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Vidit Chess Tour Pre QF: Aronyak and Mitrabha cause big upsets

by Shahid Ahmed - 05/03/2021

The Pre Quarter-Finals of Vidit Chess Tour witnessed two big upsets and they were caused by two young talents from Kolkata, West Bengal - IM Aronyak Ghosh and IM Mitrabha Guha. While Aronyak scored a convincing 1.5-0.5 victory over GM Abhijeet Gupta, Mitrabha bounced back strong after suffering a loss to beat GM Abhimanyu Puranik 2-1 with a victory in the Armageddon. IM Pranesh M was impressive against GM Praggnanandhaa but he just faltered early in the Armageddon. Quarter-Finals will take place today on chess24 from 7 p.m. IST. Photo: Shahid Ahmed 

Pranesh gives a scare to Praggnanandhaa

IM Aronyak Ghosh and IM Mitrabha Guha causes the biggest upset in the Pre Quarter-Finals of Vidit Chess Tour. Aronyak eliminated GM Abhijeet Gupta 1.5-0.5 and Mitrabha knocked out GM Abhimanyu Puranik by winning the Armageddon 2-1. IM Pranesh M got good chances in the first two games but he could capitalize in only one and got eliminated by Praggnanandhaa. Narayanan, Visakh, Gukesh, Arjun Erigaisi and Harsha Bharathakoti are the remaining five GMs to advance to the Quarter-Finals.

IM Pranesh M gives a big scare to GM Praggnanandhaa | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Narayanan - Sammed: 2-0

GM Narayanan S L won both games against IM Sammed Jaykumar Shete to advance to the Quarter-Finals. In the first game, Sammed made a tactical oversight.

Narayanan - Sammed, Game 1

Position after 12...Nxd4

Black sacrificed on d4 with the hope of recovering the piece on d-file with e5 but it does not work. Why?

In the second game also, Sammed made a tactical error which cost him an exchange and eventually the game.

Sammed - Narayanan, Game 2

Position after 12...Qa5

White just needed to trade queens with 13.Qxa5 and it would have been fine but the game went on with 13.c3 and everything fell apart after 13...Nb3. With this win, Narayanan advanced to the Quarter-Finals.

GM Narayanan S L had a smooth sailing towards the Quarter-Finals

Diptayan - Visakh: 1.5-1.5*

Diptayan and Visakh drew their first game after a grueling 97-move long battle. However Diptayan had some chances which he should have taken.

Diptayan - Visakh, Game 1

Position after 27...d4

27...d4 is a mistake. What is the best continuation for white here?

Position after 28...Rxd4

29.Qxd4 is an option and it was played in the game. However it was not the best choice for white. What should have white done instead?

Just when it seemed like the second game will also end up in a draw, Visakh erred in the game and Diptayan capitalized.

Visakh - Diptayan, Game 2

Position after 41.b4

41.b4 costs the game for white. Why?

Position after 46.Rxg5

Black is completely winning here. How should black continue after 46.Rxg5. The game continued with 46...Rb5 which certainly did not help black's case. Eventually the game ended up in a draw in another 14 moves.

Diptayan-Visakh encounter could not yield a result in both of their games, thus Armageddon was enforced.

Diptayan - Visakh, Armageddon

Position after 56.Rb1

White's position started falling apart after 56.Rb1. The game continued with 56...Bc6 and white was forced to play 57.Bb5 otherwise the passed a-pawn would have become a monster. Eventually Visakh missed a couple of simple tactics, thus the game ended up in a draw. However, as per Armageddon rules, black advances in case of a draw. Thus Visakh advanced to the Quarter-Finals and he will face GM Narayanan S L.

GM Visakh N R had a bumpy start but still managed to advance to the Quarter-Finals | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Abhimanyu - Mitrabha: 1-2*

Mitrabha erred in the middle game which gave his opponent Abhimanyu a decent advantage.

Abhimanyu - Mitrabha, Game 1

Position after 13...Bc8

13...Bc8 provides a phantom support to the f5-pawn which does not help black.13...Qd8 or Kh8 would have been a better choice probably.

