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Anand does a Carlsen!

by Sagar Shah - 27/01/2016

At the Qatar Masters Open 2015 Magnus Carlsen drew his first round game against Nino Batsiashvili and went on to win the tournament. Anand has taken the first step in the right direction(!), by drawing his game against Szidonia Vajda rated 450 Elo points below him! We have an illustrated report from Gibraltar with game analysis, pictures and a special moment sent to us by Nisha Mohota.

Pictures by Sophie Tray and John Saunders


The Gibraltar Masters began on the 26th of January 2016 with a star studded field in the masters section. Three of the world's absolute elite: Vishy Anand, Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier Lagrave are playing here. 254 players from 51 countries are taking part in this event. There are 74 grandmasters and 50 International Masters. Like all first round battles in such high profile events, the top seeds had a pretty easy outing. Most of them won their games, but it was quite a huge upset when Szidonia Vajda (2357) held Vishy Anand to a draw.

Anand looking calm and relaxed before the first round

Of course he was well aware of what had happened to Magnus Carlsen at the first round of the Qatar Masters Open 2015. The World Champion had drawn his game against the unheralded Nino Batsiashvili. [picture by Amruta Mokal]

Anand tried as hard as he could. He even had the advantage of having an outside passed pawn, but it was clearly insufficient as he just couldn't break through black's defences.
The day belonged to Szidonia Vajda from Hungary


[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2016"]
[Site "Caleta ENG"]
[Date "2016.01.26"]
[Round "1.3"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Lazarne Vajda, Szidonia"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D16"]
[WhiteElo "2784"]
[BlackElo "2359"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2016.01.26"]
1. c4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 e6 {This is more in the style
of QGA.} (5... Bf5 {is of course the main line.}) 6. e3 c5 7. Bxc4 Nc6 8. O-O
cxd4 9. exd4 Be7 10. Qe2 O-O (10... Nxd4 11. Nxd4 Qxd4 12. Bb5+ {Followed by
Rd1 is just too much initiative for the pawn.}) 11. Rd1 {Usually White would
like to place his rooks on e1 and d1 but here the d4 pawn was hanging and
hence this move was necessary.} Nb4 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 Bd7 14. Ne5 {Anand
plays in typical style when one has the isolated pawn and has a nice
initiative.} Be8 $6 (14... Bc6 {was much better. The exchange on c6 is really
in Black's favour.} 15. Nxc6 bxc6 $1 $11 {And the control on d5 square is
quite high.}) 15. a5 $5 Nfd5 $1 {Getting this knight to d5 is always better as
it invites White for an exchange on e7.} 16. Bg3 (16. Bxe7 Nxe7 17. a6 {
could have been slightly preferable for White than what happened in the game.})
16... Rc8 17. a6 bxa6 18. Nxd5 exd5 $1 19. Bxa6 Rc2 $1 {Black has excellent
play and has equalised the position without any difficulties.} 20. Rd2 Rxd2 21.
Qxd2 Qb6 22. Bf1 a5 23. h4 Bf6 24. Ra3 Nc6 25. Nxc6 Bxc6 26. Rxa5 Qxd4 27. Qxd4
Bxd4 $11 {The position has petered out into equality and we have to agree that
Szidonia played a wonderful game.} 28. b4 {This advantage of outside passed
pawn is not so great. There isn't enough material on the board for it to be
something tangible.} Ra8 29. Bd3 Bb6 30. Rxa8+ Bxa8 31. Kf1 f6 32. h5 Kf7 33.
Ke2 Bc6 34. Bf4 Ke7 35. f3 Bd4 36. Be3 Bxe3 37. Kxe3 Bb7 38. Kd4 Kd6 39. b5 (
39. Bb5 Ba8 40. Be8 Bb7 41. b5 Ba8 42. Bg6 Bb7 43. Bf5 Ba8 44. Bc8 Kc7 45. Be6
Kd6 $11 {And there doesn't really seem a way to breakthrough.}) 39... Bc8 40.
g4 Bd7 41. b6 Bc8 42. Bg6 Kc6 43. Bf5 Bb7 44. Be6 Kxb6 45. Bxd5 Bc8 $1 {
A draw was agreed. A fine game by the Hungarian player.} (45... Bxd5 $4 {
Of course after playing such an awesome game you aren't going to fall for that!
} 46. Kxd5 $18) 1/2-1/2


In one of our previous report on the ChessBase newspage on the Zalakaros Open 2015 we had mentioned about Szidonia. This is what we wrote:

A few words must be said about this 35-year-old lady. Szidonia was surely the most deserving woman player in the event. She beat GM Danny Raznikov (2494), IM Peter Schreiner (2449) and GM Tamas Banusz (2589). She resumed playing active chess only a year ago – prior to that, she had taken a break from chess in order to focus on her family. Since last year or so she has been training regularly with GM Joszef Horvath and her results in this event show that their work is not in vain. Vajda came to the tournament with her two little kids (as can be seen in the above picture) and one can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her to perform the double role of mother and chess player. Hats off to this strong-willed and determined chess player.

