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16 real life heroes will battle it out in the Super Heroes Cup 2021

by Sagar Shah - 10/05/2021

One of the most amazing things about chess is that just about anyone can play it. It doesn't matter if you are visually impaired, physically challenged or deaf - chess is an amazing social tool which has the same rules for everyone. This is the reason why we have organized the ChessBase India Super Heroes Cup 2021 from 14th to 16th May where 16 of the most brilliant differently abled chess players will fight it out in a knock-out tournament. The total prize fund of the tournament is Rs.2,60,888 and the entire event will be broadcast LIVE on the ChessBase India YouTube Channel. Come, join us to find the real life super heroes!

Super Heroes Cup 2021 from 14th to 16th May 2021

We have all seen super heroes in movies. Be it Batman, Superman, Hulk, Thor or Captain America. Each one of them has a different super power and each one is special in their own way! But this is fiction! What about the reality? Where do the super heroes in real world reside? Introducing you to the 16 super heroes of Indian chess - 16 individuals whose super powers include fighting each and every difficult situation life throws at them, never giving up and single mindedly trying to achieve their goal.


From 14th to 16th of May, HelpChess (ChessBase India Foundation) is organizing the Super Heroes Cup 2021. It's a knock-out tournament which involves 16 top differently-abled players of Indian chess. There are 7 players who are visually impaired, 6 who are physically disabled and 3 who are deaf. The selection is done based on the Elo rating of the players, with special spots for female participants. We contacted all the top players of India and based on their availability the final list has been confirmed. The total prize fund of the tournament is Rs.2,60,888 and this has been raised via the knighthood blitz tournament that was held on 1st of August 2020. (The breakup of how this amount was raised is given at the end of the article). The entire tournament will be streamed on ChessBase India YouTube channel with live commentary by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal and several esteemed guests. All the 16 players will also receive the flagship ChessBase product - ChessBase 16.

Important details:

Date: 14th to 16th May 2021

Total Prize fund: ₹260,888 + 16 ChessBase 16s (one to each participant)

First prize: ₹30,000

The 16 participants of the Super Heroes Cup 2021

Starting rank

1IMShashikant Kutwal5006520IND2182
2Kishan Gangolli5049350IND2128
3Naveen Kumar A.5029279IND2035
4Ashish Krishnamurari Desai25974955IND1965
5FMVenkata Krishna Karthik K5029430IND1903
6Aryan B Joshi35055933IND1842
7Patra Subhendu Kumar46604634IND1783
8Makwana Ashvin K5081912IND1768
9Soundarya Kumar Pradhan25051822IND1746
10CMSamarth J Rao46652370IND1664
11Vaibhav Gautam25714449IND1358
12Malika Handa35061615IND1345
13Yashaswi K25668617IND1341
14Megha Chakraborty25665294IND1232
15Rathi Himanshi35082752IND1177
16Kanishri R P45050309IND1098

For pairings and more details check out chess-results link

IM Shashikant Kutwal (2182)

The top seed of the tournament is IM Shashikant Kutwal (Elo 2182). Struck by Polio at a young age, Shashikant has braved it all to become the IPCA

Achievements of Shashikant:

17th IPCA World Chess Individual  Chess Champion at Slovakia in 2017 - Winner.

16th IPCA World Chess Individual  Chess Champion at Serbia in 2016.- Silver Medal

1st Asian Chess Championship for Disabled players at Kyrgyzstan- Gold Medal in Men`s Section.

He became an International Master in 2017.

1st IPCA Rapid and Blitz Championship at Spain in 2019- Bronze medal Rapid and Gold Medal in Blitz.

Kishan Gangolli (2128)

2nd seeded Kishan Gangolli (Elo: 2128) will give a tough fight for the top position to Shashikant Kutwal. Kishan is 75% visually impaired.

Achievements of Kishan

Indivual gold and Team silver medal at Asian para games 2018, Indonesia. First and only Indian Chess player to win gold medal at Asian para games in men's section.

