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Commonwealth 2018 Round 3: The fall and rise of Meghna CH

by Sagar Shah - 29/06/2018

Chess players need to be mentally strong. That's the only way in which they can succeed. A brilliant case of this was showcased at the Commonwealth Championships 2018. Meghna CH is a 19-year-old player from Kerala. She came to Delhi with big hopes of winning a medal in the under-20 section. However, in the 2nd round she lost to higher rated Sakshi Chitlange and in the third round she was beaten by her state mate Abdeen Asna who was rated 1162! Nothing could have been worse for Meghna. But she turned things around in style. Check out this article to know how she did it.

Meghna CH is rated 1955, comes from Kerala and is 19 years old | Photo: Delhi Chess Association

Chess has a unique way of rewarding people who do not despair and give up. Meghna is a talented youngster from Kerala. Thanks to her chess achievements recently she was recruited into Railways - their first ever women's chess team. Of course, the Commonwealth Championships meant a lot to her. A medal is what she was looking for.

Starting rank for under-20 girls

1WIMMahalakshmi M5001080IND2238Tamilnadu
2WIMChitlange Sakshi35002899IND2162Maharashtra
3WFMVarshini V5091241IND2129Tamilnadu
4WIMChandreyee Hajra5056535IND1981West Bengal
5WFMMeghna C H5044790IND1955Kerala

Being the fifth seed, getting a medal looked highly probable. Meghna also decided that she should play in the open section. So every day she would play a round in the morning at 9.30 a.m. in the under-20 section and at 3 p.m. in the open section.


Meghna began with a win in the under-20 section but lost her second game to second seeded Sakshi Chitlange. But things got worse as she lost her third round against Abdeen Asna, who was rated 800 points below!

Abdeen Asna (1162) vs Meghna CH

Meghna took on b3 which looked dangerous for White. But Asna was up to the task and defended with great tenacity.

It was one of those games where the 1100 rated player played much better than what her rating suggests. Check out the accurate moves that Asna Abdeen made in order to bring home the full point:

It was a heartbreak for Meghna. Her medal hopes had been destroyed and sad news was that there was another round to be played in a few hours and that too against a GM. While for many this would have led to a nervous breakdown, Meghna took this as an opportunity!

Meghna vs GM Abhijit Kunte (2494)

The experienced and very solid Abhijit Kunte began the game with his favourite Sicilian Kan. Very soon he had a comfortable position. But when the Pune GM allowed her opponent's knight to e4, things started to get very tense. 

White has his pieces very well placed. And if Black is short on time, this is very difficult to play.

Meghna managed to handle tactics really well and within a few moves was a rook up! Kunte had no option but to resign!

And thus ended an extremely eventful day in the life of the Kerala girl. From the downs of losing to a player rated 800 points below her to the joy of beating a grandmaster, Meghna experienced all of this within a day! No wonder, Bobby Fischer used to say - "Chess is Life!"

Photo Gallery by Amruta Mokal:

Chess and team always go well together. The organizers have done a fabulous job of offering tea in clay cups. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

For the 8-year-old Aakash, chess means everything! Second seed in the under-8 boys. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Making a comeback to chess after a very long time. G.Aakash managed to hold top seed Deep Sengupta to a draw in round one | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Handshakes all around! Great timing! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The arbiters are kept busy throughout the day! That's Amit Sharma of Delhi | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Do you prefer a cap.... | Photo: Amruta Mokal

...or a hoodie! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aditya Patil of Maharashtra | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Tania Sachdev takes a stroll! She won her second game on trot and is on 2.0/3 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The young talent from Maharashtra Eesha Sarda | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Oh yes! Chess can be exciting! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

This picture is a representation of the fact that a LOT of Indians play chess! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Free juice packs for players to keep themselves hydrated during the game! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Krishna Teja created the upset of the day by beating the in form Kartik Venkatraman in the third round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Lalith is also upbeat and enjoying chess! However, he must surely not be thrilled to have drawn a completely winning position against Ratnakaran | Photo: Amruta Mokal

That's how Ratnakaran plays. It's never over until it is over! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Why are you taking my picture? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Bleed blue! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A big talent from Assam Mrinmoy Rajkhowa is on 3.0/3 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Watch out for this lad on the left Sreeshwan Maralakshakari! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Oh my god! Chess is stressful!... | Photo: Amruta Mokal

...That's why you need smiley pads to cheer you up! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Caption this! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Results of round 3:

Bo.No. NameTypRtgPts.ResultPts.NameTypRtg No.
120IMAkash G23912½ - ½2GMSengupta Deep25651
222Sammed Jaykumar Shete23752½ - ½2GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.25313
34GMLalith Babu M R25292½ - ½2IMRathnakaran K.238621
435Navalgund Niranjan228220 - 12GMVishnu Prasanna. V25255
56GMDebashis Das252221 - 02Koustav Chatterjee236523
641Aaryan Varshney22102½ - ½2GMSwapnil S. Dhopade24957
710IMKarthik Venkataraman247521 - 02IMKobese Watu234926
812IMKarthikeyan P.24562½ - ½2WGMGomes Mary Ann228532
943Moksh Amit Doshi22032½ - ½2IMMohammad Nubairshah Shaikh244113
1014IMNitin S.244121 - 02WIMNandhidhaa Pv227036
1116GMLaxman R.R.243821 - 02FMThilakarathne G M H218845
1218GMThipsay Praveen M240521 - 02WFMLakshmi C195480
1379WFMMeghna C H195521 - 0GMKunte Abhijit24949
142GMVaibhav Suri25561 - 0Nayak Rajesh219544
158GMThejkumar M. S.2495½ - ½Panda Sambit218746
1655Mahitosh Dey21150 - 1IMVisakh N R246711
1757Mohite Ranveer20890 - 1GMBakre Tejas243915
1860WFMArpita Mukherjee2076½ - ½GMSundararajan Kidambi242517
1924Sankalp Gupta23651 - 0WFMDivya Deshmukh213952
2027IMSiva Mahadevan23460 - 1AGMJubin Jimmy211356

Pairings for round 4:

Bo.No. NameTypRtgPts.ResultPts.NameTypRtg No.
GMVishnu Prasanna. V252533IMNitin S.2441
GMLaxman R.R.243833GMDebashis Das2522
WFMMeghna C H195533IMKarthik Venkataraman2475
GMSengupta Deep25653GMThipsay Praveen M2405
CMKushagra Mohan2307GMVaibhav Suri2556
GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.2531Sankalp Gupta2365
Wagh Suyog2289GMLalith Babu M R2529
GMSwapnil S. Dhopade2495Sammed Jaykumar Shete2375
IMVisakh N R2467IMSharma Dinesh K.2283
Dixit Nikhil2252IMKarthikeyan P.2456

Video gallery:

Pravin Thipsay had won the Commonwealth title 33 years ago, can he do it now once again?
Interview with one of the rising talents of Indian chess - Kriti Patel
Live commentary from the venue by IM Sagar Shah and Vishal Sareen.

Catch us live at 4.30 p.m. today on the ChessBase India Youtube Channel