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National challengers round 8: Himanshu's fumble catapults Swapnil into sole lead

by Gopakumar Sudhakaran - 19 August 2017

Having jointly led the tournament almost all the way through, GM Himanshu Sharma dropped down from the pedestal after suffering a loss against GM Lalith Babu MR in round 8 of the 55th National Challengers. His teammate with whom he was leading the event before this round, GM Swapnil Dhopade, continued to impress and convincingly defeated SL Narayanan in 35 moves. Report with games, analysis and pictures.

Continuing his impressive run, railway man Swapnil Dhopade took sole lead with seven and a half points after outwitting Grandmaster SL Narayanan of Kerala in the eighth round of the 55th National Challengers Chess Championship here at the Karnavati Club.

 

Swapnil was a class act on Friday morning.

Playing on board one. Swapnil displayed superb attacking skills in a Semi Slav game to uproot the defenses of his second-seeded rival, SL Narayanan. The position looked pretty equal out of the opening when Narayanan fumbled and allowed his opponent a neat tactical shot. Being in the great form that he is, Swapnil made no mistake in punishing Narayanan’s mistake. White’s pieces marauded black’s kingside in no time. In order to limp on, Narayanan had to give up his rook and three pawns for two pieces. But luck was simply not in his favor in this game. Grabbing a pawn on the 26th move, he allowed Dhopade’s rook dive in on the seventh rank and this simply spelled doom. By the 35th move, Narayanan was on his knees.

AICF Secretary, Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan greeting the tournament leader before the round
[Event "55 National Challengers"]
[Site "ChessKast.com"]
[Date "2017.08.18"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Swapnil S. Dhopade"]
[Black "Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D46"]
[Annotator "Aditya Pai"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:15:18"]
[BlackClock "0:08:39"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O
dxc4 9. a4 e5 10. Bxc4 a5 11. Ba2 h6 $146 12. h3 Re8 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nd4 Ned7
15. Nf5 Nc5 $2 {The sniper on a2 should not have been underestimated. 15...Nf8
was necessary to cover g6. Now the white queen penetrates and wreaks havoc in
the black camp.} 16. Nxh6+ $1 gxh6 {Not taking the knight is even worse} (16...
Kf8 17. Nxf7 Qc7 18. Nxd6 Qxd6 19. Rd1 Qe5 20. Nd5 cxd5 21. Qxc5+ {etc}) 17.
Qg6+ Kh8 18. Bxf7 Bf8 $1 {Of course, the rook can't be saved} (18... Rf8 19.
Qxh6+ Nh7 20. Bg6 Qc7 21. Bxh7 Qxh7 22. Qxd6) 19. e4 {White is in no hurry to
grab the exchange. First, he would like to mount some pressure on h6 and try
exploiting the precarious position of the black king.} Be6 20. Bxe8 Nxe8 21.
Bxh6 Qf6 22. Qxf6+ Nxf6 23. Bxf8 Rxf8 {The storm has calmed. But black had to
pay a heavy price in material to help his king survive.} 24. f3 Nh5 25. Ne2 Nd3
26. Rfd1 Nxb2 $2 {This just invites a white rook to plunge in on the seventh
rank. And Swapnil obliges.} 27. Rdb1 Nc4 28. Rxb7 Rd8 29. Re7 Bg8 30. g4 Rd2
31. Re1 Nb2 (31... Ng7 {just allows the white knight to barge in via f4.} 32.
Nf4 Ra2 33. Ng6+ Kh7 34. Nf8+ $18) 32. gxh5 Nd3 33. Kf1 Bc4 34. Rd7 c5 35. Rb1
1-0

On board two, Swapnil’s teammate and co-leader, GM Himanshu Sharma did not have as great an outing in round 8.

Playing with the black pieces in the Fianchetto variation of Grunfeld Defence, GM Himanshu Sharma declined the draw offer made by Lalith Babu MR, his opponent, on the 33rd move. The position looked pretty equal but Himanshu definitely wanted more out of it. With the hope of complicating matters, probably, he grabbed a pawn two moves later which turned out to be utterly suicidal. Sharma’s knight got into a deadly pin because of this and, more importantly, when the knight was finally defended, the black king was caught in a mating net on the other side of the board.