Position after 25.Qd4

Mitrabha managed to recover but he got disconnected after 25.Qd4. Black is not losing here as the threat at g7 can be defended.

The IM bounced back and delivered an equalizer by winning the must-win second game against Abhimanyu. He had a good position for the better part of the game but he allowed his opponent to equalize.

Mitrabha - Abhimanyu, Game 2

Position after 33...Bg7

The game continued with 34.Rxf7, however there was a better continuation for white. What is it? Eventually Abhimanyu ran out of time and the score became a 1-1 tie in a seemingly equal position.

After the first two games ended up in a victory each for both Mitrabha and Abhimanyu, Armageddon was in order. Mitrabha got black pieces in Armageddon which means he just needed a draw to advance, however he pounced when an opportunity was presented and converted it into a victory.

Abhimanyu - Mitrabha, Armageddon

Position after 26.h3

In an already difficult position, Abhimanyu caused further damage to his position with 26.h3. Black played the obvious 26...Nd5 and won the game in another eight moves.

Mitrabha made a great recovery and advanced to the Quarter-Finals | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Gukesh - Vishnu: 2*-1

The first game between the student Gukesh and coach Vishnu ended up in a hard-fought draw. Even in the Queen ending, Gukesh kept pushing for an advantage but Vishnu made sure that he does not make any mistake.

The second game was a short 28-move draw. However the final position was in Vishnu's favour.

Gukesh playing with white pieces was in a must-win situation against Vishnu. He erred first which his opponent almost caught him.

Gukesh - Vishnu, Armageddon

Position after 14.cxd5

White was not forced to play 14.cxd5. What should have white played instead?

Position after 29...f5

29...f5 was the obvious game losing blunder. Black should have played something quiet like 29...Be5 or Rd7 to hold the position. With this win, Gukesh advanced to the Quarter-Finals where he will face IM Mitrabha Guha.

Gukesh advances to the Quarter-Finals | Photo: Niki Riga

Arjun Erigaisi - Arjun Kalyan: 2-0

GM Arjun Erigaisi capitalized on his advantage against IM Arjun Kalyan with ease in the first game to score a victory.

Erigaisi - Kalyan, Game 1

Position after 29.Ba3

White is in full control of the position. Black needs to make sure that further damage is avoided. 29...Qd7 did not help black. What should have black done instead?

Arjun Kalyan launched a devastating attack which rattled Arjun Erigaisi as he could not find the best defence initially.

Kalyan - Erigaisi, Game 2

Position after 23.Nxg5

Black's kingside is completely shattered but it's not over yet. What is correct way for black to continue after 23.Nxg5 ? The game went on with 23...Qg7 which is certainly not the best choice as white can continue his relentless attack. Soon after white blundered and black increased his advantage which he had no trouble converting into a victory. Thus Arjun Erigaisi advanced to the Quarter-Finals.

GM Arjun Erigaisi made a quick work of IM Arjun Kalyan

Praggnanandhaa - Pranesh: 2*-1

GM Praggnanandhaa won a topsy-turvy battle against IM Pranesh M. Both sides made plenty of inaccuracies where Pranesh made a good recovery and was almost on the brink of victory but he made some heavy mistakes which cost him the game.

Praggnanandhaa - Pranesh, Game 1

Position after 36.g4

The above position is absolutely volatile, surprisingly it is black who can wreak havoc. Find out the best continuation for black after 36.g4. Pranesh missed it and eventually lost the game.

In another roller coaster of a battle, Pranesh went wrong early in the opening.

Pranesh - Praggnanandhaa, Game 2

Position after 14...Kd8

The simplest way for white to recover the lost piece is by playing 15.d6. However Pranesh went 15.Bg5 and after 15...Bc5 black is in complete command except the balance of power kept shifting between both players for the rest of the game.

Position after 39.Qh7

Black can still bring the full point home after 39.Qh7. How?

Pranesh went completely wrong in the opening in Armageddon and could not make a comeback for the rest of the game.

Praggnanandhaa had a shaky start but he recovered well and is through to the Quarter-Finals where he will face GM Arjun Erigaisi

Raunak - Harsha: 0-2

GM Raunak Sadhwani misjudged the magnitude of GM Harsha Bharathakoti's attack in the first game.

