Tag Archives: Delhi

Rounds 8-10 in Delhi: Falling Apart

This is a long time coming, but I should wrap up the Delhi tournament at some point. In my previous two posts, I talked about my games from rounds 1 through 7 at the Parsvnath Open.

Going into the 8th round, I had 5.5 points, and had a chance to play on the top few boards with another win. I had the white pieces against IM G.B. Prakash – he has 3 GM norms, but never hit 2500 FIDE, topping out at 2495 before coming back down. I was a bit under the weather before the game, but I didn’t feel too bad going into the game.

The opening was a surprise (a Stonewall Dutch), and while I hadn’t prepared anything special for it, I just played some normal moves to get a pleasant position. The following position was reached after 11…h6:

bhat-prakash-1

Black is not all that well developed, while White has all his pieces out. Thus, it made sense to me to play 12.f3 here, threatening to open the center and the entire board with 13.e4 next. This was where the first of two interruptions took place. Justin Sarkar was the only other US player at the event, and his cellphone made some sound at this time – his opponent claimed a forfeit win, as per FIDE rules.

The arbiters asked around and it was agreed his cellphone had made a sound, and so his opponent was given the full point. But Justin wasn’t very happy with this decision and argued with the chief arbiter, saying that since the phone had not rang, he should not be forfeited. However, the FIDE rules seem to say that any sound from a phone counts for disqualification.

Still, Justin was upset and continued to argue outside the tournament hall. The chief arbiter then came over to our board, stopped the clock, and asked me whether I could try and explain to Justin that the forfeit was simply the execution of FIDE rules. The arbiter also asked my roommate (and former UTD student), GM Magesh Panchanathan, to talk to him as well, so the two of us went outside to calm him down. After about 15 minutes or so, we returned to our games.

After the further moves 12…g5 13.Be3 Nbd7 14.Bf2 Rb8?! (I don’t get what this move does, but maybe Black was planning to play 15…b5 in case I did nothing myself) 15.e4 dxe4 16.fxe4 Ng4 17.Qe2, Black played 17…e5?:

bhat-prakash-3

Now I should have played 18.exf5 Nxf2 19.Nxf2 exd4 20.Qe6+, when after 20…Rf7, White has 21.Ng4 winning! Unfortunately, I stopped my calculations after 20…Rf7, thinking the knight on c3 is hanging while Black is threatening to move his knight from d7 to cover the kingside. This was the first win, and a clear one, that I missed.

Instead, I played the “safe” 18.dxe5, and after 18…Ndxe5 19.Bxa7 Ra8 20.Rcd1 Qa5 21.Bd4 Bc5 22.Kh1 Bxd4 23.Rxd4 Qc5 24.Rfd1 Be6 25.exf5, the following position was reached:

bhat-prakash-2

This was the second rather strange moment of the game – the arbiter announced that everybody should stop their clocks and get up from their boards! He gave the reason as well, but it wasn’t until I asked GM Abhijit Kunte what was going on that I understood that the World Champion, Viswanathan Anand, was coming to the tournament venue. There was about a 10-minute interruption while he came in, was presented with a couple gifts, and met a few people. This interruption was rather silly, though, as it forced all the players to stop their games at a critical moment. At the Dubai International, for example, they stop the game for namaz in the middle, but the games are scheduled such that the break comes just after the game starts, not about 3 hours into the game!

Anyways, after this stoppage, we returned to the board and my opponent played 25…Bxc4, after which I promptly played 26.Qd2?. I had been planning 26.Qe1 since I played 22.Kh1, but then during the break, I realized that he could play 26…Nd3?. In order to avoid this extra option, I just played the queen to d2. Unfortunately, I missed that after 26…Rxf5 27.Ne4 Qf8 28.Nd6, Black has 28…Nf2+ 29.Nxf2 Rxf2, attacking my queen and stirring up serious trouble around my king. Sadly, had I not thought about the position during Anand’s visit, I wouldn’t have seen the bad Nd3 move, and so would have played 26.Qe1, after which Black is in big trouble – 26…Rxf5 27.Ne4 Qf8 28.Nd6 leaves Black’s Bc4, Ne5, and Rf5 all in danger.

Anyways, after this second blunder, my position on the board and the clock was difficult. I “escaped” into a rook and pawn endgame, but with one extra pawn in hand and a better rook, he had no trouble winning the game.

