Rahul Gurung wins the North Eastern Championship for 2nd straight year
Last year a historic feat was achieved by Sikkim when 16-year-old Rahul Gurung of Sikkim won the 18th North East Chess Championship title making him the youngest to do so and also the first from the state. Apart from Rahul, Sikkim also had Mr. Thendup Tamang who finished as the 2nd runners-up in the same event. This year the same feat was repeated again by Rahul Gurung when he clinched the 19th North Eastern Chess Championship title by scoring 8.5/10 points and remaining unbeaten throughout the event which took place on his home soil. We bring you a detailed pictorial report of the 19th North Eastern States FIDE Rating Chess Championship-2019 along with a short interview of the winner.
The 19th edition of the North Eastern Chess Championship was held from 29th January 2019 until 3rd February 2019 in the least populous and second smallest state of India, Sikkim. As many as 222 players from 7 different states of North East India (Nagaland Association didn't send any representative) took part in this prestigious event. Sikkim is notable for its biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, as well as being a host to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth. The event was hosted in the Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences auditorium in 5th Mile Tadong which is situated in the Sikkim's capital and also its largest city - Gangtok.
The tournament was completely sponsored by AICF and the prize fund was 1.5 Lacs, of which 30,000 was the first prize. Among all the regional events in North-Eastern India, this championship is considered as the toughest and the most prestigious one.
Starting rank of the 19th North east championship
|1||Singh Soram Rahul||25001574||2030||ASM|
|6||Santanu Borpatra Gohain||5023688||1964||ASM|
|9||Neelabh Jyoti Borthakur||35069640||1904||ASM|
|17||Singh Th. Nabachandra||35034324||1749||MAN|
|19||Iftikar Alom Mazumdar||25623982||1734||ASM|
The top seed of the event was Rahul Singh Soram of Assam followed by CM Shahil Dey of Assam and Rakesh Gurung of Sikkim. Rahul Singh Soram was jointly leading the tournament until the 6th round when he got defeated by the reigning champion Rahul Gurung in their 7th round encounter. CM Shahil Dey scored 8.0/10 points and came in 4th place. 3rd seed Rakesh Gurung, who is also the elder brother of the champion Rahul Gurung, scored the same points as the champion 8.5/10 and finished as the 1st runners up on the basis of their tie-break score.
It all started last year when Rahul Gurung made headlines by winning the 18th edition of the North-East Championship. He was the youngest to win the title and also the first from Sikkim which started taking part in the event from 2011 onwards only. By winning the title back to back for the second straight year Rahul Gurung proved that last year was not an accident but he had actually earned his title.
Right after his final round game against his elder brother Rakesh Gurung (which they drew), ChessBase India got the chance to have a 2 minute telephonic conversation with Rahul Gurung who was not crowned yet and was waiting for the 2nd board result.
Nongsha Angom: Congratulations Rahul for winning the title one more time!
Rahul Gurung: Thanks but I am not sure if I am the winner because the 2nd board game is still on and if black wins then anything can happen.
NA: I take my words back, Okay Rahul remaining unbeaten throughout the event and performing so well, how did you prepare for the event?
RG: I prepared in the usual way and this time I also prepared against the top players of the event by going through their recent games.
NA: We saw you last in the Nationals and then here, did you play any event in between?
RG: Yes Nationals was my last event and then I decided to prepare for this Championship as I needed to defend the title.
NA: I remember last year you performed really well in the Kathmandu Open and also held the top seed of the event Sergey Volkov. Do you get difficulties in selecting your desired event or you get support?
RG: Yes, Kathmandu was a nice experience as I got lot of lessons from the event and yes I do get support from our state association.
NA: Rahul, you and your brother's chess skills are no secret. We often hear stories about the upcoming chess players from Sikkim. Who is guiding you all?
RG: We don't have any professional coach but our General Secretary Mahendra Dhakal helps us a lot and you can say he is our coach.
NA: Okay Rahul thanks for your time and looking forward to meeting you soon! Best wishes for the result.
RG: Thanks a lot.
The youngest player in the championship was 5-year-old John Lalrinfela from Mizoram and the oldest player was 84-year-old TP Ghimirey from Sikkim.
The chief arbiter of the event was IA Dharmendra Kumar and he was assisted by FA Biju Singh Th, FA Arun Singh M, NA Taba Anam, NA Bimola Prasad Lahon, NA Amar Bhandari and NA Priyanka Nag. The prize distribution ceremony had Sikkim Olympic Association president BK Roka as the chief guest, who along with other special guests gave away trophy and medals to its winners.
Final Ranking after 10 Rounds
|3||1||Singh Soram Rahul||2030||ASM||8,0||0,0||64,0||69,5|
|5||6||Santanu Borpatra Gohain||1964||ASM||8,0||0,0||58,0||63,0|
|9||19||Iftikar Alom Mazumdar||1734||ASM||7,5||0,0||61,0||66,0|
|16||25||Hage Lasa Nado||1658||ARP||7,0||0,0||62,0||67,0|
|18||24||Barbith M Sangma||1685||MEGH||7,0||0,0||59,5||64,0|