Two times Olympiad medalist. In 2012, gold medal at 14th IBCA Olympiad, Chennai

2017 bronze medal at 15th IBCA Olympiad, Macedonia. Only Indian to get two medals consecutively in blind Chess Olympics.

Current Asian blind Chess champion. Gold medal at IBCA Asian championship 2017, Manipal

6 times consecutive AICFB National Champion. Gold medal in National A from 2013-2019

15th place in IBCA world championship. Highest position secured by an Indian in IBCA world championship.

Naveen Kumar (2035)

Naveen Kumar A (Elo 2035) is physically challenged but he is one of strongest chess players of the country. He is also a chess coach.

Achievements of Naveen Kumar:

2003 National championship - 3rd place

Reached a career high Elo rating of 2101 in 2004

2011 Team championship 1st Board Prize

2019 physically disabled open chess championship - 2nd place

2020 online chess Olympiad India A team player

Ashish Desai (1965)

Ashish Desai (Elo 1965) played chess until he was 25 years old. He is now 53 and restarted his chess career around 3-4 years ago. He is the top rated deaf chess player in the country

Achievements of Ashish Desai

Was the Gujarat State Champion in Open section several times

National Deaf Champion in 1991

National Teams Open event in 1988 - 1st place on board two with 7.0/7

Participated at the 18th ICCD World Chess Championship in Manchester in 2018

4th place in ICCD deaf chess Olympiad blitz in 2018

Venkata Krishna Karthik (1903)

You know Venkata Krishna Karthik is extremely strong when you realize he has scored an IM norm. He has a current Elo of 1903 but his career high rating was 2100+. He has an orthopaedic disorder and also has vision issues

Achievements of Venkata Krishna Karthik

Commonwealth Chess Champion in the Physically disabled section at Glasgow in 2014

IPCA World Individual Chess Championship - Bronze medal in 2014 Serbia

3-time Physically disabled national chess champion in 2015, 2017 and 2018

Represented India in Para Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018

Represented India at the 1st FIDE Online Olympiad for people with disabilities

Aryan Joshi (1842)

Aryan Joshi is just 20 years old. He is an amazing chess player and also a state level swimmer. He has never let his issues related to vision come in between him and success

Achievements of Aryan Joshi

Stood 4th at the Asian Chess Championship For Visually Challenged 2017 held at Udipi.

Participated at the World Senior Chess Championships For the Visually Impaired held in Italy in 2019. He was the youngest participant of the event.

Represented India at the Online Para Olympiad 2020

Champion at the national Open Chess Championship for the blind held at Hyderabad in 2017

Received over 50 medals in 15 National and State Level Para Swimming Competitions.

Represented India at the Virtual Youth Sports Visitor Program 2020 hosted by USA.

Patra Subhendu Kumar (1783)

Subhendu Patra Kumar is one of the fastest improving visually challenged chess players of India. From 1581 in January 2018, he reached 1851 in June 2019.

Achievements of Subhendu Patra

Finished runner-up at the 14th AICFB National A chess championship for visually challenged held in Nagpur 2020

Led India-B team at 1st Fide Olympiad for people with disabilities. India B finished 13th, ahead of India A (18th)

Represented India at the world individual chess championship for the blind and visually challenged at Cagliari, Italy from 5-15 April 2019 and finished at 15th position

Represented India at the world team chess championship for the blind and visually challenged at Sofia, Bulgaria from 20-31 July 2018

Ashvin Makwana (Elo: 1768)

Ashvin Makwana (Elo 1768) is one of the most experienced chess players in visually impaired chess. His eyesight is slowly diminishing, but not his chess strength. He also empowers other visually impaired chess players by training them.

Achievements of Ashvin Makwana

2nd place at the Asian Championships 2017 in Udupi

Silver medal at the Asian Para Games in Indonesia in 2018

From 2005 to 2017, Ashwin has won 12 National Open Championships for the Blind

5-time Vadodra district Khelmaha Kumbh champion

Soundarya Kumar Pradhan (1746)

Soundarya Pradhan (1746) apart from winning a silver medal at the Asian Para Games and World Junior Championships, he is also a fantastic student, and is doing his engineering from NIT

Achievements of Soundarya

Won SILVER MEDAL in B2/B3 Men Rapid Team Chess in 3rd Asian Para Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia  from 6th to 13th October, 2018.

