No chess player is immune to blunders, not even grandmasters. GM Vidit Gujrathi, one of India’s best chess players, committed a huge blunder in his game in the sixth round of the ongoing Lake Sevan tournament in Martuni, Armenia against local favourite GM Robert Hovhannisyan. Gujrathi, who turned Grandmaster in January 2013 and is the defending champion from last year, was in a solid winning position with white, before playing a move that saw him being checkmated on black’s very next move! Gujrathi began the match with an ELO rating of 2643 and now stands in sixth position with three points out of a possible six.
Let us show you the mistake made by Gujrathi, which gave his opponent victory in just a single move. This is the position after 20 moves, with Gujrathi playing with white.
White is clearly in a strong position with many active pieces. As you can see, the black queen on c4 is overloaded as it the sole protector of the bishop on a6 and the pawns on c3 and c6. A good move for white could have been 21. Na5 Qxa2 22. Bxc6+ Kf8 23. Bxa8 Qxa5, which would mean that the c6 pawn would be undefended and could be taken by the white bishop, thus forking and winning the black rook on a8, while giving up the knight, which would mean winning material.
Instead, this is what white played!
White played 21. Rh3??. A huge blunder by white and the victory is there for black to take. Can you see how?
Look along the a6-f1 diagonal and you will see that black is attacking the f1 square with his queen and bishop. The rook on h1 was the only piece protecting that square and now that it moved to h3, black can simply complete checkmate by moving his queen to f1. And this is what he did! 21…Qf1#.
A crushing defeat for the Indian, who had completely dominated proceedings from the first move. A win could have taken him to the top three in the tournament, but an elementary error saw him lose out. Even Vidit couldn’t believe what he had done!
Did I just play Rh3 in a completely won position? Incredible.
— Vidit Gujrathi (@viditchess) July 17, 2015
However, these things can happen to anyone in any game. All famous chess players have committed huge mistakes and have managed to make comebacks, which is why they are champions! We wish Vidit the best of luck for the remainder of the tournament and hope to see him bounce back from this defeat!
The full game can be seen here.