Giri's Second Also In Spotlight: Vidit Santosh Wins Lake Sevan

Giri's Second Also In Spotlight: Vidit Santosh Wins Lake Sevan

| 10 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, who recently started working with GM Anish Giri, won the Lake Sevan tournament on Tuesday. The Indian player edged out GM Vladislav Artemiev on tiebreak.

“I'm often asked how incredibly much I must have learned,” wrote GM Erwin l'Ami about his work as a second for GM Veselin Topalov in the years 2008-2011. In New in Chess Magazine (2015/3), the winner of the 2015 Reykjavik Open commented:

“[B]ut chess has changed a lot and so has the job of a second. Yasser Seirawan once told me stories about his experiences as a second to Viktor Kortchnoi. Without any computers around yet, the two would set up a board and pieces and analyse and exchange ideas for hours on end, which was of course hugely beneficial for Yasser's chess understanding. That still happens to some extent, but nowadays computers have taken over, which means that the board has been mostly replaced by the screen and there is less direct contact between player and second. Modern seconds are like IT-specialists who spend most of their time trying to persuade the engine to move in certain directions.”

Why share this quote? Well, because it is very tempting to write that “seconds of top grandmasters win tournaments,” isn't it? Erwin l'Ami won the Reykjavik Open, Grzegorz Gajewski won the Najdorf Memorial (covered yesterday!), and now Gujrathi has won Lake Sevan.

You might have missed that Gujrathi recently started working with Anish Giri (alongside l'Ami and Vladimir Tukmakov); his first job on the road was Paris and Leuven.

Giri and Gujrathi during the opening day in Paris.

Yesterday, Vidit won the Lake Sevan tournament in Armenia. It should be noted that he also won in 2014, before working with Giri. He finished on 6.0/9, the same score as GM Vladislav Artemiev (Russia), but he had a better tiebreak.

This was the tenth time the tournament was held, and on this occasion, the Chess Academy of Armenia invited the winners and strongest participants of previous years. In fact, eight out of ten players also played last year — including Gujrathi and Artemiev. The 2015 winner, GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland), finished in third place this time.

GMs Sam Sevian (USA) and Samvel Ter Sahakyan also played last year; the former did much better with 5.0/9 (compared to 3.0/9 in 2015) whereas Ter Sahakyan scored the same. GMs David Anton, Robert Hovhannisyan and Hovhannes Gabuzyan returned as well but all performed worse than they had in the prior year.

Gujrathi was the only player to finish undefeated, but won the tournament on Sonneborn-Berger. Indeed, Artemiev would have won if a football scoring system had been used, like in Bilbao. Gujrathi drew six games, beat the players who finished at the bottom of the table as well as Sam Sevian, in the penultimate round. That game was a long one, a dramatic one, and a crucial one for his tournament. In a winning endgame, and with a 30-second increment, Sevian lost on time.

A surprising loss for Sevian there! | Photo Armenian Chess Academy.

Let's include one more game from the tournament winner. Gujrathi nicely defeated Vladimir Onischuk (not to be confused with the American grandmaster Alexander Onischuk) with good positional play:

Gujrathi sporting an orange “Holland” wrist band — see the connection? | Photo Armenian Chess Academy.

As said, Sevian, still officially the youngest GM in the world — Bogdan Deac's application is pending did much better than last year. He achieved a performance rating of 2671 which will bring his rating over 2600. It may already be official in a few days from now. Below is his game against, again, Onischuk, who played riskily in the opening and was punished, although it's not clear whether White's sacrifice was fully correct.

A quick and fun game for Sevian versus Onischuk. | Photo Armenian Chess Academy.

Russia's big hope for the future, Artemiev, only lost to Duda and had an excellent TPR as well: 2746. His last-round game was easy from the moment that Hovhannisyan started missing tactics based on the bishop on g7. 

Vladislav Artemiev came second. | Photo Armenian Chess Academy.

2016 Lake Sevan | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2658 2745 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 6.0/9 24.75
2 Artemiev, Vladislav 2653 2746 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 6.0/9 23.25
3 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2671 2702 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 0 0 1 5.5/9
4 Sevian, Samuel 2595 2671 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 5.0/9 21.75
5 Ter-Sahakyan, Samvel 2605 2669 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 5.0/9 21.00
6 Anton Guijarro, David 2627 2628 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 4.5/9
7 Hovhannisyan, Robert 2640 2589 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/9
8 Pashikian, Arman 2615 2552 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 3.5/9
9 Onischuk, Vladimir 2615 2510 0 0 1 0 ½ ½ 0 1 0 3.0/9
10 Gabuzyan, Hovhannes 2607 2466 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 ½ 1 2.5/9

The Lake Sevan tournament was held July 17-27 in Martuni, Armenia. It should be noted that FM Mike Klein recently recorded a video on the top juniors in the world, where players such as Duda, Artemiev, and Sevian are mentioned. Coming soon to a theater near you! Or rather, here on

More from PeterDoggers
Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race