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Kishan Gangolli's fifth straight National 'A' Blind victory

by Sagar Shah - 15/02/2018

He didn't come so well prepared for the event, but it didn't matter. Kishan Gangolli is in a class of his own and without much ado became the national blind champion for the fifth consecutive time! Ashvin Makwana from Vadodara grabbed the second place, Soundarya Pradhan was third and Aryan Joshi fourth. The fight for the fifth spot was intense in the last round and was taken by Subhendu Patra. These five players will represent India in World Team Championships in Bulgaria later this year. The tournament which had no sponsor at the start was funded by 114 individuals and the total collection was Rs.5,47,053. A wonderful collective achievement.

The atmosphere was tense in the final round of the National A visually challenged 2018 championship. There were five spots to be won for the World Team Championship 2018 and it was not clear as to who those five would be. In fact, four places had been sealed, but the fight for the fifth place was intense. This is how the standings looked after twelve rounds:

1. Kishan Gangolli - 10.0/12

2. Ashvin Makwana - 9/12

3. Soundarya Pradhan - 8/12

4. Aryan Joshi - 7.5/12

5. Subhendu Kumar Patra - 6.5/12

6. K. Marimuthu - 6.5/12

7. Prachurya Pradhan - 6.5/12


It was clear that Kishan, Ashvin, Soundarya and Aryan had already qualified for the top four spots. Prachurya Pradhan was facing Kishan Gangolli with the white pieces and having a low tiebreak score, it seemed that he would try to win, but Prachurya was very clear with his plans. He played the exchange variation of French Defence, took no chances and agreed to a draw very quickly.

Two important games left were Marimuthu who was playing against Soundarya Kumar Pradhan and Yudhajeet De against Subhendu Patra. Marimuthu played the opening phase of the game not so well and was soon in a completely lost position:

d5 looks such a natural move, but turns out to be a huge mistake. Can you see why?

This meant that Subhendu now had to just draw his game in order to get ahead of Prachurya. Subhendu had beaten Prachurya in their personal encounter. But things didn't look so smooth for Patra.


Yudhajeet De vs Subhendu Patra

Already after ten moves we had a crazy position with one knight on a8 and the other on h1!

White navigated the opening complications well and soon had a winning position. But he didn't really play carefully and gave up all his advantage and later also the full point.

Yudhajeet was unable to find his way in the rook endgame | Photo: Amruta Mokal

This victory meant that Subhendu had qualified for the World Team Championship for the first time in his life! A big result for the lad from Odisha.


This is how the final standings looked:

Final Ranking after 13 Rounds

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
114Kishan GangolliIND1996KAR10,50,062,008
26Makwana Ashvin KIND1744GUJ9,50,057,756
33Soundarya Kumar PradhanIND1753ODI9,00,055,256
45Aryan B JoshiIND1813MAH8,50,047,256
51Patra Subhendu KumarIND1604ODI7,50,043,256
67Prachurya Kumar PradhanIND1611ODI7,00,040,004
711Marimuthu KIND1613T N6,50,035,505
812Krishna UdupaIND1711KAR5,51,531,003
913Yudhajeet DeIND1678W B5,51,528,253
102Patil ShirishIND1698MAH5,50,030,253
118Samant MilindIND1672MAH4,50,527,002
1210Swapanil ShahIND1678MAH4,50,524,251
139Deeptyajeet DeIND1607W B4,00,024,001
144Gaurav GadodiaIND1749MAH3,00,019,750

Fifth time in a row for Kishan Gangolli! Kishan not only won the glittering trophy and Rs.51,000 but also a ChessBase 14 sponsored by our reader Ganesh Dorairaj. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

For Kishan it was a victory with mixed emotions. He was extremely happy with the coverage and popularity that he had received thanks to his victory in the tournament. Also the first prize increasing from 21,000 to 51,000 was a big boost. However, he had already decided that he would be quitting chess if he didn't get some employment where he can pursue his chess and keep himself financially strong. "How long should I wait for some recognition or employment", was his question. He will wait for some time, but if nothing turns up he will study for the UPSC examination and give up chess at least for a few years. India losing such a strong player, that would be a pity.

Interview with Kishan Gangolli after he became the national champion!
Help Kishan!

Ashvin Makwana went back home with second place and Rs.31,000 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The second place went to Ashvin Makwana. The player from Vadodra played some exciting chess throughout the event and could have very well won it. He let Kishan off the hook in the eleventh round and had to settle for the second place. After the event Ashvin was disappointed that he could not finish first. "I have learnt a lot from this tournament and I will make sure that I will fix those mistakes," said Ashvin. Makwana makes his ends meet with chess coaching. His aim is to reach 2000 Elo first, then 2200 and eventually aim for higher titles.

