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The Gujarat Open begins!

by Aditya Pai - 07/10/2018

The 1st Gujarat Grandmaster Open kicked off on Friday, October 5, 2018. The first two rounds of the event saw some intense action: upsets were abundant, games were exciting and there were some opening debacles too! In this report, we bring you games, pictures and some off the board accounts of sportsmanship from the first two days.

Upsets, heartbreaks and time scrambles

The 1st Gujarat Grandmaster Open went underway at the Karnavati club, one of the most prestigious clubs in the Gujarati city of Ahmedabad, on Friday afternoon. The event is a 9 round Swiss which will be played over 7 days, until October 12, 2018. The rate of play is 90 minutes for the entire game, with a 30-second increment from move 1.


As is the case with so many Grandmaster opens, most of the games of the initial rounds were rather one-sided. However, there are always some spicy exceptions.


The biggest upset of the inaugural round came on the third board where 2615 rated Alexandr Predke was held to a draw by Maulik Raval (1993), a young local lad who overcame a rating difference of over 500 points! Of course, earning this half point was an arduous task for Raval as GM Predke tested him for over 90 moves before conceding a draw.

A game that lasted more than five hours: Alexandr Predke vs Maulik Raval | Photo: Aditya Pai

IM Anup Deshmukh also had a tough time in the opening round against Srithan Saypuri, a 13-year-old from Telangana. The Nagpur based International Master erred quite early in the game and Srithan pounced immediately with an enterprising knight sacrifice. Over the next few moves, the Telangana boy displayed excellent tactical prowess to put his opponent in a dead lost position.


However, IM Deshmukh, too, is not an easy nut to crack. He found his best possible chances and put up stiff resistance. Luckily for IM Deshmukh, Saypuri failed to find his best chances. Saypuri’s position slowly deteriorated and went from being a clear win to a heartbreaking loss.


After the game, IM Deshmukh, in a heartwarming gesture, acknowledged that he was completely lost and congratulated the boy on his excellent play. A hearty handshake followed before the players parted ways to prepare for their next battle.

IM Anup Deshmukh survived an opening catastrophe in his game against Srithan Saypuri | Photo: Aditya Pai

A similar situation was seen on the 24th board where another teenager, Aryan Polakhare, had IM Fenil Shah walk a tightrope. In an incredibly complicated position, Aryan had generated a strong attack on his opponent’s king. A time scramble had worsened matters for both sides. On several occasions, IM Shah was seen waiting until the last second to make his move. But here again, it was the younger player whose nerves gave in. As the clock ticked down, Aryan blundered his queen and was forced to resign a few moves later.

IM Fenil Shah had a rough time winning his game against Aryan Polakhare | Photo: Aditya Pai .

Day 2

In another day full of excitement, the second round saw the second wave of title aspirants hit the top seeds. And this time, there were even more casualties.


On the fourth board, Ukrainian GM Adam Tukhaev had to sue for peace against Bangladeshi FM Mehdi Hasan Parag. A central pawn break in the Pirc Austrian attack had induced the exchange of a pair of rooks when Parag found a nice tactical sequence that forced more exchanges. By the 30th move, both sides had a rook, a knight and three pawns. After about 10 more moves, Tukhaev repeated the position to call it a day.

Bangladeshi FM Mehdi Hasan Parag held GM Adam Tukhaev to a draw rather comfortably | Photo: Aditya Pai

Two boards below on the pairing list, another Ukrainian Grandmaster, GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy was held to a draw Vinayak Kulkarni (2208). In fact, in this game, it was GM Bernadskiy who was in trouble at one point. Tons of exchanges in the game had led to an equal endgame by the 25th move. But just when it had begun to look innocuous, Bernadskiy let white take control of the position.


Kulkarni vs Bernadskiy

Position after 27...Ne7

Here, after 27…Ne7, white simply hacked off the e7 knight with his bishop and pocketed a pawn after 29.Qb5. But in the next phase, Kulkarni rushed into a queen exchange that rendered the position equal. It is hard to believe at first that the position was equal since Kulkarni had an extra pawn in a knight endgame. But soon, the black knight turned out to be too active and this compensated for the pawn deficit. Forty-nine moves into the game, a draw was agreed via move repetition.

The biggest upset of the round was scored by the 14-year-old Tarun Kanyamarla who defeated IM Ponnuswamy Konguvel of Tamil Nadu with the black pieces. Players had castled on opposite wings in the Velimirovich attack of the Sicilian Defence. Out of the opening, IM Konguvel seemed to have the better position. His attack looked faster as his pawns had already broken into the enemy lines. But Kanyamarla defended well and, after a few mistakes by his opponent, was able to manoeuvre his queen into the white camp with decisive effect.

14-year-old Tarun Kanyamarla won with black in a complicated Sicilian against IM P Konguvel! | Photo: Aditya Pai

It wasn’t, however, all David slaying Goliath all around. It was indeed the grandmasters who won convincingly on several boards. A rather distinct game was the one on board 9 between India’s latest GM, Karthik Venkataraman and WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty.