Harikrishna played an opening that was extremely weird but won his game!


Here's the game for you to replay. Just check out the moves Bd7!? and d5!? in the opening:

[Event "Gibraltar Masters 2016"]
[Site "Caleta ENG"]
[Date "2016.01.26"]
[Round "1.4"]
[White "Tate, Alan"]
[Black "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2345"]
[BlackElo "2755"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2016.01.26"]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d6 3. d4 g6 4. Bg2 Bd7 $5 5. Nc3 d5 $5 6. Bg5 c6 7. Bxf6 exf6
8. e4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 f5 10. Ned2 Bh6 11. Ne5 Bc8 12. c3 O-O 13. O-O a5 14. a4 Be6
15. Re1 Na6 16. Qc2 Qc7 17. Rad1 Rad8 18. Nb3 Rd6 19. Nd3 b6 20. Nbc1 c5 21.
dxc5 bxc5 22. Ne5 Rxd1 23. Qxd1 Rd8 24. Qe2 c4 25. Nf3 Bd7 26. Bf1 Rc8 27. Qd1
Nc5 28. Bxc4 Bxa4 29. b3 Be8 30. Bf1 Ne4 31. c4 Rd8 32. Nd3 Bg7 33. Qc2 Bc6 34.
Bg2 Qb6 35. Nf4 Qc5 36. Rf1 Bf6 37. Nd3 Qd6 38. Rd1 Nc3 39. Rd2 Be4 40. Nfe1
Qd4 41. Qb2 Rb8 42. c5 a4 43. b4 Qc4 44. Kh1 Bxd3 45. Nxd3 Ne4 0-1


Surya Shekhar Ganguly survived a scare against Matthias Bach and somehow managed to draw in a pawn down opposite coloured bishop endgame. Ganguly will now play against Szidonia Vajda and Anand will face Ganguly's opponent.

India's top woman player Harika Dronavalli got off to a winning start against Michael Dougherty (2149)

Sethuraman won his game against fellow Indian Pratyusha Bodda

Padmini Rout, who is on a long trip - Keres Memorial, Marienbad Round Robin and now Gibraltar, won her first round game
The two friends from Kolkata had differing fortunes. Sandipan Chanda won his game against Felipe Kubiaki while Nisha Mohota had to face defeat against Pavel Tregubov


Nisha sent us this nice image with the following words, "I took a picture of Anand analysing (with Ganguly and Vishnu- actually it was all of us trying to listen and follow hard the super- fast analysis of Anand and Ganguly! When I took the pic, it was only three of them) Carlsen's win today over Adams! When we have a disappointing result, we like to give a break to chess for some time- but not these top players! It is chess always for them! A gentleman named Asim Pereira created this wonderful Follow Chess App which has made following tournaments so easy for us! Now I know the advantages of a smartphone (which I did not have willingly till last November to keep me away from 'distractions' !)"

IM Tania Sachdev is doing some phenomenal job at the tournament. She is the anchor at the Day's Play video which are highly professionally made. Have a look at this video #2 where she takes at a look at the opening ceremony and talks to top players Vishy Anand and Hikaru Nakamura:

Round 2 on 2016/01/27 at 15:00

Bo. No.   Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg No.
1 66 GM Fodor Tamas Jr. 2500 1   1 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2787 1
2 2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2785 1   1 GM Gunina Valentina 2496 67
3 4 GM Harikrishna P. 2755 1   1 GM Zhukova Natalia 2484 69
4 68 GM Blomqvist Erik 2492 1   1 GM Li Chao B 2751 5
5 70 IM Nakar Eylon 2479 1   1 GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2732 7
6 8 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw 2727 1   1 GM Tarjan James E 2478 71
7 72 IM Ly Moulthun 2474 1   1 GM Rapport Richard 2721 9
8 10 GM Fressinet Laurent 2700 1   1 IM Prasanna Raghuram Rao 2460 77
9 78 IM Galyas Miklos 2459 1   1 GM Bacrot Etienne 2697 11
10 12 GM Ni Hua 2697 1   1 GM Krush Irina 2458 79
11 80 WGM Pogonina Natalija 2454 1   1 GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2696 13
12 14 GM Ragger Markus 2689 1   1 IM Tan Justin 2446 81
13 82 IM Kelires Andreas 2444 1   1 GM Howell David W L 2685 15
14 16 GM Almasi Zoltan 2684 1   1 IM Salomon Johan 2444 83
15 84 IM Shytaj Luca 2443 1   1 GM Short Nigel D 2684 17
16 18 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro 2666 1   1 IM Stark Lars 2440 85
17 86   Kollars Dmitrij 2436 1   1 GM Kamsky Gata 2665 19
18 20 GM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2660 1   1 GM Akesson Ralf 2435 87
19 88 GM Tischbierek Raj 2433 1   1 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2642 23
20 92 FM Santos Ruiz Miguel 2427 1   1 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2639 25
When was the last time that Anand played as far as board number 57 at an event!

Get the results and pairings specifically of only Indian players from chess-results