chessbase india logo

AICFB National Juniors: Sam Peniel dominates, Tanish seizes the moment, John wins hearts

by Saishyam Srikanth - 25/01/2023

P Sam Peniel (1364, TN) won the National Junior Chess Championships for the Visually Challenged! Sam scored 6.5/7, and his only draw of the tournament was against John Harris Sujin.  Tanish Waghmare (MAH) took the 2nd position with 6/7, and John Harris Sujin came in 3rd with 5.5/7. Sam Peniel and Tanish Waghmare will now represent India in the forthcoming IBCA World Junior Chess Championship which will be held in Spain. Two players will also get an entry into National senior championships of the visually impaired. Read the final report of the AICFB National Junior Championships below.

Sam and Tanish set to represent India at the IBCA World Junior Championships

In round 5 of the National Junior Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged, the top two seeds of the tournament, P Sam Peniel and John Harris Sujin faced each other. The winner of the game would have great chances to win the tournament.

Round 5: The top seeds battling it out | Photo: Saishyam Srikanth

The stage was set and the top two seeds took to the board. They pushed each other and would not give an inch. But then, the game ended in a stalemate. Both players were tied on 4.5/5 and it looked like they would be heading to the IBCA World Junior Championships based on how things stood at the end of Day 2. With a round to go, the youngsters from TN were on 5.5 / 6 and they were closely followed by Tanish Waghmare from Maharashtra who was on 5 / 6. Waghmare was high on confidence and was coming off three consecutive victories after a 3rd round loss. Sam and John were unbeaten in the tournament and were fighting for the top spot.

The top 10 finishers at the tournament. Photo Courtesy: Rtn. Sandeep Ohri

Going into the final round, John was ahead of Sam on tiebreaks. Both of them knew that they needed a draw to take them through to the World Championships but they were also competing for the title of National Champion. Sam continued his dominating run at the championships and defeated Manish Verma in a short game. Now, he had to wait for the result of the game between John and Tanish. As Sam waited nervously, John and Tanish were engaged in battle.


The pressure was building on both the players and they knew what was at stake. Both players were not ready to give an inch and at various points, it looked like John would take the game. Tanish had his chances too and he sensed that the game was slowly turning in his favour. And then, the engineering student from Maharashtra clinched the decisive advantage and converted it into a full point.

The youngsters who will proudly represent the Indian flag in a few months’ time. Tanish (3rd from left), Sam Peniel (5th from left). Photo Courtesy: Rtn. Sandeep Ohri  

With four straight victories in the last four rounds, Tanish Waghmere booked his ticket to Spain where he will be representing India. Through the weekend, Sam Peniel lived up to his seeding and dropped just half a point. He emerged as the National Junior Champion for his dominating performance.

Sam Peniel - the AICFB National junior champion | Photo: Saishyam Srikanth

It was a heartbreaking final round for young John Harris who had a foot in the door of the World Championships but such is the cruel nature of sport and one bad game can take you from the top to third place.

John Harris also impressed with excellent play throughout the event, but one dismal round is all it takes. | Photo: Saishyam Srikanth

Despite the last round defeat, at the age of just 11, John had shown that he could take on the best Indian juniors, some of whom were almost ten years older than him. The future is bright and we could very well be witnessing the beginning of the journey for a young kid who has the potential to be the best blind chess player in the world.

Kishan Gangolli presents the hosts with a gift on behalf of AICFB. Photo Courtesy: Rtn. Sandeep Ohri

Kishan Gangolli - the man who is powering chess for the visually impaired | Video: ChessBase India

Final Standings after 7 rounds

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11Sam Peniel PIND1364Tamil Nadu6,528,530,527,75
231Waghmare TanishIND0Maharashtra6232420,00
32John Harris SujinIND1111Tamil Nadu5,529,53222,75
525Sahani RahulIND0Gujrat52627,515,00
627Vaghela RahulIND0Gujrat525,527,517,00
726Sanskruti Vikas MoreIND0Maharashtra5232514,50
920Manish VermaIND0Delhi428,53012,00
105Amit KumarIND0Delhi424,526,511,50
1124Rahul ModiIND0West Bengal423,52510,50
123Vruthi JainIND1044Karnataka42325,512,25
136Amit Kumar GuptaIND0Delhi4212311,75
1413Gavate AmbikaIND0Maharashtra41920,59,50
1522Omkar Sameer TalwalkarIND0Maharashtra418,520,511,50
1610Chintu KumarIND0Haryana418,519,58,00
1712Fariz SIND0Kerala3,51718,55,75
184Alvin J PradeepIND0Kerala325269,00
1911Deepak KumarIND0Delhi32426,57,50
2029Vijay KumarIND0Delhi323,525,58,50
2121Niraj Kumar PandeyIND0Delhi320228,50
2230Vivek GhugeIND0Maharashtra318,520,57,50
2317Kushal Ramanna JagaliIND0Karnataka317184,50
2418Lakhi Pada BauriIND0West Bengal2,523,5255,25
2519Lokesh KIND0Tamil Nadu2,522234,50
269Ayisha Sainab K AIND0Kerala2,521236,50
2714Jirku OraonIND0West Bengal22325,56,50
2816Kanhaiya LalIND0Delhi221222,50
298Avinash PIND0Karnataka219,520,53,50
3028Vajresh NIND0Karnataka215,516,53,50
3115Kagda JayrajsinhIND0Gujrat12021,51,50

The AICFB National Junior Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged - 2023 was held at the Rotary House of friendship,Lavellee Road, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru. A total of 31 players participated in this 7-round swiss event from 13th-15th January, 2023. The time control of the tournament was 60 minutes + 30 second Increment.

Important links

Chess-results link

All Photos of the AICFB National Juniors 2023

AICFB Official Website

About the Author

Saishyam Srikanth is a journalism student who is currently studying in the final year of his bachelor’s programme at St. Joseph’s College, Bengaluru. He has been a sports fan from the time he can remember and one day, aspires to translate this love for sport into a career as a media professional.

Contact Us