Checking in from Europe to give a little update.

I tied first with 7.5/9 at the Paracin International Open in Central Serbia!

2700 GM Richard Rapport took first on better tiebreak. I missed my GM norm by a whisker, as my average opponent rating was a few points less then what was required. But nonetheless, it was definitely a memorable tournament!

I needed to play an opponent rated 2470/+ in the last round, and a draw would be required for a norm. Unfortunately, I got paired with a 2443, which wrecked the norm chance. Oh well, at least my game’s in the right place, and I had a 2650 performance :D.

Here’s a link to the official report that appeared on Chessdom. Below’s my game with the 2700 GM ,and World Junior #2 Richard Rapport.

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[Event “Paracin Open 2014”]
[Site “Paracin, Serbia”]
[Date “2014.07.05”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Rapport, Richard”]
[Black “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “B21”]
[WhiteElo “2701”]
[BlackElo “2442”]
[Annotator “Chandra, Akshat”]
[PlyCount “82”]

{It really was impossible to prepare for him, as he plays tons of random and
eccentric setups. So I decided the best way to take him down, was to sleep
right before the round :)} 1. e4 c5 2. d3 Nc6 3. Be2 $5 {One of the
aforementioned “eccentric” setups. Of course White can’t dream of an advantage
after this move, but I found it surprisingly difficult to come up with some
sort of refutation.} e6 4. f4 {It’s kind of similar to a Grand Prix Attack now,
but there’s nothing for Black to worry about it.} d5 5. Nf3 g6 (5… dxe4 6.
dxe4 Qxd1+ 7. Bxd1 b6 {I was considering playing this, but eventually decided
against it as I wanted to keep the tension in the center.}) 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3
Nge7 8. Na3 O-O 9. Qe1 {A standard maneuver for the Queen in Grand Prix type
positions, transferring to the Kingside. But that plan is rather toothless
here, and White is actually planning something else ..} b6 ({I just thought
I’ll share this: The engines suggest} 9… h5 {as the best move. All I can say
is LOL :)}) 10. e5 Ba6 {Totally missing White’s next move, after which I face
some serious problems.} (10… d4 {was best, I thought it’d be a mistake as
I’d allow him to lock up my area of play with} 11. c4 {but Black, in fact, has a
wonderful position after} Nb4 12. Bd2 a5 {followed by Nf5-Bb7 or Bd7.}) 11. b4
$1 {Oops, the bishop on a6 is looking quite awkward now! b4-b5 is the
immediate threat, and so I played} Bb7 {So I basically just wasted a move. In
that one move White has expanded on the queen-side, and put some pressure on
the c5 pawn. Can’t let that happen against 2700’s :)} (11… cxb4 12. cxb4 Bb7
{the trade on b4 has significantly favored White. After} 13. b5 Na5 14. Bd2 {
the knight on a5 becomes quite an embarrassed steed :). It’s got no future
whatsoever, as White’s pawns restrict all of the possible squares it can move
too. Black can try to loosen up the tension by playing} a6 {but White can just
continue to improve his position with} 15. Rb1 $1 $16 {The rook adds extra
support to the b5 pawn, and indirectly pressures Black’s b6 pawn, the sole
defender of Black’s a5 knight.}) 12. d4 cxb4 13. cxb4 a6 $5 {So I took on b4,
but the main difference compared to taking on b4 a few moves ago, is that b5
is not so effective. Stil, I’ve got a ton of problems to sort out. For
starters, all my minor pieces are doing nothing. The g7 bishop is hitting
granite thanks to the e5 pawn, the Bishop on b7 is just awful (it’s about to
get a lot worse :), my c6 knight is completely restricted because of the b4
pawn and my e7 knight has only one good square on f5, but it’s just a
temporary outpost as White will be able to drive it out with an eventual g4.
Strategic-wise, this move just feels wrong. I’m further imprisoning my b7
bishop, and am doing nothing to contest White’s domination over the center and
queen-side. But I didn’t really see what else I could do.} (13… a5 {doesn’t
work because of} 14. b5 Nb4 15. Bd2 {and regardless of what Black plays, White
wins a pawn on b4.}) 14. Nc2 b5 {I’ve now fixed all my pawns on the light
square, Mission Kill my b7 bishop is going great ! :).} 15. Bd3 Qb6 16. Rb1 Bc8
{Aiming to relocate the bishop to d7 after which a5 might be possible, and
also protecting the e6 pawn in the event I decide to play f6/f5.} ({A kind of
prophylaxis against} 16… a5 {which is met by} 17. bxa5 Rxa5 18. Ba3 {
followed by Bc5, and Black’s position is just collapsing.}) 17. Kh1 f5 18. exf6
$2 {I was very relieved when I saw this move since my pieces now have some
space. White may have thought that the e5 square would be good for his knight,