Won SILVER MEDAL in the 10th IBCA World Individual Junior Chess Championship for the Blind & Visually Impaired held in Poland from 13th to 23rd August 2018.

Won BRONZE MEDAL in Asia Pacific Chess Championship for Visually Challenged organised by IBCA in Manipal University, Karnataka from 22nd to 31st March, 2017. 

Samarth Rao (1664)

Samartha Rao (Elo 1664) is 21 years old and was hit by Cerebral Palsy. He has never given up and has achieved things in his life in spite all odds. Read his inspiring story

Achievements of Samarth Rao

2 silver medals at the USA fide world junior chess championship for players with disabilities

3 times Bronze medal winner at the junior boys IPCA world chess championship in Europe country

Gold medal at the Junior boys blitz chess in Europe

Under 19 Karnataka state chess champion in 2018

Under 16 state Rapid chess champion in 2015

Vaibhav Gautam (1358)

Vaibhav Gautam (Elo 1358) has hardly played in physically challenged tournaments. He has improved his chess by playing in open events. In spite of having Cerebral Palsy with 90% disability, his will to improve and get better at chess makes him a force to reckon with

Achievements of Vaibhav Gautam

FIDE rated Open tournament in Faridabad in 2019 - 5th place

CS Sharma FIDE rating tournament, Delhi 2019 - 3rd place

Physically Challenged Rapid tournament Delhi in 2020 - 1st place

Many 1st place finishes in the physically challenged category in open tournaments

Mallika Handa (1345)

The best deaf woman player in India - the amazing Mallika Handa (Elo: 1345). Her achievements are simply mind-blowing.

Achievements of Mallika Handa

National Awardee (Best Sportsperson) by President of India 2019

1st Indian Girl Who won Gold Medal in ICCD world individual open chess championship in Armenia 2016

Silver Medal in World FIDE Olympaid Blitz in Manchester 2018

Silver Medal in World Deaf Blitz Chess tournament 2016

7th Times National champion for last 7 years in deaf category

1st Indian Girl who won Gold medal in Asian women chess championship of the deaf at Mongolia 2015

Yashaswi K (1341)

Although she cannot hear well, within a couple of years Yashaswi K has gained over 300 Elo points. Just 19 years of age, the sky is the limit for her. 

Achievements of Yashaswi

First place at the national level chess for deaf held in Tirur, Kerala (2016-17)

First place at the national level chess for deaf held in Madhya Pradesh

Bronze medal at international chess tournament held in Manchester, England.(2018-19)

First place at the national chess for deaf held in Jaipur, Rajasthan (2019-20)

Megha Chakraborty (1232)

The girl with a killer spirit - Megha Chakraborty (Elo: 1232) has vision issues but that hasn't stopped her from becoming one of the best players in the country

Achievements of Megha Chakraborty

2018 women's national champion

2018 Asian para games - silver and bronze medal 

2019 National A - 3rd position

2020 National school championship 1st position

Himanshi Rathi (1177)

Himanshi Rathi is not just a two-time national champion of India but is also a gold medalist in BA with literature

Achievements of Himanshi Rathi

5-time state champion in Khel Mahakumbh Gujarat in blind women

2-time national champion in blind women

1 silver and 1 bronze in blind women Nationals

4th rank in Paralympic Indonesia in rapid

Kanishri RP (1098)

Kanishri R.P from Chennai (Elo:1098) is wheelchair bound, but has made the country proud on numerous occasions with her achievements!

Achievements of Kanishri

2nd Physically Disabled National Individual chess championship 2017 - 2nd place

Tamil Nadu State Level Physically Disabled Chess Championship 2018 - 1st place

3rd Asian Para Games 2018 in Indonesia - silver medal in rapid and bronze in standard                                                                                                                                   

1st All India Open Chess Championship 2019 for Physically disabled - 2nd place

2nd All India Open Chess Championship 2019 For Physically Disabled - 1st place


Note: There were some top players who had been contacted, but were unable to confirm their participation due to other commitments.

