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Tehran WWC 2.1: Afternoon Siesta

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 15/02/2017

It was quite a boring round from the Indian perspective, to be precise. Harika drew in just 15 moves, which is surprising because she had the white pieces. Padmini had to defend against the London System and she did so and drew. Report.

Tehran WWC 2.1: Afternoon Siesta

What was expected to be a cracker of a contest turned out to be a damp squib. A former junior world champion herself, Harika Dronavalli, is gunning for glory in Iran while her opponent from Kazakhstan, Dinara Saduakassova, is the current world junior champion and a bright hope for the future.

The game ended in a tame draw in 15 moves. It is amazing that Harika chose to take this path where she is just not making the most of the white pieces. It would be very interesting to know her strategy.
[Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"]
[Site "Tehran"]
[Date "2017.02.14"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Harika, Dronavalli"]
[Black "Saduakassova, Dinara"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2539"]
[BlackElo "2428"]
[Annotator "ChessBase"]
[PlyCount "29"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3
e5 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. f5 d5 11. exd5 cxd5 12. O-O-O Bb7 13. Bc4 e4 14. Bb5+ Kf8
15. Qe2 1/2-1/2

This game was a bit more interesting — a London System. Padmini defended well with black and it was eventually drawn.
 [Event "FIDE WWCC 2017"]
[Site "Tehran"]
[Date "2017.02.14"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Zhao, Xue"]
[Black "Padmini, Rout"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2505"]
[BlackElo "2387"]
[Annotator "ChessBase"]
[PlyCount "91"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4 e6 4. e3 c5 5. Nbd2 Nc6 6. c3 Bd6 7. Bg3 O-O 8. Bd3
b6 9. Qe2 Bb7 10. O-O Rc8 11. Rad1 Bxg3 12. hxg3 cxd4 13. exd4 g6 14. Nh2 h5
15. Ndf3 Kg7 16. Rfe1 Ne7 17. Ng5 Nf5 18. Qe5 Kg8 19. Qf4 Qc7 20. Qf3 Rce8 21.
Re2 Kg7 22. Rde1 Nh6 23. Qf4 Qxf4 24. gxf4 Bc6 25. Nhf3 Nhg4 26. Nh4 Bd7 27.
Nhf3 Rc8 28. g3 Ne8 29. Ne5 Nxe5 30. fxe5 Nc7 31. Re3 a5 32. Nf3 b5 33. b4 axb4
34. cxb4 Na6 35. a3 Rc3 36. Bf1 Rfc8 37. Nd2 Rxe3 38. Rxe3 Rc2 39. Nb3 Nc7 40.
Re1 Rc3 41. Rc1 Rxb3 42. Rxc7 Be8 43. Rc8 Bd7 44. Rd8 Bc6 45. Rc8 Bd7 46. Rd8

Usually when you have a difficult first round and in the end progress to the second one, you become much more alert. You have already gone through a tough phase early in the tournament and you know that being complacent or careless is not an option. Hence, we could have expected Harika to show her A-game in the second round. However, it turned out that she has not yet struck her best form. It was a very surprising decision that she decided to split the point. But these top players are often quite pragmatic. They usually call it a day if they are not too comfortable with the position on the board. That might have been the case with Harika. However, she now has the unenviable task of playing with the black pieces in game two.

Padmini was facing a much higher rated opponent in the form of Chinese Zhao Xue. She got a comfortable position out of the opening. But her move 12…cxd4 was a clear error. In just one stroke she lost all the dynamic possibilities. However, Rout dug deep and managed to draw the game. This is an excellent result as she will now have the white pieces in game two.

What About...?

From the previous round (tiebreaker): Compare Harika's bishop on g3 with the one on g8! Amazing.
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Results of Round 02:

Also Read:

  1. Tehran WWC TB01: Harika qualifies
  2. Sitges Blitz: An Indian Talent announces his arrival

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