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National School Championship 2016

by Niklesh Jain - 09/01/2016

The Nagpur Chess Academy on behalf of the All India Chess Federation organized the 5th National School Chess Championship 2016 at the Naivedhyam Eastoria in Nagpur. The three-day chess bonanza attracted around 720 chess playing schoolchildren to the Orange city. Vishy Anand was the chief guest at this mammoth event. And guess what were the prizes for the winners? - ChessBase DVDs!

All photos by Samruddha Mandaokar and Niklesh Jain

National School Championship 2016 

The Nagpur Chess Academy on behalf of the All India Chess Federation organized the 5th National School Chess Championship 2016 at the Naivedhyam Eastoria in Nagpur from the 5th to the 7th of January. The tournament was a nine round Swiss league with the time-control of sixty minutes per player without increment. The three-day chess bonanza attracted around 720 chess playing schoolchildren to the Orange city. There were in all six age categories (U-7, U-9, U-11, U-13, U-15, U-17) for boys and six for girls making it 12 categories in all. And what were the two best things about the tournament?

Vishy Anand was the chief guest and inaugrated the event and....

...all the first place winners in each of the categories were not only given trophies but also DVDs of ChessBase
So what did Vishy Anand speak and which DVDs were given to the prize winners? More about that will follow but first let's have a look at the tournament venue.

The excellent host: Naivedhyam Eastoria

 What a beautiful tournament hall! Around 720 schoolchildren made it to this event!

Chess improves your memory and problem-solving skills, and these children have chosen a good sport to play!

The hall was filled to the brim with kids...

...while the parents waited patiently on the stairs

Arbiters and other officials like Prem Pandit had their hands full with so many children playing at one place; nevertheless, they handled their work exceptionally.
While not all the top players of the country played in the higher age category like U-17 or U-15, many of the brightest talents participated in the younger age groups. For eg. Nagpur's future hopes Mrudul Dehankar and Divya Deshmukh played in the under-13 and under-11 age categories respectively and won the gold medals. Dev Shah who was the world under-8 silver medallist in 2015, won the under-9 section with a 8.0/8 start. And what do we say about the under-7 category. Just that make a note of the names of these cute little winners, because you will be hearing a lot about them in the future! Here are the top three finishers in each of the 12 categories.

The Final Ranking List:

Under 7 - Final Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1   Ilamparthi A R 1199 TN TN- 8
2   Aarav Lakhani 1120 MAH MAH-MKM
3   Aarav Dengla 0 MAH MAH-OISM 7
 U-7 Girls Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1   Sani Deshpande 0 MAH MAH-CSSA 8
2   Suhaani Lohia 0 MAH MAH-DAISB 7
3 WCM Shefali A N 1111 KAR KAR-SSPS 7
 U-9 Girls Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1   Savitha Shri B 1386 TN TN-VVC
2   Ratnapriya K 1045 TN TN-VVSC 8
3 WCM Prathivya Gupta 1339 DEL DEL-ASD 7
U-9 Open Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1 CM Dev Shah 1726 MAH MAH- 8
2   Thrish Karthik 1457 TN TN-MVTM
3 CM Mullick Raahil 1584 MAH MAH-DAIS
U-11 Girls Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1 WFM Divya Deshmukh 1784 MAH NGP-BVMCL 8
2   Bhagyashree Patil 1442 MAH MAH-SS
3   Vijayasubhasri S 1137 TN TN-
U-11 Open Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1 CM Gukesh D 2041 TN TN VAC 8
2   Samant Aditya S 1705 MAH MAH-
3 CM Sadhwani Raunak 2104 MAH MAH- 7
 U-13 Girls Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1 WCM Mrudul Dehankar 1731 MAH NGP BHAV
2   Jishitha D 1698 AP AP MG 7
3   Rindhiya V 1374 TN TN VMHS 7
U-13 Open Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1   Sankalp Gupta 2068 MAH NGP
2   Erigaisi Arjun 2238 TEL TEL 8
3   Akshit Kumar J 1684 AP AP 7
 U-15 Girls Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1   Harshini A 1804 TN Holy Angel's A I School Chennai 8
2   Pandey Srishti 1953 MAH V T Convent Nagpur
3   Shah Rutvi 1678 GUJ Udgan School Ahmedabad
U-15 Open Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club  School Pts
1   Shet Prajwal P 1949 KAR  
2   Yash Dhoke 1690 MAH   7
3   Jatin S N 1575 KAR   7
U-17 Girls Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1 WFM Potluri Supreetha 1912 AP AP-SVBV
2 WCM Isha Sharma 1927 KAR KAR-SDMEMS 5
3   Priyanka Nutakki 2040 AP AP-DPS 5
U-17 Open Category        
Rank   Name Rtg Club School Pts
1   Souradip Deb 1907 TRIPURA TPR-KV
2   Shah Bhaven Jay 1641 MAH MAH-DAI
3 CM Sharang Sanjeev Kapoor 2053 GUJ GUJ-ANAND 5


