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Vignesh N R clinches 34th All India Railway Chess Championship 2022

by R Anantharam - 16/11/2022

IM Vignesh N R of Southern Railway scored an unbeaten 6/7 to win 34th All India Inter Railways Individual Chess Championship 2022. Vignesh has also won the previous edition which took place early this year. He finished second in his debut year 2019. Thus, Vignesh's three performance at All India Railways have been a second place finish and two as champion which is certainly outstanding. Four players scored 5.5/7 each. GM Swapnil Dhopade of Central Railway and GM Karthikeyan P of ICF were adjudged second and third respectively according to tie-breaks. Southern Railway claimed the first place in both Team and Individual events. Photo: IA R Anantharam

Southern Railway bags a Double

Southern Railway bagged a double by winning both the team event and also the individual one, as the latter was won by its cadre and international master NR Vignesh. Both events were organised by the East Coast Railway Sports Association to decide the Railway champion. Eighty two players, with a strong line up of eight grandmasters, eighteen international masters and one WIM (M Mahalakshmi) participated in the Swiss league with seven rounds, with a time control of 90 minutes plus 30 seconds increment per move.

International Master Vignesh N R from Southern Railway is the Railway chess champion | Photo: IA R Anantharam

IM Vignesh N R scored an unbeaten 6/7 and finished a half point ahead of the field

The Southern Railway team receives the trophy from the Chief Guest - Anup Kumar Satpathy, DRM, East Coast Railway | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Runner-up in Team event - ICF 9/12 | Photo: IA R Anantharam

GM Swapnil Dhopade 5.5/7 of Central Railway secured the runner-up spot in the Individual event | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Team Runner-up - South Central Railway 8/12 | Photo: IA R Anantharam

GM Karthikeyan P 5.5/7 is the second runner-up | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Top seed of the 34th All India Railway Chess Individual Championship Visakh N R of Integral Coach Factory escaped from the claws of defeat at the hands of Amardeep Bartakke of Western Railway in the inaugural round. Amardeep could not convert the winning advantage to a full point and was forced to concede the draw. The second seed GM Swapnil Dhopade of Central Railway did not participate in the team event and the third-highest rated player is IM P Shyam Nikhil.

Round 1: Top seed GM Visakh N R (ICF) escaped from the defeat against Amardeep Bartakke (WR) | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Tough fights started in the second round itself; GMs and IMs clashing with each other. While GM Swapnil Dhopade defeated Gurpreet Pal Singh of Northern Railway on the second board, IM P Shyam Nikhil of ICF dumped IM Somak Palit of Metro, Kolkata on the second board.

Round 2: Gurpreet Pal Singh (NR) lost to GM Swapnil Dhopade (CR) | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Round 2: IM P Shyam Nikhil (ICF) defeated IM Somak Palit (Metro) | Photo: IA R Anantharam

IM Sayantan Das forced a draw with WIM M Mahalakshmi of ICF, the only woman taking part in the event and the duel between the friends IM S Nitin (ICF) and IM Murali Krishnan BT ended in favour of the former.

Round 2: IM Sayantan Das (Metro) drew with WIM Mahalakshmi M (ICF), the only woman in the event | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Round 2: IM Nitin S (SR) - IM B T Murali Krishnan (SR): 1-0 | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Round 2: IM Suvrajit Saha (ER) -  IM Himal Gusain (WR): 0-1 | Photo: IA R Anantharam

In the third round, Swapnil Dhopade maintained the lead together with another GM Saptarshi Roy of Eastern Railway and four more IMs - S Nitin and NR Vignesh of Southern Railway, Mehar Chenna Reddy of South Central Railway and Himal Gusain of Western Railway.

Round 3: IM Ratnakaran K (SR) -  IM Mehar Chinna Reddy (SCR): 0-1 | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Swapnil emerged sole leader with full four points at the end of the fourth round, by beating IM Nitin S. The four other leaders drew their games among themselves. Another decisive top board result among the top five boards was the one from IM P Shyam Nikhil of ICF who defeated IM P D S Girinath of SCR.

