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16 Commonwealth Champions will be decided today!

by Sagar Shah - 03/07/2018

A lot is at stake in the final round of the Commonwealth Championships 2018. We will have two Champions in the open section - the open winner and women's top player. Apart from this we have 14 age categories! In all 48 medals are at stake. Last rounds are always very stressful. Only one player has successfully confirmed her gold medal and that's Tejaswini Sagar in the under-18 girls section. In this report we bring you all the action from the penultimate round. Apart from that we also have impressions from the Jacob Aagaard lecture that was held on the 2nd of July, absolutely free of cost for all the participants. Photos by Amruta Mokal, write up and videos by Sagar Shah.

After the penultimate round, this is how the standings look like:

Rank after round 8:

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
IMAkash GIND2391Tamil Nadu6,50,039,043,5
GMDebashis DasIND2522Odisha6,50,038,042,0
GMLalith Babu M RIND2529PSPB6,50,037,542,0
IMKarthikeyan P.IND2456Railways6,50,035,038,5
IMNitin S.IND2441Railway6,00,040,043,0
GMVaibhav SuriIND2556Delhi6,00,038,542,0
GMSengupta DeepIND2565PSPB6,00,037,040,0
IMKarthik VenkataramanIND2475AP6,00,035,539,0
GMSundararajan KidambiIND2425PSPB6,00,034,538,5
IMVisakh N RIND2467Tamilnadu6,00,034,538,5
GMVishnu Prasanna. VIND2525Tamilnadu6,00,034,538,0
GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND2531Railways6,00,033,536,0
GMKunte AbhijitIND2494PSPB6,00,032,536,0

We have four leaders - G.Akash, Debashis Das, Lalith Babu and P. Karthikeyan. The tiebreak is buchholz and currently it G. Akash who has the best tiebreak, but Debashis and Lalith are not too far behind. Let's have a look at the all-important final round pairing:

Round 9 pairing:

Bo.No. NameTypRtgPts.ResultPts.NameTypRtg No.
14GMLalith Babu M R2529GMDebashis Das25226
220IMAkash G2391IMKarthikeyan P.245612
31GMSengupta Deep256566GMVishnu Prasanna. V25255
410IMKarthik Venkataraman247566GMVaibhav Suri25562
53GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.253166IMVisakh N R246711
614IMNitin S.244166GMKunte Abhijit24949
713IMMohammad Nubairshah Shaikh24416GMSundararajan Kidambi242517
87GMSwapnil S. Dhopade2495IMKobese Watu234926
930Wagh Suyog2289GMBakre Tejas243915
1016GMLaxman R.R.2438WIMNandhidhaa Pv227036


Lalith Babu has always maintained that Debashis Das is his good friend! In the National Premier when Lalith took a quick draw in the last round, it was Debashis who defeated Aravindh Chithambaram to give Lalith the clear first place! But in the Commonwealth Championships 2018, friends will have to face off against each other. Lalith has the white pieces and in all probability he will play for a win. On the second board we have two strong IMs facing off against each other. Akash, who is back after a gap of two years, and P. Karthikeyan who hasn't been playing so well recently. Both of them have had a good event at the Commonwealth Championships 2018 and it remains to be seen who comes out on top.


After from these four guys on 6.5/8, we have another nine players of 6.0/8. S.Nitin has the best tiebreak and he is facing Abhijit Kunte in the last round. The last time these two met at the National Premier 2017, it was Nitin who came out on top. All the battles of players on 6.0/8 will be keenly contested because only if they win, do they have a chance to be on the podium with a medal.

