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M R Lalit Babu and Abhimanyu Puranik win Chess @ Dreamhack Rapid and Blitz Open 2022

by Shahid Ahmed - 12/11/2022

The biggest open gaming convention in India, Dreamhack Hyderabad hosted a Rapid and a Blitz Open chess tournament. GM M R Lalit Babu and GM Abhimanyu Puranik won the Rapid and Blitz event respectively. They earned ₹150000 and ₹40000 along with a trophy each respectively. The total prize fund was ₹1000000, ₹750000 for Rapid and ₹250000 for Blitz. Chess literally and figuratively was the center stage of Dreamhack Hyderabad 2022. Over 320 players including various GMs and IMs from all over the country gathered to be a part of this unique festival where the background music and noise was not a thing of a concern. It was something to embrace in the evolution of chess as a sport. Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Gala Celebration of Chess

The ancient sport in the modern times need to be marketed and promoted well for chess to grow both as a sport and esport. The archaic dress code, silent playing arenas at least for the Rapid and Blitz format of the game need a big change. The players are obviously ready to accept, it is only the rulemakers who need to understand that chess can easily garner audience, if only you think of a way to accommodate them. One does not need to scour the google to figure out, the 44th Chess Olympiad for the first time opened its door to the audience. It goes without saying that it was a successful move in an event which shattered many records and age old notions.

Chess @ Dreamhack Open champions: Blitz - GM Abhimanyu Puranik and Rapid - GM M R Lalit Babu | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Chess @ Dreamhack Rapid Open champion - GM M R Lalit Babu 8.5/9 with GM D Gukesh and GM Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Shahid Ahmed
We have to let the world know what is chess as a sport - GM M R Lalit Babu | Video: ChessBase India

Chess @ Dreamhack Blitz Open champion - GM Abhimanyu Puranik 9/10 receiving his prize from GM D Gukesh and GM Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Shahid Ahmed
This is a great way to celebrate chess - GM Abhimanyu Puranik | Video: ChessBase India

2nd in Rapid and 4th in Blitz - GM Harsha Bharathakoti 8/9 and 8.5/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

3rd in Rapid and 17th in Blitz - IM Prraneeth Vuppala 8/9 and 7.5/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

2nd in Blitz and 10th in Rapid - GM Sankalp Gupta 8.5/10 and 7/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

3rd in Blitz and 11th in Rapid - IM Krishnater Kushager 8.5/10 and 7/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Abhimanyu - Lalit, Rapid Round 7

Position after 30...cxd4

It was an interesting rook and minor piece endgame where White started was slightly better. However, a few inaccuracies later, Black ended up in a winning position after 20 more moves. White needed to keep his knight centralized at e5 as Black did not have any piece to displace it. 31.Rc6 Be8 32.Rd6 using the rook to capture the pawns. Despite having a bishop, it is not easy for Black to maximize it unless the knight gives up the control of light squares which is what happened in the game.

Abhimanyu-Lalit's game was live-streamed on the giant screen for the audience to enjoy | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

GM M R Lalit Babu scored eight straight victories and had a full point lead heading into the final round

Abhimanyu - Muthaiah, Blitz Round 10

Position after 19...Bxd6

20.Bg5 turned things completely in White's favor. IM Muthaiah Al (2354) was able to stage a comeback and eventually he missed his opportunity. GM Abhimanyu Puranik (2520) won the game and the tournament too.

GM Abhimanyu Puranik won a crucial final round battle against IM Muthaiah Al to win the Blitz event | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

What made this event special?

Chess @ Dreamhack Rapid and Blitz Open tournaments were part of Dreamhack Hyderabad 2022. The idea was to give a platform for players of various strength to get a chance to battle against strong GMs and IMs. Chess being part of India's biggest gaming convention allowed the sport to be exhibited towards a new universe of gaming and esports. Some unique things which were used in these events are the following:


1. Livestream of giant screen and multitude of tv monitors: As shown above the top five boards were live streamed on a giant screen hanging above the live boards so that the players cannot see the evaluation and analysis. The commentary and analysis were done by IM Sagar Shah, Sagar Shah and FI Niklesh Kumar Jain.

Spectators enjoying up-close action on the giant screen and listening to the commentary on the custom headphones provided to them | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

The entire livestream was shown just outside the playing zone so that gamers can also catch a glimpse of chess | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

There were four televisions inside the second playing zone where players could watch the top boards in action live | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

2. Jimmy camera: The usage of weighted jimmy camera is quite common in outdoor sports, movies and high budget tv/web-series. It is not even used in sitcoms. I do not remember seeing a jimmy camera being used in any chess tournament in recent times. It definitely added more to coverage as at all times over 150 games were played in each round in both Rapid and Blitz events.

The huge jimmy camera | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

3. Heartbeat sensor: The usage of heartbeat sensor although not new was certainly unique to be used in an open event. It was used in Isle of Man few years ago and also at FIDE Grand Prix 2022. However, it was not continued regularly although it is needless to say that the tech has become more advanced and accessible in the past four years. It can also add a nice touch to the livestreams.

GM Abhimanyu Puranik and IM Muthaiah Al's heartbeat synced at 107 bpm in the final round! | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

One thing is for certain, chess can generate a good revenue if you adapt to the modern situations and amenities. Make it more spectator friendly, allow live audience to spectate by buying tickets which means sponsors can invest more in advertisement and promotions. Everything is quite obvious, it's just the effort needs to be made in the right direction for chess to thrive like every other sport where players, organizers and officials are able to make a good living and make it enjoyable for all.