Venkataraman went off road very early with 1.b3. Mohanty, perhaps, hadn’t expected her opponent to play this opening and ended up in a worse position quite early in the game. Her central pawn break on the 18th turn immediately spelt doom. The tactical sequence that followed left white with a decisive material advantage. By the 25th move, it was curtains.


If you would like to add 1.b3 to your opening arsenal, do check out Wesley So’s DVD, My secret weapon: 1.b3 which is currently on sale in the ChessBase India shop.

GM Karthik Venkataraman scored a quick 25-move victory over WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty in round 2 | Photo: Aditya Pai

Standings (Top 10)

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
11GMKravtsiv MartynUKR2654UKR2,00,02,01,02,002
2GMAmonatov FarrukhTJK2615TJK2,00,02,01,02,002
8GMTer-Sahakyan SamvelARM2547ARM2,00,02,01,02,002
9GMSivuk VitalyUKR2545UKR2,00,02,01,02,002
12IMStany G.A.IND2502KAR2,00,02,01,02,002
13IMHarsha BharathakotiIND2492TEL2,00,02,01,02,002
14GMNeverov ValeriyUKR2488UKR2,00,02,01,02,002
19GMKasparov SergeyBLR2453BLR2,00,02,01,02,002
20IMVignesh N RIND2447TN2,00,02,01,02,002
25IMFenil ShahIND2411GUJ2,00,02,01,02,002


Full standings


Official website



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विश्व शतरंज ओलंपियाड में भारत को अपनी रफ्तार पकड़ने का वक्त आ गया है राउंड 7 के बाद भारतीय टीम दोनों ही वर्गो में पदक की दौड़ में बनी हुई है पर अगर भारत को इतिहास बनाना है तो अब आने वाले चार राउंड में भारत को कम से कम 3 जीत दर्ज करनी होगी । बात करे पुरुष टीम को तो अमेरिका के खिलाफ हार और रूस के खिलाफ ड्रॉ के अलावा टीम नें 5 मैच में जीत दर्ज की है और 11 अंको के साथ टीम वाकई पदक की बड़ी दावेदार बनी हुई है सभी खिलाड़ी अच्छी लय में है और टीम किसी भी एक खिलाड़ी पर पूरी तरह निर्भर नहीं है । हालांकि आनंद का टीम में होना टीम के लिए एक प्रेरणा का काम कर रहा है हरिकृष्णा , विदित , शशिकिरण और अधिबन सभी अच्छी लय मे है । महिला वर्ग की बात करे तो भारत पदक का दावेदार तो साफ तौर पर बना हुआ है और अब तक भारत नें एक भी मैच नहीं हारा है टीम नें अब तक 4 जीत और 3 ड्रॉ के साथ टीम 11 अंक लेकर शीर्ष की टीमों मे शामिल है । पर टीम को अपने तीसरे और चौंथे बोर्ड की कमजोरी से उबरना होगा । हम्पी , तनिया और हारिका नें अब तक अपनी भूमिका टीम के लिए अच्छी से निभाई है जबकि ईशा और पदमिनी का अच्छा खेलना टीम के लिए बेहद जरूरी है । पढे यह लेख  

14) How can team India win a medal at the Batumi Olympiad 2018? @ 05/10/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)

It is not straightforward and a lot of results have to go our way, but if they do, then India has a realistic chance of winning a medal at the Batumi Olympiad 2018. India is playing against Poland in the last round and firstly we must win this match. After that we should hope that USA beats China and that the second board match between France and Russia ends in a 2-2 draw. If this happens, then winning a silver is very realistic. But if these results do not happen, then we can still fight for the bronze. In case if USA and China draw the match on top board and France or Russia beat each other, then our chance for the medal is lost. All of this is explained in much better depth in the article. We also explain to you how Sonneborn Berger is calculated so that you can have a better idea of how the tiebreak will work when the match points are the same between two teams.

15) Batumi Chess Olympiad Round 7: Indian men beat Egypt, Indian women draw against Georgia 1 @ 02/10/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)

It was an easy round for the Indians against the Egyptians, but it turned out to be extremely dangerous. Vishy Anand was held to a quick draw by Bassem Amin and Vidit Gujrathi who was pressing throughout the game suddenly landed in a bad position. The onus was now on Harikrishna and Sasikiran to deliver. And they did! India managed to win with the narrowest of margins, but as coach R.B. Ramesh said after the match, "A win is a win!" In the women's section Georgia 1 is one of the strongest teams in women's chess out there. The Indian girls fought bravely and managed to hold their own against the Georgian women players. Full report with analysis by GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly and videos of coaches of Indian teams.

16) Live Games and Updates of Team india from Batumi Olympiad 2018 @ 24/09/2018 by ChessBase India (en)

The Batumi Chess Olympiad is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the world. Team India begins as the fourth seeds in the open section and as the fifth seeds in the women' section. With Vishy Anand and Koneru Humpy back in the team, India has a realistic chance of winning a medal. On this page, you can follow the entire journey of the Indian team from the start until the end of the event. First of all, you can see the live games and commentary here, but apart from that, you will find all the relevant links required of previous reports, chess-results and other important sources. This page will be updated every day several times to give you live updates as well. We suggest that you bookmark this page on your browser to follow team India's journey at the Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018. 

