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Kishan Gangolli wins his sixth consecutive blind national title

by Manjunatha Murthy - 22/01/2019

He started his streak in 2012 and has won all the national A championships that have been held until 2019. Kishan Gangolli won the National A 2019 in Nagpur and became the blind national champion sixth time in a row. But this time things were much closer than usual. He had Subhendu Patra on his toes throughout the event. Finally Subhendu settled for second spot, Aryan was third and Krishna Udupa fourth. These four will represent India at the World Individual Championships in Cagliari, Italy in April 2019. Another excellent development for blind chess was the hosting of a Round Robin Women's National A for the first time in history. Himanshi Rathi from Gujarat dominated the field and won the title. In-depth report from the venue by chief arbiter Manjunatha Murthy. 

Round 11:

161634Prachurya Kumar Pradhan½ - ½Patil Shirish167314
271448Hariharan Gandhi- - +Aryan B Joshi18635
381522Shashidhar K M0 - 1Krishna Udupa16974
492008Kishan Gangolli1 - 0Makwana Ashvin K17473
5101634Swapanil Shah½ - ½Marimuthu K15632
6111812Kavlekar Sanjay R.½ - ½Patra Subhendu Kumar16861
7121557Waghmare Sachin Lahu0 - 1Soundarya Kumar Pradhan181913

In the battle between Kishan Gangolli and Ashvin Makwana, it was Kishan who came out on top  | Photo: Murthy Manjunatha

After the completion of 11 rounds Kishan Gangolli moved into sole lead. He surprised his opponent by playing the side line in the Nimzo Indian Defense. In the middle game on 16th move he proved his supremacy by sacrificing his queen. Ashvin was shocked as he did not expect this. Here after he tried to defend but couldn’t stop the defending champion and surrendered on the 36th move. This is also Kishan's favourite game from the event.


Kishan Gangolli vs Ashvin Makwana

What should White play?

In another game Ruy Lopez Berlin variation was played by Kavlekar Sanjay against Patra Subhendu Kumar. The game was equal up to middle game. Subhendu advanced his pawns which allowed Sanjay to counter attack. Sanjay got a pawn but in end game over looked a move and settled for draw.

Subhendu Patra managed to save a draw from a minus position against Sanjay Kavlekar | Photo: Manjunatha Murthy

Hariharan Gandhi withdrew from the tournament due to his bad health.

Round 12

1141673Patil Shirish0 - 1Soundarya Kumar Pradhan181913
211686Patra Subhendu Kumar1 - 0Waghmare Sachin Lahu155712
321563Marimuthu K½ - ½Kavlekar Sanjay R.181211
431747Makwana Ashvin K1 - 0Swapanil Shah163410
541697Krishna Udupa½ - ½Kishan Gangolli20089
651863Aryan B Joshi1 - 0Shashidhar K M15228
761634Prachurya Kumar Pradhan+ - -Hariharan Gandhi14487

The tournament gets more and more interesting as at the end of the twelfth and penultimate round Kishan and Subhendu are both in joint lead. Subhendu Patra won a piece against Sachin Waghmare and comfortably converted his advantage.

In another game Kishan Gangolli played against his former coach Srikrishna Udupa. In French exchange variation both the players played carefully, exchanging pieces early went for peace. This draw result still opened the door for a possible new champion.

Shashidhar K M played with black pieces and opted for the Elephant Gambit against Aryan Joshi. Aryan eagerly accepted the pawn gambit and carefully saved the pawn, willingly exchanged the pieces without any mistake and completed the game successfully.

Round 13

171448Hariharan Gandhi- - +Patil Shirish167314
281522Shashidhar K M½ - ½Prachurya Kumar Pradhan16346
392008Kishan Gangolli½ - ½Aryan B Joshi18635
4101634Swapanil Shah0 - 1Krishna Udupa16974
5111812Kavlekar Sanjay R.½ - ½Makwana Ashvin K17473
6121557Waghmare Sachin Lahu½ - ½Marimuthu K15632
7131819Soundarya Kumar Pradhan1 - 0Patra Subhendu Kumar16861

For the first time in many years in blind chess the tournament wasn't decided until the final round. Both Kishan and Subhendu had chances of winning the title. Both Kishan and Subhendu had tough opponents to face. While Subhendu was up against Soundarya Pradhan, Kishan had to fight against Aryan Joshi. 


Soundarya's play in the final game was quite representative of the way he likes to play chess - free flowing and full of original ideas. However, he was helped greatly by Subhendu who was clearly tensed about winning his maiden National title. What transpired was a perfect example of how development is important in chess. 