Photo Gallery

NODWIN Gaming Managing Director and Cofounder, Akshat Rathee inaugurated Chess @ Dreamhack Rapid and Blitz Open 2022 | Photo: Abhyudaya Raam

IM Sagar Shah with the participating GMs and IMs along with the Chief Arbiter IA Vivek Sohani during the inauguration ceremony | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

4th in Rapid and 7th in Blitz 7.5/9 and 8/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

5th in Rapid - GM Abhimanyu Puranik 7.5/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

6th in Rapid and 9th in Blitz - CM Md. Imran 7.5/9 and 8/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

7th in Rapid - S Aswath 7.5/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

8th in Rapid and 11th in Blitz - IM Muthaiah Al 7.5/9 and 8/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

9th in Rapid - IM C R G Krishna 7.5/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

10th in Rapid - GM Sankalp Gupta 7/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

4th in Blitz - GM Harsha Bharathakoti 8.5/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

5th in Blitz - GM Raja Rithvik R 8/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

6th in Blitz - FM Ram Aravind L N 8/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

8th in Blitz and 18th in Rapid - IM Dushyant Sharma 8/10 and 7/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

10th in Blitz and 20th in Rapid - Chidvilash Sai Surapaneni 8/10 and 7/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Top female finisher: 14th in Blitz - WIM Savitha Shri B 8/10 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

CM Amithpal Singh became the only player to beat the eventual Blitz champion, GM Abhimanyu Puranik | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

For more photos, please click here.

Replay the live stream of Chess @ Dreamhack Rapid Open Round 1-4 2022 | Video: ChessBase India
Replay the live stream of Chess @ Dreamhack Rapid Open Round 5-9 2022 | Video: ChessBase India
Replay the live stream of Chess @ Dreamhack Blitz Open Round 1-10 2022 | Video: ChessBase India

Video Gallery

Chess @ Dreamhack Rapid and Blitz is open | Video: ChessBase India
6-year-old Jasveen Kaur's cute tactical finish | Video: ChessBase India
Defending with a Rook against Bishop and Connected Passed Pawns is no easy task | Praveen vs Sarayu | Video: ChessBase India
This mod on our channel travelled 545 kms on a bike to play chess at DreamHack - Viwaswan Damle | Video: ChessBase India
Time scramble costs a winning position | Surjeet vs Omkar | Video: ChessBase India
When the interviewer gets interviewed | Akshat Rathee of Nodwin Gaming with IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

More videos will be coming soon, stay tuned.

Replay Rapid games

Replay Blitz games

A total of 353 in Rapid and 320 players in Blitz including 7 GMs, 10 IMs and a WIM from various parts of the country and a player each from South Korea and USA took part in this three-day Rapid and Blitz Open. The Rapid and Blitz tournaments were organized by Nodwin Gaming, Samay Raina and ChessBase India at Dreamhack Hyderabad 2022, Hitex Exhibition Center in Hyderabad, Telangana from 4th to 6th Novmber 2022. The time control for the Rapid event was 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment, for the Blitz event, it was 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment.

Final Standings in Rapid

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
GMLalit Babu M RIND25508,554,55854,2508
GMHarsha BharathakotiIND2574851,55648,5008
IMPrraneeth VuppalaU15IND235185155,548,5008
GMMitrabha GuhaIND23747,556,56048,0007
GMPuranik AbhimanyuIND25497,553,55845,7507
CMMd ImranU13IND21477,551,55544,5006
Aswath SU15IND20447,551,554,542,7507
IMMuthaiah AlIND23547,550,55441,7507
IMKrishna C R GIND23417,544,54738,2507
GMSankalp GuptaIND24027525743,2506
IMKrishnater KushagerIND2310751,554,538,0007
Aditya Varun GampaIND217975155,540,0007
IMRavi Teja S.IND235874951,536,5007
GMNarayanan SrinathIND2518748,551,538,5007
Bharat Kumar Reddy PoluriIND2158748,550,537,0007
IMAjay Krishna SIND2273748,550,536,0006
GMRaja Rithvik RIND23707485138,5007
IMDushyant SharmaIND22707454836,5006
Rohit SU15IND2081744,548,537,5007
Chidvilash Sai SurapaneniU15IND20777444836,0006
Aakash Sharadchandra DalviIND21646,5505435,7506
Varun VIND21596,549,553,535,5006
IMMohammad Nubairshah ShaikhIND23396,548,549,530,7506
IMSammed Jaykumar SheteIND23086,5485234,2506
CMKushagra MohanIND23336,54849,532,0006


Final standings in Blitz

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
GMPuranik AbhimanyuIND25209096459,555,00
GMSankalp GuptaIND24128,508666257,25
IMKrishnater KushagerIND23108,5086257,553,50
GMHarsha BharathakotiIND25238,50765,56151,25
GMRaja Rithvik RIND23448086761,553,50
FMRam Aravind L NIND212080866,56353,00
GMMitrabha GuhaIND25268086662,552,50
IMDushyant SharmaIND2270808635850,00
CMMd ImranU13IND21798086257,551,00
Chidvilash Sai SurapaneniU15IND20778086056,548,00
IMMuthaiah AlIND235480768,56449,25
GMNarayanan SrinathIND245980768,56448,75
GMLalit Babu M RIND25518076862,555,25
WIMSavitha Shri BU15wIND231180767,56349,00
IMRavi Teja S.IND243480766,562,552,00
IMKrishna C R GIND23808076257,544,50
IMPrraneeth VuppalaU15IND23517,5076863,548,25
Bharat Kumar Reddy PoluriIND21637,5076661,548,75
CMAmitpal SinghIND21077,50765,56143,25
Varun VIND21597,5076560,541,25
IMMohammad Nubairshah ShaikhIND23397,5076358,541,50
IMAjay Krishna SIND22457,50761,55740,00
AGMVignesh BIND19237,50760,55643,00
CMShaik Sumer ArshU15IND21907,5076055,539,75
Arun R UIND178570763,55937,00


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