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World Youth 2019 Rd.8: In the battle of Indian GMs, Pragg beats Iniyan

by Sagar Shah - 10/10/2019

The eighth round of the World Youth 2019 was a critical one. Some of the leaders are not letting go of their grip of the top spots, while in some sections, motivated players are coming up with back to back wins to stake their claim on the title. Abinandhan continued with yet another win. The 1830 rated youngsters now has a performance of 2598. Praggnanandhaa beat Iniyan to join Aryan Gholami in the lead in under-18 open section. Hans Niemann is unstoppable in the under-16 open. The American chalked up yet another victory. Shuvalova maintains her lead in girls under-18 while there is very little to choose between Nurgali and Garifullina who are both winning their games in girls under-16. A detailed report from Mumbai, India. 

Under-14 open - Abinandhan Unstoppable

When 1830-rated Abinandhan reached 6.0/7, everyone felt that it was a good performance, but he will not be able to keep it up. Well, he has a made a good start after the rest day and beat his compatriot Srihari LR (2283) with the black pieces in the Tartakower QGD.

Srihari was unable to match Abinandhan's cool and calm play | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Srihari LR vs Abinandhan

Srihari launched an attack with g4 but Abinandhan met it calmly by just playing ...Ne4

Just to give you an example of how well this youngster is calculating: he took on c4 in this position. Now gxh6 is met with Nxc3 bxc3 and Qf6! with pressure on f3 and also threatening to take on h6 with the queen, keeping the structure intact. If after ...Qf6, White were to play hxg7 then Bxf3 allowing White to take on f8 with a check, as after Kxf8, he will win the rook on h1 and be an entire piece up! Fascinating calculation and judgement by an 1800-rated player.

The knight on d4 is firmly cemented. Black is a pawn up and also the pawn on f2 and h4 are weak. The position is completely lost and Abinandhan converted without any difficulties.
Final moments of Abinandhan's victory over Srihari LR
Sagar Shah caught up with Abinandhan after his game to ask him about his secret of this fantastic performance. There was one thing that Abinandhan revaled - which was that he solved Jacob Aagaard's book on calculation before the event:

If you too would like to play the Tartakower variation in the QGD with black, you can go for Powerplay 23 by Daniel King:

For his excellent opening play and also handling the attack in an accurate manner, Abinandhan wins the best game of the day award by ChessBase | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Quite a huge blunder occurred on board three of the under-14 open section. Sreeshwan Maralakshikari, who is the top seed, was completely dominating his game against Vo Pham Thien Phuc.


Sreeshwan vs Pham Thien

In this position Sreeshwan played the very pretty Qg7+! After Rxg7 hxg7+ Kg8 Rh8+ Kf7, we reach the next critical position of the game.

Sreeshwan, who had 25 minutes, on his clock, in a hurry took the queen on e8. Instead he had a mate in four move which he missed! Can you spot it?
In this video you get to see this critical moment of the game and also we tell you what Sreeshwan missed!

Standings in under 14 open after 8 rounds

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
Abinandhan RIND18307,00,036,040,046
IMSuleymanli AydinAZE24266,50,038,542,045
FMSrihari L RIND22836,00,038,541,546
FMSreeshwan MaralakshikariIND24496,00,037,041,045
FMChyzy JakubPOL23276,00,036,040,545
FMMorgunov MarcAUT22806,00,035,038,034
Vo Pham Thien PhucVIE18076,00,034,038,044
Shah JeetIND18446,00,032,034,546
Kolay AlexUSA21645,50,040,043,544
CMLuczak FilipPOL21365,50,038,042,544

Under-14 girls - A three-way tie still at the top

The under-14 girls section is going to be closely fought. After eight rounds we have three leaders, all from different countries. Eline Roebers from the Netherlands, Rakshitta Ravi from India and Ekaterina Nasyrova from Russia.

The top board clash between Rakshitta Ravi and Ekaterina Nasyrova ended in a draw | Photo: Amruta Mokal

For her first World Youth Championships, Eline Roebers is doing exceedingly well. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The top seed of the event Divya Deshmukh slumped to a painful defeat against Sarayu Velpula who was rated 600 points below her:

Standings in under 14 girls after 8 rounds

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
Roebers ElinewNED20836,50,039,043,545
WIMRakshitta RaviwIND23106,50,039,042,545
WFMNasyrova EkaterinawRUS21376,50,038,543,045
Hakobyan AstghikwARM19786,00,037,041,035
Velpula SarayuwIND17176,00,036,539,546
WFMAllahverdiyeva AyanwAZE21606,00,033,537,046
WCMMungunzul Bat-ErdenewMGL19126,00,033,035,545
WIMDivya DeshmukhwIND23585,50,037,040,545
Poliakova VarvarawBLR20425,50,034,537,535
Wikar MartynawPOL19695,50,034,038,043

Under-16 open: Hans Niemann's bold and creative play continues

After beating his top competitor Rudik Makarian in round 7, Hans Niemann was up against Miguel Angel Soto of Colombia. It was a complex opening where the Colombian looked better prepared. But Hans was confident about his play, sacrificed material without much care, and built up a strong winning attack.

Hans Niemann got the better of Miguel Angel Soto in round 8 of the under-16 open | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Soto vs Niemann, round 8

White has moved his knight to f5 and this line has scored pretty well for White in the past. You must note that because the e6 pawn is pinned, the d5 knight is also hanging. Niemann was unperturbed. He played...Qc7 allowing White to pick up the knight.

The American IM had prepared 0-0-0 here!