Format of Play

Round 1 (Pre quarter-finals): 2 games of 15+10. In case of 1-1 tie there will be an Armageddon (10 vs 8)

There will be 8 matches in the pre-quarterfinals and the broadcast will be split into two portions with 4 games shown at the same time from 2.30 to 4.30 and the next four games from 4.30 to 6.30


Round 2 (Quarter-finals): 2 games of 15+10. In case of 1-1 there will be an Armageddon (10 vs 8)

There will be 4 matches in the Quarterfinals and the broadcast will be split into two portions with 2 games shown at the same time from 2.30 to 4.30 and the next 2 games from 4.30 to 6.30


Round 3 (Semi finals): 2 games of 15+10. In case of 1-1 tie there will be an Armageddon (10 vs 8).


Round 4 (Finals): 2 games of 15+10. In case of 1-1 tie there will be an Armageddon (10 vs 8).


In the Armageddon the colour will be chosen by a toss.


Please note: The entire tournament will be streamed LIVE on the ChessBase India YouTube channel. The aim of this tournament apart from some amazing chess is to show the tenacity and fighting spirit of these super heroes! We hope you will join us in the broadcast! 


14th May - Pre-Quarter Finals - 2 to 6.30 p.m.

15th May - Quarter Finals - 2 to 6.30 p.m.

16th May - Semi Finals - 2 to 4.30 p.m.

16th May - Finals - 5 pm to 7 p.m. 


Please note, there will be an exhibition match each day 30 minutes before the start of each round.


Players who exit in Round 1: Rs.11,111 x 8  = Rs.88,888

Players who exit in Round 2: Rs.15,000 x 4 = Rs.60,000

Players who exit in Round 3: Rs.20,000 x 2 = Rs.40,000

Runner-up = Rs.25,000

Winner = Rs.30,000 

Game of the event: Rs.5,000

Fighter of the event: Rs.5,000

Best Female player: Rs.7,000

Total = Rs.260,888

Important points:

1. No agreed draws before 50 moves.

2. Indian Tax laws will be applicable with regards to the distribution of the prize money.

Anti-Cheating measures will be very strong:

All players will be required to adhere to the below rules:

1. Mandatory to have two cameras

2. One Capturing the face

3. One from back which will show the player and his/her screen

4. Sharing the entire screen. 

5. Only the front face camera will be broadcasted on a live stream, however arbiters will have access to other cameras as well.

A note of appreciation

This tournament is possible because of the amazing chess community that has been built up. The prize money of Rs,2,60,888 is possible because of various individuals and we would like to thank them.

Sujit Varghese, an avid viewer of ChessBase India and a chess lover, came up with the idea of Knighthood blitz tournament and sponsored the entire prize fund of Rs.1,50,000. It was his idea that the money that was raised through this tournament should be utilized for the promotion of differently abled chess! Over and above the prize money, he also contributed Rs.20,000 towards this initiative.

Well-known stand-up comedian and also a chess enthusiast, Anirban Dasgupta had donated his entire winning purse of Rs.50,000 of Comedians on Board 2 for this initiative. So did Samay Raina - Rs.30,000. Kusha Kapila, a very popular social media influencer, also donated her share of COB 2 winnings - Rs.10,000

Through the fundraiser activities we raised Rs.95,283 and through the entry fee collection, the amount reached was Rs.55,943. You can find details here. It's been nearly 8 months since we had collected this amount. We wanted to use this money in the best possible way. We would like to thank all the people who contributed, not only for the money they spent, but also for their patience and trust in ChessBasse India. It is because of you that this tournament is happening today.

Team of organization:

Commentary: IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal and several other eminent guests

Chief Arbiter: Vivek Sohani

Chief coordinator: Shahid Ahmed

Statistics expert: Avathanshu Bhat

Graphics: Abhyudaya Raam

Related links:

Chess-results page of the Super Heroes Cup

Knighthood Blitz winners