[Event "55 National Challengers"]
[Site "ChessKast.com"]
[Date "2017.08.18"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Lalith Babu M R"]
[Black "Himanshu Sharma"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D78"]
[Annotator "Administrator"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:04:14"]
[BlackClock "0:11:43"]
1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 g6 5. d4 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Qb3 Qb6 8. c5 {
LiveBook: 4 Games. D78: Fianchetto Grünfeld: 6 0-0 c6} (8. cxd5 cxd5 9. Qxb6
axb6 10. Nc3 Nc6 11. Bf4 Bf5 12. Rfc1 e6 13. h3 h5 14. e3 Ne4 15. Nxe4 Bxe4 16.
Bd6 Rfc8 17. Nd2 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 e5 19. dxe5 Nxe5 20. Rxc8+ Rxc8 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 {
1/2-1/2 (26) Giri,A (2771)-Caruana,F (2808) Stavanger 2017}) 8... Qd8 (8...
Qxb3 $11 {should be considered.} 9. axb3 Bg4) 9. Bf4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 9.
Nc3 Nbd7 10. Rd1 Qe8 11. Bf4 Nh5 12. Bc7 Kh8 13. e4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 Nhf6 15. Nc3
Nb8 {0-1 (48) Orlov,O (2311)-Kiselev,P (2215) St Petersburg 2014}) 9... Nbd7
10. Nc3 {White is slightly better.} b6 11. cxb6 axb6 12. Rfc1 Ba6 13. Ne5 (13.
a4 $11) 13... Nxe5 $15 14. Bxe5 e6 (14... Bh6 $1 $15 15. Bf4 Bxf4 16. gxf4 e6)
15. e3 Nd7 16. Bxg7 $1 Kxg7 17. a4 Qe7 18. Qd1 Qb4 19. b3 Rfc8 20. Na2 Qd6 21.
b4 Bc4 22. Rcb1 $1 c5 23. bxc5 bxc5 24. Nc3 Ra5 25. Rb2 cxd4 26. Qxd4+ Qe5 27.
Qd2 Nc5 28. Ra3 Rca8 29. Rb4 Rb8 $2 {[#]} (29... Nd3 $17 {keeps the pressure
on.} 30. Rb1 Qf6) 30. Rxb8 $2 (30. f4 $1 $16 Qc7 {[#]} 31. Nxd5 $1 Bxd5 32.
Rxb8 Qxb8 33. Qxa5 Qb1+ 34. Bf1) 30... Qxb8 31. Ra1 Qa7 32. Qd4+ f6 33. Bf1 e5
34. Qd1 Bb3 35. Qd2 Nxa4 $2 {This just walks into a deadly pin.} (35... Qb8 $15
{stays ahead.}) 36. Nb5 $18 Qb6 37. Qb4 Bc4 $2 (37... d4 38. exd4 Bd5 39. Qe7+
Kg8 40. dxe5 fxe5) 38. Qe7+ Kh6 39. Nd6 Ra6 40. Qf8+ Kh5 41. Qxf6 {and mate
cannot be averted.} 1-0

 

Because of his loss, Himanshu Sharma has dropped down to the joint second spot where he is accompanied by Lalith Babu, Fenil Shah and Udit Kamdar. Swapnil Dhopade is now the sole leader with a one point lead over his nearest rivals.

 

Fenil Shah moved to the joint second spot after beating Grandmaster Deepan Chakkravarthy

 

Udit Kamdar got a walk over from fifth seed N Srinath, who withdrew from the championship due to illness.

Another sensational result of the round was Sankalp Gupta's draw against the tournament's top seed, Aravindh Chithambaram

Fourteen players are at the joint sixth spot in points-table with six points.  In the ninth round today, Swapnil takes on Udit Kamdar and Himanshu faces Fenil Shah.

Results of Round 8

Bo.

No.

 

Name

Rtg

Pts.

Result

Pts.

 

Name

Rtg

No.

1

5

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

2516

1 - 0

GM

Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan

2564

2

2

3

GM

Lalith Babu M R

2529

1 - 0

GM

Himanshu Sharma

2514

6

3

7

GM

Kunte Abhijit

2505

½ - ½

IM

Swayams Mishra

2455

12

4

23

WGM

Gomes Mary Ann

2344

½ - ½

GM

Debashis Das

2493

8

5

27

 

Fenil Shah

2326

1 - 0

GM

Deepan Chakkravarthy J.

