GMAronian Levon

Ganguly's bad form continued as he slumped to another defeat against Nakamura. In fact Surya has lost four games in a row now from rounds three to six. He will be looking for recovery on day three! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Final moments of Hikaru Nakamura winning his game against Surya Sekhar Ganguly

Wesley So had a devious trap in store for Vidit | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In a position of mutual pawn race, Vidit has pushed his pawn to h5. How should White respond?

Round 6:

Bo.No.FEDRtg NameResultName FEDRtgNo.
110IND2608GMGanguly Surya Shekhar0 - 1GMAronian LevonARM28028
29IND2660GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi1 - 0GMKarjakin SergeyRUS27927
31IND2743GMHarikrishna Pentala½ - ½GMSo WesleyUSA28086
42AZE2794GMMamedyarov Shakhriyar½ - ½GMAnand ViswanathanIND27375
53USA2844GMNakamura Hikaru1 - 0IMNihal SarinIND21274

Vidit played the best game of his tournament by beating Sergey Karjakin | Photo: Anjana Subramanian
Vidit Gujrathi stuns the minister of Defence

Wesley So had excellent chances against Harikrishna, but missed them. In the end Hari managed to draw the game | Photo: Anjana Subramanian

Nihal Sarin got a chance to play against Hikaru Nakamura, his most looked forward to opponent, in round six. Nakamura managed to somehow wriggle out a win! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Nakamura's victory of Nihal Sarin

Standings after round 6:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgIPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 nwwew-weKrtg+/-
GMNakamura HikaruUSA28444,50,511,253164,54,230,27205,4
GMAronian LevonARM28024,50,511,253164,53,700,802016,0
GMHarikrishna PentalaIND27433,50,09,751063,53,310,19203,8
GMAnand ViswanathanIND27373,00,09,7500632,750,25205,0
GMSo WesleyUSA28083,00,07,7510633,68-0,6820-13,6
GMKarjakin SergeyRUS27923,00,07,2511633,89-0,8920-17,8
GMMamedyarov ShakhriyarAZE27943,00,06,0020633,92-0,9220-18,4
GMVidit Santosh GujrathiIND26602,50,07,751062,52,51-0,0120-0,2
IMNihal SarinIND21272,00,06,0000620,481,522030,4
GMGanguly Surya ShekharIND26081,00,03,2500611,53-0,5320-10,6

He was flanked by three strong GMs, but Nihal stole the show! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Press conference at the end of day two

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