MDI 2, Day 1: Adhiban wins in 9 moves, but Navara, Giri, Dubov & Vidit advance

Adhiban took a 2:0 lead against David Navara after playing 1.b3 and forcing resignation in 9 moves, but the Czech no. 1 stormed back to win the match 6.5:4.5. That was the same scoreline by which Vidit beat Peter Heine Nielsen in a hard-fought match to reach the quarterfinals of the Mr Dodgy Invitational 2.0, while the other two matches on Day 1 were massacres. Defending Champion Anish Giri beat Pepe Cuenca 7:0 while Simon Williams managed a draw in a 6.5:0.5 loss to Daniil Dubov.

You can replay all the games from the Mr Dodgy Invitational 2.0 using the selector below.

And here’s the Day 1 commentary from Jan Gustafsson, Peter Svidler and MrDodgy himself.

During the Mr Dodgy Invitational you can get 40% off chess24 Premium membership with the voucher code DODGY.

Two massacres

The first session of Day 1 of the Mr Dodgy Invitational saw two crushing wins for the heavy favourites. Anish Giri, who used to be criticised for a failure to take chances, has become ruthless, especially online, and didn’t concede Spanish Grandmaster and commentator Pepe Cuenca a single draw.

It all began when Anish pounced on the mistake 22…Bf5? to unleash the winning 23.Nd6! in the first game.

Although material was equal after the tactics were over, the black king was so weak and the white bishop so strong that White could win at will. 30…bxa5? 31.Be2! cut the suffering short.

Pepe resigned, since there’s no way to stop g3 and mate next move. 

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Pepe after that. Anish again and again showed brilliant endgame technique, Pepe missed a couple of chances to grab a pawn in Game 3, and he lost on time in Game 4. In Game 6 Anish repeated a dodgy-looking pawn sacrifice opening Adhiban had just used in the Indian Qualifier and was winning in under 10 moves.

The final game was perhaps the hardest to take, since Giri again took some liberties in the opening (playing an almost-King’s Gambit) and went for a dubious piece sacrifice. Pepe was within touching distance of the win on demand he needed to prolong the match.

22…Qh4? was the right idea – hitting another white piece – but 22…Qg5! was the correct way to win a piece and the game. The move in the game ran into 23.Re5!, defending the h5-bishop and attacking the c5-bishop. There was already no more than equality after 23…dxc3 24.Rxc5, but instead Pepe tried to play for more with 23…Bd6? only to get hit by 24.Rxe6! and suddenly it was White who was winning.

Pepe stumbled on for 3 more moves before resigning. 

Taking away Anish Giri’s picture of a man on a horse isn’t going to be easy.

The other 16:00 CEST match-up was also over in 7 games, with the odds against Simon “Ginger GM” Williams even worse than the 250-point rating gap would suggest. 

It would end 6.5:0.5 in favour of 2018 World Rapid Champion Daniil Dubov.

The silkily smooth way Daniil dismantled his opponent’s French Defence in the first game meant that most of the attention was on Daniil once again deciding to stay in a city after a chess tournament was over (this time in Sochi after the Russian Team Championship) and seeming to play from a hookah bar.

Simon tried to go for an all-out Sicilian attack in Game 2, but the counterattack was much faster!

23…Ba2+! 24.Kxa2 axb2+ 25.Kxb2 Qc3+ 26.Ka2 Qxc2+ 27.Ka1 Qxd1+ and White resigned without waiting to get mated. 

Simon had some chances, however, with Daniil going for an unsound sacrifice (or simply blundering an exchange) in Game 3, before Simon missed the winning continuation and went on to lose. Game 4 was solid from start to finish and it was clear how much the draw meant to the underdog!

When Simon was briefly better with Black in the next game it was possible to dream of a comeback, but instead 18…Nb4? led to the shortest game of the match.

