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Neelash Saha and Priyanka Nutakki clinch MPL National Junior Open and Girls Chess Championships 2022

by Shahid Ahmed - 14/03/2022

IM Neelash Saha (WB) won an exciting final round game against Aryan Arora to win MPL 50th National Junior Chess Championship 2022 Open. He finished a half point ahead 8.0/9, of the competition Utsab Chatterjee (WB) and FM Rohith Krishna S (TN) 7.5/9. They secured second and third place respectively according to tie-breaks. WGM Priyanka Nutakki (AP) drew her final round game against Sajitha B (TN) to score 7.5/9. WFM Bhagyashree Patil (MAH) also scored the same, however, India's latest WGM edged past her due to better tie-breaks. Femil Chelladurai (TN) secured the third place 7.0/9. Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

Neelash and Priyanka make the most out of their last chance

The champions - IM Neelash Saha and WGM Priyanka Nutakki share a fun fact. They won all their National championships in their final attempt which means that was their final appearance in the respective age group due to the age eligibility criteria. Neelash won National under-13 in 2015, under-17 in 2019 and now under-20 in 2022. Priyanka clinched under-9 in 2011, under-11 in 2013, under-13 in 2015 and now under-20 in 2022. West Bengal dominated the Open event by claiming three out of top four places. The Girls event witnessed Tamil Nadu domination as they claimed five out of top ten and three out of top five places.

Top 3 (L to R): Open - 3rd FM Rohith Krishna S (TN), 2nd Utsab Chatterjee (WB), 1st IM Neelash Saha, Girls - 1st WGM Priyanka Nutakki (AP), 2nd WFM Bhagyashree Patil (MAH) and 3rd Femil Chelladurai (TN) | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

MPL 50th National Junior 2022 Open champion - IM Neelash Saha 8.0/9 | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

I caught up with Neelash after he won the tournament to get his thoughts on his victory, "Final results were satisfying but I am not that satisfied with my play. Many of my games here (especially the last two) were not that smooth and even in the other games, there were many small scopes of improvement. It feels good to be National Champion but not yet the time to start celebrating. Rather I am trying to work on the gaps left behind in my gameplay and improve overall for a better performance in the upcoming events. And also, I am starting to get ready for World Junior. Since this is my last year, I would love to win a medal , so I must start working from now only."

MPL 35th National Junior 2022 Girls champion - WGM Priyanka Nutakki 7.5/9 | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

I also caught up with Priyanka Nutakki to know her thoughts on winning the tournament, "Hi, thank you! It feels good to have won the tournament as it's my last chance. I could've played better but I'm happy with the outcome."

Runner-up in Open - Utsab Chatterjee 7.5/9 | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

Second Runner-up in Open - FM Rohith Krishna S 7.5/9 | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

Runner-up in Girls - WFM Bhagyashree Patil 7.5/9 | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

Second Runner-up in Girls - Femil Chelladurai 7.0/9 | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

Open: Aryan - Neelash: 0-1

Aryan Arora (CHAN) created a lot of trouble for IM Neelash Saha (WB) in the endgame, after the latter offered a major piece exchange at an inopportune moment.

Position after 27...Rb8

27...Rb8 allows White to force a queen exchange via 28.Ra1 instead of a rook exchange which Black would have preferred. 28...Qb7 29.Qxb7 Rxb7 30.Ra8+ Kh7 now White should have gone for the c6-pawn 31.Ra6 but he opted for 31.f4. White got the c6-pawn eventually.

Position after 37.hxg4

Black could have forced a draw here 37...Rb1+ 38.Kf2 Be1+ or 39.Kg2 Rb2 and so on. However, a draw was not enough for Neelash to win the tournament. As it turns out, it would have given him a second place finish. He actually missed it in the heat of things as he described, which turned out to be in his favor. He shared, "I was ahead in tiebreaks by quite a margin after the penultimate round. So, had I seen this, I would have taken the draw and finished second." Neelash eventually won the game and the championship too.