Who do you think will the Commonwealth Championships 2018? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Debashis Das has been playing some of the best chess at this event. Have a look at this high class game that he played against Vaibhav Suri in the penultimate round: | Photo: Amruta Mokal

P. Karthikeyan didn't have any problems in dismantling S.Nitin's King's Indian | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Lalith Babu's handing of the position from the black side of the London System was quite instructive:

Nubairshah Shaikh played a little too recklessly in my opinion and soon landed in a lost position against G. Akash:

Deep Sengupta was up against Tania Sachdev with the black pieces. Deep experimented with the King's Indian Defence and managed to get a very good position. Here's Deep after the game, explaining to us how he beat his opponent:

Deep Sengupta explains his win over Tania Sachdev

One of the young talents who has done exceedingly well in this tournament is the 12-year-old from Kerala Jubin Jimmy. Jubin is already gaining 97 Elo points and crossed the Elo barrier of 2200. In this video he shows us his win over Sammed Shete from the 8th round:

Jubin shows his win over Sammed Shete

If Jubin draws the last round and scores 6.0/9, he would be able to make his maiden IM norm. But his opponent Sankalp Gupta is in a must-win scenario to make his second IM norm. It's going to be an exciting battle, because at the end of the game one of the players would have definitely made a norm!

It's always interesting to listen to what GM R.R. Laxman has to say about his game!

Under-8 open:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11CMManon Reja NeerBAN1618Bangladesh5,50,021,022,0
224Rosh JainIND1095Delhi5,00,021,022,0
314Mitul K HIND1145Karnataka5,00,019,521,0
43Adireddy ArjunIND1440Telangana4,50,020,523,0
52Aakash GIND1503Tamilnadu4,50,019,522,0
632Rounaiv RanaIND1032Maharashtra4,50,019,021,0
74Abhinav RajIND1385Delhi4,50,018,521,0
88Sawalakhe JayIND1203Maharashtra4,50,017,020,0
96CMKiaan AgrawalIND1255Chattisgarh4,50,016,518,5
1012Shashindhar Kumar RIND1161Tamil Nadu4,50,016,018,0

Bangladeshi top seed Neer Manon has played extremely well and seems all set to win the gold medal. He has beaten both Rosh Jain and Mitul KH.

Very talented Delhi boy Rosh Jain shows his 6th round win

Under-8 girls:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
116WCMShriyana S MallyaIND0Karnataka5,00,021,523,0
236Shah HiyaIND0Maharashtra5,00,019,021,5
33Sri Harini AIND1073Karnataka5,00,017,019,5
46Shreya G HipparagiIND1057Maharashtra5,00,016,516,5
51Devaki NandanaIND1128ANDHRA PRADESH4,50,018,521,5
65Shresthi GuptaIND1058Punjab4,50,018,020,5
725Lakshana SubramanianIND0Tamil Nadu4,00,019,521,5
811Saara JainIND1024Jharkhand4,00,017,518,5
912Arshiya DasIND1021Tripura4,00,016,518,0
1028Muthya Manjari NeIND0Andhra Pradesh4,00,016,018,0

It's a battle between Maharashtra and Karnataka in the girls under-8. Shriyana Mallya and Sri Harini are from Karnataka while Hiya Shah and Shreya Hipparagi are from Maharashtra. It remains to be seen who goes back home with the gold!

Under-10 Open:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12Arhan Chethan AnandIND1626Karnataka5,50,021,024,0
223Jaidambareesh N RIND1383Tamil Nadu5,50,020,521,5
31Kadam Om ManishIND1842Maharashtra5,00,022,025,0
45Bharadia YashIND1578Rajasthan5,00,019,522,5
58Shaik Sumer ArshIND1512Telangana5,00,019,522,5
69Daaevik WadhawanIND1506Delhi5,00,019,021,0
717Apoorv KambleIND1459Karnataka5,00,018,020,5
83John Veny AkkarakaranIND1590Kerala4,50,022,025,5
94Viswak Sen MIND1585Telangana4,50,022,025,0
1020Bagwe GaurangIND1427Maharashtra4,50,021,024,5

Arhan Anand seems to be the favourite as of now. But Jaidambareesh is an unknown commodity! It will be interesting to see who can win the gold in this section.

