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Indians at Cappelle La Grande

by Sagar Shah - 18/02/2016

12 Indians are playing at the Cappelle La Grande tournament in France. We have some of the top guys like Sasikiran, Abhijeet Gupta, Lalith Babu who are all on 4.0/5 and also fiery talents like 11-year-old Nihal Sarin who beat his first grandmaster of his chess career! With four rounds to go the tournament is very interestingly poised and we can look forward to a strong Indian finish.

The Cappelle La Grande International tournament is being held from the 13th to the 20th of February in the northern region of France. This tournament holds special importance to Indian fans as 12 of our players have made their way to play in this famous open event.

Cappelle-La-Grande is a commune in the Nord department in northern France

The tournament is being held in Palais des Arts et des Loisirs which translates to Palace of Arts and Recreation

The huge and spacious playing hall
The tournament is extremely strong with the participation of more than 50 grandmasters. And can you guess the number of entries? A whopping 537 players! Right from a 2667 World Championship finalist at the top to a 1009 rated guy! Even though there are so many players in the event 

1

g

KAMSKY Gata

2667 F

SenM

USA

2

g

BERKES Ferenc

2649 F

SenM

HUN

 

 

3

g

GHARAMIAN Tigran

2643 F

SenM

FRA

 

 

4

g

KRAVTSIV Martyn

2636 F

SenM

UKR

 

 

5

g

VOVK Andrey

2632 F

SenM

UKR

6

g

SASIKIRAN Krishnan

2632 F

SenM

IND

 

 

7

g

BAUER Christian

2631 F

SenM

FRA

   

8

g

ITURRIZAGA BONELLI Eduardo

2624 F

SenM

VEN

9

g

VOVK Yuri

2620 F

SenM

UKR

 

 

10

g

LU Shanglei

2617 F

SenM

CHN

 

The top ten seeds of the tournament

 

GM Gata Kamsky is the top seed of the tournament
The Indian challenge is being led Sasikiran Krishnan
After a draw in the first round, Sasikiran has picked up speed and is currently on 4.0/5. He has beaten GM Bogdan Lalic, IM Kamran Shirazi and IM Irina Bulmaga. Here is his win over GM Lalic, the one in which he made a nice exchange sacrifice.
[Event "32e Open International"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.16"]
[Round "5.8"]
[White "Sasikiran, Krishnan"]
[Black "Lalic, Bogdan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D20"]
[WhiteElo "2632"]
[BlackElo "2429"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 Nc6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. d5 Ne5 6. Bf4 Ng6 7. Be3 Nf6 8. Nc3
e5 9. Bxc4 Nh4 10. Rg1 a6 11. Be2 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Nxf3+ 13. gxf3 g6 14. Qb3 Qc8
15. Rc1 Bd6 16. Na4 Nd7 17. Nc5 b6 18. Nxd7 Qxd7 19. Bg5 f5 20. Bh6 Qb5 21. Rc6
Qxb3 22. axb3 fxe4 23. fxe4 Kd7 24. Rg3 a5 25. Rf3 Rhe8 26. Kd2 a4 27. Kc2 a3
28. bxa3 Rxa3 29. Bg5 Ra2+ 30. Kd3 Rea8 31. Rf7+ Ke8 {The position is slightly
in favour of White. Here instead of taking the h7 pawn Sasi decides to
sacrifice an exchange so that the path of his d-pawn would be cleared.} 32.
Rcxc7 $1 Bxc7 33. Rxc7 Rxf2 $2 (33... R8a7 {was necessary and after} 34. Rc8+
Kf7 35. Be3 $14 {White has an edge.}) 34. d6 $1 {There is no way to stop the
d-pawn now.} Rd8 35. Re7+ Kf8 36. Bh6+ Kg8 37. d7 {The threat of Rd8 forces
Black to give up the rook for the d-pawn.} Rxd7+ 38. Rxd7 {The rest as they
say is matter of technique.} Rxh2 39. Bg5 Rb2 40. Kc4 b5+ 41. Kd5 Rxb3 42. Kxe5
Rc3 43. Bh6 Rh3 44. Kf6 1-0
GM Abhijeet Gupta is currently on 4.0/5. His live game showed that he lost his first round to FM Michael Song, however the tournament results give a full point to Abhijeet. Things are not so clear as to what happened here, but as of now we are happy that Abhijeet is on 4.0/5 and well on course for a strong finish.
One of the most exciting players to follow is the 11-year-old Nihal Sarin
The talented kid from Kerala created a flutter when he defeated GM Jean-Luc Chabanon in the first round. This was the first GM scalp for Nihal in his chess career. He has followed up on this performance with a win over IM Kevin Terrieux and a draw against GM Kevin Spraggett. As of now he is on 3.5/5. We can expect Nihal to come back with an IM norm from here and who knows if he beats another GM or two a GM norm might well be on cards. 
Gregory Cleton who is rated around 1600 saw him in action and wrote on facebook: "I saw Nihal today at Cappelle la Grande in France, he won his game against a french man rated 2440 elo. He is amazing!!!"
The legendary Arthur Yusupov is also playing at the event
With two draws and three wins Lalith Babu is on 4.0/5
GM Vishnu Prasanna is also on 4.0/5
G.N. Gopal beat the 2600+ GM Eduardo Iturrizaga, but lost to the top seed Gata Kamsky and is currently on 3.5/5
Also on 3.5/5 is IM Anurag Mhamal from Goa
Not all the participants in the playing hall are humans. We have some exotic birds...
...and some animals that perfectly resemble the game of chess!

Pairings of Round six

Ech.

Pts

 

Blancs

 

Res.

Noirs

 

 

Pts

1

[4½]

BAUER Christian

2631 F

 

KRAVTSIV Martyn

2636 F

[4]

6

2

6

[4]

DJUKIC Nikola

2565 F

 

KAMSKY Gata

2667 F

[4]

6

3

6

[4]

BURMAKIN Vladimir

2556 F

 

SASIKIRAN Krishnan

2632 F

[4]

6

4

6

[4]

ITURRIZAGA BONELLI Eduardo

2624 F

 

LALITH BABU M R

2554 F

[4]

6

5

6

[4]

LU Shanglei

2617 F

 

GUREVICH Mikhail

2542 F

[4]

6

6

6

[4]

NEVEDNICHY Vladislav

2547 F

 

GUPTA Abhijeet

2613 F

[4]

6

7

6

[4]

KRASENKOW Michal

2612 F

 

TROFF Kayden W

2511 F

[4]

6

8

6

[4]

VISHNU PRASANNA. V

2526 F

 

FELLER Sebastien

2610 F

[4]

6

9

6

[4]

NEIKSANS Arturs

2607 F

 

KVEINYS Aloyzas

2524 F

[4]

6

10

6

[4]

SPRAGGETT Kevin

2522 F

 

ZUBOV Alexander

2603 F

[4]

6

With last four rounds to go and four Indians - Sasikiran, Abhijeet Gupta, Lalith Babu and Vishnu Prasanna, on 4.0/5 we can expect a strong finish by at least one of them. Also we should keep a tab on the prodigious Nihal Sarin who has a great chance of making his maiden IM/GM norm.
You can watch the live games here.The games are being shown with a delay of 15 minutes. Games begin at 7.30 p.m IST.
Official website
About the photographer
Ronald Flou, 49 years old and lives in Mesen (near Ieper), Belgium. He plays for the KISK (koninglijke Ieperse schaakcklub) since last 15 years.
When he is not playing he likes to take pictures. You can find all the pictures of the Cappelle tournament on his club's facebook-page and you can also check out his work on flickr.