Indian victory at Hastings chess congress
Hastings International Chess Congress (HICC) 2016/17 proved a happy hunting ground for a strong contingent from India, who took first prize, dominated the top boards in the latter stages and produced the prodigy of the tournament. Nick Terdre reports.
First prize in the HICC Masters tournament went to Grandmaster (GM) Deep Sengupta, who scored seven points out of a possible nine and was presented with the Golombek trophy and £2,000. It’s the second time Deep Sengupta has had his name on the trophy, following success in 2010/11.
Back then he won on tie-break over his compatriot Arghyadip Das. Arghyadip Das, an International Master (IM), also came second this year, tying on 6.5/9 with IM Miklos Galyas of Hungary, IM Ramesh Praggnanandhaa of India, GM Bogdan Lalic and Fide Master (FM) Ravi Haria, both of England.
Youngest ever International Master, aged 11
The five of them shared second prize of £1,200, while the third prize of £750 was divided between six players on 6/9: GM S P Sethuraman and GM Murali Karthikeyan (both India), GM Aleksandr Fier (Brazil), GM Ben Gledura (Hungary), GM Allan Stig Rasmussen (Denmark) and IM Justin Tan (Australia).
That name Ramesh Praggnanandhaa is hard to miss and so is the player – at 11 years old, the youngest ever IM.
What’s more, according to veteran chess commentator Leonard Barden, he is a contender for youngest ever GM if he can score the requisite norms within the next 14 months.
Popular international tournament
This year’s tournament was held in memory of Con Power, who died last May after having directed the congress for more than 30 years. Since last year the post of director has been held by Alan Hustwayte, who is keen to uphold the congress’s reputation as a popular international tournament.
This year’s event, with its various competitions aimed at different skill levels, attracted 317 players from 28 countries, of whom 96 from 23 countries took part in the Masters, up from 83 in 2015/16, he told HOT. As usual the players’ comments on the organisation of the congress, whose main sponsors are the Tradewise insurance group and Hastings Borough Council, were complimentary.
Relaxed but insightful
One of the attractions of Hastings for the non player is the relaxed but insightful analysis of games in progress by GM Chris Ward, which always brings in a good crowd. The prize for the best game, as selected by Chris, was a first round encounter won by Denmark’s Jesper Sondergaard Thybo against S P Sethuraman, the highest ranking player at the tournament.
“In fact (as always at Hastings), it was the audience, rather than myself who voted the ‘best game’ prize,” Chris told HOT. “The game clearly stuck in their mind throughout as the underdog resisted the onslaught of a much higher rated opponent before turning the tables.”
This game can be seen below, as can two other games picked out for us by Chris. One features the Women’s Grandmaster (WGM) Nino Maisuradze of France, who as well as being a contender for the best game prize won a prize as the highest-placed woman, and the other her Brazilian husband GM Aleksandr Fier.
Outstanding games from HICC
S P Sethuraman vs Jesper Sondergaard Thybo
1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 Bg7 5. h4 c6 6. Be2 h5 7. Nf3 Bg4 8. Ng5
Bxe2 9. Qxe2 O-O 10. O-O-O b5 11. e4 b4 12. Nb1 dxe4 13. Nxe4 Nbd7 14. Nbd2 Nd5 15. Bh2 Qb6 16. g4 hxg4 17. h5 gxh5 18. Bg3 Qb5 19. Qe1 N5f6 20. f3 Qd5 21.
fxg4 Nxg4 22. Nb3 a5 23. Kb1 f5 24. Ng5 f4 25. Bh4 Ne3 26. Rd3 a4 27. Nd2 Nf6
28. Rg1 Nfg4 29. Ngf3 b3 30. c4 bxa2+ 31. Kxa2 Nxc4 32. Ka1 Nce3 33. Qc1 e5 34.
Rc3 a3 35. b3 exd4 36. Rc5 d3+ 37. Ka2 Qd7 38. Ne5 Qd4 39. Ndf3 Qb2+ 40. Qxb2 axb2+ 41. Kxb2 Nxe5 42. Rxg7+ Kxg7 43. Rxe5 Rf5 44. Re7+ Kg8 45. Be1 Rc5 46. b4 Rc2+ 47. Kb3 Rca2 48. b5 R8a3+ 0-1
N Maisuradze vs A Punnett
1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 c5 3. d5 Qb6 4. Bc1 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. e4 d6 7. Be2 O-O 8. h4 h5
9. Nh3 a6 10. Ng5 Qc7 11. a4 b6 12. O-O Ra7 13. Ra3 Nh7 14. Nxh7 Kxh7 15. Bxh5
gxh5 16. Qxh5+ Kg8 17. Bh6 f5 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Nb5 axb5 20. Rg3+ Kf6 21. Rg6+ Ke5 22. f4+ Kd4 23. Qd1+ Kc4 24. Qd3+ Kb4 25. Qxb5++ 1-0
A Fier vs J Tan
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 Re8 6. a3 Bf8 7. e4 d5 8. e5
Nfd7 9. cxd5 exd5 10. f4 Nb6 11. g3 Bf5 12. Bg2 Qd7 13. h3 h5 14. Bf3 Bxh3 15.
Bxh5 c5 16. Ng1 Bf5 17. g4 Bh7 18. Nf3 g6 19. Ng5 f6 20. Nxh7 Qxh7 21. g5 fxe5
22. dxc5 Bxc5 23. Nxd5 N8d7 24. f5 Qf7 25. Nxb6 Bxb6 26. Bxg6 Qc4 27. f6 Nc5
28. Rh8+ Kxh8 29. Qh5+ Kg8 30. Qh7+ 1-0
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