2466

10

6

15

IM

Das Arghyadip

2419

½ - ½

 

Akash Pc Iyer

2304

30

7

19

IM

Ravi Teja S.

2383

½ - ½

 

Sammed Jaykumar Shete

2277

34

8

96

 

Kamdar Udit

1947

+ - -

5

GM

Narayanan Srinath

2524

4

9

38

 

Sankalp Gupta

2254

5

½ - ½

5

GM

Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.

2579

1

10

13

IM

Shyaamnikhil P

2447

5

½ - ½

5

 

Wagh Suyog

2234

41

Rank after Round 8

1

5

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

 

IND

2516

RSPB

7,5

0,0

39,0

43,5

40,25

7,0

2

6

GM

Himanshu Sharma

 

IND

2514

RSPB

6,5

0,0

41,0

46,0

35,75

6,0

3

27

 

Fenil Shah

 

IND

2326

GUJ

6,5

0,0

38,0

41,5

32,50

5,0

4

3

GM

Lalith Babu M R

 

IND

2529

PSPB

6,5

0,0

37,5

41,5

33,75

5,0

5

96

 

Kamdar Udit

 

IND

1947

GUJ

6,5

0,0

37,5

40,0

31,25

5,0

6

7

GM

Kunte Abhijit

 

IND

2505

PSPB

6,0

0,0

40,0

42,5

30,75

4,0

7

12

IM

Swayams Mishra

 

IND

2455

AI

6,0

0,0

38,5

42,5

30,50

4,0

8

8

GM

Debashis Das

 

IND

2493

ODI

6,0

0,0

38,0

41,5

30,25

5,0

9

30

 

Akash Pc Iyer

 

IND

2304

TN

6,0

0,0

37,5

41,5

29,75

4,0

10

14

IM

Nitin S.

 

IND

2421

RSPB

6,0

0,0

37,5

41,5

28,75

5,0

Round 9 Pairing

Bo.

No.

 

Name

Rtg

Pts.

Result

Pts.

 

Name

Rtg

No.

1

96

 

Kamdar Udit

1947

 

GM

Swapnil S. Dhopade

2516

5

2

6

GM

Himanshu Sharma

2514

 

 

Fenil Shah

2326

27

3

8

GM

Debashis Das

2493

6

 

GM

Lalith Babu M R

2529

3

4

20

GM

Sriram Jha

2375

6

 

6

GM

Kunte Abhijit

2505

7

5

12

IM

Swayams Mishra

2455

6

 

6

WGM

Gomes Mary Ann

2344

23

6

14

IM

Nitin S.

2421

6

 

6

 

Koustav Chatterjee

2108

65

7

24

FM

Erigaisi Arjun

2342

6

 

6

IM

Das Arghyadip

2419

15

8

16

IM

Satyapragyan Swayangsu

2410

6

 

6

 

Akash Pc Iyer

2304

30

9

64

 

Dixit Nikhil

2121

6

 

6

IM

Ravi Teja S.

2383

19

10

34

 

Sammed Jaykumar Shete

2277

6

 

IM

Shyaamnikhil P

2447

13

 


About the author:

Image result for Gopakumar ChessBase India

Gopakumar became an A-grade International Arbiter during the FIDE Arbiter's Commission meeting. He is only the fifth Indian to achieve this feat. He was the chief arbiter at two 2600+ double round robin events, Asian Youth Chief Arbiter at South Korea, Deputy chief arbiter at Asian Youth and Asian Junior at New Delhi. He dedicates his success to the Air Force background that he comes from. 

Previous reports on National Challengers 2017:

Parthiv Patel at the opening ceremony

14-year-old holds Sriram Jha to a draw

National Challengers 2017 Round 2+3: Day of underdogs!

Mary Ann Gomes wins an instructive rook endgame

National Challengers Round 5+6: Swapnil, Himanshu, Sammed lead with 5.5/6

National challengers round 7: Railway GMs Swapnil and Himanshu maintain their stronghold


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