Arhan Anand (in the background) threw the tournament wide open by beating the top seed Om Kadam | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under-10 girls

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12Anupam M SreekumarIND1376Kerala5,50,020,022,5
23Rout YashitaIND1333Odisha5,00,019,022,0
35WCMShefali A NIND1248Karnataka5,00,018,019,5
416Sani DeshpandeIND1109Maharashtra4,50,022,023,0
511Stuti AishwaryIND1150Delhi4,50,018,520,5
67Sneha HalderIND1197West Bengal4,50,017,519,5
712Ikshita BarmanIND1128Assam4,50,017,018,5
810Arushi SrichandanIND1170Odisha4,50,015,516,5
913Mrittika MallickIND1124West Bengal4,00,023,026,0
1032Anjistha BasakIND1011West Bengal4,00,020,023,0


Anupam Sreekumar seems to be on track to becoming the Commonwealth Champion 2018 in the under-10 girls section

Under-12 Open:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12Sreeshwan MaralakshikariIND2064Telangana5,50,020,523,5
24Pranesh MIND1983Tamil Nadu5,00,020,523,0
35Manish Kumar (2006)IND1878Odisha4,50,021,523,5
47Aditya Varun GampaIND1704Telangana4,50,019,522,0
53CMShahil DeyIND20194,50,017,520,0
66Harshad SIND1809Tamil Nadu4,50,017,020,0
724AIMPankaj BhatIND1463Karnataka4,00,019,019,5
817Bhavesh MahajanIND1537Punjab4,00,017,518,0
910Mahajan AyushIND1606Maharastra4,00,017,018,5
1014Adireddy TarunIND1578Telangana4,00,017,018,5

Sreeshwan Maralakshikari has been flawless at this event, beating Leon Mendonca. He has the best chances of winning the gold medal.

Under-12 girls:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12Savitha Shri BIND1720Tamilnadu5,50,018,521,0
24Meenatchi Rajam VIND1613Tamilnadu5,00,018,020,5
35Boramanikar Tanisha SIND1579Maharashtra5,00,017,019,5
46WCMSahithi Varshini MIND1571Andhra Pradesh4,50,020,023,0
59Ratnapriya KIND1488Tamilnadu4,50,017,519,5
619WCMKriti Mayur PatelIND1339Maharashtra4,00,021,523,5
78WCMWankhade SanskrutiIND1524Maharashtra4,00,020,023,0
821WCMPatel Riddhi RIND1327Gujarat4,00,018,020,0
917Akshaya RajaramanIND1343Tamilnadu4,00,018,019,5
1011AFMAdvaita Sharma KIND1398Telangana4,00,017,018,5

The most important clash in the under-12 girls section was between Savitha Shri and Sahithi Varshini. It was won by Savitha. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under-14 Open:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
18Karthik Sai ChIND1789Telangana5,50,020,523,0
21CMKushagra MohanIND2307Telangana5,00,021,024,0
34AGMRathneesh RIND1893Tamilnadu4,50,019,021,5
43Soham KamotraIND2074Jammu&Kashmir4,50,019,021,5
513Samdani Sahil SagarIND1712Gujarat4,50,015,517,5
62Panda SambitIND2187Odisha4,00,020,023,0
76Ruban Sanjai MIND1798Tamil Nadu4,00,019,521,0
822Tanmay ChopraIND1613Delhi4,00,019,020,5
99Abhinessh SIND1788Tamil Nadu4,00,016,019,0
1024Nikam SudhanshuIND1600Maharashtra4,00,016,017,5


Karthik Sai, has a great chance to win the gold medal ahead of the pre-tournament favourites Kushagra Mohan and Sambit Panda.