Now with 5.5 out of 8, I was no longer in contention for first place, and the following day, I was really quite sick. I was black against IM Sudhakar Babu, who played a rather insipid opening with 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c3 Bf5 4.Bf4. I had already told Magesh before the game that I was going to offer an early draw, and I did just that after 10 moves. My opponent was standing up at the time, and didn’t even bother sitting down before extending his hand.

The final round was the following morning at 10 AM (a practice which I’m not such a fan of), and I had the white pieces against Joydeep Dutta. He was the recipient of the forfeit win against Sarkar in the 8th round, and needed a win against me for an IM norm.

The opening was a main-line Slav (one that I normally play with the black pieces in fact!), but I was still not fully recovered and was thinking very slowly. After some risky play by Black, the following position was reached after 24.fxe3:

bhat-dutta1

I expected 24…b3, after which White enjoys some advantage with 25.Bb4. It’s not a lot, but with the bishop pair and a weak b3-pawn, Black has some work to do. However, my opponent played 24…f6!?, which attempts to complicate the issue in my time trouble. I was still thinking about what to do with my clock ticking down just below 1 minute and 15 seconds when my opponent offered me a draw!

I thought for a few more seconds, then decided to accept. I was leaning towards 25.Bxb4 fxe5 26.Rac1, when I thought White was better, but that maybe Black had some counterplay – as it turns out, the best plan is 25.exf6 Rf8 26.Kg2, when White is just much better. Even though it was clear I didn’t exactly know what to do, my opponent decided that the risk of losing was not worth the upside of getting an IM norm, and so offered me a draw. I don’t think it’s the right decision, but I guess he thinks he will have many more opportunities to get his norms.

So I finished with only 6.5/10, a rather poor result given that I played down all 10 rounds. I lost a bunch of rating points, to take me back to about where I started when I began this blog!

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Firing Away: Rounds 5-7 in Delhi

Well, the Parsvnath Open has ended, and I completed a pretty bad tournament. After four rounds, I wasn’t doing great, but I had 3 points. I then managed to score 3.5 out of the last 6 games, all against lower rated players.

I fell sick before the end of the tournament which spoiled my last 3 rounds. Here are a couple interesting moments from my games in rounds 5 through 7, when I scored 2.5/3.

In round 5, I had the black pieces against Sohan Phadke. I achieved a decent position after the opening, but then I made a rather poor decision which allowed him to open the position when he was better developed. After missing one nice defensive idea and then his main attacking idea, I was stuck in the following position after 21.Qh5!:

phadke-bhat

White’s simply threatening 22.h4, when Black’s kingside pawn chain falls apart. I played 22…Bd7, and after 23.Qg6+, my opponent offered me a draw! He was down to about 2 minutes at this point (with only the 30-second increment), while I had about 30 minutes left. The real problem for him, though, was that he had no idea how to win this position.

After 23.Qg6+, 23…Bg7 is forced (otherwise 24.Qh7 is mate). Then 24.h4 Be8 25.Qh7+! is the right idea – he was planning 25.Qxe6+? Bf7 26.Qf5 Ne7 27.Qh7+ Kf8 28.Bf1 (freeing the d3-square for the queen if 28…Bg8), but now that the bishop is no longer on d3, I can play 28…Bg6, trapping the queen. His position is lost after 25.Qxe6+? actually.

However, instead of 25.Qxe6+?, he should play 25.Qh7+! Kf8 25.hxg5 hxg5 26.a4!, hitting me from the queenside. The threat of 27.Ba3+ is simply too strong and Black’s position falls apart. When he offered me a draw with 23.Qg6+, I realized he had not seen this move, but I decided not to take the chance that he’d see it after 24…Be8, and so I accepted the draw offer.

In round 6, I had the white pieces against Shreynash Daklia Jain. I was expecting a Slav, but then he played 1.d4 Nf6, so I decided that rather than test his preparation, I’d just play the Trompowsky. The opening choice turned out to be a good one as he played a line that was once popular but is now considered a bit dubious.

In the following position, Black’s already in trouble – he can’t castle kingside, he’s going to lose the e4-pawn at some point, and his pieces aren’t very well coordinated:

bhat-daklia

To try and justify his position, he then went pawn-grabbing and fell way behind in development, but without any pieces out, his position simply fell apart once I ripped open the center. He played 14…Rf8 15.0-0-0 Rf2, which is actually the computer’s suggestion as well. However, I now just played 16.Rhf1 Rxg2 17.d6, when White has a huge lead in development and the win is not far away.