but he clearly overestimated that factor.} (18. Bd2 $1 {followed by Na1-Nb3,
sinking its hooves into the c5 square is what I was worried about. I’m just
waiting to be squashed here. White can play whatever he wants while Black
doesn’t have a smidgen of counter play. In fact, my position is so bad here
that the best move according to the engines is} Qa7 {but honestly, what human
is going to make a move like that ?!}) 18… Bxf6 19. Be3 Nf5 20. Ne5 (20. Bxf5
exf5 (20… gxf5 {seems logical at first, keeping the structure in the center
intact, but White develops a serious initiative after} 21. Ne5 {followed by
Rf3 or Qc3.}) 21. Ne5 {Now after} Be6 {Rf3 would make no sense, and Qc3 would
be met by a Rook to c8. The advantage of taking with the e-pawn is
demonstrated, as the e6 square becomes available to the light-squared bishop.
I would probably play Rfc8 next, and prepare the a6-a5 break.}) 20… Nxe3 21.
Qxe3 Ra7 $1 {Preparing a rook swing on the 7th rank.} ({I spent an
unreasonable time thinking about} 21… Nxe5 {even though it intuitively feels
wrong.} 22. fxe5 Bg7 23. Rxf8+ Bxf8 24. Qf4 Bg7 25. Ne3 {followed by Ng4-Nf6,
with a winning position for White.}) 22. Rf3 {Aiming to double rooks on the
f-file, which would discourage Black from capturing on e5.} Nxe5 23. fxe5 Bg7
24. Rbf1 Raf7 {The rook comes in handy now, as I am able to contest the f-file.
} 25. Rxf7 Rxf7 26. Rxf7 Kxf7 27. h4 {A standard idea in these type of
structures, White aims to create some weaknesses with h4-h5, and also improves
his own pawn structure on the king-side.} Qd8 28. g3 Kg8 {Bringing my king
back to safety. I thought that I had solved all my problems, but White still
has a way to develop a nagging initiative.} 29. Kg2 Bd7 30. Be2 {Clearing the
d3 square for the knight.} Qc7 $2 {A serious mistake which could have cost me
the game!} (30… a5 $2 {is another move which seems logical, but I thought
White begins to develop a serious advantage after} 31. Qc3 $1 (31. a3 Bf8 $11)
31… axb4 32. Nxb4 Bf8 33. Nd3 {followed by either Nc5 or Nf4 and Bg4,
attacking the e6 pawn. This is a highly unpleasant position to defend against
a 2700 :).}) (30… Qf8 $1 {is the correct move. White is unable to play Ne1
due to Qxb4. If White defends b4 with} 31. a3 {then Black plays} Bh6 32. Qd3 (
32. Qc3 Qc8 $1 {and despite Black’s poor c8 bishop, Black has an easy draw due
to the White’s Queenside pawns being fixed on dark squares. Should White ever
move his knight, then Black plays Bc1, and the White knight is forced to take
up it’s defending role on c2 once again.})) 31. Bd3 $2 (31. Ne1 Bf8 32. a3 a5
33. Qd2 $1 {I think this is the move that both he and I both missed. White
defends the b4 pawn and prevents Qc3.} (33. Nd3 {would have been hasty due to}
Qc3 $1)) 31… Qc3 {My active Queen should guarantee an easy draw.} ({Of
course I’m not going to repeat with} 31… Qd8 {and give him a chance to
correct his mistake!}) 32. h5 Bh6 $1 (32… gxh5 {is not to be recommended due
to} 33. Bxh7+ {and Black loses his Queen!}) 33. Qxh6 ({If White doesn’t
capture the h6 bishop, he loses a pawn for nothing after} 33. Qf3 Qd2+ 34. Kh3
gxh5 {and Black is playing for the win.}) 33… Qxd3 34. Ne3 {I became a bit
nervous here as I was down to 4 minutes, and White was seemingly beginning to
develop some serious threats to my King.} Qxd4 {Prevents White’s major threat
of Ng4, and wins a pawn :)} 35. Qg5 (35. hxg6 {was the critical line, and the
move I would have chosen if I was White.} Qe4+ 36. Kf2 hxg6 (36… Qxg6 37.
Qxg6+ hxg6 {To be honest, even though I’m a pawn up I feel like a draw would be
a great result for me here! White’s knight reigns supreme and his king is
threatening to march into c5.} 38. g4 $1 {followed by g5, Nc2-Ne1-Nd3-Nc5. I
don’t know if it’s winning, but it’s really unpleasant to defend.}) 37. Qg5
Qxb4 {I think White has some practical chances here after} 38. Ng4 ({or} 38.
Qxg6+ {Almost anything should draw for Black after} Kf8 {but he still has to
be careful.})) 35… Be8 36. h6 Qd2+ 37. Kh3 {d} Qc1 38. Kh2 (38. Qf6 {would
be pushing it. Black picks up another pawn after} Qh1+ 39. Kg4 Qh5+ 40. Kf4
Qxh6+ {but honestly I don’t really know if Black can win this due to the poor
e8 bishop. I don’t see a clear win in the following endgame, arising after} 41.
Kf3 Qh5+ (41… Qf8 42. Ng4 {is no better.}) 42. Ng4 Qf5+ 43. Qxf5 exf5 44.
Nf6+ Kf7 45. Nxh7 Ke6 46. Kf4 d4 47. a3 $1 Bc6 48. Nf8+ Kf7 49. Nh7 {How does
Black make progress?}) 38… Qd2+ 39. Kh3 Qc1 40. Kh2 Qd2+ 41. Kh3 Qc1 {And we
drew! A really exciting game, in which I hung in there from a worse position,
and was able to easily make a draw at the end after inaccuracies from his side.
This brings my score against 2700’s to a modest 0.5/3 :D} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