Third place: Soundarya Pradhan with a cash prize of Rs. 21,000 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Soundarya came to this tournament without much preparation. He was also studying for his 12th grade examinations that he is going to appear in March 2018. But during the tournament he kept learning from his errors and improved upon them to finish third. "I felt like it was an extended training session", said Soundarya. He won Rs.21,000 (which he will give to his father!) and also qualified for World teams as well as World Juniors.

Soundarya speaks about his experience of playing at the National A 2018

Top three winners of the tournament with their glittering trophies! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Vidit on his visit to the tournament during the tenth round, really loved the trophies. These trophies were made by L.K.Creations who put in a lot of effort to make them as elegant as possible. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sushir Lohia, MD of Barclays India and Raghunandan Gokhale, Dronacharya Award winner were the chief guests at the closing ceremony | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Fourth place went to Aryan Joshi of Mumbai | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Subhendu Kumar Patra finished fifth at the event | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The top five players of the tournament who have been selected to represent India at the World Team Championship in Bulgaria in July 2018 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The World Team Championship is an event where 16 of the best teams in the world compete with each other. How is the selection for these 16 spots made? These are the top 16 teams from the Olympiad 2017 that was held a few months ago in Macedonia. India had finished 7th and sealed their spot in the World Team Championship. Kishan, Soundarya, Aryan and Ashvin were present at the Olympiad 2017. The only new addition is Subhendu Kumar Patra who is playing an international event for the first time in his life.


The five players are upbeat about their chances of winning a medal at the event. We, the sighted community should help them in their aim for winning a medal. Here are a few things that you can help with:

1. Record a good chess book in audio format.

2. Give playing practice to the blind players by playing with them online

3. In case you are a coach, then find time from your schedule and train them for a few hours.


I think collectively we should be able to make a difference. If the blind players perform well, they boost Indian chess and put our country's name on the global map. With such talents we surely have a chance to dislodge the Russian and Polish supremacy.

All the 14 players of the National Premier 2018. Happy and content at the successful completion of the event | Photo: Amruta Mokal


When the tournament began there were absolutely no sponsors. All of them had backed out. Only HPCL came forward with Rs.50,000.

We thank HPCL for their support, and urge them to be the title sponsor of this event for the coming years.

The following were the costs for organizing the National A event: 

Lodging for the players (1 player + 1 accompanying person): Rs. 2,05,000

Boarding: Rs. 1,35,000

Tables, chair, sound system, stage etc: Rs. 70,000

Prizes and trophies: Rs. 1,25,000

Arbiter, live games (board rent): Rs. 27,000

Total: Rs. 5,62,000

Less: Rs. 50,000 (HPCL sponsorship)

Money required: Rs. 5,12,000


This was a substantial amount of money. And with only one day to go before the event began it seemed highly unlikely that the funds could be collected. The players had already done their travel booking and were coming to the venue on the subsequent day. There were only two days left to collect the funds. In such a situation, we wrote an article on ChessBase India and asked the chess community to come forward and help. The benevolence of the people was something we hadn't thought of. Within five days we were able to cross the barrier of five lakh rupees and in the end collected Rs. 5,47,053. The players, officials and just about everyone associated with the event were ecstatic. In fact for the first time in the history the prize money was increased to Rs.1,51,000, with the winner getting Rs.51,000. Along with the money the visually challenged chess players felt that there were people out there who cared for them and their play.


Here's the break up of the contributors:

No. Amount Name
1 5000 Sachin Samant
2 2000 Rochelle D'souza
3 11000 Madhusudan Iyer
4 1000 Atul Dahale
5 10000 Ritu Mohit Bhandari
6 25000 Sainath Ramanathan
7 2000 Priti Mahendru
8 1000 Mamta wadhwa
9 5000 Shailesh Gadre
10 5000 Avathanshu Bhat
11 500 Rekha  Raghavan
12 1000 Vikas Sharma
13 10800 Rekha Pinkesh Nahar
14 1000 Aditya Mukund Kulkarni
15 2100 V j gupta
16 500 Nishchint Sharma
17 1500 Jeet shah
18 5000 Swapnil Kothari
19 11000 Sanjoy Shome
20 1000 Sudhahar
21 1000 Giriappa T Amin
22 2000 Vanita Noronha
23 500 Rajesh gupta
24 1000 Tamojit Chakraborty
25 200 Devansh Singh
26 5000 Shubham Sanjiv Kumthekar
27 100 Harshal Pramod Patil
28 10000 Sushir Lohia
29 2000 PAVAN BNB
30 2000 Nitish Mittal
31 5000 Sudip Singh
32 2000 S C AGARWAL
33 1000 Deepak chavan
34 1500 sanjeev Tambe
35 2000 Laishram Imocha
36 1000 Niranjan Prasad
37 2000 Niranjan Prasad
38 500 Eshan Tilwani
39 10000 Vedaprakash PC
40 5000 Vivek Gupta
41 2000 Prathamesh Mokal
42 1000 Chaitanya Kulkarni
43 251 Aditya Vimal
44 1000 Mitul KH
45 1000 Aruna Shiv shankar Singare
46 2000 Sneha Ghatpande
47 2500 Abdesh Jha
48 10000 Anand Kashelkar
49 27000 Mullick Somnath Charitable trust
50 1001 Ramkrishna Kashelkar
51 2000 Aravind
52 2000 PR Krishna
53 1000 Aniruddha Deshpande
54 3000 Sundararajan Kidambi
55 2500 Rahul Anil Bhagwat
56 5000 Himanshu Kumar
57 500 Rohan Bharat Joshi
58 500 Yoges kumbhar and Deepak vaychal
59 5000 Romit
60 700 Vishal Sodani
61 2000 sankaran ponnada krishnaswamy
62 1000 Durgaprasad Mahapatra
63 1500 Priyanka Ved
64 1001 CMA (Dr.) Ashish Thatte
66 500 VIMAL RAJ M
67 1000 Pankaj arora
68 2000 Vikrant Malvankar
69 1000 Satyajit Basak
70 2000 Sureshkumar .T.J
71 30000 Karthik Rangarajan
72 10000 Jayaram Swaminathan
73 1000 Bina Manoj Sanghvi
74 500 Suhas Murthy
75 500 Dinesh Prakash Gaikwad
76 5000 Tania Sachdev
77 2000 Kunal kochar
78 5000 Padmini Rout
79 5000 Seema Thukral
80 1000 Amit Sanjay Raje
81 2500 Roktim Bandyopadhyay
82 1000 Vedant panesar
83 7500 Nikhil And Dipika Joshi
84 10000 Amruta and Sagar
85 3000 Vasudevan RR
86 5000 Karthikeyan Sankaran
87 19400 Ramesh Balasubramanium
88 5000 Anjali patil
89 5000 Vandana Bhansali
90 1000 Abhinav Shetty
91 500 Sunita Prasad
92 10000 Ashutosh Datar
93 1000 Vidit
94 11000 Manoj Dengla
95 45000 Not to be disclosed
96 500 Rishi Kaushik
97 1000 Dr. Himadri Roy
98 10000 Akshay Sekhri
99 1000 Venkatesan Vembu
100 3000 Swayangsu Satyapragyan
101 2000 Aarti akash
102 45000 Gaurav Gupta
103 5000 Viyugam Chess Academy
104 3000 Srinivas Raghavan
105 500 Nikhil Dixit
106 2500 Ramkrishna Kashelkar
107 3000 Paras Gudka
108 2000 Manish Bajpai
109 500 Pradeep Cavale
110 1000 Aslam shirawala
112 1000 Vishvesh
113 25000 Dharmen Shah
114 10000 Shashi Kumar
115 5000 Yogini Uttarwa
116 10000 Raghunandan Vasa
117 5000 IMPS/P2A/803914213383
118 5000 IMPS/P2A/803914213426
119 3000 IMPS/P2A/804417782279
  575053 TOTAL


The Kalpana Jayakar family helped in getting these trophies made and also they gave Dominos pizza to all the participants after the last round | Photo: Amruta Mokal

All players received a momento like the one above that was made by Kalpana Jayakar family. | Photo: Amruta Mokal
This video presentation created by Madhu Priyatam gives you a feel for the entire tournament in just two and a half minutes

The tournament which had absolutely no sponsors became the centre of attraction when two outstanding players got associated with the event by meeting the participants:

India number three Vidit Gujrathi came to visit the players and also became the brand ambassador of the AICFB | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Five time World Champion Vishy Anand was in Mumbai and also spent time with the players | Photo: Amruta Mokal

We thank the entire chess community for their support towards blind chess. We wish the players good luck for the World Team Championship and hope that they come back with a medal!

Previous reports on ChessBase India:

Watch the National A Blind 2018 Live! -

Please Help! Blind National Premier in trouble -

Over Rs.2,00,000 collected for the Blind National A in 24 hours!-

Blind National A 2018 R01: Tournament takes off thanks to public support! -

Blind National A 2018 R02+03: The atmosphere of a blind tournament-

Blind Premier 2018 R04: Kishan Gangolli gunning for his fifth straight title! -

Contribution for National A Blind 2018 crosses Rs. 5,00,000! -

Vidit Gujrathi is the brand ambassador for blind chess in India -


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