Material was the last thing on Niemann's mind in this game!

Hans Niemann will now take on Indian Aronyak Ghosh in round 9 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Rudik Makarian came back strongly in round 8 to beat Olexiy Bilych. He is in sole second position with 6.5/8 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Standings in under 16 open after 8 rounds

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
IMNiemann Hans MokeUSA24397,00,037,041,046
IMMakarian RudikRUS23866,50,039,043,046
CMAronyak GhoshIND23806,00,036,540,044
CMKushagra MohanIND23096,00,034,537,544
IMPogosyan StefanRUS23645,50,038,041,043
FMDaghli ArashIRI23875,50,036,540,545
Bilych OlexiyUKR22815,50,035,037,545
IMRaja Rithvik RIND23695,50,034,037,044
FMSoto Miguel AngelCOL22835,50,033,536,545
FMGharibyan MamikonARM23885,50,033,536,544

Two way race - Nurgali or Garifullina

Ever since Garifullina missed her chance to beat Nurgali in round five, the Kazakh girl has been playing excellent chess. In round 8 she beat Romanian Alessia-Mihaela Ciolacu. The end was especially picturesque.

Nurgali Nazerke got the better of her Romanian opponent in round 8 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nurgali vs Ciolacu, round 8

White to move and win!

A picturesque move! The bishop cannot take the pawn as Qe1 would be a mate. The queen cannot take the pawn as Qh5 would be a mate! All that Black could do was resign

Who do you think will come out on top - Garifullina or Nurgali? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Standings in under 16 girls after 8 rounds

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
11WCMGarifullina LeyawRUS23307,00,539,042,546
4WFMNurgali NazerkewKAZ21947,00,539,042,546
37WFMMahdian AnoushawIRI21036,50,038,041,045
411WFMSalonika SainawIND20516,00,033,536,045
514WFMBommini Mounika AkshayawIND20175,50,037,040,054
69WFMCiolacu Alessia-MihaelawROU20955,50,034,538,044
76WFMLoskutova ViktoriyawRUS21495,50,033,036,545
812WFMHajiyeva LamanwAZE20385,50,032,035,544
95WFMBulatova KamaliyawRUS21815,50,032,035,044
108WFMSrdanovic JovanawSRB21005,50,031,034,545


Under-18 open: Pragg joins Gholami at the top

After two draws in a row with black pieces, it was time for Praggnanandhaa to fire with the white pieces. His opponent was by no means an easy one. P. Iniyan with an Elo of 2509 is already a grandmaster. It was a psychological battle where both players knew each others strengths and weaknesses very well. When Pragg opened the game with 1.e4, he expected Iniyan to play his usual Sicilian Defence. However, the GM from Erode, decided to go for 1...d6. After a few moves, Pragg was already in driver's seat with dominating knight on e5 square.

The knight on e5 dominates the entire board. The bishop on c8 and the rook on a8 are just spectators!

The tournament director Mr. Ravindra Dongre checks out the proceedings between of India's best players at the event | Photo: Amruta Mokal
The final moments of the tense game

Aryan Gholami was held to a draw by Mitrabha Guha | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Standings in under 18 open after 8 rounds

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
IMGholami AryanIRI25546,50,537,541,535
GMPraggnanandhaa RIND25676,50,536,539,045
GMSargsyan ShantARM25806,00,037,542,044
IMZarubitski ViachaslauBLR24356,00,035,539,055
IMMitrabha GuhaIND24346,00,035,039,044
IMAditya MittalIND24305,50,036,539,543
IMGazik ViktorSVK25465,50,035,037,544
FMSydoryka VladyslavUKR22475,50,034,036,045
IMPultinevicius PauliusLTU25035,50,033,537,544
IMBlohberger FelixAUT24485,50,032,536,545

Girls under-18 - Can anyone stop Shuvalova?

Shuvalova drew her game against Vantika, but is still the leader by a half point margin | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Vantika shows how she managed to escape from the claws of her strong Russian opponent!

The game between Anna Afonasieva (left) and Lara Schulze ended in a draw | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Standings in under 18 girls after 8 rounds

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
WIMShuvalova PolinawRUS24126,50,036,038,545
WIMVantika AgrawalwIND22836,00,036,540,544
FMSchulze LarawGER23276,00,034,037,544
Yan TianqiwCHN22366,00,032,035,546
WGMObolentseva AlexandrawRUS22826,00,032,035,544
WFMMakhija AashnawIND20845,50,035,538,543
WFMAfonasieva AnnawRUS23125,50,035,038,045
WIMMunkhzul TurmunkhwMGL23325,50,034,037,043
WFMUrh ZalawSLO21055,50,031,032,535
WFMSerikbay AsselwKAZ22085,00,035,539,033

The chief arbiter of the event - Takis Nikolopoulos | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Some worried parents before the round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Some relaxed parents before the game! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Russians having a nice time with each other before the round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The well known "The Hindu" journalist Rakesh Rao, who has been covering this event with great enthusiasm | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Cranberry of Rood fruit. Whats your favourite flavour? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The importance of sports psychology in chess

Janki Rajapurkar was the guest speaker on 9th of October 2019 for the workshops that are held for the parents and coaches present at the World Youth 2019. Her topic was the importance of psychology for chess players.

Janki Rajapurkar is the co-founder of Samiksha, India's first sports psychology firm and she is also a Ph.D holder in Sports psychology. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A lot of parents and coaches sat through the session with rapt attention! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
The entire talk by Janki Rajapurkar, that can be replayed

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