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Sri Lanka - Buddhi International invites you!

by Sagar Shah - 07/10/2017

Back in 2013 Sagar Shah, the author of this article, played a tournament in Sri Lanka. It was the first time in his life that he was the top seed of an International rating event. Sagar shares with you his very interesting experience of playing the tournament. That was the 4th Buddhi International. Now it's 2017 and we are into the 8th edition of the event. We have an invitation for you from our friend in Sri Lanka Buddhi Panagoda to play at this tournament with special conditions for the titled players.

It was September 2013, and I was in pretty decent form. With a rating of 2369, I was constantly moving up the Elo ladder that year. I was playing in all the strong tournaments and with 2 IM norms I was looking to get my IM title completed before I got married the next year (Yes! 5th of February, the date had been fixed!). There were not many tournaments in September and so I decided to play in the 4th Buddhi International 2013 in Sri Lanka.

Starting rank of 4th Buddhi International 2013

1Sagar Shah5022509IND2369
2CMAnuruddha G C9900438SRI2156
3Nishant Malhotra5099129IND2088
4Jyothilal N.5002605IND2076
5Yogesh Gautam5009324IND2049
6Alahakoon Isuru9900993SRI2047
7Niraula Bhupendra12300128NEP2044
8Krumm Johannes4643747GER2033
9FMPeiris T S S9902589SRI2022
10Arjun Satheesh5070414IND2015

As you can see from the starting list, I was by far the strongest player in the tournament. It was the first time that I had decided to play in a tournament where I was the top seed. I was always apprehensive about doing it and I started to regret my decision when in the first round I faced an unrated player. I felt as if I was playing some inter-school tournament as my opponent kept making sub-par moves. As the first round ended, I felt utterly dejected. Why have I come such a long distance in a tournament where I have absolutely nothing to gain. Even the first prize is just Sri Lankan rupees 50,000 (INR 25,000). I remember that moment very clearly, and the emptiness that I was surrounded with. As the second round started in the evening. I just couldn't make myself play the first move. It was for the first time I was feeling so dejected at a chess tournament. I wanted to run away!


But then I decided, let's change the mood completely. Let's play 1.e4! I have been a strong adherent of the queen's pawn opening my entire life. And if ever I varied, it would be with the English or the Reti. 1.e4 is a move that I have hardly played, even in internet chess. But that day I tried it. And I can tell you, the scene around me changed completely. I forgot I was the top seed of the tournament! My only focus was on the game! I feared whether I would blunder something in this new opening and hence gave my 100%!

Yes that's the 1.e4 playing Sagar!

Everything around me had changed. I started to enjoy my time in Sri Lanka! I scored 8.5/9 and won the tournament. I was really angry with myself for not making is 9.0/9, especially since I was on 8.0/8. There's a story about it as well, but we will put it off for another day! This anecdote goes to show, how it's all in your mind. An environment can be both soothing and distressing - it's just the way you perceive it!

The Buddhi International trophy is still one of the prettiest ones in my collection!

It's worth mentioning that ChessBase India Hindi editor-in-chief Niklesh Jain won the 1st edition of Buddhi International in 2010. Here he is receiving the trophy from Sri Lankan chess legend Suneetha Wijesurya.

What really makes me think about the tournament with such fond memories is the quality of the games. I managed to play some high level chess to beat all my opponents without giving them any real chances. And after the tournament I analyzed those games in great depth and learned a lot from them. Here is one of my favourite positions from that event that I have used to show a key positional idea to my numerous friends and students.


Sagar Shah - Anuruddha G.C

Black has just moved his queen to f7. What should White play?

It is clear that Black is angling for f5-f4. And hence the correct move is 16.f4! I see many of you saying to me, "come on this was pretty easy!" Yes, I agree, but did you see a move ahead? What would you do if your opponent played 16...e4. And there lies the key moment of the problem. White plays 17.g4!! +/- and immediately gets a winning position!

A thematic idea of breaking opponent's pawn structur. fxg4 is met with f5-f6 and in any case the e4 pawn becomes too weak

Here's my entire annotated game against Anuruddha G.C. I have not changed the annotations or corrected them because I want to reflect in them what I was back in 2013 - a dedicated chess player who analyzed his game with great passion, in order to improve and learn.

8th Buddhi International 2017

Now Sri Lanka awaits your presence! The 8th Buddhi International 2017 will be held from 14th-18th October 2017 in Nittambuwa, Sri Lanka.

Hotel Apsara

Hotel Apsara is the playing hall of the tournament. All players can stay in the hotel. The titled players will receive free accommodation and food from the organizers. Untitled players can also use the services but will have to pay for the same.

Prizes - please note: the amount is in Sri Lanka rupees. 1 Sri Lanka rupee is 0.43 INR

The first prize comes roughly to around INR 25,500


Buddhi Panagoda is the chief organizer of the event

Buddhi Panagoda is one of the most helpful organizers that you will meet. If you are interested to participate in this event write to her on or message her on Facebook.

Download circular of Buddhi International 2017

ChessBase India Power

What about travel? Don't worry! ChessBase India Power is here to help. Flight fares start from Rs.10,250 from Chennai. For booking of flights contact us at 07878860008 or email us at You can also get more information via whatsapp at 7878783264.

ChessBase India shop for Sri Lanka

The same discounted prices for India for ChessBase Products is now available for Sri Lankans as well. You can now access the ChessBase India shop and make the payment via paypal.

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