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First of its kind in India - the Akshayakalpa BNCF Grand Prix

by Hinduja Reddy - 07/08/2018

Grand Prix (French for "grand prizes") is generally associated with Formula One. It consists of a series of races which are held worldwide. Ultimately the winners of each race qualify for a Grand finale. Since its inception in 1950, F1 Grand Prix Series are watched by millions around the globe. Bangalore North Chess Forum, popularly known as BNCF, has a reputation for its punctuality, effective planning, and great attention to detail for their monthly one-day rapid tournaments. They, in association with Akshayakalpa, have introduced Grand Prix to popularize chess in Karnataka. A series of seven events culminating into a super finals in February!

When Prasanna Kumar L R, a software engineer and organic dairy farmer, was searching for a chess coach to train his 10-year-old son he chanced upon meeting G.K. Muralidhara, an engineer by profession and passionate chess player. For Muralidhara, a Deputy General Manager at BEL, teaching chess to his daughter was a solace after a day of bustling schedule. He soon became a hobby trainer. While travelling to various tournaments, the duo and their families have faced typical parents' quandary — delayed first rounds, congested seating arrangements, unhygienic toilets etc. Fast forward three years, BNCF has gained reputation for its quality of conduct. Players love to immerse themselves and chess parents hate to miss their monthly tournaments.


During their time playing tournaments, the duo spoke with fellow parents, players and organizers to understand nuts and bolts of chess organization. Furthermore, they wished to see concrete changes in few areas. Thus, Bangalore North Chess Forum—a non-profit organization was founded in 2015. With an aim to promote chess in Northern region of Bengaluru, empower women by molding them into chess trainers, and spread chess in Government Schools.

G.K Muralidhara, mentor at BNCF.

Prasanna Kumar L R, CEO (Chief-everything officer) of BNCF

Shashi Kumar, CEO of Akshayakalpa approached BNCF to start some exciting series of tournaments. After ideating for few weeks, BNCF came up with Grand Prix series — a terrific addon to their regular monthly one-day rapid tournaments. Seven one-day rapid events will be held once every month from the period of July to January. Top three in each event will qualify to the Grand Prix finals that will be held in February 2019. That means a total of 21 players. However, if the entries go above 100, the one-day rapid event will be split into two divisions to facilitate fair selection and then three players from both divisions will advance to the Grand Prix finals. So technically the number of players in the Grand Prix finals can reach 42!

Check out the grand prix finals total amount - Rs.1,75,000!

After organizing a successful state championship with the highest prize fund in the history of Indian chess (Rs.10 lakh), CEO of Akshayakalpa Shashi Kumar is now involved in this exciting new format! 

Says Shashi Kumar, "Akshayakalpa has been supporting chess for a more than year now. We are glad to be associated with BNCF for this year's Grand Prix series. Eventually, our vision is to build a sustainable model where a generation of kids can develop their skills on and off the chess board."


The first edition of the Akshayakalpa BNCF Grand Prix was held on 29th of July 2019. More than 100 players participated and the organizers had to break up the event into two sections.

One of the biggest advantages of the BNCF Grand Prix is that it provides an ideal platform for youngsters!

Cuteness overload?!

"Perhaps the knight is a better blockader than the king!"

Unbreakable concentration!

Many girls also participated in the event

Chess was not limited to just inside the playing hall!

ChessBase India t-shirts are in vogue

IA Vasanth BH the very popular arbiter made sure that the event went as smoothly as possible

In this month's Grand Prix Qualifier, IM Girish Koushik (Group A) and Gahan MG (Group B) emerged winners. Top seed IM Girish Koushik drew in the final round against Kalki Eshwar to seal the Open Group A title. Gahan MG, meanwhile, defeated Yashas Donthi in the final round to clinch the top spot in Open Group B category. 

Group A:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
11Girish A. Koushik23996,50,029,533,530,756
22Yashas D.21136,00,030,033,527,006
313Kalki Eshwar D13415,50,030,032,022,755
44Gautam J.K.18025,00,029,032,020,005
53Ganthimeri Akkisetty18825,00,028,532,521,504
621Abhay B Bhandarkar12305,00,026,529,019,503
75Deota Snehil S16755,00,025,528,517,505
812Samith Reddy I13675,00,025,026,016,504
922Abhiman Urs R12225,00,022,024,515,505
109Navodith V Bhat14474,50,028,029,516,504

Check complete standings

Group B:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
11Gahan M G23087,00,029,533,033,007
214YASHAS Donthi13015,50,030,032,522,755
36ARNAV MURALIDHAR15755,50,029,532,523,005
49Krishnakanth S S14415,50,026,028,020,255
516Ajitesh Kumara12845,50,022,523,515,755
62Gavi Siddayya20515,00,030,033,021,005
711Sujay B M13915,00,029,032,020,005
88Chiranth M D14595,00,029,031,519,005
97EkanthaRaju N14855,00,028,531,020,505
1013Prema P13385,00,026,029,018,505

Check complete standings

Sri Krishna Udupa, founder of Nalanda Chess academy and coach of International Master G.A. Stany, gave away the prizes for Open A division.

Gahan M.G, recieving prize from Shashi Kumar.

D. Yashas finished second in Group A

The young talent Kalki Eshwar finished third

At the Karnataka State Championship we had interviewed Kalki, who had revealed his secret of how he is improving at chess. Have a look at the video below:

If you too would like to improve your game like Kalki, have a look at GM Daniel King's Powerplay DVDs

Yashas Donthi is rated just 1301, but finished 2nd

Youngster Arnav Muralidhar took the 3rd qualification spot

A lot of trophies for the youngsters!

All of them went back with a trophy in their hands and a smile on their face!

Congratulations to all the six qualifiers. We look forward to the next monthly event with great interest.

Akshayakalpa continues supporting Indian chess in a big way.

Get to know more about Akshayakalpa from this video made by ChessBase India

You can support Akshayakalpa's endeavors to spread chess in India by buying the all-new Akshayakalpa Pure Organic Ghee which is now available on Amazon India.

About the author:

Hinduja Reddy is a 22-year-old Chess Entrepreneur who lives in Bengaluru. She is a former National Women's B bronze medalist, chess writer, and co-founder of ChessMine events. In her free time, she likes to follow the games of her friends IM Nihal Sarin and GM Srinath Narayanan.

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