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Akshat Khamparia wins the December edition of First Saturday GM 2018

by Nongsha Angom - 05/01/2019

Since 1992 the "First Saturday" monthly chess tournament is taking place in Budapest, Hungary without fail to give aspiring chess players opportunities to gain FIDE title norms. The best thing about this tournament is that you always know when it is going to be held - on the first Saturday of every month! The December 2018 edition was won by the only Indian in the GM category, IM Akshat Khamparia with 6.0/9 points. Akshat remained unbeaten throughout the event and finished ahead of three GMs to win the title. In this article we will look into some of the games played by Akshat and also learn more about this unique event which has been played once by almost every top elite GM.

Names such as Fabiano Caruana, Hou Yifan, Richard Rapport, Teimour Radjabov, Sofia Polgar, Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen are just a few to mention when we look into the list of top players taking part once in the "First Saturday" chess tournament. With time the tournaments have undergone an upgrade regarding both their location and the profile of their participants.

The first one is Fabiano Caruana at his first 1st Sat tournament in June 2004 where he started as an 11-year-old FM rated 2140. Can you Identify the rest of them?

Organizing chess tournaments would not be the most orthodox choice for a regular business. Yet Laszlo Nagy, the founder of the First Saturday chess tournament managed to create a successful enterprise by choosing this thoroughly taxing endeavour. It started way back in 1992. A graduate in chemistry from the University of Debrecen Nagy was for ten years employed by the Hungarian Army as a teacher of toxicology and organic chemistry. Together with his wife Mrs.Nagy Ilona Borbély, they ceaselessly organized the First Saturday chess tournaments in Budapest for the past 27 years in a row.

Mr.Laszlo and Ilona Nagy with their sons Tamas (left) and Laszlo Jr.(right). | Photo: Diana Mihajlova

The last edition of the year 2018 was held from 1st December till 11th December 2018 and it was won by IM Akshat Khamparia from India with a solid 6.0/9 points and a better tie-break score than the 2nd seeded IM Kantor Gergely of Hungary who also scored the same points. Akshat who earlier has won the First Saturday May edition 2018 remained unbeaten throughout the event, finishing ahead of three GMs to clinch the title and and now joins the list of masters who have won the event twice or more than that.

One of India's strongest and experienced International Masters, Akshat Khamparia!. | Photo: Akshat Khamparia

IM Pavel Anisimov of Russia was the top seed of the event with a rating of 2533. He started the event with 6 draws and eventually won two games out of the remaining three to finish in the 3rd place. Below is the last round winning game of Anisimov against GM Ilincic Zlatko annotated by IM Jovanovic Dusan D.

An IM with a rating of 2533 is rare! IM Anisimov Pavel from Russia. | Photo: Facebook

The tournament hall of the "First Saturday" last edition of 2018. | Photo: Facebook

Out of the 10 total participants 8 were from different countries. Akshat started off as the 6th seed and his breakthrough came in the 6th round when he won his first game of the event after 5 draws. His best win was against the unstoppable 2nd seeded IM Gergely Kantor of Hungary. In a must-win situation Akshat held his nerve to win the game giving Kantor his first and only defeat in the tournament and spoiling his chance to become the champion. Below is the game that decided the winner of the December edition of First Saturday tournament 2018.

Kartor Gergely vs Akshat Khamparia: annotated by IM Jovanovic Dusan D.

Final crosstable:

Rk. NameRtgFED12345678910Pts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
IMAkshat Khamparia2403IND*1½½½½½+½16,06,024,250,0
IMKantor Gergely2512HUN0*½½1½1+½16,06,023,000,0
IMAnisimov Pavel2533RUS½½*1½½½½½15,55,523,750,0
GMIlincic Zlatko2405SRB½½0*½½½1115,55,522,250,0
GMFarago Ivan2360HUN½0½½*½½½1½4,54,519,250,0
IMKojima Shinya2409JPN½½½½½*½1004,04,019,750,0
GMPacher Milan2446SVK½0½½½½*0½14,04,016,750,0
FMGungl Theo2358GER--½0½01*½13,53,517,750,0
Shahaliyev Ismayil2396AZE½½½001½½*03,53,516,500,0
Balint Vilmos2333HUN0000½1001*2,52,59,750,0

Try your hand on the winning combinations from event:

Black to play. What would you play here?

In this position Black played 42...f4? What should he have played instead?

What would you play here as Black?

Did you see the tactical combination for Black here?

It's Black to play, how would you proceed?

Tie-up of ChessBase India Power with First Saturday

ChessBase India Power has tied up with First Saturday for the Indian players at the event. All the Indian players who would like to play at the First Saturday event get a special discount if you plan your tournament with ChessBase India Power. First Saturday tournaments every month begin on the first Saturday of that month. There are GM norm, IM norm and sometimes even FM events.

This is the schedule:

2nd - 12th of February 2019

2nd - 12th of March 2019

30th March - 8th of April 2019

4th - 14th of May 2019

1st - 11th of June 2019

6th - 16th of July 2019

3rd - 13th of August 2019

7 - 17th of September 2019


You have the possibility of forming a circuit of different events along with the First Saturday tournaments. The most convenient are 8-17 April is the Budapest Spring Festival and 23rd to 31st of May is the famous Zalakaros Open 2019. You can club the the above two events with First Saturday in April and First Saturday in May and play four tournaments in Hungary.

Plan your trip with ChessBase India Power:

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