Caruana leads first AAI at half-time

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Caruana leads first AAI at half-timeAt the Airports Authority of India (AAI) International Grandmasters Chess Tournament 2011, Fabiano Caruana leads at half-time. The Italian grandmaster is half a point ahead of Viktor Laznicka of the Czech Republic. This six-player, double round robin also has Hou Yifan (China), Wesley So (Philippines), Krishnan Sasikiran and Parimarjan Negi (both India).

General info

The Delhi Chess Association along with the Airport Authority of India under aegis of the All India Chess Federation and the World Chess Federation are conducting India's first ever Category-17 tournament. It's a double round robin headed by the highest rated junior player Fabiano Caruana of Italy, while World Women Champion Hou Yifan of China also plays. The other participants are Indian National Champion Parimarjan Negi, Czech Republic's number two Viktor Laznicka, Indian number two Krishnan Sasikiran and the best Philippine player Wesley So. Venue is the Airport Authority of India Officers' Institute, Old Safdarjung Area, Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi. The total prize money is US $24,500 wit the winner taking $8,000, while the runner-up will receive $6,000.


The Airport Authority of India Officers' Institute

Rounds 1-5

The tournament took off with a fighting start, with three decisive games in the first round. Things didn't go as planned for the host country with both Krishnan Saskiran (Black) and Parimarjan Negi losing their games. In the third game Laznicka defeated Hou Yifan with the black pieces after more than six hours and 65 moves. The Czech said there had been many possibilities to win quicker. “I should have won it much earlier, but I missed them,” he said smilingly.

Hou Yifan-Laznicka

Hou Yifan vs Laznicka

Wesley So on his victory against Sasikiran: “I have played Sasi before, four years ago in Macau, but that time we drew and I had Black. I was a bit surprised to see him play the Four Knights Sicilian and I thought he would play the Najdorf. I realized I was winning about three or four moves before he resigned. It has been a good start and I will celebrate with some more good Indian food and a nice swim in this hot weather,” said the smiling 18-year-old Filipino who lives in Canada.

Negi, who five years ago became the youngest Indian Grandmaster ever, lost his way some around the late stages of the middlegame in a Ruy Lopez, Anti-Marshall against top-seed Caruana. “I was actually trying to gain equality and then it is not clear where he made a mistake and went into a losing position. Both of us were in some kind of time trouble. I realized it was a no-risk situation for me. I could win, but if I played right I could not lose, so I kept going. There really is no time to celebrate in such a long tournament and I have been spending time preparing because it is too hot to go out,” said Caruana.

In the second round, again all games were decisive. Negi got himself on the scoreboard with a convincing win over Hou Yifan, while Caruana and Laznicka scored their second successive wins as Saskiran suffered his second loss and So his first defeat. Sasi lost to Caruana in a complicated game lasting 45 moves and where both players were in time trouble at one time. Laznicka beat So in 39 moves just before the first time control and the winner described the result as “slightly lucky”.


Caruana vs Sasikiran

The next day Sasikiran finally scored his first win as well, against Laznicka. He kept an edge from the start in a Catalan and clinched the point at move72. Caruana maintained his winning streak with a third successive win, this one over Hou Yifan, who thus was still on a zero score. “It was a normal game," said the Italian. "We played a Spanish opening and this variation was played long ago, I think by Shirov. I equalized and had no problems. Till a certain point it was equal and she had chances to draw. But she got over-ambitious at some point and I saw that I was much better.”

Negi drew the first game of the event with So, who said: "I wanted to win with white pieces, but there was just nothing there. I played very badly in second round and wanted to make up.”

The fourth round saw a mixed luck for the Indian fans as Sasikiran won his second successive game but Negi lost. For the second day running Sasi played out a marathon game before beating Hou Yifan in another Catalan to haul himself back into the tournament. But before that Negi lost to the higher rated Laznicka. In the first game to finish on Saturday, leader Caruana drew with So in 32 moves.

So vs Caruana

So vs Caruana

Laznicka: “My opponent surprised me in the opening and I had not prepared for this line, even though I have seen it. I spent a lot of time on. It was a sharp game and towards the end he made some mistakes. Though I won, I did not get a very good feeling about the game,” said Laznicka, for whom this was his third win in four games. “I think I was tired and not concentrating, but it is always good to get a win.” Hou Yifan finally managed to score half a point in the fifth round, against So. The Philippine said afterwards: “She was slightly better in the opening and then I may have had chances, but she defended very well." Sasikiran scored a third successive win against Negi while the game between Caruana and Laznicka also ended in a draw after 59 moves.

Monday is the first and only rest day, when Caruana leads with four points while Laznicka is second with 3.5 points. The sixth round will be played at 2 pm local time (10.00 CET) on Tuesday.

Games rounds 1-5

Game viewer by ChessTempo

AAI GM Tournament 2011 | Schedule & results

AAI GM Tournament 2011 | Round 5 Standings

Photos © Delhi Chess Association


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