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Stany scores his maiden GM norm

by Sagar Shah - 21/04/2016

Stany has been one of the strongest International Masters in India for quite some time now. But he never really seemed to be taking the next step towards the GM title. But in the past six months he seems to be in a hurry. The 23-year-old from Karnataka has not only gained 60 Elo points but also achieved his maiden grandmaster norm. In this article Stany describes his journey of how he achieved the GM norm and also shares with us a truly beautiful victory against a Lithuanian GM.

"Start was late...hopefully the finish will be fast", this is how G.A. Stany describes his feat of scoring his maiden GM norm at the Lucopen in Lille, France. The 7th Lucopen tournament was held from the 9th to the 15th of April 2016. It was a Swiss event that attracted 124 players. There were seven grandmasters and nine International Masters at the event. Due to the low number of titled players, it was surely not a tournament where you would be expected to score a GM norm. But it has been shown in the past by many players, that what matters is your playing form and not the strength of the field. Stany scored 7.0/9 to finish second in the tournament.

With focus and determination Stany scored his maiden GM norm 

"I think the key element that has made a difference in my chess career is my chess coach V.Saravanan. Mainly he motivated me to work hard and develop love for the game." From 2385 in October 2015, Stany now has an Elo of 2443. The 23-year-old from Karnataka has been an IM for quite a few years now. This GM norm would be the perfect breakthrough that he was looking for to make a dash towards the 2500 Elo mark.

 The city of Lille is located in Northern France near the border of Belgium

The tournament was held in Palais Ramaeu, a heritage structure in Lille
It is quite a majestic feeling to play inside a palace!

Stany made a brilliant start at the event with 4.0/4. He beat his compatriot GM Sundararajan Kidambi in the fourth round. This was followed by a draw against Erik Blomqvist, who finished first, and then two wins. These two wins were the most crucial ones and were scored against IM Ivajlo Enchev and GM Aloyzas Kveinys. With 6.5/7 it seemed liked nothing could go wrong for our guy. But then disaster struck.

Stany lost his eighth round to the top seed Sergey Fedorchuk of Ukraine

Fedorchuk was Stany's room-mate in the tournament. Was it difficult facing the person with whom he shared the room? "Yeah it was quite tough. During the entire event he was talking to me all the time, teaching me some French words and all. But when we were paired against each other, that day, he was very silent. It was quite weird." 

But Stany is happy that he stayed with such an elite grandmaster, "I am glad that I stayed with Sergey. I thought 2600+ players work 24 hours a day and have no fears. But when you stay with these guys you get the inside picture - even they are scared and go through fears of facing lower rated opponents. This gives you more confidence."

"After my loss against Fedorchuk I couldn't sleep. I needed a draw to make my first GM norm. I was playing against GM Gyula Pap of Hungary and having the white pieces did help. The fact that I have played so many tournaments with a grueling schedule in India helped me even though I was not well rested before the final round. And I was able to make a draw and achieve the maiden GM norm!"
[Event "Luc Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.04.16"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Stany.g.a"]
[Black "Gyula, Pap"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C48"]
[WhiteElo "2443"]
[BlackElo "2549"]
[PlyCount "44"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2007.11.13"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. Na4 Bb6 7. Nxb6 axb6 8.
d4 Bd7 9. Bxc6 Bxc6 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Nxe5 Qxd1 12. Rxd1 Bxe4 13. Bg5 Bf5 14.
Bxf6 gxf6 15. Nd3 O-O 16. a3 Rad8 17. f3 Rd4 18. Kf2 Rfd8 19. Ke2 Re8+ 20. Kf2
Red8 21. Ke2 Re8+ 22. Kf2 Red8 1/2-1/2

Stany's trip in Europe has not yet come to an end. He is now playing in the Malakoff Open. "Last time I played in Europe I went for two tournaments Liffre and Sautron and it worked out very well. So this year too I decided to play in two events."
And which was Stany's favourite game from the tournament? "I liked my win against GM Aloyzas Kveinys in the seventh round." Stany sent us the game with his annotations. But before we show you the game here's a position where you are faced with the eternal dilemma, which rook is the correct rook?
Stany vs Kveinys
Which rook will you play to c1 and why? The answer is in the game annotations below.
[Event "Luc Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.04.13"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Stany.g.a"]
[Black "Kveinys, Aloyaz"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B42"]
[WhiteElo "2443"]
[BlackElo "2542"]
[Annotator "Stany.g.a"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2007.11.13"]

{This game is all about rook maneuvring.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4
a6 5. Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Ba7 7. c4 Ne7 8. Nc3 d6 9. Qe2 e5 10. Be3 Bxe3 11. Qxe3
Be6 12. O-O Nd7 13. Rfd1 Qb6 14. Qxb6 Nxb6 15. Na5 {putting pressure on b7 and
prepares b4-c5} O-O-O 16. Nd5 (16. b4 {doesnt work now} Nc6 17. Nxc6 bxc6 18.
c5 dxc5 19. bxc5 Nd7 20. Bxa6+ Kc7 $15) 16... Nbxd5 $6 (16... Bxd5 17. exd5 f5
18. b4 {with slight edge for white}) 17. cxd5 Bd7 {Black's awkward piece
placement gives initiative to White now} 18. Rdc1+ $1 {The maneuvring starts
from here} Kb8 19. Rc3 {Threatening Rb3} Rc8 (19... Ka7 20. Rc7 Kb6 21. Rxb7+
Kxa5 22. Bc2 $1 Bb5 23. a3 {forced mate to follow with b4}) 20. Rb3 b5 21. a4 {
The point of 18.Rdc1 and not 18.Rac1. The rook is now useful on the a-file.}
Rc5 22. Rb4 {vacating b3 square for the knight} f5 23. f3 fxe4 24. fxe4 Rd8 (
24... Rhc8 25. Nb3 R5c7 26. axb5 axb5 27. Ra6 $16) 25. Nb3 Rc7 (25... Kc7 26.
axb5 axb5 27. Nxc5 dxc5 28. Ra7+ Kd6 29. Rxd7+ Rxd7 30. Rxb5) 26. axb5 axb5 27.
Raa4 $1 {this is my favorite move of the game. Now i will win the b5 pawn by
force} (27. Bxb5 Rb7 28. Ra5 Nc8 $17 {gives Black some chances to defend.})
27... Rb7 28. Na5 Rb6 29. Nc4 bxa4 (29... bxc4 {Would have run into a very
nice mate} 30. Rxb6+ Kc7 31. Rab4 cxd3 32. Rb7+ Kc8 33. Rb8+ Kc7 34. R4b7#) 30.
Nxb6 Kc7 31. Nxd7 Rxd7 32. Rxa4 {1st part of Rook manoeuvre is completed and
now 2nd part of the manoeurve will start and this time it will be on the king
side!} Kb8 33. Ra6 Nc8 34. Ra1 {If the rooks are exchanged then Black has good
chances to make draw by creating a fortress. So I decided to leave my b-pawn
now and play on king side.} Rb7 35. Rf1 Rxb2 36. Rf8 {Threatening Ba6 which if
allowed will be a permanent pin} Ra2 37. Bb5 Ra7 (37... Kc7 38. Rf7+ Kb6 39.
Bd7 Ra7 40. Rxg7) 38. Be2 Kc7 39. Bg4 Nb6 40. Rh8 $1 {My plan of giving away b
pawn works only due to this move} (40. Rg8 g6 41. Rg7+ Kb8 $11) 40... Na4 (
40... h6 41. Rg8 g5 42. Rg7+ Kb8 43. Rg6 $18) 41. Rxh7 Kb6 42. h4 Nc3 43. Bf3
Ra4 44. Rxg7 Nxe4 45. h5 Nf6 46. h6 e4 47. Be2 e3 48. g4 Ra2 49. Kf1 Nxd5 50.
Rf7 {Black resigned.} (50. h7 Nf4) 1-0

Wasn't that a brilliant game. Some of Stany's ideas were truly excellent. Rdc1-c3-b3. And then the brilliant Raa4! and finally giving up the b-pawn to attack on the kingside. A great creative effort in a queenless middlegame!
It is always a pleasure to be present at an event where the tournament director is enthusiastic and friendly. Serge Weill makes sure that the Lucopen is held every year in Lille.
A typical cafe in streets of Lille
There was also a zoo near the playing venue with exotic species like the Red Panda
The Author of these lines made his second GM norm at the Lucopen in Lille in 2015. Stany repeated that feat in 2016. Which Indian player is going to continue this tradition in 2017?!

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