Daniil struck with 19.Rxb4! Qxb4 20.Ng5! g6? (20…Rf5 was the only defence, but 21.g4! wins back the exchange with a much better position for White) 21.Qxc7! and Black resigned, as you can only delay mate on h7 by giving up pieces. 

Dubov cruised to victory and will play the winner of Svidler vs. Fressinet in the quarterfinals. 

Navara and Vidit win after huge battles

The evening matches couldn’t have been more different, with both almost going the 12-game distance and only 4 draws in 22 games. David Navara had reached the final of the first Mr Dodgy Invitational, but looked rusty after playing little online chess in the intervening period, while his opponent Adhiban had come straight from reaching the final of the Indian Qualifier. 

Adhiban played the King’s Indian Defence in the 1st game and won with ease, despite David going for an exchange variation that should have been ultra-solid. It would get much worse for the Czech no. 1 in Game 2 as Adhiban played 1.b3 and disaster struck on move 8.

David spent 13 seconds in this position before playing the blunder 8…Nxd5?? 9.Qg4! was suddenly mate-in-3.

The g7-point is attacked 3 times and can’t be defended, while 9…g6 runs into 10.Nh6+ mate. 

So is 1.b3 simply a lethal weapon? Well, to get ahead of ourselves, in the next two games David correctly played 8…Nb4! and won, with the ultimate score of the b3 battles 3:2 in the Czech star’s favour. 

Game 3 proved to be something of a turning point, though it was traumatic for all concerned! Adhiban missed what seemed a great chance to keep his queen and take a 3:0 lead (26…Qh7+!), but was still pushing in the endgame until he blundered a full rook. Navara, however, blundered back moments later for the first and in fact only draw of the match.

In Game 4 David was suddenly his old self again as he won his first game against 1.b3 and he went on to win the next two games as well to take a 3.5:2.5 lead.

The momentum was all on the Czech player’s side, but then Adhiban struck back with a classic KID win before winning on time to take a 4.5:3.5 lead.

David was on the ropes, but after playing 1.c4 four times he switched to 1.e4, and was immediately rewarded with an effortless win over his opponent’s Dragon Sicilian. That was followed by a last win against 1.b3 – with Navara dominating the game but ultimately winning on time with 2 seconds to spare – before 1.e4 again brought triumph in the final game.

Here strictly the only move for Adhiban was 29…Rg8!, though losing the h-pawn by force to 30.Rxg8 Bxg8 31.Rxh5+ is no-one’s idea of fun. Instead he went for the desperate 29…Rxc4 when 30.Bxh5! was mate-in-4. 

Adhiban took time to check his options before deciding to fall on his sword: 30…Bxh5 31.Rg5! Rxf4+ (31…Rc2+ is also just one check) 32.Bxf4 Bxf4 33.Rhxh5#

Navara will now play the winner of Grischuk-Jobava in the quarterfinals. 

In the final Day 1 clash Indian Olympiad captain Vidit seemed to be the clear favourite, but a convincing win with Black for Magnus Carlsen’s head coach Peter Heine Nielsen set the tone for the match.

Time and again the player with the black pieces would gradually take over and grind out a technical win, though some mistakes were made to speed up the process!

7 of the first 8 games were won for Black, with Vidit’s draw with White in Game 3 cancelling out the advantage PHN had gained by starting with the black pieces in Game 1! It looked like the sequence might never end until Game 9 proved decisive for the match. Vidit was pressing with the white pieces for the whole game, though the position was still objectively a draw when Peter lost on time. 

Vidit had taken a 2-point lead and barely put a foot wrong after that (13.b4! in Game 10 was perhaps the last chance for Peter) as he closed the match out with two draws. The Indian star will now play the winner of Jorden van Foreest vs. David Howell in the quarterfinals. 

Day 2 of the Mr Dodgy Invitational 2.0 promises to be exciting, with the matches staggered over three time slots on Thursday May 13th. 

Needless to say, we’ll have commentary with Jan Gustafsson and guests LIVE here on chess24 from 16:00 CEST onwards. 

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