Postny drew against the top seed Areschenko with the black pieces and raised his tally to seven points. GM Ni Hua, IM Nabaty and GM Greenfeld joined the lead with victories over GM Zharebuk, IM Thejkumar and GM Kuzubov respectively. Meanwhile a huge pack of players reached 6.5 points to share the second spot. This is typical of any swiss event; one bad result and a large number of players overtake you!
Three Israelis and one Chinese Grandmaster were leading the pack together with 7/8, so the odds of an Israeli leader emerging were huge. IM Nabaty defeated GM Ni Hua in a well played game. Postny vs. Greenfeld featured the 3. f3 variation against the Gruenfeld. Opposite side castling is a common feature of this variation and normally such positions are extremely complicated. The margin for error in such a position is very low, and this was exactly what happened in the game. A mistake by white allowed black to open lines against his king and crown his attack with a victory.
There was a power failure during this round and the games had to be stopped for almost an hour. There was no way to let sunlight into the tournament hall, as it was an indoor stadium. The structure of the place is like an amphitheatre with elevated seating arrangement for the spectators surrounding the playing arena on all sides. A long break in between a tournament game worked well for me that particular day. I had spent a lot of time during the opening and was feeling the heat of an eventual time scramble. The break was like a godsend for me, as I could relax and calm myself down for an eventual time scramble. But I can also imagine another scenario where the break upset the concentration and the focus of a player. It is quite difficult to get the flow of thoughts going in the same direction and with the same intensity after chatting with friends and moving about in the dark in the middle of a chess game!
On the top board Nabaty and Greenfeld drew their game without much of a fight. Areschenko won convincingly against IM Thejkumar. Kravtsiv Martin had to grind down GM Oleksienko in a long drawn-out game. This meant that five people ended up on 8.5 points from 10 games. Out of the first 8 boards only the top board game was drawn; on the other seven boards white scored a win. This is not very surprising as it is always easier to play for a win with the white pieces in crunch situations. Out of the notable upsets, GM Adhiban defeated Kuzubov in a tactically complicated position and I won quite convincingly against former leader GM Postny. Pradeep Kumar rated 2231 defeated GM Zharebukh when the latter stretched too hard!
With 4 people leading the tournament, I was expecting a quick truce on the first two boards and a couple of others from 8 points to join the leading pack. In such situations the difference between a draw and a loss is huge in terms of prize money. Nabaty-Areschenko was a safe final round Grandmaster draw, but surprise surprise the second board game did not follow suit. Kravtsiv Martin carved out a well fought win against Israeli GM Greenfeld and was rewarded with an unshared first place for his fighting spirit! Black seemed to be doing well in a Rauzer endgame with the bishop pair. Probably at some point Greenfeld got ambitious and decided to sacrifice a pawn, but did not get enough compensation and Kravtsiv showed good technique in converting the advantage. The champion amassed 9.5 points from 11 games after having drawn both his first round and third round games! That is a great fight back and a much deserved victory for the twenty year old Grandmaster from Ukraine which netted him around $4000.
Adhiban had an easy victory over Pradip Kumar and he was joined by Ni Hua on 9 points to share the second place with Nabaty and Areschenko. Ni Hua defeated me with the black pieces from a Chebanenko variation. I got a good initiative from the opening and probably should have won the game objectively speaking, but I lost my way in a position where I grabbed the exchange instead of trying to open the position up and play for an attack. I did not sense the dynamics of the position too well and the Chinese Grandmaster once again rounded up his Indian tour with another 9/11 score and a prize money of close to $2000 (he had scored 9/11 in Delhi tournament as well, but ended up sharing first place there).
Finds of the tournament:
Chinese Player Zeng Chongsheng made a Grandmaster norm. He had a fabulous result which included wins over GMs Dzumaev, Postny, and Chernyshov. Overall his play looked very impressive both here and in the Delhi Open.
Pradip Kumar rated only 2231 from Tamil Nadu made an International Master norm. En route he accounted for the scalps of GM Zharebukh and GM-elect Vijayalakshmi.
Another young boy Muhammad Shaik Nubairshah had an even more impressive result and also made an IM norm in the process. He defeated GM Sethuraman and had draws against GMs Laxman, Neelotpal, Danielsen, and Dzhumaev while his rating is only a meagre 2113! He stands to gain more than 60 Elo points and his play is impressive to say the least considering his tender age of 12! This proves the point that there is lot of untapped talent in Indian Chess and as a Chess Nation, India is progressing by the hour.
To conclude, let us take a look at the most interesting games: