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Shiva Suri wins the 1st ever Giant Rapid Chess tournament

by Aditya Sur Roy - 27/10/2022

Sarath City mall is one of the biggest malls in India which hosts some of the biggest brands and events. They came up with the unique idea of putting up a giant chess board in the mall area and giving the visitors a chance to play a game on the big chess board. The organizers saw a lot of interest among random visitors who enjoyed playing the game in front of a huge crowd and with chill music. They wanted to do something special with the giant chessboard and came up with the idea of a “Giant Rapid Chess tournament" with a cash prize of Rs. 27,000.  ChessBase India joined them to organize the event.

First ever Giant Rapid Chess Tournament!

The game of chess is considered to test your mental endurance and your capabilities to handle intense pressure over the board. What if you add a physical factor to the game which will not only test your mental but physical strength too? Sarath City mall in association with ChessBase India came up with the unique idea of arranging a “Giant Rapid Chess Tournament” which will be played in the mall with a live audience and music. 

The vibe of this unique event was unlike any other chess event!

The Format

The format - Sixteen players were selected through an online process and were invited to play in the tournament. On the 22nd of October, the first round was conducted where eight players faced the other players and the winners moved to the quarter-finals.  Just as the rounds started, a huge audience gathered to watch the games. Some were curious, and others were wondering if they can also get a chance to play but as the tournament was organized in the advance, only the registered players were given a chance to play.

The crowd watches on as the little kid runs across the board to make the move.


The top eight participants moved to the finals which were scheduled to be played on the 23rd of October. The rounds began with the quarter finals and four of the winners - Surya Alakanti, eight-year-old Lakshanya Barla, Shiva Suri, and Kumaran Charan.

Thinking before his next move on the Giant chess board.


In the semifinals, the players faced their opponents for a place in the finals and a chance to win Rs. 10,000 plus a pass for Death match 2.0. The atmosphere of the mall was heating up due to the clash between India and Pakistan but the players kept their cool and in the end, Surya Alakanti and Shiva Suri managed to outplay their opponents and reach the finals. There was also a tough fight for the third and fourth place and Kumaran Charan defeated young Lakshanya Barla to secure third place and win Rs. 2500 while Lakshanya won Rs. 1500 and a huge applause from the crowd and also players.

The young Lakshanya Barla getting the prize and a huge applause from the crowd.


The final was paused for a while as the Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli lead the team to a massive victory against arch rivals Pakistan. After some celebrations across the mall, the finals of the first ever Giant Rapid Chess tournament was about to start as Surya Alakanti took on Shiva Suri. The game went on to be the most intense game of the tournament as not only the winner’s title was at stake but the game was viewed by the maximum number of people. In the end, a blunder by Surya and tight play by Shiva became the deciding factor and Shiva Suri became the champion.

The tournament champion, Shiva Suri being handed the prizes.


FA R Chandra Mouli was appointed as the Chief Arbiter of the Tournament. He appointed three volunteers and they took charge of the entire tournament. In the first round, one player could not make it to play the game so Immediately he selected one player from the audience and continued the game. This decision made it possible for the tournament to be finished smoothly.

The man without whom the tournament wouldn't be successful - on the extreme right, FA R Chandra Mouli

Winners and Prizes

Shiva Suri is the Champion of this Tournament. He was awarded with Rs.10000/- Cash Prize and a Golden ticket to the ChessBase India Deathmatch 2.0

1st Runner Up - Surya Alakanti was awarded with Rs.5000/- Cash Prize and a special prize- Grandmaster Preparation - Calculation by Jacob Aagaard book.

2nd Runner Up - Kumaran Charan was awarded with Rs.2,500/- Cash prize. 

4th Place - Lakshanya B awarded with Rs.1500/- Cash Prize and a ChessBase India premium chess set.


Testimonials from the players

Shiva Suri (Champion):

Held over the weekend, the Giant Rapid Chess Tournament conducted by Chessbase India in collaboration with Sarath City Capital Mall was a fine experience. I applied at 9:45 PM on Friday with only a slim hope of being one of the chosen 16. Much to my surprise, I received a call from Aditya Sur Roy at 11:15 PM informing me of my selection. All the players arrived at the venue by 3:30 PM on Saturday, agog with excitement. The rules were explained by the FIDE Arbiter R Chandra Mouli. The games of 10 minutes each began with an eager audience watching in anticipation of some fireworks. Several inquiries of spot registration requests were made and turned down politely by the arbiter and volunteers.

After a lot of hopping, skipping, and running about later, eight players were eliminated. The fact that losing in the first round also yielded a prize would have made everyone happy. The round of 16 saw a sister beating her brother in a tense struggle, with their parents watching on nervously, unsure of whom to cheer on. There being a single board, the wait for the players scheduled late in the evening seemed initially long, but the games kept everyone engaged and time flew by. Lugging the pieces along the giant board were players aged between 7 and 50, with the experienced Kandi Ravi falling in the first round to the dynamic Alakanti Surya. 8 players returned on Sunday with renewed vigor. Blows were traded with the Bishop's Opening and the Petroff making an appearance, but this was about more than chess. The aim, quite evidently, was to broadcast the game to a wider audience. The floor above us saw as many spectators as the floor we were playing on, with unblinking eyes raptured onto the board.

I squeezed out wins against Bairu Anil Kumar, R Rithvik, Kumaran Charan, Surya Alakanti to win the title - the prize being Rs 10,000 and a free pass to the DreamHack events in November, the highlight being the Death Match between Gukesh and Erigaisi Arjun on November 6th.

The good - The energy and the innovation of the format. The attempt to entrench chess as a spectator sport with a cheering audience.

The bad - I was left with a sore back, having to bend so often to pick up the pieces.

The amusing - A player was left scratching his head after promoting a pawn, because he already had a queen on board and there was no spare queen.


Surya Alakanti (1st runner-up):

 I have been following Chessbase since last three years. So I was reading chessbase articles and got to know about Giant Chess Rapid Tournament which was held in Hyderabad. I have applied and hoping to get selected. Luckily I have got an opportunity to play the tournament. Playing Chess on a Giant Chess board was a fantastic experience. I am very happy with my performance. Thanks to ChessBase India and Sarath city mall for organizing successfully.


Karthik Barla:

I felt excited and enjoyed a lot and it was a great experience for both of us!

Lakshanya Barla: I felt excited and was curious to play in the giant chess board. After winning quarter finals her confidence level increased and felt very happy!


Vijaya Bhaskar B:

I am Vijaya Bhaskar B, FIDE Instructor got the opportunity to play in gigantic chess in Sarat City Capital. It's very exciting to play with the big pieces and run to press the clock in front of so many enthusiastic people.  We have to use physical, mental and social strengths to win in gigantic chess!


Kumaran Charan:

I had a good experience and it was pretty unique to play on a big board and bigger pieces. I hope to play such tournaments if conducted in the future!

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