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IM Arjun Kalyan and Pranav Venkatesh win Velammal Rapid and Blitz

by R Anantharam - 12/11/2019

IM Arjun Kalyan and untitled Pranav V surprised everyone by winning Velammal Rapid and Blitz with a score of 8.0/9 and 8.0/8 respectively. Starting out as the tenth seed Arjun remained unbeaten and scored upset victories of GM Karthikeyan Murali and GM Vishnu Prasanna. IM Rathanvel VS also scored 8.0/9, however due to a better tie-break score Arjun clinched the championship. Karthikeyan finished at third place by scoring 7.5/9 in the Rapid event. 13-year-old Pranav scored eight straight victories in Blitz to become champion. He beat GM Vishnu Prasanna and GM Deepan Chakkravarthy on his path to victory. Untitled Peter Anand of Pondicherry claimed sole second position with a score of 7.5/9. IM S Nitin was the only titled player to finish in top 5 in Blitz. Photo: IA R Anantharam

Arjun Kalyan triumphs Velammal Rapid

Rapid and Blitz tournaments are not akin to classical chess and are different ball games. It was proven by eighteen year old IM S Arjun Kalyan of Tamil Nadu and thirteen year old V Pranav also of Tamil Nadu who stunned everybody by winning the Velammal Vidyalalya FIDE rated Rapid and Blitz tournaments respectively, ahead of top grandmasters like Aravindh Chithambaram, Karthieyan Murali, Praggnanandhaa, Deepan Chakkravarthy, Vishnu Prasanna and R R Laxman at Chennai.

Winners IM Arjun Kalyan and Pranav V with Velavan of Rooks & Kinghts Academy, the legend IM Manuel Aaron and the Principal Velammal Vidyalaya | Photo: R Anantharam

In the fourth round of the Rapid event, top seeded Aravindh Chithambaram and third seeded Vishnu Prasanna were held to draws by their young opponents Rajarishi Karthi and Alan Divyaraj, both from Tamil Nadu.

IM P Shyaamnikhil of ICF had to taste the defeat at the hands of WIM M Mahalakshmi after the former blundered a checkmate in one move.

Five players led with a full score of five points: WGM R Vaishali, GM Karthikeyan Murali, IM VS Rathanvel, IM Arjun Kalyan and CM Nikhil Magizhnan, all from Tamil Nadu.

WGM R Vaishali and GM Karthikeyan Murali were among the leaders with five points from five rounds of the Rapid event | Photo: R Anantharam

Arjun Kalyan shocked the two-times national champion Karthikeyan Murali, to emerge the only player to have scored six points after six rounds. Thereafter, he never looked back to win the tournament comfortably.

Vishnu joined Arjun at the top by beating Nikhil Magizhnan in the seventh round. The tussle between Arjun and Vishnu in the eighth round ended in favour of the former, providing him a cushion of half point lead over five other players – Shyaamnikhil, Karthikeyan, Kunal, Rathnavel and IM A Ra Harikrishnan.

Arjun raised his tally to eight points with a safe draw with Shyaamnikhil and Rathanvel defeated ARa Harikrishnan to level the score with Arjun. With a better tiebreak score, Arjun won the rapid tournament.

VS Rathanvel, waiting for his IM title to be approved, defeated IM A Ra Harikrishnan in the final round to finish runner up | Photo: R Anantharam

Five players scored 7.5 points each. While Karthikeyan Murali secured the third place,  GM Vishnu Prasanna was placed behind him at fourth.

IM Harikrishnan A Ra and GM Karthikeyan Murali in action. The latter finished third | Photo: R Anantharam

GM Vishnu Prasanna and Praggnanandhaa. Vishnu was placed fourth | Photo: R Anantharam

World Youth under-18 champion R Praggnanandhaa and Aravindh Chithambaram could not figure in the top ten list.

IM AL Muthaiah and GM Aravindh Chithambaram. Aravindh was a distant sixteenth | Photo: R Anantharam

Out of the fifteen titled players including GMs, IMs and WGMs, only one titled player – IM S Nitin could figure in the top five ranks of the Blitz prize list.


It was all the way V Pranav from the beginning. He recorded eight consecutive wins in eight rounds, toppling many higher rated players on the way. The 2232 rated player humbled the grandmasters Vishnu and Deepan, besides scalping IM S Nitin and IM TS Ravi in the last round.

Blitz winner Pranav faced Rapid winner Arjun Kalyan in the rapid | Photo: R Anantharam

Peter Anand beat Laxman in the final round and finished second in Blitz | Photo: R Anantharam

IM Nitin S and WIM Michelle Catherina. Nitin secured third place in Blitz | Photo: R Anantharam

The highest rated player of the Blitz event R Praggnanandhaa (2604) had two heart breaking losses to lower rated players to finish at a distance.

Reigning National under-9 open champion Aakash G held Praggnanandhaa to a draw in the final round of Blitz | Photo: R Anantharam

The surprise runner up - A Peter Anand of Pondicherry had only one draw with Aravindh in the seventh round and held his nerves to beat the blitz king RR Laxman to score 7.5 points. IM S Nitin of Southern Railway had suffered only one loss to Pranav and his final round win over Aravindh helped him to clinch the third place.