17) Batumi Olympiad round 4: USA too strong for team India, women beat Poland @ 28/09/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)

The fifth round of the 2018 Batumi Chess Olympiad witnessed India lose its first match of the event by the slimmest possible margin. Playing against the top-seeded United States, the team fell short by a point, losing the game by a score of 2½ - 1½.  While three games finished peacefully, Vishy Anand made an unfortunate blunder on the top board against Fabiano Caruana and lost in merely 26 moves. In the Women's segment, the team scored an emphatic 3-1 victory with wins by Harika Dronavalli and Tania Sachdev. Round 4 report.

18) Batumi Chess Olympiad: India's chances of a podium finish diminish after a catastrophic ninth round @ 04/10/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)

Round 9 of the Batumi Chess Olympiad turned out to be a disastrous one for India. In the open segment, India lost to the eighth-seeded  Armenian team after Sasikiran's loss against Haik Matirosyan on board 4. In the women's group, Tania Sachdev lost her second straight game, this time against the much lower rated Marina Brunello. Harika Dronavalli helped even out the scores with her win over Elena Sedina but this draw meant that the Indian team is out of contention for a podium finish. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

19) How a bunch of Indians went to Spain and gained 4359 Elo points! @ 13/10/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)

Chess gives you an ability to travel across the globe. There are tournaments held all over the world and one of the perks of being a chess player is that you can visit them and also play your favourite sport. But everything is not so rosy! Planning an international trip is never easy. There are always financial constraints, but even if you were to overcome them there are logistical issues, right from visas, to tickets to accommodations to paying the entry fee. It's exactly to do away with all such problems we introduced the concept of the ChessBase India Power tour! Apart from ensuring the logistical support, Ankit Dalal, who heads ChessBase India Power, accompanied the players from India to Barcelona and stayed with them for 50 days - the entire duration of the trip! What was his experience as a tour manager and how did he manage to ensure that Indian players came back with a rich haul of 4359 Elo points? Let's find out! 

20) My experience of spending 50 days in Barcelona @ 19/09/2018 by Kavisha Shah (en)

A few months ago ChessBase India came up with the innovative and at the same time enterprising idea of the ChessBase India Power Tour to the Catalan circuit in Barcelona. Young kids always need their parents to travel to tournaments. Many of the times the parents lose a lot of their time and money in accompanying their kids to the tournaments. In order to make it more efficient, we started with the ChessBase India Power Tour, where the parents could send their kids with a capable tour manager. The thought was that people would save money and also could continue with their daily work, while their children pursued their passion. While all of this happened, the benefits for the kids were much more! Travelling alone made them confident and self-sufficient. Kavisha Shah, one of the participants in this trip, sends us her account. 

21) Batumi Chess Olympiad: Sasikiran helps India edge out Czech Republic, women suffer their first loss @ 03/10/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)

The eighth round encounter between India and the Czech Republic had gone neck to neck until the conclusion of the first two games. On the top board, Vishy Anand was held to a draw by David Navara. Adhiban was the first to finish his game against Zbynek Hracek. The two signed peace in merely 17 moves. Meanwhile, Krishnan Sasikiran showed some fantastic middle game play to bring down Jiri Stocek on board 4 and put his country in the lead. Vidit had the better position but was held to a draw in the end. In the women's group, losses on the first and the third board led to a disastrous loss for India against a lower rated Hungarian team. Round 8 report. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

22) Everything is back in stock - New Quality Chess Books have arrived! @ 10/10/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)

The Quality Chess books have been received by great enthusiasm by chess lovers all over India. When the books arrived in the ChessBase India office towards the end of March, we quickly ran out of stock of the most popular titles within a few days. We did not anticipate this, so the next order took some time to come to India, but now it's here! Over 3,000 high "quality" chess books have arrived in Mumbai. Right from Shankland's small steps to giant improvement to Tikannen's Woodpecker Method to Jan Markos' under the surface we have all the books! And this time we also have hardbacks. Check out the latest books in this article and get them to your address in India without any shipping cost! 

23) Historical moment: Super tournament to be held in India for the first time ever! @ 15/09/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)

It's a historical moment for Indian chess. For the first time we will be hosting a super tournament in India - the Tata Steel Chess India 2018. It will be held in Kolkata from the 9th to the 14th of November 2018. India's best players Anand, Harikrishna, Vidit and Ganguly will fight it out against world stars like Aronian, Karjakin, Nakamura, Mamedyarov and Wesley So. We also have two of our best young talents playing in this tournament Praggnanandhaa and Nihal Sarin. India has had a five-time World Champion, we have 55 grandmasters, we have over 70,000 players registered with FIDE, the big thing that was missing until now was a super tournament of this stature! This will be an excellent exposure for all our young talents to play against these world stars.