Black put up a fight with 17…Be6 (he needs to cover the d5-square, as otherwise Qd5 or Nd5 would end things) 18.Nxe4 Qd7, and now after a long think I played 19.Kb1!?. Actually 19.Qe1! was stronger, as the threats of opening the d-file, along with possible ideas of Qh4, are too much to deal with. I moved the king as I noticed that in a bunch of lines, …Bxe3 comes with check and an inopportune moment, and so Black can then try to plug the d-file with …Be3-d4. It’s a slightly odd move, but it happened to work out as Black still can’t get away. His pieces are too far away from the important part of the board.

In round 7, I played what was probably my best game of the event, as black against Rahul Sangma. Sangma beat Nigel Short in a Lopez in the Commonwealth Championships in 2008, so I knew he’d be somewhat dangerous. As is common with the Indian players, he didn’t have many games in the database, but the few he had against the French featured the Advance Variation. However, at the board, he started blitzing out the main line Winawer with 7.Qg4. I played the Poisoned Pawn Variation, giving away my g7- and h7-pawns, but when he continued to blitz out his moves, I decided that I would avoid any further preparation and deviated from the main lines.

The deviation was not objectively the best move in the position, but he simply didn’t realize at first how that small change should affect each player’s plans. I immediately achieved good counterplay and didn’t even end up down any material when my opponent played 23.g5, threatening 24.g6:

sangma-bhat

I now played the interesting 23…Bxc2 24.Bxc2 d3. At first, Black’s position looks overwhelming with two connected passed pawns on the 6th rank. White can’t avoid giving back the material, although he can try to do so under favorable circumstances. After 24…d3, Sangma was in serious time pressure (down to about 1 minute and 30 seconds), but he still came up with the correct 25.Rb5!. Now 25…dxc2 is bad because of 26.Qxc3, when the c2-pawn and c5-knight are en prise. Therefore, I played 25…Rd5!?, simply guarding the c5-knight and preparing to double rooks on the d-file. With his clock winding down, he played 26.g6, forcing 26…Rxg6 when Black can’t double rooks anymore. But after 27.Rxc5+ Qxc5 28.Bxd3, I now had 28…Qg1+ 29.Bf1 Rxg3, when the rook joins the fray from the g-file. He played the only move, 30.Rh1, but the endgame after 30…Rxf3 31.Rxg1 c2 32.Be2 Rb3 was a pretty simple win.

However, instead of 26.g6, he should have played 26.Rxc5+! Qxc5 27.Bxd3. I was planning 27…Rgd8, but then 28.Rxf7! c2 29.Ke2!! is surprisingly difficult to crack. Black is probably still better, but it took a while to find all the correct lines in analysis. It was interesting, as both of us thought that doubling rooks on the d-file would break White’s position pretty easily.

In any case, having played a few good games, I was sitting on 5.5/7 and thinking I had a chance to get back into the tournament. There was one player (GM Petr Kostenko) who was on a perfect score, followed by a bunch of players with 6.0/7.

Delhi – The first 4 rounds

I’m now through 4 rounds at the Parsvnath Open in Delhi, and I have 3.0/4.

They changed the schedule just a couple days before the event, and instead of having the first day have one game, and then two games on the second day, they made it two games on the first day, with one game a day thereafter. I won the morning round pretty easily, in the evening, I wasn’t thinking that clearly, and I lost rather badly to 13-year old Sai Krishna. He has the FM title thanks to an Under-12 championship title. In the middlegame, I failed to find a productive plan, while the standard King’s Indian attack on the kingside was all he needed.

Here was the position after 18…Bf8:

bhat-krishna

I played 19.Nf2?, which was a misguided attempt to hold back ..g5-g4. I saw the two better options for White there, 19.Rc6!? (which might lead to an exchange sacrifice on the c6 square), or 19.Qc2!, which threatens to invade with 20.Nc7 Rb8 21.Ne6. After 19.Nf2? though, I immediately ceded the initiative, and after 19…a6 20.Na3 h5 21.Nc4 a5! 22.Be1 Bd7 23.a4 Rg7, I was already on the defensive. Black’s attack later proved to be too strong to stop and Sai Krishna had a GM scalp.