Aryan essayed the Slav defence against Kishan. While Kishan saw that Subhendu had lost and a draw was enough to be the sole champion, Aryan felt that a draw would help him secure his spot in top four to represent India at the World Individual Championships. The players agreed to a quick draw.

Top three spots had been decided. For the fourth place there was a fight between Marimuthu and Krishnu Udupa. Marimuthu had drawn his game against Sachin Lahu. Udupa took his chance and played some ambitious chess from the black side of Sicilian Kalashnikov and beat Swapnil Shah to finish fourth.

Final standings

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
19Kishan GangolliIND2008Kar10,00,059,757
21Patra Subhendu KumarIND1686Odisha9,51,054,758
35Aryan B JoshiIND1863Mah9,50,058,008
44Krishna UdupaIND1697Kar9,00,057,007
52Marimuthu KIND1563T N8,50,053,256
63Makwana Ashvin KIND1747Guj8,00,047,256
713Soundarya Kumar PradhanIND1819Odisha7,50,040,256
86Prachurya Kumar PradhanIND1634Odisha7,00,042,004
98Shashidhar K MIND1522Kar5,01,020,504
1010Swapanil ShahIND1634Mah5,00,023,503
1111Kavlekar Sanjay R.IND1812Goa4,51,026,252
1214Patil ShirishIND1673Mah4,50,024,752
1312Waghmare Sachin LahuIND1557Mah3,00,016,502
147Hariharan GandhiIND1448T N0,00,00,000

Kishan Gangolli became the national champion for sixth time in a row!  | Photo: Murthy Manjunatha

Kishan Gangolli with the officials and guests of 14th AICFB National A Chess Championship for Visually Challenged  | Photo: Murthy Manjunatha

Kishan Gangolli, Subhendu Patra, Aryan B Joshi and Krishna Udupa will represent the country in the forthcoming World Individual Chess Championship for the Blind and Visually Impaired 2019 to be held in Cagliari, Italy from 5th to 15th April, 2019. Marimuthu K, who showed phenomenal chess throughout the tournament missed the flight to Italy by a whisker finishing 5th.

Marimuthu is a young talent who should be watched out for. He gained 150 Elo points at the National A championships 2019 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Marimuthu is supported by India's most experienced chess arbiter R. Anantharam

Top four players who will represent India at the World Individual Championships 2019 | From left: Kishan Gangolli, Subhendu Kumar Patra, Aryan Joshi and Krishna Udupa | Photo: Murthy Manjunatha

Women's Championships:

This was the first time that women's Championship for the blind was benging held in the history of Indian chess.

A big step for Women's blind chess in the country - the 1st Women's National A | Photo: AICFB Facebook

Starting Rank

4Sarita Manoj Kataria25122967IND1387Mah
2Vaishali Nrendra Salavkar25085891IND1379Mah
1Megha Chakraborty25665294IND1308W B
6Tijan Punaram Gawar45090572IND1179Mah
3Mrunali Pande25643258IND1175Mah
7Neha Nalin Pawaskar25051563IND1168Mah
5Rathi Himanshi35082752IND1119Guj
8Khorasiya Khushali45011834IND0Guj

The second seed of the event was Vaishali Salavkar, who represented India in the IBCA team at the Olympiad 2018 | Photo: AICFB Facebook

Mrunali Pande, Asian Paralympic medalist, finished fifth | Photo: AICFB Facebook

Megha Chakraborty, one of the best talents, and also Asian Paralympic medalist finished third | Photo: AICFB Facebook

The tournament was won by the youngster from Gujarat Himanshi Rathi (right) who dominated the field with 6.0/7 score | Photo: AICFB Facebook

Top three places went to Himanshi Rathi (centre), Vaishali Salavkar (right), Megha Chakraborty (left) | Photo: AICFB Facebook

Final rankings:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
15Rathi HimanshiIND1119Guj6,00,017,255
22Vaishali Nrendra SalavkarIND1379Mah5,00,513,253
31Megha ChakrabortyIND1308W B5,00,512,254
44Sarita Manoj KatariaIND1387Mah4,50,012,252
53Mrunali PandeIND1175Mah4,00,08,253
67Neha Nalin PawaskarIND1168Mah2,50,03,252
76Tijan Punaram GawarIND1179Mah1,00,00,001
88Khorasiya KhushaliIND0Guj0,00,00,000

ChessBase India will bring you coverage from the World Individual Championships that will be held in Cagliari, Italy.

Darpan Inani in HDFC advertisement:

Darpan Inani, India's highest rated blind chess player's achievements were recognized when HDFC launched an ad based on his life for the HDFC life insurance:

Darpan, who is 100% visually impaired, is an inspiration. His current Elo is 2016 and he is also a CA final student! A phenomenal achievement.

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