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Arnav Maheshwari wins 5th Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit 2023

by R Anantharam - 19/11/2023

Arnav Maheshwari and IM Asylbek Abdyzhapar (KGZ) scored 7/9 each at 5th Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit Chess Tournament 2023. Arnav won the tournament as he defeated Asylbek in the fourth round. Thus, the tie-breaks favored Arnav. They both finished 1.5 points ahead of the field. GM Evgeniy Podolchenko scored sole 5.5/9 to finish third. Arnav's 2472 performance earned him his maiden IM-norm. The teenager also gained 103.2 Elo rating points in the process. The Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit tournaments have already produced four IM-norms out of the five events. It goes without saying that the tournaments have been successful in its objective. The sixth event of the series starts today. Photos: IA R Anantharam

Arnav earns an IM-norm

Arnav Maheshwari of Chennai won the 5th Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit Chess Tournament, organized by Tamil Nadu State Chess Association at Kodaikanal. Besides the title, he also achieved a valuable IM norm. He and the Kyrgystan IM Asylbek Abdyzhapar scored seven points each. As Arnav had beaten Asyl in their personal encounter, Arnav clinched the title and a cash prize of US$ 500. Overall, four IM-norms have been achieved from five tournaments.

Arnav Maheswari, an eleventh standard student of DAV School, Chennai won the title. He receives the prize from Mr. V Vijayaraghavan IA & Vice President TNSCA

IM Asylbek Abdyzhapar, the winner of the 2nd edition at Pollachi, had to be content with the second place

The Belarus Grandmaster Evgeniy Podolchenko secured the third place, with 5.5 points.

GM Evgeniy Podolchenko is the second runner-up

The tournament was inaugurated by Mr. D V Sundar, former Vice President of FIDE, in presence of Mr. Stephen Balasamy, Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Chess Association.

The Chief Guest Mr. D V Sundar requested the foreign players to inaugurate the tournament

GM Evgeniy Podolchenko, the top-rated player of the event, started with a win over Md. Imran, a debutant in this circuit. Evegeniy playing the white side of Nimzo Indian Defence, sacrificed his bishop on h6 square on the 31st move. Imran chose to accept it and got checkmated in five more moves.

GM Podolchenko defeated the debutant Md. Imran of AP in the first round

Another debutant of the circuit Arnav Maheshwari of India surprised IM David Gochelashvili (RUS) in 39 moves from white side of the King's Indian. Arnav's advantage from the opening forced his opponent to make some inaccurate moves. Further inroads into the Black's camp by Arnav's rook and knight netted the black queen on the 34th move and the IM threw in the towel when his position became disastrous.

The Adam's attack in the Sicilian Najdorf game between Yash Jayesh and Surendran ended in latter's favour in the third round. Yash's attack was a shade slower, allowing Surendran to catch white's king in the center. Yash tried to hit at opponent's king but Surendran's defense and counter-attack earned him a rook for bishop on the 29th move. It was curtains for Yash after three more moves.

Yash Jayesh of USA lost to N Surendran of Chennai in the third round

Arnav Maheshwari took the sole lead with three points at the end of the fourth round by outplaying IM Asylbek Abdyzhapar (KGZ). The white side of Benoni saw Arnav pushing his king pawn to the fifth-rank posting a threat. Asyl accepted a knight in the subsequent move, allowing Arnav to launch heavy attack with queen and another knight. Asyl resigned on the 46th move, when he lost more materials with no compensation.

Arnav emerged leader by beating IM Asylbek in the fourth round

Surendran was pitted against Shubh Jayesh (USA), played a quiet variation against his opponent's Slav defense. Surendran sacrificed his queen rook pawn on 20th move and reclaimed it later by positional play. Though Surendran won a pawn on the 29th move, the position seems equal in an endgame of queen, bishop and rook. He conducted the endgame part skillfully and forced resignation of his opponent in the rook endgame.

Surendran got the better of Shubh Jayesh Laddha (USA)

The fourth round was inaugurated by Dr. M Manickam, President of Tamil Nadu State Chess Association.

Dr. M Manickam President of TNSCA inaugurated the fourth round

IM Asylbek slowly improved his position after five rounds by beating Md. Imran in a Sicilian Defence.

IM Asylbek improved his performance by beating Md. Imran in the fifth round

In a two pawns down position, N Surendran's two bishop played havoc at his friend Prasanna's kingside, forcing the latter to lose his queen and the game.

