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Aradhya Garg and Srishti Pandey are the National Junior 2019 champions

by Shahid Ahmed - 10/11/2019

Aradhya Garg of Delhi scored six consecutive victories in the last six rounds to win 49th National Junior open with a score of 9.0/11, beating three IMs in the last three rounds. Despite starting with a score of 3.0/5, Aradhya pulled off almost an unimaginable feat. In the girls section, Srishti Pandey of Maharashtra made a short draw in the final round win 34th National Junior girls with a score of 9.0/11, finishing a full point ahead of nine girls who finished at 8.0/11. Srishti lost her fourth round game and then scored an unbeaten 6.0/7 in the last seven games. Mitrabha Guha and Koustav Chatterjee finished at second and third position respectively in the open, Arpita Mukherjee and Aakanksha Hagawane finished at second and third in girls respectively. Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

Aradhya's awesome double hat-trick in the last six games

Aradhya Garg and Srishti Pandey are the new National Junior champions | Photo: Jitendra Choudhary

Double IM-norm holder Aradhya Garg of Delhi started out the tournament with a score of only 3.0/5, however he made an epic comeback and scored six straight victories in the final six rounds to become the champion. This is Aradhya's second consecutive tournament win after winning a rapid rating tournament in Delhi last month and his second National triumph after winning National under-17 open in 2014.

Aradhya receives his champion's trophy and a cash prize of ₹25000 | Photo: Jitendra Choudhary

Aradhya's unbeaten championship run allowed him to gain 32 Elo rating points

Aradhya defeated the overnight leader IM Koustav Chatterjee of West Bengal in the final round convincingly to win the tournament. Koustav needed a draw in the final round to become champion, but the loss meant he secured third position.

IM Sagar Shah conducted an interview with the champion Aradhya Garg and he mentioned that he is trained by Visweswaran, Farrukh Amonatov and Tejas Bakre.

Aradhya's trainers (L to R) - Visweswaran Kameswaran, Farrukh Amonatov and Tejas Bakre

His main aim in the tournament was to get in top six so that he could get exposure trips and training camps by GMs organized by AICF. After being on 3.0/5, he took one game at a time and he was able to score six consecutive victories. He beat four strong players of West Bengal in the last four rounds. He had crossed 2300 in 2017 itself, but last couple of years he focused on his education - he is studying Political Science at Kirori Mal College in Delhi. That is the reason why he had slowed down in chess. He has now become more serious and hopes to achieve more in the coming days. This National Junior win gave him a huge boost.

Aradhya Garg analyzes his games from National Junior 2019 | Video: Sagar Shah

IM Mitrabha Guha of West Bengal defeated FM Srihari L R of Tamil Nadu in the final round to secure second position. He also scored 9.0/11, since he lost his game in the penultimate round against the eventual champion Aradhya Garg, his tie-break score was less. Srihari blundered a piece tactically and he spent the entire trying to recover that piece and restore balance.

Srishti's superb performance

Srishti receives her champion's trophy and ₹25000 cash | Photo: Jitendra Choudhary

After suffering a loss in the fourth round, Srishti made an amazing comeback by scoring 6.0/7 in her last seven games, remained unbeaten and clinched her first National age group title. Previously Srishti had won National Schools under-17 girls in 2017.

Srishti gained 22 Elo rating points for her championship winning efforts

Srishti continued her momentum after securing her maiden WIM-norm at World Juniors a few days ago. Srishti's trainer is India's 62nd GM Swayams Mishra who is also a very successful FIDE Trainer.

GM Swayams Mishra is also a FIDE Trainer

When I reached out to Swayams for his views on Srishti's feat, this is what he had to say, "I started working with Srishti since October 2018. She has shown some drastic improvement specially over the last few months and has been performing consistently. She won Bronze in Western Asia, Commonwealth and played some good chess in Gujarat open, World Youth and World Junior (where she achieved her WIM norm). When National Junior started, I was confident that she will finish top six however winning the title came as a surprise.

I got a glimpse of her intellectual skills during the initial days of training and I believe that she is capable of achieving a lot more if she can channelize her energy in a proper way in the upcoming years.

For Srishti, I never had a proper training manual as she has a very different style and approach towards the game. She likes to experiment, plays anything and everything. So on regular training days I set her free and guide her in whatever she wants to do.

Aside from the regular chess training, I try to work on her psychological aspects. We are in constant touch during her tournaments.

For some reason, both Srishti and her mother had shown some immense confidence on me and had never doubted  my decision regarding the choice of tournaments, opening choices etc.

So far, it's been a pleasure working with her!"


WIM Arpita Mukherjee of West Bengal made a short draw in just 15 moves with WFM Supreetha Potluri of Andhra Pradesh to secure the first runner-up position. WIM Aakanksha Hagawane was held to a draw by WFM Nityata Jain in the final round. Aakanksha secured third position.

