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Nihal Sarin of India maintained the lead at the end of Day 2 of Tata Steel Chess India

Nihal Sarin of India in Men’s category rockets to lead position with excellent moves while Nana Dzagnidze in Women’s category maintained the lead at the end of Day 2 of Tata Steel Chess India

Kolkata, 30th November 2022 – On the second day of Tata Steel Chess India witnessed a dramatic change in the pole position in the men’s category. Nihal Sarin on the 2nd day of jumped to the lead position with 4.5 points from 3rd position at the end of day 1. Nana Dzagnidze maintained her lead position on day 2 ending with 4.5 followed by Koneru Hampy of India with 4 point. Both the leaders and Koneru Hampy has not lost any game till the end of day 2.

Men’s Report

Round 4

Talk about some real action! All games in round 4 of the TATA Steel Chess India - Open ended in decisive results. GM Nihal Sarin won the battle of the prodigies as he prevailed over GM D Gukesh. It was a positional grind after Nihal got the pair of bishops going into the endgame. Making incremental progress, the ‘master trickster’ edged out Gukesh in a Rook and Bishop endgame, being a pawn up. GM Vidit Gujrathi, after a quiet day 1, was back in business with a clean victory over GM Uzbek Abdusattarov Nodirbek. The Nashik-lad splendidly created protected passed pawns in the endgame, allowing him to press through and bag a win. GM Hikaru Nakamura ended the hot streak of GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar with a great display. Making use of Shakh’s weak pawns, Hikaru was able to crash through and capitalize. He won the game in 47 moves. GM SP Sethuraman made a huge statement with a victory over GM Arjun Erigaisi with the black pieces. Arjun’s adoption of a side variation with 1.d4 didn’t work out in the best way as the Chennai GM was in his element, creating a lot of play along the queenside. He then crashed through and caught Erigaisi’s king in a mating net.

Round 5

GM Nihal Sarin continued his hot form with a victory against GM SP Sethuraman. Playing the French defense, Nihal got a comfortable position out of the opening with an advantage in the pawn structure. Nihal showcased his positional prowess as he was clinical in converting the full point. GM Gukesh, after a minor setback, was right in his element as he scored a victory against GM Abdusattarov Nodirbek. A few may also say that the scores are now level between these 2 superstars since the Uzbek had scored a crucial victory over the Indian at the 2022 Chess Olympiad. It was a smooth-flowing game by Gukesh as he always looked to press forward. He got an advantage after winning two minor pieces for his rook, and duly converted the game, winning on move 56. GM Vidit Gujrathi held GM Hikaru Nakamura after the two agreed to a draw in a relatively equal middlegame that lasted 27 moves. GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also drew his game against Iranian Maghsoodloo. The game was level throughout and ended with a repetition of moves in a rook endgame. GM Arjun Erigaisi’s game with former Fischer Random World Champion, Wesley So, ended in a hard-fought draw. Arjun was a pawn up in the rook endgame but proved insufficient to push for a win. Arjun employed the French defense and had a very slight advantage at one point, but the US GM was sharp to combat the threats and force a draw.

Round 6

GM Nihal Sarin ended day 2 with a solid draw against GM Wesley So. Playing risk-free chess, Sarin traded off pieces at regular intervals to hold the fort with the white pieces. After two losses, GM Abdusattarov Nodirbek came back with a win over GM SP Sethuraman. He took advantage of Sethuraman’s isolated pawn in the center and gradually turned the tides with a very strong positional hold of the position. In the end, Sethuraman resigned after dropping a piece under a time scramble. GM Arjun Erigaisi scored an emphatic victory over GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with the white pieces. Playing the Guico Piano opening, Erigaisi got an edge in the position after move 20. At one point, GM Shakh had a chance to sacrifice his rook to get a decisive advantage, but instead chose another continuation which gave only drawing chances. In the heat of pushing for a win, Shakhriyar missed a beautiful rook sacrifice from Erigaisi which proved fatal. The game ended in 36 moves in the Indian’s favour. GM Hikaru Nakamura played a crushing game to score a win against GM Maghsoodloo Parham. After winning a pawn on move 32, there was no looking back for the world’s most popular chess streamer as Hikaru kept tightening the screws on his Iranian compatriot. A truly dominant performance for the Fischer Random World Champion! GM Vidit Gujrathi and GM Gukesh D’s game was the last to finish on Day 2 after the duo agreed to a draw in the rook endgame. At one point, Gukesh did seem to have a slightly better position, with a clear majority of pawns on the queenside, but needed accurate moves to hold on to the advantage. In the end, the players fought hard on the ticking clock, but the theoretically drawn position had the final say in the position. The players agreed to a draw on move 73.

