Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Nana Dzagnidze in Men’s and Women’s category respectively leads at the end of Day 1 of Tata Steel Chess India

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Tata Steel Chess India
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Nana Dzagnidze in Men’s and Women’s category respectively leads at the end of Day 1 of Tata Steel Chess India

India, 29th November 2022

Mens’ Day One 2022

Round 1
Picking up from where he left last time, GM Arjun Erigaisi started his TATA Steel Chess India defense in some style with a win over the GM AbdusattarovNodirebek. Playing the French defense with black, Erigaisi got a winning position as early as move 23 and duly converted in the moves to come. The other decisive result was in the match-up between GM ShakhriyarMamedyarov and D. Gukesh where the game ended in favour of the former. The top-rated Azeri capitalized on an inaccuracy by Gukesh as he notched up a winning advantage on move 18. He then went on to win the game on move 45. The other mouth-watering clash was between the speed guns, GM NihalSarin and GM Hikaru Nakamura which ended in a 28-move draw. In other results, GM ViditGujrathi drew his game against GM Parham Maghsoodloo while SP Sethuraman made a quick draw with GM Wesley So.

Round 2
Gukesh, the fighter, struck back with a nice victory against Iranian GM Parham Maghsoodloo with the black pieces. The Indian superstar masterfully converted his advantage to bring home the full point in a Rook endgame. GM ShakhriyarMamedyarov, who had a rather forgettable outing last time, brought up his second victory in as many games, this time, against GM SP Sethuraman. Things got complicated after move 20 and the advantage swung the Azeri GM’s way. He then crashed through the second player’s defense to bring up a nice win. Current Fischer Random World Champion, Hikaru Nakamura, had a tough game against the Former Fischer Random World Champion, Wesley So as the latter came out on top in a marathon contest lasting 90 moves. Two of India’s popular players, GM Erigaisi and GM Gujrathi were paired against each other. The match-up wasn’t short on drama as Erigaisi miscalculated early in the game, getting into a lost position as early as move 9! In what should have been a comfortable continuation for Vidit, things got tricky as Arjun started creating complications on the board. In the end, a nice combination forced Vidit to settle for a draw by repeating the moves. GM Sarin, as he often does in tournaments, was very solid against his counterpart, GM AbdusattarovNodirbek as the game ended in a draw.

Round 3
It was a rematch of the recently concluded exhibition match ‘DeathMatch 2.0’, as GM Erigaisi took on GM Gukesh. It was a hard-fought contest, and the youngsters gave it their all. With nothing to separate the two, the rook-endgame ended in a draw on move 78. GM NihalSarin got the better of GM ViditGujrathi as he pounced on a sharp tactical opportunity out of the opening to win material. As solid as Nihal was, he never let go of his advantage and smoothly bagged his first win of the tournament. GM Parham Maghsoodloo, after a minor setback in round 2, struck right back with a nice win over GM SP Sethuraman. Playing the Sicilian defense with black, the Iranian got an advantage after a tactical combination, which he went on to convert in a Queen vs Rook endgame. GM Hikaru Nakamura didn’t have the best of days and it ended with a loss to young GM AbdusattarovNodirbek, the 2022 Olympiad Gold medal winner. The young Uzbek kept the pressure on the board and went on to win the game in a bishop and knight endgame. GM Mamedyarov had a spectacular day, thanks to his third win – this time against GM Wesley So with the black pieces. It was a dynamic encounter with a lot of imbalances, but ‘Shakh’, in the form that he is, came out on top with precise tactical calculations that packed many a punch. 4 out of 5 games in Round 3 of Day 1 ended in decisive results and surely sets the tone for the days to come.

Womens’ Day One 2022

Round 1
The first round in the women’s section of Tata Steel Chess India Rapid 2022 saw the battle between India No. 2, GM DronavalliHarika, and India No. 3, IM R Vaishali. In a hard-fought contest spanning 42 moves, the game ended in a draw. India No. 1, GM Koneru Humpy made a scintillating start by winning her opening encounter against Ukraine’s GM Anna Muzychuk. Playing black, Humpy capitalized on Muzychuk’s inaccuracies to clinch the game in 30 moves. Top Indian Junior, IM Vantika Agrawal had a tough start as she went down against the experienced GM MariyaMuzychuk from Ukraine. It was an equal position in the middlegame, but Muzychuk swung her rooks into the game launching a deadly attack against Agrawal. Making her debut in TATA Steel Chess India, promising youngster Savitha Shri was up against GM Nana Dzagnidze. The experienced Georgian kept pressing in a slightly better endgame and eventually got the better of the India No.4 in 49 moves. Among other decisive results was GM Ushenina Anna’s victory over the Polish sensation Kiolbasa, Oliwia. Playing black, the Ukrainian won the match in 49 moves.

Round 2
In round 2, IM Vantika Agrawal returned strongly with a win over her fellow compatriot, Savitha Shri. She played with white skillfully against Savitha’s King’s Indian Defense setup, winning the game in 34 moves. GM DronavalliHarika, playing her first tournament as a mother, won her game against KiolbasaOliwia. With the white pieces, India No. 2 masterfully outplayed her opponent displaying great positional understanding. After winning a pawn, she duly converted the game, winning the game on move 47. GM Nana Dzagnidze got the better of young R. Vaishali with the white pieces. Vaishali, who seemed to have a better position, lost momentum after blundering her knight on move 30. The game continued for a few more moves before she resigned on move 46. The Muzychuk sisters, paired against each other, drew their game. Konery Humpy also drew her game against Ushenina Anna.

Round 3
R. Vaishali’s attacking prowess was on display in round 3 against Vantika Agrawal. She got the opportunity to launch her pieces against the black king and at the right time, sacrificed her knight to completely open up her opponent’s kingside. Soon, on move 41, she won the game after threatening checkmate. GM DronavalliHarika drew her game against Ushenina Anna, while GM Koneru Humpy had to split the point against MariyaMuzychuk. Young Savitha Shri was off the mark in the event after she held GM Anna Muzychuk to a draw with the white pieces. In the other decisive game, GM Nana Dzagnidze kept pressing against KiolbassaOliwia looking to convert her small advantage. Things went wrong for the Polish IM on move 40 when she lost a pawn in the endgame. From there, the Georgian was technical in finishing off the game. As it stands after day 1, the Georgian leads with a perfect 3/3 while the Polish youngster still looks to add to her scoreboard.

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