Chandigarh's Aryan Arora put up a good fight against the eventual champion IM Neelash Saha (WB) | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

FM Rohith Krishna S (TN) had a quick 18-move-draw with Utsab Chatterjee (WB) | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

Girls: Samriddhaa - Bhagyashree: 0-1

Samriddhaa Ghosh (WB) got substantial advantage against WFM Bhagyashree Patil (MAH).

Position after 19...Nd7

20.Bxf6 Nxf6 21.Nd2 Qf8 now 23.Nf3 plays on White's advantage. Instead, she opted for 23.Qf1 and soon White put all her pieces at the wrong places and Black started gaining the upper hand, eventually winning the game. Thus securing the second position on tie-breaks.

Samriddhaa had a good chance against Bhagyashree which she could not seize | Photo: IA Jitendra Choudhary

Bristy - Femil: 0-1

WCM Bristy Mukherjee (WB) lost a completely drawn opposite color bishop endgame against Femil Chelladurai (TN).

Position after 54...Bd8

Even if White loses the h3-pawn it would not make a huge difference because it is still a draw unless White makes a huge blunder. The first mistake which White makes here is 55.h4 forces a breakthrough to create a passed pawn of her on g-file. It also helps Black to create a passed pawn of her own on the h-file 55...gxh4

Position after 59...h2

It is still a draw. 60.g7 is not what White should play because only then Black win this. That is exactly what was played in the game and White lost.


For more Round 9 and Prize distribution ceremony photos, please click here.


A total of 186 players including 2 GMs, 6 IMs in the Open and 105 players including a WGM and a WIM in the Girls tournament took part. It was organized by Haryana Chess Association. Both tournaments were held at RPS International School, Gurgaon, Haryana from 9th to 13th March 2022. The nine-round Swiss league tournament had a time control of 90 minutes + 30 seconds increment from move no.1

Replay Open Round 9 games

Replay Girls Round 9 games

Open Round 9 results

111FMRohith Krishna S2304Tamil Nadu7½ - ½7Utsab Chatterjee2324West Bengal10
278Aryan Arora1575Chandigarh0 - 17IMNeelash Saha2445West Bengal6
32GMArjun Kalyan2506Tamil Nadu½ - ½FMAyush Sharma2302Madhya Pradesh12
44IMKoustav Chatterjee2466West Bengal½ - ½6GMIniyan P2516Tamil Nadu1
521Vaibhav Jayant Raut2198Maharashtra6½ - ½6IMRaahul V S2478Tamil Nadu3
641Garv Rai1869Delhi60 - 16Hari Madhavan N B2380Tamil Nadu9
718CMSoham Kamotra2229Jammu And Kashmir6½ - ½6Kumaresh A1754Tamil Nadu55
820AGMVignesh B2206Tamil Nadu61 - 06Vrashank Chouhan1790Rajasthan50
929Bhattacharyya Soham2004West Bengal½ - ½IMPranesh M2455Tamil Nadu5
1038Shah Jeet1884Maharashtra0 - 1FMAaryan Varshney2277Delhi13


Final standings

Rk.SNoNamesexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 Krtg+/-
16IMNeelash SahaIND2445West Bengal8,050,554,548,000,07106,9
210Utsab ChatterjeeIND2324West Bengal7,551,556,045,500,062044,6
311FMRohith Krishna SIND2304Tamil Nadu7,550,054,543,750,071017,4
44IMKoustav ChatterjeeIND2466West Bengal7,052,056,542,500,06102,5
512FMAyush SharmaIND2302Madhya Pradesh7,051,555,040,000,062021,4
69Hari Madhavan N BIND2380Tamil Nadu7,048,552,538,750,0620-3,2
72GMArjun KalyanIND2506Tamil Nadu7,048,052,540,250,0510-7,4
820AGMVignesh BIND2206Tamil Nadu7,042,546,535,000,0640-20,8
978Aryan AroraIND1575Chandigarh6,551,555,538,000,0540191,6
1013FMAaryan VarshneyIND2277Delhi6,549,554,537,000,0620-9,4
1117IMManish Anto Cristiano FIND2236Tamil Nadu6,547,552,034,500,0620-10,2
121GMIniyan PIND2516Tamil Nadu6,547,051,034,250,0510-8,2
133IMRaahul V SIND2478Tamil Nadu6,547,049,534,250,0510-11,0
1421Vaibhav Jayant RautIND2198Maharashtra6,546,551,033,500,05209,4
1518CMSoham KamotraIND2229Jammu And Kashmir6,544,048,032,250,06404,4
1622CMAaditya DhingraIND2176Haryana6,543,047,031,500,0640-47,6
1755Kumaresh AIND1754Tamil Nadu6,542,545,529,750,064035,2
1831Esshan WadhawanIND1983Delhi6,540,044,030,750,0640-36,0
1941Garv RaiIND1869Delhi6,049,553,031,000,054076,0
205IMPranesh MIND2455Tamil Nadu6,049,053,032,250,0510-16,9