Women’s Rapid

Round 4

It was the battle of the top Indian women icons as GM Koneru Humpy and GM Dronavalli Harika went head-to-head. Harika played the modern defense with the black pieces and soon after 20 moves, the queens were exchanged with the position reaching equality. What followed was a series of exchanges and on move 36, both players agreed to a draw. After having a difficult day 1, Polish IM Kiolbasa Oliwia notched up her first win of the tournament against Indian youngster Vantika Agrawal. In what was a great result, IM R. Vaishali scored an emphatic victory over GM Anna Muzychuk. Playing with the black pieces, the India No. 3 grabbed her chance to win material on move 30 after an oversight from the Ukrainian. She duly converted the game and went on to win the endgame.The talented Savitha Shri also found her mojo as she held GM Mariya Muzychuk to a draw with the white pieces in 45 moves. Overnight leader, GM Dzagnidze Nana was held to a draw by the experienced GM, Ushenina Anna after the game headed into an equal double rook endgame.

Round 5

It was a battle of experience vs youth as GM Koneru Humpy was paired against the young Savitha Shri. India No. 1, Humpy, came out on top after Savitha miscalculated and dropped a piece on move 22. A tough game, but Savitha will be looking to put her best moves forward in the games to come. GM Anna Ushenina continued her impressive solid run with a victory over Indian junior, Vanitka Agrawal. Displaying some fine positional understanding, Anna got her pieces to the right squares, putting pressure on Agrawal. Taking advantage of weaknesses in her opponent’s position, the Ukrainian GM powered through with a fine win. GM Dronavalli Harika’s game against GM Nana Dzagnidze ended in a draw after the players reached an equal rook endgame with not much to separate the two. IM Kiolbasa Oliwia missed her chance to bring up back-to-back wins after being unable to close out a position of strength against GM Anna Muzychuk. The Polish IM was 2 pawns up in the endgame but made minor accuracies as Anna fought back to save the game.

Round 6

The tournament leader, Nana Dzagnidze was up against India's No. 1, Koneru Humpy. The opening was expertly played by GM Humpy and she got a tangible advantage. By move 26, she seemed in the driver’s seat, however, a small inaccuracy meant that the advantage was neutralized by the experienced Georgian. The game ended in a draw after a repetition of moves.GM Mariya Muzychuk won her game against IM Kiolbasa Oliwia in a nice fashion after launching an attack against the second player’s king. After the queens were traded, the position looked level, but Muzychuk took advantage of her advanced pawn majority on the kingside to keep probing against the enemy king. Soon, she got all her pieces in the game and delivered a timely blow to seal the game. R. Vaishali continued her sublime run with a win over Savitha Shri with the black pieces. After opting for an aggressive opening, Vaishali soon found herself in a comfortable position with the pair of bishops. Gradually, she converted her advantage and won the game on move 42 after threatening to win material. Vantika Agrawal held her own against GM Dronavalli Harika as she secured a draw with white pieces. It was a very solid play by the youngster and gave no chances to India's No. 2. The players agreed to a draw on move 42. In other results, Olympiad teammates, GM Anna Muzychuk and GM Anna Ushenina split the point, agreeing to a draw on move 40 after the game headed to an equal double rook endgame.


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