Under 14 girls:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
13WCMJyothsna LIND1871Tamilnadu5,00,520,523,0
24WCMBristy MukherjeeIND1817West Bengal5,00,519,021,0
31WCMJain NityataIND2015Madhya Pradesh4,50,521,023,0
46Rindhiya VIND1733Tamil Nadu4,50,517,519,5
59Adane NarayaniIND1666Maharashtra4,00,020,022,5
62Bhagyashree PatilIND1906Maharashtra4,00,019,522,5
710Arushi KotwalIND1661Jammu&Kashmir4,00,019,019,5
88Eesha Ajay SardaIND1680Maharashtra4,00,018,021,0
919Navya TayalIND1372Haryana4,00,016,518,5
1013Deepthi Lakshmi KIND1460Karnataka3,50,018,020,5


Jyothsna L and Bristy Mukherjee are in the lead with Nityata and Rindhiya on 4.5 points. As 4.5 point players are playing the ones on 5, anything is possible in this group.

Under 16 Open:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
13Raahul V SIND2234Tamilnadu6,00,019,021,0
25FMThilakarathne G M HSRI2188Sri Lanka5,00,019,022,0
31Koustav ChatterjeeIND2365West Bengal4,50,521,524,5
410Sibi Visal RIND1879Tamilnadu4,50,520,022,0
59Cheela Naga SampathIND1894Andhra Pradesh4,00,020,522,0
68FMGluckman PaulRSA1922South Africa4,00,019,021,0
720Roshan HariIND1582Kerala4,00,014,516,5
82Sankalp GuptaIND2365Maharashtra3,50,020,523,0
94Moksh Amit DoshiIND2203Gujarat3,50,019,022,0
1016Aditya P MelaniIND1644Gujarat3,50,018,519,5


Absolute flawless performance by Raahul VS. He is on 6.0/6. A draw would assure him of the title, but it's never over until it's over! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under 16 girls:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11WFMDivya DeshmukhIND2139Maharashtra5,00,019,021,0
24Sanskriti GoyalIND1898UP5,00,018,020,5
33Meenal GuptaIND1934Jammu & Kashmir4,50,019,021,5
42WFMLakshmi CIND1954Tamilandu4,00,021,524,5
513Laheri NityaIND1477Gujarat4,00,019,520,0
67Nanditha VIND1727Telangana4,00,017,019,0
76Tejasvi MIND1731Tamil Nadu4,00,017,018,5
88Benasir MIND1725Tamilnadu4,00,016,518,5
95Kaur PalkinIND1749Delhi3,51,515,517,5
109Routray PriyankaIND1674Odissa3,51,016,018,0


Divya (above) or Sanskriti? Who do you think will win the under-16 title? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under 18 Open:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12Harshavardhan G BIND2194Tamilandu5,50,019,021,0
21FMRathanvel V SIND2301Tamilnadu5,00,021,524,5
34Grahesh YIND1902Andhra Pradesh4,50,018,521,0
46Arjun C KrishnamachariIND1883Tamil Nadu4,50,018,520,5
511Shreyas MIND1670Tamilnadu4,00,017,518,5
63Hemanth RaamIND1952Tamil Nadu3,50,021,023,0
75CMKlevansky AronRSA1889South Africa3,50,019,021,0
89Gokulraj KIND1755Tamilnadu3,50,019,020,5
98Patil HarshalIND1809Maharashtra3,50,016,518,0
1015Yogeshwaran S AIND1583Tamil Nadu3,50,016,017,5


Harshavardhan (left) is the sole leader with 5.5/6. He is the son of K. Gopalakrishnan, who has been a strong chess player from Tamil Nadu. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under 18 girls:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12WIMTejaswini SagarIND2103Gujarat6,00,020,523,5
21WIMAakanksha HagawaneIND2297Maharashtra4,50,021,024,0
33Priyanka KIND2052Tamilnadu4,50,020,022,0
45WFMTarini GoyalIND1973Chandigarh4,50,019,021,5
54Harshita GuddantiIND2038Andhra Pradesh3,50,020,523,0
67Abeysinghe H M H JanandaniSRI1670Sri Lanka3,50,019,020,5
710Tarunika PIND1576Tamil Nadu3,50,018,519,0
89Niharika ChIND1614Andhra Pradesh3,50,017,519,5
96Toshali VIND1875Andhra Pradesh3,50,017,019,0
1013Wolmarans RiekieRSA1429South Africa3,00,018,519,0


