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15 years ago Kunte won the British Championships

by Sagar Shah - 03/08/2018

The Hindu did a great service to chess in India by covering some of the most important and crucial events that took place in the 90s and early 2000s. One of them was GM Abhijit Kunte winning the British Championship in 2003. Today after 15 years we publish the Hindu article for you to relive those moments when one of India's best players in the early 2000s dominated a key event on the European soil. 15 years have passed since then and Abhijit Kunte still plays chess actively. He has been able to maintain his Elo above 2500 consistently, even though he is indulging in so many activities beyond the 64 squares. How does he manage to do it? How does he juggle so many hats at the same time? Well, we try to give you the answer in this article. 

This article was first published in The Hindu exactly 15 years ago!

Kunte wins British championship on 3rd August 2003!

Edinburgh (Scotland) Aug. 2 . Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte annexed the Smith and Williamson British chess championship after settling for a draw with GM Joe Gallagher of Switzerland in the 11th and final round game here. Kunte, who was in sole lead before the commencement of the final game, tallied 8.5 points in all to finish half-a-point ahead of compatriot GM P. Harikrishna, GM Paul Motwani of Scotland and top seeded GM Vassilios Kotronias of Cyprus, who all tied for second.


It was the second successive time that an Indian won the British championship after IM R.B. Ramesh won it last year. However, Indians may not get another opportunity to play here in future as the organisers have taken a decision to bar players from non-British nations from participating in the championship. The title triumph earned a purse of 10,000 pounds for Kunte, who had not had any major achievement to his credit since turning a Grandmaster a few years back. Apart from the prize money, he will also add 19 ELO points to his present rating of 2515.


The fifth place was jointly shared by WGM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan of Georgia, GM Jonathan Rowson of Scotland, Englishmen IM Nicholas Pert and GM Aaron Summerscale and Gallagher all tallying an identical 7.5 points. GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly and IM Tejas Bakre finished in the next group of 8 players on 7 points. The women's title went to Arakhamia after she drew her last round game against Bangladesh's Enamul Hossian. WGM S. Vijayalakshmi suffered a setback in the last round when she lost to Abdulla Al-Rakib of Bangladesh in 39 moves. Ironically Vijayalakshmi, a frontrunner after the 7th round, could secure just half-a-point in her last four games finishing with 6 points. The last round quite obviuosly took its toll on other Indians who had little play for. GM Dibyendu Barua, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, IM S. Kidambi were among those who drew their games while Neelotpal Das lost his board.


Amongst the women, S. Meenakshi carved out a fine victory over David Adams of England while Aarthie Ramaswamy, Nisha Mohota and Eesha Karavade were all involved in draws. Playing with black, Kunte had his task cut out as a draw was sufficient for a shared first place in case Harikrishna also won his game against Rowson. The opening was a Sicilian Schveningen and Gallagher opted for a near-harmless set up much to the surprise of the Indian. In the ensuing middle game, Kunte only had to play precisely while Gallagher tried to attack first his king and then after not succeeding, the queenside. The Indian got sufficient counter play after risking a pawn as Gallagher's pieces became relatively inactive. Gallagher had to part with his central pawn in the final position and the heat might have turned on him had he continued for long. Peace was signed after 41 moves.

Harikrishna was another big gainer here winning about 10 ELO rating points for his performance in the championship. In the last round he drew with Rowson with black pieces after the latter tried hard to break through. The opening choice by the local player surprised the Indian who went for a pawn grabbing in the Petroff defence. Harikrishna agreed for a draw after 60 moves.


* Important results: final round (Indians unless specified): Joseph Gallagher (7.5, Sui) drew with Abhijit Kunte (8.5); Jonathan Rowson (7.5, Sco) drew with P. Harikrishna (8); Vassilios Kotronias (8, Cyp) bt Ziaur Rahman (7, Ban); Paul Motwani (8) bt Tejas Bakre (7); Enamul Hossain (7, Ban) Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan (7.5, Geo); Ameet Ghasi (7, Eng) drew with Surya Sekhar Ganguly (7); Nicholas Pert (7.5, Eng) bt Matthew Turner (6.5, Eng); Peter Wells (6.5, Eng) lost to Aaron Summerscale (7.5, Eng); Stuart Conquest (6.5) drew with Sam Collins (6.5, Irl); Stewart Haslinger (6, Eng) lost to Daniel Gormally (7, Eng); Reefat Bin Sattar (6, Ban) lost to David Howell (7); Peter Sowray (7, Eng) bt Neelotpal Das (6); S. Vijayalakshmi (6) lost to Abdulla Al-Rakib (6.5); Thomas Rendle (6, Eng) drew with Dibyendu Barua (6); Laurence Webb (6, Eng) drew with Sundararajan Kidambi (6); Craig Hanley (6, Eng) drew with Nisha Mohota (6); Robert Gwaze (5.5, Zim) lost to Gurpreet Pal Singh (6.5); Iain Gorlay (5.5, Sco) drew with Aarthie Ramaswamy (5.5); S Meenakshi (5.5) bt David Adams (4.5); Swati Ghate (5) drew with Samuel Williams (5, Eng); Thomas Nixon (5, Eng) drew with Eesha Karavade (4.5).

Kunte the evergreen!

GM Abhijit Kunte | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Abhijit Kunte is one of those unique persons in the chess world, who indulges himself in many different things and yet is able to maintain a high level of play. At one point he is busy on the call trying to work out the politics in Maharashtra, the next minute he is trying to weed out the problems in implementing the chess in schools program, he is employed by Indian Oil, he has two children, he has a chess academy with his sister Mrunalini Kunte - Kunte's Chess Academy, Kinder Sports a business which tries to spread the sports culture in Pune and beyond. How does he manage to juggle so many hats? How does he keep playing chess and maintain his rating in the 2500 zone? IM Sagar Shah went to Abhijit Kunte's house in Pune and did a ChessBase India show with India's fourth GM. In the show they not only discuss the secrets of keeping yourself in chess shape but also go into the details of one of Kunte's finest performances of his chess career:

At the Istanbul Olympiad in 2000. Look at Abhijit's performance! He beat Geoffrey Borg (2344, now the CEO of FIDE), Gregory Kaidanov (2624), Zoltan Almasi (2668), Kiril Georgiev (2661), Adrian Mikhalchishin (2544), Rafael Leitao (2567) and Bruzon Batista (2534). That's 9.5/12!

The above ChessBase India show is absolutely free. Just buy the product and download the files and play it on your ChessBase program! We are sure that you will enjoy it.

Replay all the 12 games of Kunte from the Chess Olympiad in 2000

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