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Mitrabha Guha wins Samay Raina IMvitational

by Shahid Ahmed - 15/10/2020

IM Mitrabha Guha wins Samay Raina IMvitational. He beat IM Rathanvel VS in the Finals by winning both games with black and white pieces respectively to win the highest ever prize fund he has ever won which is ₹100000. Rathanvel won ₹50000. This was not the first time Mitrabha faced Rathanvel for a championship in the final, previously they faced each other in 2016 for National Sub-Junior Under-15 Championship in the final round where Mitrabha was also victorious. Reigning National Sub-Junior champion IM Raja Rithvik R finished third and won ₹20000. The knockout stage of the event witnessed the commentary by the former world champion Kramnik, greatest female chess player of all time Judit Polgar, GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly, GM Srinath Narayanan, IM Sagar Shah, Biswa Kalyan Rath and of course Samay Raina himself. Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Mitrabha wins his highest ever prize money

On 30th September and 1st October 2020, famous comedian Samay Raina organized Samay Raina IMvitational where he invited India's multitude of IMs. Total 48 IMs, 4 WGMs and 8 WIMs took part in the event. Former National Under-9 champion Ilamparthi A R was given a wild card to the event. The tournament had two stages, 10-round Swiss league and then knockout stage among the top eight finishers. IM Rathanvel VS finished sole first with 8.0/10 in the Swiss league stage. Mitrabha along with Raja Rithvik, Rahul Srivasthav and Harshit Raja finished at 7.5/10 in the same stage. However in the knockout stage, Mitrabha defeated Rathanvel in the Finals by winning games with both black and white colors respectively to win the ₹100000 prize money.

National Junior 2019 Silver medalist and Asian Youth Under-18 2019 Silver and Double Bronze medalist - IM Mitrabha Guha | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Mitrabha Guha has won Gold in Asian Youth Under-8 in 2009, Under-10 Blitz in 2011, Under-18 Blitz in 2018; individual Gold in Under-16 Olympiad; Gold in Commonwealth Under-14 Open, National Under-9 in 2010, National Under-15 in 2016, The Telegraph Schools' in 2018, State Under-7, 9, 11, 13 consecutively for eight times (twice in each age group). Besides these he has also won several Silver and Bronze medals in the Asian Youth, Champion in State level Rapid, Blitz and Open rating events. So it was not a surprise to me that he has won this event because his accolades throughout his chess career speaks volumes. I decided to catch up with Mitrabha so that you can hear from the man himself who speaks less and let his actions on the board do the talking.


Shahid Ahmed (SA): Congratulations for winning Samay Raina IMvitational. How did it feel to win the event?

Mitrabha Guha (MG): Thank you very much! It was great!


SA: You have won ₹100000 as the champion's prize. Is this the highest prize money you have ever won in your chess career?

MG: Yes it is.

Prizes of the event | Photo: Chesscom India

SA: What do you plan to do with the prize you have won?

MG: I would use this prize money to play tournaments abroad next year.


SA: Which game would you describe to be your best game of the tournament?

MG: I would rate the first game against Rathanvel as the best.

IM Rathanvel became the runner-up of the tournament | Photo: Rupali Mullick

SA: Who was the toughest opponent you faced?

MG: Raja Rithvik, he played very well in the first game that I lost.

Reigning National Sub-Junior champion IM Raja Rithvik R finished third | Photo: Rupali Mullick

SA: Ba8 and then Nb6# against Vaishali - Was it the most aesthetically pleasing win of the event for you?

MG: Yes!

Vaishali2001 - Mitrabhaa, Round 3

Find out the idea behind 69...Ba8

SA: How did you bounce back after losing to Raja Rithvik R?

MG: I was white in the next game so I knew I definitely had a chance!

IM Mitrabha Guha's daring play helps him win the Samay Raina IMvitational | Video: Sagar Shah

SA: What was your mindset going into the Armageddon? Was it your first ever Armageddon in a tournament?

MG: I am normally comfortable with blitz and bullet games. Although this was my first Armageddon, I was quite confident!

SA: You won the first game in the finals against Rathanvel. Did the thought of winning the event cross your mind at that time?

MG: Yes surely!


SA: How did it feel to have legends like Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik doing the commentary of your games in the event?

MG: It was a great pleasure for me to see such stalwarts commentating during my game.

Former World Champion Kramnik along with Surya, Srinath, Sagar, Bishwa and Samay doing the live commentary of the Finals | Photo: Samay's live stream

Greatest female chess player of all time Judit Polgar doing the live commentary of the Quarter-Finals along with Surya, Srinath, Sagar and Samay | Photo: Samay's live stream

SA: Do you think Swiss + Knockout format creates more excitement than just a regular Swiss League event?

MG: Absolutely! Swiss and Knockout format is very exciting!

The Knockout stage brackets | Photo: Chesscom India

SA: You have won several events throughout your chess career, both online and over-the-board, where would you rate this event according to your performance?

MG: I would rate “Individual Gold” in U-16 Olympiad in Slovakia as no.1. For no.2 I would rate the Sant Marti Tournament in Spain 2018 where I got my first GM-norm.

Mitrabha receiving his maiden GM-norm certificate | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Mitrabha scored his maiden GM-norm in 2018 before he became an IM in 2019

No.3 could be the Goa International Chess Tournament 2019 where I became an International Master.

Mitrabha at Goa GM Open 2019 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Mitrabha became an IM at 2nd Goa GM Open with a performance of 2494, gaining 43 rating points

No.4 could be the tournament in New Delhi where I became National Sub Junior Champion in 2016.

Mitrabha won National Sub-Junior Under-15 Open championship in 2016

Mitrabha - Rathanvel rivalry started back in 2016

This could probably come fifth best performance but certainly no.1 in online tournaments.


SA: How are you dealing with this unprecedented pandemic situation?

MG: Pandemic could not down the moral of Chess players like me. I have been very active online, playing tournaments almost regularly in the last six months.

SA: Last year you became an IM and this year throughout this online era, you have continuously upped your game. What is the secret?

MG: Since I have been playing online chess regularly may be this has improved my game.


SA: What's next for you?

MG: I have been selected to represent India in the Asian Youth Chess Championship 2020 and World Youth Chess Championship 2020 which is currently on hold due to the pandemic situation. I was also selected to play the Aeroflot Open Chess 2021 and a GM Tournament in Germany (Oct 2020) as a part of exposure trip. I am eagerly waiting for the pandemic to get over so that I may participate in the above tournaments.


SA: Thank you Mitrabha for taking the time to answer the questions, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

MG: Thank you.

Replay all games of Mitrabha from the event

Replay the live stream

Samay Raina IMvitational Day 1 Swiss League games | Video: Samay Raina
Samay Raina IMvitational Day 2 Knockout games | Video: Samay Raina

Previous coverage of Mitrabha Guha

"I learnt synthesizer from youtube videos" - Mitrabha Guha | Video: Shahid Ahmed
How strong is IM Mitrabha Guha? | Video: Shahid Ahmed
Brilliant showcase of minor-piece endgame by Mitrabha Guha | Video: Shahid Ahmed
IM Mitrabha holds Venezuela #1 in an interesting double rook and knight endgame | Video: Shahid Ahmed
Mitrabha plays Blitz against Nakamura in a friendly Street Chess | Video: Shahid Ahmed

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