That loss sent me way down the ranking list, and I played another much lower-rated player in round 3. That game was pretty easy for me, so I had 2 points after 3 games.

In the fourth round, I had the white pieces against FM Ashwani Tiwari. He used to be above 2300 FIDE in the late 1990s and 2000, but then has dropped dramatically since then. The game was a Dutch Defense, which was a complete surprise to me (I was expecting 1…Nf6). Without my knowledge, we were following a rapid game between Carlsen and Radjabov from 2007, before I deviated first. The surprise had its value, as he was not at all comfortable in the position. He spent 52 minutes or so on two moves in the middlegame, but didn’t come up with a good plan at all, and promptly shed a pawn. He tried for some compensation, but the resulting Q+P endgame was a pretty simple win.

Here was the position after 30.Qxh4:

bhat-tiwari

Black played 30…Qd1+ 31.Ka2 Qxc2, and now I needed to find a way to bring my queen back to the center (preferably a square like d4 or d5), from where I cover the c4-square and protect my passed pawns. I played 32.Qh8+ Kc7 33.Qe5+ Kc8 34.Qe6+ Kc7, when I could safely play 35.f4. Black wasn’t able to stop the f-pawn from queening, and let his flag fall after 35…b5 36.f5 c5 37.Qe5+ Kb6 38.Qd6+ Kb7 39.Qd5+ Kc7 40.f6 c4 41.f7.

So I’m now sitting on 3.0/4, along with a whole host of other players. There were a number of upsets in the third round (and actually, in the second round when I lost, the 2670 FIDE-rated top seed lost as well), so there are only a few people on a perfect score. My roommate, Magesh Chandran is sitting on 3.5 points.

My Passage to India

I arrived in Delhi this morning (Wed, January 7th) with a little bit of excitement. The first two legs of my journey went pretty smoothly, as Emirates Airlines lived up to its reputation in terms of service along the SFO – Dubai and Dubai – Delhi legs. The food was good, as evidenced by the masala dosa they provided for breakfast (and there was more of it than I usually see in airline meals)! The seats are also a bit unlike other airlines’, in that when you push the seat back, the seat bottom moves forward too, so that it makes more of a natural reclining chair.

I had about 8 hours to kill in the Dubai airport, but it wasn’t actually too hard to pass the time. Because of the layover, the airline provided a free meal in the Emirates buffet restaurant. I wasn’t too surprised to see a Starbucks and Burger King in the very clean and modern airport, but I was a bit surprised to see Baskin Robbin’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Cinnabon as well. While waiting, I finished reading A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster, given to me by Jesse before I left. It was a pretty good book overall – some moments where it gets a bit heavy-handed or the dialogue is more stilted than it probably ought to be, but it doesn’t detract much from the overall effort. I’ve still got Aravind Adiga’s Booker Prize winning The White Tiger and the Library of America’s collection of Raymond Chandler’s Stories and Early Novels. After my loss to Friedel in round 6 of the Berkeley Masters tournament, I read Chandler’s Trouble is My Business in the evenings, so I decided to finish up with the rest of his short stories and also finish some of his novels.

I got to my hotel in Delhi a bit before noon today. I had lunch at Saravana Bhavan, a chain of South Indian style restaurants that has a branch in the Bay Area. The food was pretty reasonable, although the utthapam was miniscule for the price. I had to order a second dish after seeing it. My company though, was rather amusing – thanks to the organizer Bharat Singh showing up at my hotel, he took me to lunch with GMs Krishnan Sasikiran, Koneru Humpy, Chanda Sandipan, Neelotpal Das, and IM Ravi Lanka. These players don’t all live in Delhi, but thanks to the Indian system of salaried jobs for chessplayers from big-name companies, they all were in Delhi for a company outing with their sponsor, ONGC. After lunch, we congregated outside for a bit, where to our surprise, we were joined by GMs Elizbar Ubilava (Anand’s former second) and Abhijeet Gupta (the current World Junior Champion, and winner of the 2008 Parsvnath Open with a massive 9.0/10). They had eaten there as well (but on the first floor, so we missed them) after doing some preparation for Corus. The restaurant certainly doesn’t get that strong a chess clientele in Sunnyvale …