Round 4: IM Nitin S (SR) - GM Swapnil Dhopade (CR): 0-1 | Photo: IA R Anantharam

IMs Vignesh N R and Himal Gusain joined GM Swapnil at the top by beating IM Mehar Chenna Reddy and GM Saptarshi Roy respectively in the fifth round, as Swapnil drew his game with Shyam Nikhil. All the three had 4.5 points each.

Round 5: IM Vignesh N R of Southern Railway scalped IM Mehar Chenna Reddy of SCR to move to the top of the table | Photo: IA R Anantharam

IM Himal Gusain also had a victory over GM Saptarshi Roy to join Swapnil and Vignesh | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Five players tied with five points each, at the end of the sixth round. The top board game between Swapnil and Vignesh ended in a draw after each trying to gain supremacy; Deepan outplayed Himal Gusain in a prolonged end game; Praveen Kumar C upset P Shyam Nikhil and Karthikeyan scored against Arindam Mukherjee.

Round 6: GM Deepan Chakkravarthy held the upper hand against IM Himal Gusain | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Round 6: IM P Shyaam Nikhil was shocked by his ICF team mate IM Praveen Kumar C | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Round 6: The duel between GM Karthikeyan P and Arindam Mukherjee ended in favour of the former | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Deepan and Swapnil settled for a quick draw after making a couple of moves on the top board of the final round. This opened up the gate for the remaining leaders to fight for a win, aiming at the title. In the exciting final game, the giant killer Praveen Kumar blundered in an advantageous position to gift his queen, the game and the title to Vignesh N R, who scored six points in seven rounds. Swapnil Dhopade finished runner-up and Karthikeyan became the surprise second runner-up, pipping Deepan in the last tiebreak.

Round 7: Praveen Kumar blundered to gift his queen, the game and the title to Vignesh N R | Photo: IA R Anantharam

During the tournament, India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi visited Visakhapatnam to launch several projects worth about 10000 crore rupees and the formation of a new railway zone (South Coastal Railway) with the city as the headquarters is on the anvil.

Visakhapatnam Railway station | Photo: Chube Prasad

Anup Kumar Satpathy IRSE, Divisional Railway Manager of the East Coast Railway distributed the prizes on the final day to the winners of the team and individual tournaments.


A total of 83 players including 8 GMs, 18 IMs and a WIM represented 15 different railway divisions of Indian Railways. The four-day sevenn-round Swiss League Individual tournament was organized by East Coast Railways at Waltair Stadium in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh from 10th to 13th October 2022. The tournament had a time control of 90 minutes + 30 seconds increment from move no.1.

Final standings

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
14IMVignesh N RIND2486SR628,53227,00
22GMSwapnil S. DhopadeIND2499CR5,52932,524,50
317GMKarthikeyan P.IND2316ICF5,52730,522,50
47GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND2461ICF5,52730,522,50
514GMLaxman R.R.IND2367ICF5,526,529,522,25
626IMPraveen Kumar CIND2212ICF528,531,520,50
712IMGusain HimalIND2381WR52730,520,25
83IMShyaamnikhil PIND2489ICF4,528,532,520,25
95IMDas SayantanIND2482Metro4,52730,519,00
1013GMSaptarshi RoyIND2370ER4,52730,517,00
1115IMSidhant MohapatraIND2343ER4,526,53015,75
121GMVisakh N RIND2566ICF4,526,529,518,50
1311IMNitin S.IND2382SR4,52629,517,00
1425IMSai Agni Jeevitesh JIND2226SR4,52628,515,75
1510GMThejkumar M. S.IND2393SWR4,525,52917,25
1616IMRatnakaran K.IND2317SR4,5252817,25
1744Arindam MukherjeeIND2010ER4,52527,514,75
1824WIMMahalakshmi MIND2257ICF4,524,526,515,25
199IMMehar Chinna Reddy C.H.IND2405SCR4283116,00
2031IMSuvrajit SahaIND2158ER42527,513,50


About the Author

Prof. Rathinam Anantharam is an A-grade international arbiter. Member of FIDE Arbiters’ Commission, Chairman of Titles Commission in All India Chess Federation, Vice President of Tamil Nadu State Chess Association, Chief Arbiter for six world championships, many Asian, International and National Championships.


The article was edited by Shahid Ahmed

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