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IBCA World Teams Round 1: Aryan's lightning win not enough to overcome Ukraine

by Sagar Shah - 22/07/2018

The 8th IBCA World Team Championships 2018 kicked off on Saturday, 21st of July. The Indian team is one of the lower seeds at the event, but are filled with great aspirations. In the first round India faced the favourites of the tournament Ukraine. The lads gave a very tough fight including Aryan Joshi's scintillating 21-move win over his much fancied opponent. Kishan was also better in his game, but lost the thread in the early middlegame. Indians lost to Ukraine 3-1, but have already showed some promise. In this article we not only acquaint you with the ambience of the event, but also take you through the journey of travelling from Mumbai to Sofia. 

Getting there - From Mumbai to Sofia

By Sagar Shah

Indian team at the Mumbai airport. From (left to right: Subhendu Patra, Kishan Gangolli, Ashvin Makwana, Aryan Joshi and Soundarya Kumar Pradhan)

The coach (yours truly) and the IBCA President Charudatta Jadhav join in the selfie

It was quite a new experience for me to travel with six players who were visually challenged. Sports Authority of India did support the team with ten lakh rupees but having two International events World Team Championship and World Juniors (as well as Women's World Championship) meant that AICFB was short on funds. Of course, getting a regular sponsor for blind chess is never easy and hence the next logical step is how exactly should one cut the costs. This time it meant that the team was reduced to just seven people. Five players, one coach and Charudatta Jadhav, who is not just the AICFB President but also the president for IBCA (World blind body like FIDE).


I was gearing up towards a lot of running around work related to check in, security check, immigration etc., when I realized that my task was going to be much easier. The authorities at the Mumbai airport were extremely helpful and gave us a VIP treatment in every process and dropping us to our gate in a small electric car! Perhaps this was the smoothest process of reaching my gate ever in all these years of travelling!

The Indian team had a personal chauffeur driven car inside the airport!

A big thanks to this gentleman who made sure to not leave us alone until we boarded the flight!

Sleeping or watching a movie?!

There are things that you learn on every trip that you go to. But when you travel with the visually challenged, an entirely new world opens up in front of you. Take for example the above picture. It seems as if Charudatta Jadhav (on the left) is sleeping. However, Charudatta is in fact watching a movie. Being 100% blind, it doesn't matter if he has his eyes open or closed. He might as well keep it closed and focus entirely on the words and dialogues! Often I see Charudatta and Soundarya (they both are 100% visually impaired) working on their laptops with their screens turned off! For a person like me it was something unfathomable. How were they able to work with the same or perhaps even more control and clarity than the sighted people? That's because they have accepted the missing part in their life and decided to make use of their remaining faculties in the best possible way.

The flight was not so long and within 12 hours of travel time, we were in Sofia, Bulgaria

The organizers had made immaculate arrangements and the bus came to pick the players up at the airport

Hotel Marinela is where all the players were hosted and also the place where the tournament was going to take place

I must say that the view from my room on the 17th floor was quite breathtaking!

The hotel is huge with gym, swimming pool and many other amenities. Soundarya and Aryan tried their hand at the treadmill, but realized it was better to revert to...

...Yoga! Practicing daily yoga and pranayam has been team's way of staying fit mentally and physically prior to the event.

The opening ceremony:

Charudatta Jadhav interacts with Ivan Yanev, the tournament director and the man who has put this show together

The dignitaries on the stage at the start of the event
IBCA President Charudatta Jadhav's opening address

Top Bulgarian visually challenged player IM Nizam Rasim opens the tournament with the minister of sports

The Olalala grandmaster Artur Kogan is the coach of the Spanish team!
Vitaly Katheryn performs with great energy and enthusiasm
Virginia Sabeva is well known in Bulgaria for featuring in X-factor show. She enthralled the audience with her performance

The format of the tournament:

The tournament is divided in two groups. 8 teams in group A and 8 teams in group B. Top two teams in each section after playing seven rounds of Round Robin will move to the semi-finals. India is the last seed in group B and has strong teams like Ukraine, Poland and Spain in their group. As for Group A we have the top seeds Russia, followed by Serbia and Germany. Here's a breakdown of the teams along with their average ratings and composition.

