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Neelash dominates 30th National under-17 2019

by Shahid Ahmed - 17/07/2019

IM Neelash Saha started the tournament as the second seed and he was one of the favorites to win the tournament. His closest competitor was his state mate, top seed of the tournament CM Aronyak Ghosh who was rated 34 Elo points higher than him. Neelash ran through the competition by winning his first six games consecutively, then he made three consecutive draw which made him unhappy and in the final two rounds he notched up two victories to win his maiden National under-17 title in his final attempt. 44 days before the tournament, he had won State under-17 in his hometown Kolkata. Photo: M Ephrame

Neelash annihilates in National under-17

IM Neelash Saha receives his prize for winning National under-17 open | Photo: M Ephrame

Neelash's fantastic start of 6.0/6 gave him a full point lead. Even though he made three consecutive draws after that. That did not deter him from his path to glory as scored emphatic victories in the last two rounds to finish half point ahead of the runner-up.

Neelash's performance at National under-17 2019

Here is an annotated game by Neelash himself:

An interview was conducted by the author of this article after Neelash returned to his hometown Kolkata

Here is the transcript of the interview:

Shahid Ahmed (SA): Congratulations Neelash for winning 30th National under-17 open. How does it feel to win the tournament?

Neelash Saha (NS): Thank you. Yeah it was okay.


SA: Just okay?

NS: I won but I expected to score better than what happened.


SA: What was your expected score?

NS: At least 10.0/11


SA: You started with six consecutive wins and then you made three consecutive draws which you were unhappy with. Which draw made you unhappy?

NS: Both seventh and ninth round game.


SA: Before this you have won State under-17, so you were going into this as a champion in your final attempt. What was your expectation?

Neelash receiving his State under-17 prize | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

NS: Since there was only one player whose rating was near me, others were pretty lower rated by high margin. So I was just focused on rating points. At least 9.5/11 was required to maintain my rating and 10.0/11 was required to gain some. So I expected to score 10.0/11.


SA: Who gave you the toughest resistance in the entire tournament?

NS: In the ninth round against Nawin J J of Tamil Nadu. The position was very bad and I was close to losing the game. Somehow I managed to draw that game.


SA: Which game was the best one from the tournament?

NS: In round 6 against Utsab Chatterjee of my state.


SA: Who was the first person to congratulate you after winning the tournament?

NS: The Chief Arbiter of the tournament.


SA: What did your parents say about your accomplishment?

NS: They were very happy but not as happy as me.


SA: Are you more happier than them or less?

NS: I would say I was less upset than them.


SA: What's next for you?

NS: I have not got much plan for now. Probably the World Junior in October. Nothing else is planned for now.


SA: Thank you Neelash for speaking with ChessBase India. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

NS: Thank you.

How Champions roll: Immediately after the interview, Neelash along with Samriddhaa and others were found to do Yoga at Alekhine Chess Club | Photo: Shahid Ahmed
(Hindi audio) Neelash's coach Durgaprasad Mahapatra | Video: Shahid Ahmed

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