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Kaustuv Kundu wins 2nd Nagaon Open 2021

by Shahid Ahmed - 04/05/2021

Assam had its first Classical rating tournament in over a year at ADP College in Nagaon district from 16th to 20th April organized by Nagaon District Chess Association. Total cash prize ₹275000 was up for grabs for the prize winners. Top seed of the tournament Kaustuv Kundu scored an unbeaten 7.5/9 and finished a half point ahead of the competition. He earned ₹50000 cash and a trophy for his efforts. Khumukcham Sanjoy Singh and IM Ramnathan Balasubramniam scored 7.0/9 and they were placed second and third respectively according to tie-breaks. A total of 116 players took part in this event. Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

Top seed Kaustuv dominates the field

Starting out as the top seed of the tournament, Kaustuv Kundu of West Bengal scored 7.5/9, remained undefeated to win 2nd Nagaon Open. Six players finished at 7.0/9, out of them Khumukcham Sanjoy Singh of Manipur secured second position according to tie-breaks and IM Ramnathan Balasubramaniam of Tamil Nadu was placed third. Kaustuv was rated 138 points higher than the second seed, thus despite remaining unbeaten in the event, he lost 6.6 Elo rating points.

Champion Kaustuv Kundu 7.5/9 won a trophy and ₹50000 cash prize | Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

Kaustuv scored an unbeaten 7.5/9 but he lost 6.6 Elo rating points in the process

We caught up with Kaustuv after he won the 2nd Nagaon Open to get to know his thoughts on his victory.


Shahid Ahmed (SA): How did it feel to win an over-the-board event after a year?

Kaustuv Kundu (KK): Winning a tournament always feels great and this was no exception. But I feel that my quality of play was not up to the mark and I was very lucky to have won this tournament.


SA: You played well in Bangladesh Premier League and now in Nagaon, Assam. What makes you brave this pandemic and go to play tournaments?

KK: I am passionate about chess which motivates me to play OTB tournaments even in these trying times.

Kaustuv Kundu (left) in action at Bangladesh Premier League 2021 against GM Raunak Sadhwani | Photo: Bangladesh Chess Federation

Kaustuv's performance at SAIF Powertec Bangladesh Premier League 2021

SA: Who was the strongest challenge you faced in the tournament?

KK: Rajiv Dhar was the toughest opposition for me. He was leading the tournament at that point and I was trailing him by half a point. Also, I had the Black pieces and it was a must-win game for me to stay in contention for the championship.

Top seed Kaustuv Kundu in action | Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

SA: How are you dealing with the ongoing pandemic situation?

KK: The pandemic has led to the cancellation of all OTB tournaments and that was a big blow for an aspiring player like me. Luckily online chess has gained a lot of popularity and I, myself, take part in a lot of online events.


SA: What's next for you?

KK: I will focus more on my studies for the next few months as I am in the final semester of my BSc. I hope that the pandemic situation gets normal by then and I look forward to participating in more OTB tournaments.


SA: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

AE: Thank you.


Kaustuv annotated his best game of the tournament against Rajib Dhar in Round 6. Winning this game put him on the shared lead with the eventual second runner-up of the tournament IM Ramnathan Balasubramaniam.

Rajib - Kaustuv, Round 6

Position after 18.Nxf7

After a chain exchange of a pawn and queen, white played 18.Nxf7 which Kaustuv admitted to have missed in the game. However white was unable to capitalize on it. What did black miss?

Photo Gallery

Inauguration Ceremony | Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

The tournament was inaugurated by Dr. Surajit Kr. Bhagowati, Principal, ADP College, Mr. M Arun Singh, Vice President, All Assam Chess Association and Mr. Paragdhar Goswami, President Nagaon District Chess Association.

Inaugural move is about to be made | Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

Second Runner-up IM Ramnathan Balasubramaniam in action | Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

Tournament Hall - ADP College Indoor Stadium, Nagaon | Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

Top four finishers | Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

All prize winners | Photo: FI Pranab Kumar Nath

The tournament committee followed Covid-19 protocol diligently as laid down by Nagaon District Administration while granting permission to hold this event. Nobody was allowed in the auditorium and also the college premises without mask. Organizer also provided mask and sanitizer to players and also to accompanying persons. Social distancing was observed and there was sufficient distance between table.


Prizes were distributed by Dr. Surajit Kr. Bhagowati, Principal, ADP College. Mr. Rajib Dhar, Honorary General Secretary, All Assam Chess Association, Mr. M Arun Singh, Vice President, All Assam Chess Association and Mr. Paragdhar Goswami, President Nagaon District Chess Association.


A total of 116 players including an IM from Assam, Bihar, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal took part in this five-day nine-round Swiss league event. The tournament was organized by Nagaon District Chess Association from 16th to 20th April 2021.


A special thanks to Deputy Chief Arbiter FI Pranab Kumar Nath for sharing photos and info about the tournament.

Final Standings

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11Kaustuv KunduIND23187,551,556,046,00
24Khumukcham Sanjoy SinghIND20617,050,555,042,75
32IMRamnathan BalasubramaniamIND21807,050,054,541,75
443Dhruv PhukanIND14687,050,053,039,25
55Dhar RajibIND20527,049,554,039,75
67Ashutosh KumarIND19757,046,050,036,50
730Das MonajIND15827,044,046,032,50
89Debankan DharaIND19506,548,552,035,75
93Arpan DasIND21386,548,051,534,75
1016Mayank ChakrabortyIND17966,547,549,532,25
1125Rintu BrahmaIND16636,546,049,533,50
1232Mrinmoy RajkhowaIND15476,544,046,529,25
1354Abhrojyoty NathIND13576,541,044,530,75
148Santanu Borpatra GohainIND19546,049,051,530,50
156Singh Soram RahulIND20516,045,550,032,00
1614Projit PhukonIND18296,045,549,030,25
1718Elangbam Shashikanta SinghIND17466,044,548,527,50
1821Iftikar Alom MazumdarIND17156,044,047,528,50
1911Anurag JaiswalIND18816,043,545,027,25
2015Neelabh Jyoti BorthakurIND18176,042,546,027,50


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