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S.L. Narayanan: I wish to cross 2700 by the first half of the next year

Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan is currently 88th in the world and one of India’s top Grandmasters. Just recently he won in a brilliant fashion the third leg of the MPL Indian Chess Tour, qualifying to the Julius Baer Generation Cup. However, S.L. Narayanan will skip the event, “It is indeed a big opportunity for me to play in such a prestigious global online event as the Champions Chess Tour. But unfortunately I have prior commitment to Spanish Primera division,” says S.L. Narayanan. In an interview for he talks about his MPL experience, the Julius Baer upcoming event, the Spanish Primera Division, the Carlsen – Niemann conflict, his future events, and more.

Chessdom: Congratulations on winning the third leg of the MLP Indian Tour! What is the feeling to emerge victorious in such a balanced and strong field?

S.L. Narayanan: Thank you for the wishes. It was indeed a strong event with a well balanced line-up. Coming into the tournament I had the feeling that its so balanced that anyone could win it. The start was not so smooth as it took time for me to get into the playing mode and once I won against Raunak I got that momentum and went on to win more games. Since I had previously played in the 1st Leg of the same event I knew that I had to play this time more bold and fighting chess to keep any chances alive, since the point system of 3 pts for a win and 1 for a draw.

I am elated to win this event which I would say was not clear until the very last moment. Aravindh too played really well all throughout and had his own shots for the title, but his off form in the last 2 days affected it.

It all came down to the last games. What was the key moment for you in the championship?

The key highlight obviously was the game against Aravindh where I had the aesthetic pleasure of playing the move 0-0-0. I believe I was completely worse and the only thing that could go wrong for him in that position was this motif.It proved crucial in deciding the title.Obviously I was happy to make that move but after the game when I realized it was his birthday I texted him saying that I was just lucky in that game.Other than that I played decent games against Adhiban, Harshit and Shyam Sundar as well.

Now the Julius Baer Generation Cup is coming up and after your win in the MPL Indian Tour you will be part of the event. In a field of legendary players, young stars, and the World Champion himself, who are the players you are looking forward to meet the most?

It is indeed a big opportunity for me to play in such a prestigious global online event as the Champions Chess Tour.But unfortunately due to my prior commitment for Spanish Primera Division where I will be playing for team Myinvestor Casablanca.

Since I already signed the contract for the league few weeks before I cannot play MCCT this time. But I hope the organizers of the Champions Chess Tour would consider me for one of their future events.

We cannot avoid the elephant in the room. Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann will meet for the first time after the cheating allegations scandal in Saint Louis. What is your take on the situation?

Its disheartening to see people cheating in abundance mostly online, but also occasional in OTB games. At the same time its not right to judge anyone based on one’s own perspective of the game without clear evidence. So I believe FIDE has to take more stringent measures for both online as well as OTB chess so that a playable environment could be created where the players can focus solely on the games. As a spectator I will be also eagerly waiting to see the main clash of Round 6 of the Julius Baer event

What are your plans after the Spanish Primera Division?

So after this Spanish league I will play in the Chessmood open in Armenia. As of now these two events I will play for sure and will try to connect it with some other events.

Recent: SL Narayanan clinches the 23rd Sants Open

You are rated 2654 ELO at this moment. The 2700 club has just got its new member Vincent Keymer, who would have been one of your opponents in the Julius Baer Generation Cup. How far is the 2700 club for you?

Yes, Vincent is a really strong player. I played against him in Banter blitz cup qualifier group which I won that time but a lot of time has passed and he has become much stronger now. It is great to see more and more players breaking the 2700 bar and it in turn motivates me to work harder and aim for greater heights. I wish to cross 2700 by the first half of the next year.

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