IM Arjun Kalyan and Pranav Venkatesh win Velammal Rapid and Blitz
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.
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.
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.
Five players scored 7.5 points each. While Karthikeyan Murali secured the third place, GM Vishnu Prasanna was placed behind him at fourth.
World Youth under-18 champion R Praggnanandhaa and Aravindh Chithambaram could not figure in the top ten list.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|2||7||FM||Rathanvel V S||IND||2341||TN||8,0||0,5||56,0||51,5|
|4||3||GM||Vishnu Prasanna. V||IND||2445||TN||7,5||0,0||56,5||52,5|
|7||27||FM||Rohith Krishna S||IND||1846||TN||7,5||0,0||52,0||47,5|
|14||9||Ajay Krishna S||IND||2304||TN||7,0||0,0||50,0||46,0|
|15||32||Divya Lakshmi R||IND||1783||TN||7,0||0,0||49,5||45,5|
|16||1||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2546||TN||6,5||0,0||58,5||53,0|
|19||13||IM||Ravi Thandalam Shanmugam||IND||2234||TN||6,5||0,0||53,0||49,0|
|20||22||Alan Diviya Raj||IND||2024||TN||6,5||0,0||52,0||48,0|
|24||19||WIM||Michelle Catherina P||IND||2051||TN||6,5||0,0||50,0||46,0|
Final Standings in Blitz
|2||42||Peter Anand A||IND||1838||Pon||7,5||0,0||43,5||39,5|
|5||13||Ajay Krishna S||IND||2279||TN||7,0||0,0||44,0||40,5|
|9||16||IM||Ravi Thandalam Shanmugam||IND||2223||TN||6,5||0,0||44,0||40,5|
|10||2||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2596||TN||6,5||0,0||44,0||40,5|
|11||5||GM||Deepan Chakkravarthy J.||IND||2506||ICF||6,5||0,0||42,5||39,5|
|12||8||FM||Rathanvel V S||IND||2362||TN||6,5||0,0||42,5||38,5|
|13||28||Alan Diviya Raj||IND||2033||TN||6,5||0,0||41,5||38,0|
|18||17||Senthil Maran K||IND||2204||TN||6,0||0,0||43,0||39,0|
|19||3||GM||Vishnu Prasanna. V||IND||2515||TN||6,0||0,0||42,5||39,0|
|33||FM||Manish Anto Cristiano F||IND||1914||TN||6,0||0,0||41,5||38,0|
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