Girls Round 9 results

11WIMPriyanka Nutakki2301Andhra Pradesh7½ - ½6Sajitha B1455Tamil Nadu31
28Ghosh Samriddhaa1877West Bengal0 - 1WFMBhagyashree Patil1974Maharashtra3
315WCMBristy Mukherjee1788West Bengal60 - 16Femil Chelladurai1596Tamil Nadu24
427Marium Fatima1511Bihar6½ - ½6Divyabharathi Masanam1711Tamil Nadu21
59Velpula Sarayu1875Telangana½ - ½6WFMLakshmi C1968Tamil Nadu4
628Varshita Jain1491Madhya Pradesh0 - 1WFMBommini Mounika Akshaya2145Andhra Pradesh2
75Rindhiya V1949Tamil Nadu½ - ½WCMChinnam Vyshnavi1721Andhra Pradesh20
825Kanishka S1528Tamil Nadu1 - 0Srimathi R1944Delhi6
918Tejasvi M1751Tamil Nadu½ - ½Dakshita Kumawat1395Rajasthan38
1019Anupam M Sreekumar1724Kerala½ - ½Sachi Jain1401Delhi37


Final standings

Rk.SNoNamesexFEDRtgIClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 Krtg+/-
11WIMPriyanka NutakkiwIND2301Andhra Pradesh7,551,055,046,000,0620-13,8
23WFMBhagyashree PatilwIND1974Maharashtra7,549,553,543,000,074029,6
324Femil ChelladuraiwIND1596Tamil Nadu7,046,550,536,000,0740107,6
421Divyabharathi MasanamwIND1711Tamil Nadu6,550,054,037,000,0540112,0
54WFMLakshmi CwIND1968Tamil Nadu6,549,554,037,000,0520-2,6
68Ghosh SamriddhaawIND1877West Bengal6,547,051,033,750,06207,4
72WFMBommini Mounika AkshayawIND2145Andhra Pradesh6,546,050,535,500,0620-34,0
827Marium FatimawIND1511Bihar6,544,547,533,500,0540117,6
931Sajitha BwIND1455Tamil Nadu6,543,045,531,000,0540120,0
1025Kanishka SwIND1528Tamil Nadu6,542,045,029,000,064076,8
1115WCMBristy MukherjeewIND1788West Bengal6,048,052,032,000,0640-33,6
129Velpula SarayuwIND1875Telangana6,047,552,032,250,0540-49,2
135Rindhiya VwIND1949Tamil Nadu6,047,050,531,750,0540-65,2
1437Sachi JainwIND1401Delhi6,046,049,031,000,0440150,0
1534AFMShubhi GuptawIND1434Uttar Pradesh6,044,547,027,500,064080,8
1618Tejasvi MwIND1751Tamil Nadu6,044,048,030,000,0520-41,4
1719Anupam M SreekumarwIND1724Kerala6,043,546,529,000,0440-22,4
1811WCMArushi KotwalwIND1854Jammu And Kashmir6,043,047,529,750,0540-68,0
197Meenal GuptawIND1941Jammu And Kashmir6,041,045,028,750,0520-45,6
2016Abhirami MadabushiwIND1777Telangana6,041,044,527,750,0540-63,6


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