Finding the path between Scylla and Charybdis
When Wins turn into Draws against the 2600s

Those 2600s. Those darn, wily, 2600s ūüôā . ¬†They’re always slipping out of my craftily woven webs, at the last possible moment. ¬†They remind me of Scylla and Charybdis, ancient monsters in Greek mythology. ¬†When passing through a strait, if ships drift too close to the port side, Scylla would feast on the ship and its crew. ¬†If the ships steered off to the starboard side, they would fall prey to the massive whirlpool known as Charybdis.

The hydra-headed Scylla and the churning Charybis. Got to find that elusive path.

To put this analogy into chess context, 2600 GMs represent two dangers as well. ¬†The first is that they can effortlessly demolish you given an opportunity. ¬†The second is that they’re highly resistant and tenacious. ¬†Even when we have an edge, they don’t go down. ¬†So just like seafarers in our Greek mythology, when encountering Scylla and Charybdis, one has to find that narrow, near-elusive path through the middle that takes you to safety. ¬†This mean perfect balance and perfect calculation. ¬†On occasions, I’ve found the path, only to slip from a Winning position into a Draw when close to reaching the end. ¬†Here are two encounters, with game notation.

New York International - Akshat Chandra Vs GM Sam Shankland

New York International – Akshat Chandra Vs GM Sam Shankland

In June 2013, I was paired with GM Sam Shankland in the NY International. ¬†I had completely outplayed him the whole game, and had achieved an elementary 2 vs 1 rook endgame. Unfortunately, I managed to find the whole move which didn’t win. I played Ke5?? before realizing that g5 draws, since the pawn endgame after Re6, Rxe6, Kxe6, Kh7 is a dead draw. ¬†Aargh! ¬†Not again ! ¬†Just as I was close to the end, I let the 2600 GM slip away at the last second, after being in total control throughout. ¬†Perhaps it was fatigue, but the one thing I learnt is that to beat the 2600’s you gotta play perfect throughout. ¬†You don’t get points for playing great 99% of the game. ¬†With all that being said, enjoy the game which has my annotation too. ¬†More about the NY International tournament, including this game, can be learnt from my earlier report¬†here.

Round 1 - Akshat Chandra Vs GM Sam Shankland

Round 1 – Akshat Chandra 2268 Vs GM Sam Shankland 2601

I wasn’t able to decipher my notation sheet after that, but I remember the position at the end.

Another encounter with a 2600 GM was at a tournament in Forni Di Sopra, Italy. ¬†I was starting the tournament with a rating of 2154, and was set to play Spaniard GM Korneev Oleg (rated 2580 at the time) in the first round. ¬†Suddenly, the pairings changed as we were about to sit down. ¬†I was no longer playing GM Oleg. ¬†I was playing Russian GM Pavel Tregubov (rated 2597 at the time, but we’ll just round up to 2600 ūüôā . ¬†His peak rating was 2658, so this guy was no joke ūüôā .

Akshat Chandra Vs GM  Pavlov

Akshat Chandra Vs GM Pavel Tregubov

After my usual 1.e4, Pavel played the Paulsen Sicilian. ¬†He made an inaccuracy early on, and suddenly I developed a serious advantage after playing 12.g4 ! ¬†His pieces were all tangled up with each other, and so I kept the pressure up with 16.f5. ¬†I could tell that Pavel was psychologically rattled, since his legs were shaking, and his face was really red. ¬†Pavel played 16.Rxc3, a typical Sicilian exchange sacrifice, but in this position it was just plain bad. ¬†I think he missed my 19th move,Qd5. ¬†After swapping queens, I was so sure that I was going to win. ¬†The thought of messing up, didn’t even cross my mind. ¬†As the game went on, I suddenly started to become doubtful. ¬†We had reached 40 moves, and I still hadn’t won, in what had seemed like a fairly straightforward position. ¬†I had brought my King over to the Queenside, strutting his majesty all the way to c6. ¬†Pavel defended tenaciously, and was able to execute the correct idea of sacrificing his bishop for my a-pawn. Despite being a rook up, his 3 pawns were too much to deal with. ¬†After 5 1/2 hours, I had to settle for a Draw. ¬†The result was disheartening, since it had seemed like an easy win on move 19. ¬†I learnt then, that there’s no such thing as an easy win against a 2600. ¬†Well at least Christmas came early for Pavel. ¬†More can be learnt from my earlier tournament posting.


Akshat Chandra Vs GM Pavel Tregubov. A 5 1/2 hour game


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *