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Neelash Saha wins Tata Steel Chess Festival 2022 Rapid Rating Open

by Shahid Ahmed - 15/12/2022

Five players scored 7/8 at the Tata Steel Chess Festival 2022 All India Rapid Rating Open. They are - IM Neelash Saha, Subhayan Kundu, IM Aronyak Ghosh, Kaustuv Kundu and Swapan Mitra. Neelash, Subhayan and Aronyak secured first, second and third place respectively according to tie-breaks. Top three remained undefeated. A total of 174 players including 3 IMs and two WIMs took part in this eight-round Rapid Rating tournament with a time control of 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment each. The total prize fund was ₹100000. Top three prizes were ₹20000 + trophy, ₹15000 and ₹10000 each respectively. Check out some interesting moments from the tournament. Photo: Lennart Ootes

Five players score 7/8

The Tata Steel Chess Festival events are generally a much awaited tournament for all. Apart from a strong field and a good prize fund, players know that the winner has something extra special for them. For the last few years, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the first move in the main event. Few winners were able to do it. However, this time, since it was the biggest Tata Steel Chess India event, three champions of the festival were called to receive their prize once again at the closing ceremony of the main event. Receiving the first prize in front of Vishy Anand and world's best players who participated this year is certainly a huge boost for the winners.

Champion - IM Neelash Saha 7/8 | Photo: Lennart Ootes
IM Neelash Saha is the winner of Tata Steel Chess Festival 2022 All India Rapid Rating Open | Video: ChessBase India

IM Neelash Saha received his prize from GM Dibyendu Barua at the initial prize distribution, immediately after the event | Photo: Sumit Roy

Neelash scored an unbeaten 7/8 and gained 10.6 Elo rating points

Runner-up - Subhayan Kundu 7/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

Second Runner-up - IM Aronyak Ghosh 7/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

Top three finishers (L to R) - 2nd Subhayan Kundu, 1st IM Neelash Saha and 3rd IM Aronyak Ghosh, with Chief Arbiter - IA Suresh Chandra Sahoo | Photo: Sumit Roy

4th Kaustuv Kundu 7/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

5th Swapan Mitra 7/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

Even at age of 62 years, Swapan Mitra delivered a stellar performance by scoring 7/8 without making a single draw. His love for chess is evident when he plays on the board.

6th IM Utsab Chatterjee 6.5/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

7th FM R Aswath 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

8th WIM Arpita Mukherjee 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

9th Anustoop Biswas 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

I secured tenth position. 16 players from seventh to 22nd scored 6/8 each. My tie-break turned out to be good enough to make a top ten finish which became my best finish in an open rapid rating tournament in recent times. I was of course playing the tournament, taking photos and capturing interesting moments which you can see in the video gallery of this report.

Shahid - Bishal, Round 4

Position after 1...a3

Before the tournament, I read GM Avetik Grigoryan's blog on lichess - It is never too late to resign in chess. It was originally published on his site, ChessMood. After giving up an exchange, I had a decent compensation. However, I dropped a strong d-pawn and ended up having an isolated passed pawn on e4 instead of connected ones. I contemplated resigning multiple times as it will save time for me to get some other interesting moments since I was unable to create one in mine. It turned out that my game and one of my neighbor's game in the same round were one of the most exciting ones. Too bad, both were missed on camera. The article on 'Never too late to resign' was at the back of my mind. So I was like, okay let's play a couple of moves more, I will resign when there is no semblance left in the position. When my opponent played a3, suddenly the prospect of b4, Rb1, Rxb7+ seemed interesting. Of course, I knew that I was still going to lose but there is no harm in trying. After all, I was playing the tournament to use the inspiration which I drew from the World-Class players who were playing. On the previous day - Mamedyarov won an instant classic, So showed his beautiful endgame technique against Nakamura, Anna Muzychuk was playing in her usual brave style, although she had yet to score a full point then. If I cannot play creatively like my favorites like Tal, Dubov, Duda, Ivanchuk, Rapport and Anna Muzychuk, what is the point in playing a tournament then?


I continued 2.b4 Qxb4 3.Rb1 Qc5 4.Rxb7+ Kh6 this immediately gave me some future Bg8, Rh7# mating ideas. I felt that realizing it was highly improbable. Little did I know that that idea would be my saving grace. 5.Bc4 Qf2 6.Nd1 Qf1+ 7.Qxf1 Rxf1 8.Kg2 I was unable to take the rook at f1 as a2 would have finished things off immediately for me. 8...Rxd1 9.Bg8 the last trick I had. I was thinking he would go 9...Be7 10.Rxe7 g5 and there really wasn't much left to fight. He went 9...Be3 10.h4 g5 and down to my last seconds, I somehow managed to play 11.Rxh7+ and press the clock, averting loss on time. Three pieces dropped, my opponent was kind enough to understand my desperate attempt to save the game. 11...Kg6 12.h5+ Kf6 13.Rf7+ Ke5 14.Rf5+ Kxe4 15.Rxa5 and it is still a draw. Bishal Basak (1659) who is a nice guy, was devastated that I made an insane save from a completely lost position and my confidence level was quite high compared to what it was few seconds ago. I went on to win the game by having g and h-passed pawns in an opposite color bishop endgame. Yes, I deliberately exchanged the rooks as the resultant endgame was winning for me which I thoroughly calculated with ease.

Bishal Basak won the first prize in Rating Category 1401-1800 | Photo: Sumit Roy

11th Shaon Chowdhury 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

12th WCM Bristy Mukherjee 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

13th Niladri Sekhar Bhattacharya 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

14th Praloy Sahoo 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

15th Anurag Jaiswal 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

16th Puspal Datta 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

17th Agnivo Chakraborty 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

18th Sumit Roy 6/8

19th Debasish Mukherjee 6/8 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

20th Arpan Das 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

Best Woman 1st - WIM Chandreyee Hajra 6/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

Best Woman 2nd - Mrinalini Dhar 4.5/8 | Photo: Sumit Roy

The tournament hall at The National Library of India was completely wrapped with Tata Steel Chess India branding, much like Tata Steel Chess events which take place in Netherlands | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

For more photos, click here.

Video Gallery

Last Board does not necessarily mean Lopsided game - Alakxya vs Yuvraj | Video: ChessBase India
Passed Pawns in the Endgame are generally stronger than a Bishop - Eshan vs Ayushi | Video: ChessBase India
Bishop becomes Furniture in Three Connected Passed Pawns vs Knight Endgame - Srijan vs Anantajit | Video: ChessBase India
The Draw Offer Confusion - Extra Pawn in Pawn Ending may not always yield a win - Ayudh vs Subhas | Video: ChessBase India
Bishop vs Rook Endgame with an Incredible Finish - IM Utsab vs Chiranjit | Video: ChessBase India
Rook and Bishop vs Rook is quite difficult to Defend in Reality - Rounaq vs Arindam | Video: ChessBase India
Some Fortresses are Tough to Break Through - Anustoop vs Subhabrata | Video: ChessBase India
Two Rooks are Helpless against Queen & Two Pawns - Shreyaskar vs Adhiraj | Video: ChessBase India
Rook and Opposite Color Bishop Endgame with an Unexpected Finish - Suvayan vs Sharanyak | Video: ChessBase India

More exciting games will be shared soon. Stay tuned.

Final standings

Rk.SNoNamesexGrFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
12IMNeelash SahaIND2346WB7424639,2506
26Subhayan KunduIND2207WB739,54337,2506
31IMAronyak GhoshIND2421WB73943,537,0006
45Kaustuv KunduIND2208WB738,541,534,5007
513Mitra SwapanIND2066WB735,53933,0007
63Utsab ChatterjeeIND2245WB6,539,543,534,5005
74FMAshwath R.IND2240TN641,545,532,2505
811WIMArpita MukherjeewIND2138WB63841,527,5006
98Anustoop BiswasIND2186WB637,541,529,7505
1021AGMShahid Ahmed S.K.IND1823WB637,54128,2505
1119Shaon ChowdhuryIND1893WB636,540,528,5006
1224WCMBristy MukherjeewIND1715WB636,54028,5006
1320Bhattacharya Niladri ShekharIND1827WB636,54028,5005
1410Praloy SahooIND2141WB635,53928,5006
1518Anurag JaiswalIND1916WB635,53926,2505
1653Puspal DattaIND1394WB635,53926,0006
1762Agnivo ChakrabortyIND1304WB63537,526,0006
1827Sumit RoyIND1685WB6353724,0006
1914Debasish MukherjeeIND2013WB6343827,5006
2016Arpan DasIND1952WB63437,527,0006

Complete standings

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