Group A:

  1. MACEDONIA (RtgAvg:1980 / TB1: 0 / TB2: 1) Captain: Nedev, Trajko
1Atanasov Sande1829MKD150015390,51,0
2Trkaljanov Vladimir2127MKD150004510,51,0
3Selkovski Zarko1900MKD150014900,01,0
4Kostadinovski Zoran1848MKD150023730,01,0
5Bajrami Zejno2044MKD150031320,00,0
  2. GREAT BRITAIN (RtgAvg:1957 / TB1: 0 / TB2: 1) Captain: Armstrong, W
1CMRoss Chris N2214ENG4104110,51,0
2Hilton Stephen H1874SCO4150300,51,0
3Benson Paul J1928ENG4066780,01,0
4Armstrong William G1812ENG4137120,01,0
5Pennington Graham1701ENG4600010,00,0
  3. BULGARIA - 2 (RtgAvg:1217 / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0,5) Captain: Patev, Petko
1Patev Petko1869FID29220610,01,0
2Atanassov Venko G.0BUL29389280,01,0
3Stoykov Stoyan0FID29239200,01,0
4Ganev Boyan P.0BUL29389100,51,0
  4. TURKEY (RtgAvg:1735 / TB1: 2 / TB2: 4) Captain: Yilmaz, Fatma
1Donmez Unal1871TUR63680771,01,0
2Deniz Ugur1820TUR63055981,01,0
3Solak Yusuf1627TUR63502321,01,0
4Dal Ibrahim1621TUR63521201,01,0
5Ev Emre1549TUR345013120,00,0
  5. VENEZUELA (RtgAvg:2029 / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1Abiad Parra Victor1945VEN39094680,01,0
2Rivas Cabrera Edgar2041VEN39063290,01,0
3Otero Munelo Harlen Jose2124VEN39020050,01,0
4Munoz Gonzalez Aaron Adonai1687VEN39095570,01,0
5IMGamboa Gonzalez Anibal2005VEN39001850,00,0
  6. RUSSIA (RtgAvg:2359 / TB1: 2 / TB2: 3,5) Captain: Meshkov, Yuri
1Smirnov Alexey2440RUS41684371,01,0
2FMBabarykin Stanislav2379RUS41018981,01,0
3IMMeshkov Yuri A.2322RUS41071010,00,0
4FMSuslov Evgeniy2294RUS241494111,01,0
5FMDraganov Ruslan2149RUS41087360,51,0
  7. SERBIA (RtgAvg:2202 / TB1: 2 / TB2: 3) Captain: Ivanovic, Nikola
1FMDimic Pavle2358SRB9374280,51,0
2CMJandric Damjan2197SRB9214750,51,0
3Janjic Stefan2125SRB9232651,01,0
4Markov Ziva2094SRB9182531,01,0
5FMAvram Sretko2126SRB9253140,00,0
  8. GERMANY (RtgAvg:2156 / TB1: 2 / TB2: 3) Captain: Bode, Wilfried
1IMMueller Oliver2291GER46333850,51,0
2CMEichstaedt Mirko2190GER246923100,51,0
3Adiyaman Rene2097GER129104140,00,0
4CMSchellmann Frank2046GER46699161,01,0
5Schulz Gert2005GER46223911,01,0

Group B:

1. INDIA (RtgAvg:1712, Captain: Sagar Shah / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1Gangolli Kirshan0IND504935000
2Soundarya Kumar Pradhan1808IND2505182200
3Aryan B Joshi1623IND3505593300
5Makwana Ashvin K1749IND508191200
  2. ROMANIA (RtgAvg:2001, Captain: Pribeani Dacian / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1AIMVaduva Emil-Peter1940ROU121806900
2FMPribeanu Mihail-Dacian2141ROU120909400
4Dima Mihai1966ROU121739900
5Pirosca Alexandru1956ROU121111000
  3. SPAIN (RtgAvg:2150, Captain: Kogan, Artur / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1Palacios Perez Manuel2196ESP220550500
2Clemente Llamero Roberto2140ESP225769600
3Fernandez Manrique Agustin2160ESP223100000
4Aguilar Sevilla Diego2102ESP221794500
  4. POLAND (RtgAvg:2309, Captain: Tazbir, M / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1GMTazbir Marcin2525POL112245200
2Czajkowski Adam2232POL115193200
3IMDukaczewski Piotr2254POL110352000
4IMStachanczyk Jacek2223POL111665700
  5. BULGARIA - I (RtgAvg:1965, Captain: Razim, Nizam / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1IMNizam Rasim2172FID290670800
2Todorov Aleksandar1945FID290187000
3Ivanov Ljubomir1796FID290377600
4Stoyanov Stojan Slavov1946FID291091800
  6. ITALY (RtgAvg:1818, Captain: Gori, Andrea / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1Vrioni Bersan1933ITA80535100
2Casadei Marco1881ITA84754200
3Gasperoni Claudio1789ITA82545000
4Murgia Stefano1667ITA87601100
  7. SLOVENIA (RtgAvg:1972, Captain: Kasmac, Blaz / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1Mlacnik Franc2035SLO1460192300
2Znuderl Matej1918SLO1460433700
3Turicnik Vlado2001SLO1460493000
5Ursic Aleksander1932SLO1460563500
  8. UKRAINE (RtgAvg:2276, Captain: Zsiltzova, L / TB1: 0 / TB2: 0)
1IMTuka Oleg2386UKR1411445300
2CMGrigorchuk Sergey2292UKR1411487900
3Kolpakov Vladyslav2121UKR1413699600
5Shepelev Igor2102UKR1411490900

Round 1: India loses to Ukraine 3-1

by Prachurya Kumar Pradhan

Bo.1  INDIARtg-8  UKRAINERtg1 : 3
Gangolli, Kirshan
Tuka, Oleg
23860 - 1
Soundarya, Kumar Pradhan
Grigorchuk, Sergey
22920 - 1
Aryan, B Joshi
Kolpakov, Vladyslav
21211 - 0
Makwana, Ashvin K
Shepelev, Igor
21020 - 1


In the VIII IBCA world Team Championship for The Blind and Visually Impaired being played in Sofia, Bulgaria, spirited India found the mighty Ukraine too hot to handle and went down 3-1 in the inaugural round. However, the young sensation of India Aryan, provided the only silver lining registering a sensational victory against his opponent who had 500 ELO points more than the Indian youngster. Aryan playing on board 3 with white pieces chose the Tarrasch Variation against the French Defence of Kolpakov (2121). Aryan boldly played 13. Nf5 sacrificing a pawn to complicate the position. He went on with a series of sacrifices to drag the black king out of hiding and with mate in sight his opponent resigned on the 21st move.

Aryan Joshi (left) fights it out with Vladyslav Kolpakov

Aryan's Nf5 is well known theory in the French giving up the h2 pawn

The pawn on g7 is taken by the knight. With a queen, rook and two bishops ready to launch into the attack, White's aggression should not be underestimated.

The rook moved up the board and it all looked very scary for Black. The computer on the other hand. was unimpressed and claims 0.00 evaluation! Practically, however, if you are not well versed with such positions prior to the game, it is a recipe for disaster.

...Be5 was the final blunder that ended the game. Can you find the winning move for White? Mind you, it is not the most obvious one.
Interview with Aryan Joshi after this scintillating win

On the top board, Kishan Gangolli was pitted against IM Oleg Tuka. Kishan from Karnataka played the opening brilliantly forcing his opponent to weaken his king’s position and also give up the bishop pair. Round about early middlegame it seemed as if Kishan would bring the second point home as he was completely better. But the Ukrainian IM rated 2386, was not going to give up easily. He fought tooth and nail and Kishan wasn't able to adjust to this new situation.

Here Kishan was very enthusiastic about his chances as he is either winning an exchange or the c6 pawn. But the opponent had a surprise prepared for him. Can you find the move?

On board 3, Soundarya Kumar Pradhan with black pieces played the Bogo Indian Defence and was soon put on the backfoot after he made an elementary opening error. Once the opening mistake was made Sergey Grigorchuk gave his opponent absolutely no chances and finished off the game with some accurate endgame moves.

...e5 by Soundarya was clearly an error. Can you spot why?

Soundarya has to get his act together before the second round

Ashvin Makwana has been given the duty of holding fort on board four. He wasn't able to get in the groove in the first round and made a miscalculation that cost him a piece.

Ashvin is a slow starter at many events, but once he gets going it is difficult to stop him.

India will now face Romania in the second round. Live games can be seen on the FollowChess App as well as chessbomb website. The games begin at 17.30 hours IST (15.00 hours local time)

About the author:

Prachurya Kumar Pradhan, the author of this article, is 100% visually challenged. He is the brother of Soundarya Pradhan and himself an accomplished player. Prachurya finished sixth in the National A blind championships 2018 and has a FIDE rating of 1656. He is currently pursuing Chartered Accountancy and has already cleared one group in IPCC. He will be covering the journey of the Indian visually challenged team in Bulgaria from Odisha.

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