Best School In India 
1   Velammal Vidhyalaya   TN    
2   DAVP   ORI    
3   Syna International School   MP    

Complete Standings


Under-09 Girls Champion Savitha Shri B. (1386) of Velammal Vidyalaya of Tamil Nadu

Under-11 Girls Champion Divya Deshmukh (1784) of Nagpur

Under-15 Open Champion Prajwal Sheth (1949) of Karnataka

Under-17 Girls Champion Supreetha Potluri (1912) of Andhra Pradesh [Photo: Amruta Mokal]

This little girl had additional defense mechanism ready in the form of her writing pad

Harshini A. (left) of Tamil Nadu on her way to victory in the Under-15 Girls selection 

This boy in the Under-07 open section had his own way to sit and focus…

 …while this girl a takes a time-out to reflect where things went wrong.

 Cub licking her paw

So, you can checkmate me with that rook? 

 The top-board clash in the Under-11 Girls section between Bhagyashee Patil (1442) and Divya Deshmukh (1784) ended in a draw. 

 And that is how you maintain a scoresheet!

Apart from problem-solving skills and memory enhancement, this sport teaches you to fight until the very end, and not back down in the face of challenges.

The tournament is a nerve-wracking experience not just for the children, but their parents as well, who toil hard to support their children’s love for the game.

Top Indian arbiter R. Anantharam was officiated the event as the Chief Arbiter

ChessBase DVDs as Prizes

The first prize winner in each of the twelve categories were given ChessBase DVDs by ChessBase India.

DVDs in envelopes?!! The prize winners were given envelopes with a letter written to them by the founders of ChessBase India. The prizes were DVDs in soft format. The letter contained the entire procedure by which the prizes could be claimed.

The Maharashtra Chess Association under the leadership of the Hon. General Secretary Mr. Dilip Pagay, himself a passionate player, is serious about chess development in the country and his state. The idea of giving ChessBase DVDs means that the organizers are serious about the development of these young talents. The following DVDs were given to each prize winner.

  • ChessBase 13
  • My Career by GM Viswanathan Anand Vol.1
  • My Career by GM Viswanathan Anand Vol.2
  • Modern Scotch by GM Parimarjan Negi
  • Learn from the Classics by IM Sagar Shah
  • Improve your chess with IM Tania Sachdev

As you can see the DVDs were smartly chosen. They include ChessBase 13 which is imperative for any professional chess player. The other five DVDs are all authored by Indian players - Vishy Anand Vol.1 & 2, Parimarjan Negi, Sagar Shah, Tania Sachdev.

What better way to improve at chess than to learn from the five time World Champion himself

The Tiger in Nagpur

Nagpur is not very far from the Tadoba Tiger Reserve and the Pench National Park, home to India’s national animal, the tiger. In this light, the organizers fittingly hosted the former world champion Vishy Anand, who graced the tournament with his presence.

Vishy took the opportunity to address an issue very close to his heart since the beginning of this millennium – chess for school. In that, he explained how precisely chess helps people, and not just children, become better decision makers.

The tiger checking out his cubs

In the press conference that followed, Vishy did not appear too entertained as the mainstream media, quite predictably, did not pose the Indian ace too many pertinent questions. Nevertheless, Anand did end up sharing his thoughts on important issues: the reason Indian talents appear to be moving forward slower than their foreign counterparts are, and his thoughts about cheating in chess, etc.

ChessBase India reporter Niklesh Jain was at the venue and was quick enough to pull out his mobile and record nearly 15 minutes of the Anand interview for you to enjoy:

Part I of the question- answer session

And here's part II
Vidharbha's first grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade was felicitated by Viswananthan Anand
While Anand was at the venue Abhijit Kunte got the idea of taking a selfie which would break the records of maximum people being captured in a frame!
The original selfie sent to us by GM Abhijit Kunte where Vishy himself is taking the picture
Soon the selfie went viral...
...and was published in Marathi newspapers
...and Times of India picked it up too!
ACP President Emil Sutovsky's post on Facebook

We just cannot get enough of this picture! (Did you know that ‘Selfie’ was the Oxford word of the year for 2013?)

FIDE Instructor Niklesh Kumar Jain, who is the author of this article, loves to train young talent. He strongly believes chess should be the part of every school curriculum, to face the challenges of the 21st century. All that said, he is an extremely helpful and benevolent chess friend. He coordinated ChessBase India’s efforts in covering the 2016 National School Championship.
--ChessBase India will bring you another article on the event shortly with the best games of the winners--