 

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My last round win over GM Abramovic.

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[Event “Paracin Open 2014”]
[Site “Paracin, Serbia”]
[Date “2014.07.11”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Black “Abramovic, Bosko”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C79”]
[WhiteElo “2442”]
[BlackElo “2443”]
[PlyCount “89”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. O-O Nf6 6. Re1 Bd7 7. c3 g6 8. d4 b5
9. Bb3 Bg7 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. a3 Re8 12. Ba2 Qb8 13. h3 Nd8 14. b4 Be6 15. Bxe6
Nxe6 16. d5 Nd8 17. Nb3 c6 18. Bg5 cxd5 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Qxd5 Ne6 21. g3 Bd8
22. Red1 Bc7 23. a4 h5 24. Ra2 a5 25. axb5 axb4 26. Rxa8 Qxa8 27. Ra1 Qb8 28.
cxb4 Bb6 29. Na5 Qd8 30. Nc4 Qf6 31. Kg2 Bd4 32. Ra8 Rxa8 33. Qxa8+ Kh7 34. b6
g5 35. Qa2 g4 36. hxg4 hxg4 37. Nh4 Nf4+ 38. Kf1 Nd3 39. b7 Nxb4 40. Qe2 Nc6
41. Ne3 Bxe3 42. Qxe3 Qe6 43. Nf5 Nb8 44. Qg5 Qg6 45. Qh4+ 1-0 [/pgn]

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