The only person assured of a gold medal is Tejaswini Sagar who is on 6.0/6 and all her competitors are on 4.5/6 or below. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under 20 Open:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
13IMKrishna Teja NIND2389Andhra Pradesh5,01,020,023,0
21IMKarthik VenkataramanIND2475Andhra Pradesh5,00,019,021,5
37Pranavananda VIND2184Andhra Pradesh4,00,021,023,5
42IMMohammad Nubairshah ShaikhIND2441Maharashtra4,00,018,521,0
54IMSidhant MohapatraIND2369Odisha4,00,016,519,5
610Nagare AkhileshIND1883Maharashtra4,00,016,517,0
75Wagh SuyogIND2289Maharashtra3,50,020,021,5
89Dubey SanchayIND1900UP3,50,015,516,0
914Dutta SarthakIND1620Uttar Pradesh3,00,019,020,5
1012Sri Sai Baswanth PIND1829Telangana3,00,017,018,5


Karthik Venkatraman has lost to Krishna Teja, so the latter has an edge, but it all depends on the two crucial games today. Karthik takes on Sidhant Mohapatra, while Krishna is up against Nubairshah Shaikh.

Under 20 Girls:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
13WFMVarshini VIND2129Tamilnadu5,00,018,520,5
22WIMChitlange SakshiIND2162Maharashtra4,51,518,521,0
31WIMMahalakshmi MIND2238Railways4,51,020,523,0
44WIMChandreyee HajraIND1981West Bengal4,50,516,518,0
56Divya Lakshmi RIND1934Tamilnadu4,00,017,019,0
67Priyamvada KaramchetiIND1832Andhra Pradesh3,50,018,020,0
78Ankitha Goud PalleIND1742Telangana3,00,018,520,0
89Fathima AbdeenIND1625Kerala3,00,015,016,5
913Asna AbdeenIND1162Kerala2,50,015,517,5
1010WIMDu Plessis AnikaRSA1515South Africa2,50,015,517,0


In this tough under-20 section, it is V. Varshini who is the leader with 5.0/6 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Rucha Pujari celebrated her birthday in style thanks to the arrangements made by Delhi Chess Association! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Rucha Pujari birthday celebrations captured in the video!

Arbiters do not just take care that the FIDE rules are implemented, they also take care of the players. For example, the little girl came crying to the arbiter Amit Sharma because of toothache. He took care of her and made her feel comfortable so that she can get back to her game and play it well! Hats off to all the arbiters who work tirelessly to create the perfect environment for the players. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Jacob Aagaard's free lectures:

It was a great learning opportunity for players at the Commonwealth Championships 2018 to learn from the one of the finest trainers and authors of our time Jacob Aagaard. There were two lectures held on 2nd of July. The first one was from 4-5 p.m. and the second one from 9-10 p.m. Of course knowing Jacob well, it came as no surprise that the timings extended from 4-6 p.m. and 9-11 p.m.! Although nothing was charged from the players, Jacob gave his all and delivered some great knowledge on how his student Sam Shankland reached a rating of 2727. He also spoke about the mistakes made by Shankland in his games and the players learnt a lot from it.

A jam packed house! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Jacob as always was cheerful and looked dashing in his ChessBase India t-shirt! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Players, parents, coaches, all of them took home something from the lectures | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Space was less, but the hunger to learn was more! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

All those who bought the books got a personal autograph from the co-founder of Quality Chess | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Garvit Kumar Kalra and his coach GB Joshi looking dashing in the ChessBase India t-shirts! (Yes, we finally have a new colour!) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In the evening session we had many strong players like GM Swapnil Dhopade, Vishnu Prasanna, Sundararajan Kidambi etc. who attended the lecture | Photo: Amruta Mokal