Interview with S.L. Narayanan, winner of Fagernes 2022

S.L. Narayanan is the winner of the 2022 edition of Fagernes Open. Narayanan collected 7,0/9, the same points as Abhimanyu Puranik and Anton Demchenko, but collected the gold on a better tiebreak.

The title follow a nice streak of events for S.L. Narayanan, including the Chessmood Open and the Spanish League. Chessdom had a chance to speak to S.L. Narayanan before these events (see the interview here) and is now happy to interview him again, with an extra gold in his pocket.

Congratulations on winning the strong Fagernes 2022! How does it feel to have the title in your hands?

Thank you first of all for the wish. I feel really good and motivated at the same after winning the fagernes 2022.It was super tough event since there were around 60-70 players which basically means to win it you must play most of the top guys and score which is never easy.

You played fantastic chess, but what was the best game for you in this event

I played really nice games and in general I was calculating well, which I am happy about.S peaking about my favorite games there were quite some for instance in the first round game. I was satisfied with this idea of Nh5 and F5 trying to fight and imbalance the position even though it wasn’t the right approach in that position objectively.

Against Sasikiran I played a smooth game right out of the opening I got a central pawn majority which gave me a strategic edge and later on he gave his dark squared bishop which I think is a mistake since afterwards both his knights were struggling to find good squares and I just invaded throught the D-file.

Also I liked the calculation part of the game against Mads Andersen. He was a really tough opponent to prepare against but I managed to find some deep idea where objectively again it’s close to equal but long term I have two bishops and I kept on piling the pressure. Until Qe2 I was prepared in this game. Also there were some brilliant resources for him which I saw during the game for instance when I played Bb2I thought I was very clever that I can defend b3 tactically and in this way coordinate my pieces better but I missed that after he took Nxb3 Rxc6 Rxc6 Qb5 Qc5 Rd1 he has the brilliant move Rd6 with the point being if I take Rxd6 Qxb5 Rd8+Ne8 defence is there but after the game when we analysed he didn’t see it he was planning to play Rc8 instead of Rd6 and then I was intending Qd3 but here too Nc1 I missed but in general I was a bit shocked to find this resource that I played Rd1 which I felt was the most practical thing since I keep all the threats in the air and also he was low on time and won quite confidently thereafter. It was a crucial game I believe.

These are so many events for you, one after the other – you won the MPL Indian League, then you played the Spanish league, Chessmood open. How do you manage to play such high level and conserve your energy?

Yes recently yes I won the Sants open, then the Spanish league my team won in the second divison and now this. I have been working quite hard on openings during the pandemic time and analyzed a lot which in general helped me to be in shape despite not playing OTB tournaments during that time.I don’t follow any special diet but I try to exercise when I am at home while preparing for the upcoming tournaments. I have occasional sessions with Chuchelov not at all regular since it’s not so easy to afford and also he has a busy schedule. Other than that also there is a 2720+ player (not an Indian:) with whom I play sometimes training games (I don’t want to reveal the name) which really I should say gave me a perspective on how he thinks.

S.L. Narayanan, winner of Fagernes 2022. Photo: Tom Eriksen

What is your next event?

I will play in the Bundesliga next and after that Asian continental

Back to Fagernes. It was an all-Indian party with 10 strong players from India there, including yourself, Pragg, Sasikiran, Sethuraman, Abhimanyu Puranik, Rameshbabu Vaishali, etc. How do you see the performance of your compatriots?

Obviously it was clear that Pragg wasn’t in his best shape, but in general all of them were fighters and fought till the last.

I want to thank the organizer Mr Hans Olav who is also a celebrity in Norway he himself is a novelist and a chess player as well.He made sure the players were really satisfied with the playing conditions.Yes I would recommend this event to all those who love chess and nature since Fagernes is an amazing place.I am thankful to All India Chess Federating for the stupend they are providing me as I am u

These are extra +9,4 ELO in Fagernes. We asked before, we will ask now – how close are you to entering the 2700 club?

Nothing has changed, I will give myself time as I mentioned before in the previous interview. By the first half of next year I would love to cross 2700. The sooner the better but I think I will be there one day.

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