The Rapid event had a prize money of ₹200000 with a first prize of ₹35000 and the Blitz tournament offered a prize money of ₹101000 rupees. Mr. P Stephen Balasamy, General Secretary of Tamil Nadu State Chess Association inaugurated the tournament and Mr. Manuel Aaron, the first International Master from India and the first Arjuna Awardee in the game of chess distributed the prizes on the final day. The tournament was well organised by the Rooks & Knights Chess Academy, ably supported the management, staff and students of Velammal Vidyalaya.

Stephen Balasamy P, General Secretary TNSCA inaugurated the tournament in presence of GM R Praggnanandhaa and the Principal | Photo: R Anantharam

The older generation felicitates the younger generation | Photo: R Anantharam

How is it possible to congregate such a galaxy of grandmasters and several international masters in a rating tournament. Apart from the fact that the event was held at Chennai, their home town, many of these top stars are from the Velammal Group of Institutions. The only way to pay respect to their Alma Mater is participating in the institution’s tournament. Velammal Group of Institutions' contribution to chess in Tamil Nadu is immense. Most of the current grandmasters and international masters of Tamil Nadu are either studying there or its alumni. The credit for such a big support to chess goes to its Chairman Mr. MV Muthuramlingam and his son and the CEO of the school Mr. MVM  Velmohan.

Mr. Muthuramalingam, Chairman of the Velammal Schools with the former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam

MVM Velmohan, CEO of Velammal Schools and Vice President of Tamil Nadu State Chess Association

The Group of institutions has more than fifty schools in Tamil Nadu, offering educational service to more than 100000 direct students with more than 10000 staff members. It has sponsored several national and international chess tournaments, the latest one being the Women Round-Robin international tournament at Chennai in 2018.

Final Standings in Rapid

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
IMArjun KalyanIND2293TN8,00,556,553,0
FMRathanvel V SIND2341TN8,00,556,051,5
GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND2386TN7,50,059,055,0
GMVishnu Prasanna. VIND2445TN7,50,056,552,5
Kunal M.IND2318TN7,50,055,550,5
IMShyaamnikhil PIND2413TN7,50,054,050,0
FMRohith Krishna SIND1846TN7,50,052,047,5
CMRajarishi KarthiIND2048TN7,00,056,051,0
Lokesh N.IND2209TN7,00,055,051,5
WGMVaishali RIND2096TN7,00,055,051,0
Pranav VIND2024TN7,00,055,051,0
IMNitin S.IND2452TN7,00,053,550,0
Ajay Krishna SIND2304TN7,00,050,046,0
Divya Lakshmi RIND1783TN7,00,049,545,5
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND2546TN6,50,058,553,0
CMNikhil MagizhnanIND1846TN6,50,057,052,5
IMMuthaiah AlIND2266TN6,50,055,551,5
IMRavi Thandalam ShanmugamIND2234TN6,50,053,049,0
Alan Diviya RajIND2024TN6,50,052,048,0
Sham RIND1710TN6,50,052,047,5
GMPraggnanandhaa RIND1736TN6,50,050,547,5
WIMMichelle Catherina PIND2051TN6,50,050,046,0
Badrinarayanan NIND1342TN6,50,049,546,0

Complete standings

Final Standings in Blitz

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
115Pranav VIND2232TN8,00,046,542,5
242Peter Anand AIND1838Pon7,50,043,539,5
37IMNitin S.IND2418TN7,00,045,042,5
421Prasannaa SIND2157TN7,00,045,040,5
513Ajay Krishna SIND2279TN7,00,044,040,5
64GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND2514TN7,00,043,040,0
731CMNikhil MagizhnanIND1953TN7,00,037,534,0
86GMLaxman R.R.IND2494TN6,50,047,543,0
916IMRavi Thandalam ShanmugamIND2223TN6,50,044,040,5
102GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND2596TN6,50,044,040,5
115GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND2506ICF6,50,042,539,5
128FMRathanvel V SIND2362TN6,50,042,538,5
1328Alan Diviya RajIND2033TN6,50,041,538,0
1410IMArjun KalyanIND2315TN6,50,039,536,5
1523Gireman JaIND2136TN6,00,044,040,0
169WGMVaishali RIND2317TN6,00,043,540,0
1726CMRajarishi KarthiIND2103TN6,00,043,039,0
1817Senthil Maran KIND2204TN6,00,043,039,0
193GMVishnu Prasanna. VIND2515TN6,00,042,539,0
2014Lokesh N.IND2239TN6,00,042,038,0
2129AGMSa KannanIND2020TN6,00,041,538,0
33FMManish Anto Cristiano FIND1914TN6,00,041,538,0
2418WGMMeenakshi SubbaramanIND2188TN6,00,041,537,5
2511FMMaheswaran P.IND2310TN6,00,041,037,0

Complete standings

About the Author

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


The article was edited by Shahid Ahmed

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