The podium finishers (L to R) - IM Koustav Chatterjee 3rd, IM Mitrabha Guha 2nd, Aradhya Garg 1st, Srishti Pandey 1st, Arpita Mukherjee 2nd, Aakanksha Hagawane 3rd | Photo: Jitendra Choudhary


For more prize distribution ceremony photos, click here.


49th National Junior open and 34th National Junior girls witnessed a total of 289 players including 172 in open and 115 in girls from 29 different states including a few union territories participated in this tournament hosted at Suncity World School in Gurgaon, Haryana, organized by District Chess Association Gurgaon.

Round 11 results in Open

11IMKoustav Chatterjee24490 - 18Aradhya Garg216520
29FMSrihari L R22860 - 18IMMitrabha Guha24432
38IMSrijit Paul23171 - 0Dere Pushkar187652
415FMAaryan Varshney22361 - 0Avinash Ramesh168690
514Sibi Visal R22387½ - ½Soham Kamotra218916
63FMAnuj Shrivatri237671 - 07Gaurav Rajesh Zagade217319
75Harshavardhan G B236071 - 07Kumar Gaurav203828
823Barath Kalyan M206970 - 17Saurabh Anand227810
936Hemanth Raam199270 - 17FMJeet Jain226413
1037Selvamurugan B197971 - 07CMBhavesh Mahajan218717

Complete results

Round 11 results in Girls

19WFMBommini Mounika Akshaya2087½ - ½WFMPandey Srishti21406
23WIMAakanksha Hagawane2227½ - ½WFMJain Nityata192717
310Priyanka K2067½ - ½WIMChitlange Sakshi21855
414WFMPotluri Supreetha1968½ - ½WIMArpita Mukherjee22342
58WFMSalonika Saina210071 - 07WIMPriyanka Nutakki22721
67WCMSharma Isha213970 - 17Bhagyashree Patil197013
712WFMSavitha Shri B20041 - 07WFMGreeshma Anand Dhumal183723
84WFMMakhija Aashna21910 - 1Divyabharathi Masanam174327
911Toshali V20571 - 0Kiruthika B164534
1015Ghosh Samriddhaa1964½ - ½WCMArushi Kotwal175625

Complete results

Final Standings in Open

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
120Aradhya GargIND2165Del9,01,067,072,0
22IMMitrabha GuhaIND2443Wes9,00,074,580,0
31IMKoustav ChatterjeeIND2449Wes8,50,075,580,5
415FMAaryan VarshneyIND2236Del8,50,074,079,0
58IMSrijit PaulIND2317Wes8,50,073,578,5
613FMJeet JainIND2264Guj8,00,071,076,5
710Saurabh AnandIND2278Bih8,00,071,076,0
816Soham KamotraIND2189JK8,00,070,075,5
93FMAnuj ShrivatriIND2376MP8,00,068,074,0
105Harshavardhan G BIND2360TN8,00,067,572,0
1137Selvamurugan BIND1979TN8,00,061,566,0
129FMSrihari L RIND2286TN7,50,072,077,0
1352Dere PushkarIND1876Mah7,50,068,573,5
1432Aakash Sharadchandra DalviIND2017Mah7,50,068,573,0
1590Avinash RameshIND1686TN7,50,068,071,0
1634Akshit Kumar JIND2014AP7,50,066,571,5
1729Mahindrakar IndrajeetIND2034Mah7,50,066,571,0
1814Sibi Visal RIND2238TN7,50,064,569,5
1946Aaditya DhingraIND1896Har7,50,058,062,5
2036Hemanth RaamIND1992TN7,00,072,077,0

Complete standings

Final Standings in Girls

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
16WFMPandey SrishtiIND2140Mah9,00,073,078,5
22WIMArpita MukherjeeIND2234WB8,00,074,580,0
33WIMAakanksha HagawaneIND2227Mah8,00,074,079,0
49WFMBommini Mounika AkshayaIND2087AP8,00,073,079,0
55WIMChitlange SakshiIND2185Mah8,00,071,575,5
68WFMSalonika SainaIND2100Odi8,00,071,076,5
717WFMJain NityataIND1927MP8,00,070,075,0
813Bhagyashree PatilIND1970Mah8,00,069,074,0
910Priyanka KIND2067TN8,00,068,073,5
1014WFMPotluri SupreethaIND1968AP8,00,064,069,5
1111Toshali VIND2057AP7,50,072,577,5
1222Poorna Sri M.KIND1848TN7,50,067,072,0
1320Meenal GuptaIND1879JK7,50,065,069,5
1426AGMRenganayaki VIND1756Kar7,50,064,569,0
1512WFMSavitha Shri BIND2004TN7,50,063,567,0
1627Divyabharathi MasanamIND1743TN7,50,061,565,5
171WIMPriyanka NutakkiIND2272AP7,00,073,579,0
1825WCMArushi KotwalIND1756JK7,00,069,574,5
1916WFMBidhar RutumbaraIND1942Odi7,00,069,074,0
2019Shah VishwaIND1892Mah7,00,069,074,0

Complete standings

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