Raunak - Harsha, Game 1

Position after 24.b4

Find out why 24.b4 is a huge mistake and what white should have done instead.

In the second game, Raunak made an incorrect recapture which gave Harsha a tangible advantage, however he could not maintain it for long.

Harsha - Raunak, Game 2

Position after 20...fxe4

20...fxe4 allowed white to push 21.f5 and create some chances on the kingside. Raunak managed to equalize eventually but he blundered in the seemingly equal endgame and lost the game. Thus Harsha advanced to the next stage.

GM Harsha Bharathakoti advanced to the Quarter-Finals | Photo: Rupali Mullick

Abhijeet - Aronyak: 0.5-1.5

GM Abhijeet Gupta was held to a well fought draw by IM Aronyak Ghosh in the first game.

Abhijeet got his pieces all tied up in a cramped position and he was forced to 'undevelop' his pieces to try and free them up. Unfortunately for him, things did not work out and he lost the game. Thus Aronyak advanced to the Quarter-Finals.

Aronyak - Abhijeet, Game 2

Position after 23...Nb8

When black has to play 23...Nb8, you can understand that something has gone terribly wrong for black. Shortly black had to play Ra7 also and the game was wrapped in another ten moves.

Aronyak beat Abhijeet convincingly to setup a clash with Harsha in the Quarter-Finals | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

* - Won by Armageddon

Replay all games of Pre Quarter-Finals

Replay the Live stream

Live Commentary of Vidit Chess Tour - Pre Quarter-Finals (Round of 16) by GM Srinath Narayanan and IM Bhakti Kulkarni | Video: chess24 India

Top 16 Qualifiers

The qualifier events took place from 21st to 28th February 2021 on Tornelo. The time control for each event was 3 mins + 2 second increment.

Here are the results:

Event 1 (21st February) - GM Arjun Erigaisi 8.0/9 and GM Harsha Bharathakoti 7.5/9

Event 2 (22nd February) - GM Raunak Sadhwani 8.5/9 and GM Abhimanyu Puranik 7.5/9

Event 3 (23rd February) - GM Narayanan S L 8.0/9 and IM Mitrabha Guha 8.0/9

Event 4 (24th February) - GM Praggnanandhaa 7.5/9 and IM Sammed Shete 7.5/9

Event 5 (25th February) - GM Visakh N R 8.0/9 and IM Arjun Kalyan 7.5/9

Event 6 (26th February) - IM Aronyak Ghosh 8.0/9 and GM D Gukesh 7.0/9

Event 7 (27th February) - IM Pranesh M 7.5/9 and GM Vishnu Prasanna 7.0/9

Event 8 (28th February) - GM Abhijeet Gupta 7.5/9 and GM Diptayan Ghosh 7.0/9

The Top 16 finishers of Vidit Chess Tour | Photo: chess24 India


Online Qualifiers: 21st to 28th Feb at 7 pm IST

Pre Quarter-Finals: 4th March at 7 pm IST

Quarter-Finals: 5th March at 7 pm IST

Semi-Finals: 6th March at 7 pm IST

Finals: 7th March at 7 pm IST

Knockout Format

Pre Quarter-Finals - A total of 16 Participants will play in pre-quarters. The pre-quarters will be a series of two games. In case the score is equal, the result will be drawn by a single Armageddon game.


Quarter Finals - The remaining eight players will play a best of two games knockout series against their opponent. In case of a draw, there will be Armageddon.


Semi Finals - Top two players in each group will play two games against each other and winner in each group will qualify for finals. In case of a tie between two players, there will be a single Armageddon game.


Finals - Series of four games to decide the winner. In case of draw, there will be Armageddon.


Time control for the eight Qualifiers is 3 minutes + 2 seconds while for Knockout stages is 15 minutes + 10 seconds. Armageddon games will have a time control of 4 mins for player with the black pieces and 5 mins for player with white pieces.


1st - US$ 1000

2nd - US$ 750

3rd - US$ 500

4th to 16th - US$ 233


Top eight finishers will get an entry to Indian Qualifiers of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and chess24 Premium subscription and free chessable courses.


Official site

Tournament Regulations

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