Surendran recovered to beat Prasanna in the fifth round

Grandmaster Evgeniy Podolchenko (BLR) and Arnav Maheshwari of Chennai shared the lead with 4.5 points each at the end of the sixth round. Podolchenko’s knight sacrifice to open the kingside of Shubh Jayesh Laddha was fruitful in decimating the latter's king.

The combination of heavy attack and positional play was fruitful to GM Podolchenko

IM Asyl conducted the white side of Petroff defense excellently against Sumer Arsh. The Petroff defense, is a favourite of the World Cup runner-up 2023, Ian Nepomniachtchi. Though the position was equal until the middlegame, Asyl exchanged all the pieces except bishop of same color for both and five pawns each. In the ensuing endgame, Asyl created multiple passed pawns to force resignation by Sumer in 44 moves.

IM Asylbek won the same colour bishop ending comfortably against CM Shaik Sumer Arsh

The lowest rated player of the tournament Prasannaa S of Chennai, facing the tournament's highest rated player GM Evgeniy Podolchenko took advantage of the inferior variation played by the GM in the Advance Caro-Kann. Prasannaa won a rook for the knight on the 27th move and his queen, rook and bishop combination forced Evgeniy to resign on the 32nd move.

Did Prasannaa play a blindfold game to upset the Grandmaster?

In the eighth and penultimate round, Arnav Maheswari recovered from a slightly inferior position, thanks to two bad moves by Prasanna’s dark coloured bishop. Arnav seized the opportunity and went on to win the game.

Arnav managed to snatch a full point from S Prasannaa

Arnav Maheshwari scored an unbeaten 7/9, performed at 2472 to earn his maiden IM-norm

The lead remained unchanged, as IM Asylbek also recorded a win against Shubh Laddha.

IM Asylbek defeated Shubh Laddha (USA) to keep himself in the joint lead

In the final round, GM Evegeniy sacrificed a pawn for activity in the centre by tenth move from the black side of Caro-Kann Exchange variation. The sacrifice backfired when IM Gochelashvili's passed pawn reached seventh rank by 15th move, resulting tactics favoured White much to the dismay of the Belarus GM. The GM resigned on the 29th move, when he was three pawns down in the rook and knight ending.

The IM won the battle against the GM

The next stop, the sixth edition is at Chennai from 19th to 24th November. The players for the tournaments from 6th to 10th edition have been finalised. Players having a rating of 2150 or above and interested in participating in the 11th to 20th tournaments may apply to Non-Tamil Nadu players have to send a request to All India Chess Federation with a copy to the tournament mail id. The tentative dates (to be approved by AICF) are furnished below:

11, 12, 13 9th - 14th January 2024 Chennai
14 16th - 21th January Tirunelveli
15 23th - 28th January Thoothukudi
16 30th January - 4 February Nagecoil
17 6th - 11th February Karaikudi
18 13th - 18th February Pollachi
19 20th - 25th February Tirupur
20 27th Febuary - 3rd March Coimbatore/Sivakasi

Kodaikanal, known as princess of hills is a picturesque town developed by the British in 1845. It is surrounded by forests, lakes and water falls. The temperature in the winter is around 15 to 20° C, ideal for the foreign and Indian players.

A bird's eye view of Kodaikanal lake

The pillar rocks are fascinating sights

Monkeys are common in the outskirts of the town. Bisons, elephants and cheetah dwell in the forest

A beautiful view of the tall pine trees along the roadside

Replay all games

Final standings

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
Maheshwari, ArnavIND2244Tamil Nadu7129,005
IMAsylbek, AbdyzhaparKGZ23267025,756
GMEvgeniy, PodolchenkoBLR23955,5022,004
IMDavid, GochelashviliRUS23045121,752
FMImran, MdIND2133Andra Pradesh5017,004
CMSumer Arsh, ShaikIND2273Telangana40,515,501
N, SurendranIND2174Tamil Nadu40,512,003
FMShubh Jayesh, LaddhaUSA23733,5112,002
FM, Prasannaa.sIND2120Tamil Nadu3,5012,503
Yash Jayesh, LaddhaUSA21710,502,500


About the Author

Prof. Rathinam Anantharam is an A-grade international arbiter. Member of FIDE Arbiters’ Commission, Chairman of Titles Commission in All India Chess Federation, Vice President of Tamil Nadu State Chess Association, Chief Arbiter for six world championships, many Asian, International and National Championships.


The report was edited by Shahid Ahmed

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