Isle of Man Masters: Arkadij Naiditsch, Wang Hao lead after Round 4; Vidit Gujrathi, Abhijeet Gupta lead Indian charge


Event leaders had been chopped to a 3rd on the conclusion of the Chess.com Isle of Man Masters. Of the six in a single day leaders, solely Wang Hao and Arkadij Naiditsch gained their video games and remained on most rating of 4.0/4. Sizzling on their heels are Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Richard Rapport, Vidit Gujrathi, Jeffery Xiong, Mircea-Emilian Parligras and Abhijeet Gupta.

On the highest board, American teenager GM Jeffery Xiong fastidiously prevented going into the strains of the Sicilian Najdorf towards Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman is a identified professional on the road and has slain many a Grandmaster in it. Fairly understandably, due to this fact, Xiong opted for a sideline, the Sicilian Rossolimo and induced an early queen change. The following center recreation noticed gamers battle in a reasonably balanced place till the 33rd transfer, earlier than agreeing to a draw.

The opposite two video games that featured the leaders additionally didn’t appear to carry a lot promise at the beginning. Wang Hao had a small however negligible edge over Erwin L’ami whereas Pavel Tregubov had managed to equalise towards Naiditsch with the French Defence, the opening that has been fairly in vogue on the highest boards on this event.

The sport between Naiditsch and Tregubov had begun with the Winawer variation of the French, a line which normally results in extraordinarily sharp positions. However then, this line had additionally been used fairly efficiently within the earlier spherical by Sam Sevian towards Levon Aronian.

Pavel Tregubov (left) went down surprisingly quick from an equal however passive place towards Arkadij Naiditsch. Picture courtesy: John Saunders

Naiditsch deviated from Aronian’s chosen transfer order within the line on the 6th transfer however black nonetheless managed to equalise. However having ‘castled by hand’ Tregubov solely had to make sure his king rook didn’t stay locked in on its house sq.. As soon as that was resolved, the place was simply equal.

Naiditsch was nonetheless extra energetic together with his items, nevertheless, and tried to make one thing of this by maneuvering his queen and rooks. Someplace round right here, Tregubov obtained into time hassle and commenced defending passively. Exploiting this, Naiditsch rapidly switched wings and commenced posing threats on the kingside. Unable to defend towards this, Tregubov was pressured to resign on the 40th transfer.

“Someway black ought to be completely high-quality however Pavel didn’t discover a method to get his Rh5 into the sport…Within the time hassle he made it a lot simpler to me than it ought to have been,” Naiditsch informed Chess.com after the sport.

Hao additionally exploited the passivity of his opponent’s place in his recreation towards L’ami. The sport had begun with an Anti-Berlin that ultimately had begun to indicate the contours of an Italian Opening. However as is the case in each the Italian and the Berlin, the place had remained pretty balanced during.

Within the endgame, white had a really slim edge as a consequence of higher exercise of his items however black, alternatively, had nothing to worry as a consequence of his strong – though barely passive – place. What Hao did have working in his favour was that he had no danger of dropping within the place. He may have tried to ‘squeeze’ for so long as he needed after which taken the draw if nothing labored.

On the 43rd transfer, L’ami cracked and made a tactical error that netted his opponent a pawn. This was all that was required for Wang, along with his positional edge. The sport wrapped up within the Chinese language Grandmaster’s favour in simply seven extra strikes after this.

GM Gupta, who sported a Superman cap on Day 4, additionally performed like he possessed superpowers and outclassed the Vietnamese tremendous Grandmaster (as GMs rated above Elo 2700 are sometimes informally known as) Le Quang Liem.

Abhijeet Gupta and Le Quang Liem discussed a sharp theoretical Sicilian in Round 4. Image courtesy: John Saunders

Abhijeet Gupta and Le Quang Liem mentioned a pointy theoretical Sicilian in Spherical 4. Picture courtesy: John Saunders

Each gamers didn’t draw back from a high-power theoretical recreation. Within the Sicilian Richter-Rauzer, Gupta went for broke in a sophisticated center recreation, attempting to generate an assault on the enemy king. After a number of ups and downs, the sport lastly liquidated to a rook and minor piece endgame on his 36th flip and remained with an additional pawn. The endgame went on till the 60th transfer of the sport earlier than Gupta had lastly managed to power resignation.

After two again to again attracts, GM Viswanathan Anand lastly gained his second recreation of the occasion towards his younger compatriot, GM Shyam Sundar. With the black items, Sundar had essayed the aggressive and comparatively uncommon Schliemann variation of the Ruy Lopez. Anand, nevertheless, was hardly shocked by his opponent’s opening selection. Getting a clearly higher place out of the opening, Anand had reached a successful place after some skirmishes on the queenside. By the 25th transfer, black’s complete queenside had shattered and in a dozen extra strikes, Anand had pressured resignation.

The opposite all Indian encounter between Gujrathi and R Praggnanandhaa ended with a win for the previous. In a Catalan Defence, Praggananandhaa mishandled the opening with the black items and ended up in a a lot worse place fairly early out of the opening. Buying and selling queens, Vidit rapidly gained a pawn and had no issues changing.

“After that, it was simply struggling for him,” Vidit informed Chess.com, speaking concerning the place after the queen commerce on the 15th transfer.

The fifth spherical of the event will function a conflict between the 2 leaders of the event, Hao and Naiditsch. Gujrathi will face his fourth straight Indian opponent of the occasion in Gupta on board 4. The 2 are presently sharing the second place with 3.5/5.

One other necessary element of Spherical 5 is that Anand has determined to take a half level bye. As per the foundations of the event, gamers are allowed to take one half level bye in any of the primary eight rounds of the occasion. Anand isn’t the one one, nevertheless, to take this bye in the course of the occasion. Seven different gamers have accomplished the identical. A few of the high names embody Vladimir Kramnik, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Peter Leko and former girls’s world champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Game from Spherical 4

Aditya Pai is an editor at ChessBase India

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