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Millionaire Chess: Adhiban suffers heartbreak; Prudhvi Kumar wins U1800

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 15/10/2016

The third and probably the final edition of Millionaire Chess came to close at the Atlantic City. The top seed B. Adhiban was in the race to confirm his place in the Millionaire Monday showdown, where he could fight for big money. What ended up happening was heartbreaking. Prudhvi Reddy of Nellore had a fantastic event, where a crucial victory in Millionaire Monday meant that he laughed his way to the bank with $12,000! That is close to Rs. 8 lakhs! Pictures, tactics, report, and more. Read on to know what happened...

Millionaire Chess: Adhiban suffers heartbreak; Prudhvi Kumar wins U1800

Photos by David Llada


The Millionaire Chess Tournament held its third (and possibly the last) edition of the highest-stakes open in the world. The prize money had been lowered considerably since the first two versions — for example, the winner's prize tanked from $100,000 to $30,000. Even the venue had been shifted from Las Vegas to the Atlantic City. But this did not change the charm the tournament attracted and the fun the participants had.


Because the major attraction was not just the first prize (which was regal despite all the reduction — it was $18,000 more than the first prize at the Isle of Man). There was eye-popping amount to of money up for grabs in almost every category you can think of, right from U-1200 to U-2549!

India No. 4, B. Adhiban, was India's brightest hope in the Open. He was the top seed.

The event was a 9-round tournament with a twist. At the end of seven rounds, the top four players qualified to the Millionaire Monday playoff. These four players would fight for the big money. The remaining players who did not qualify would get to play the eighth and ninth rounds, of course, but they would be eligible for prizes beginning from the fifth place. Each category had about forty prizes.


But what if there was a tie at the top after seven rounds? There would be a rapid games tiebreak to determine the top-four finishers, who would qualify for Millionaire Monday.

In such a scenario, India No. 4, B. Adhiban, found himself in a strange situation in the all-important seventh round.

A win meant he qualifies to play Millionaires Monday. But a draw would mean that he will have to play a tiebreak match in rapid time controls. A loss would mean he would not be in the race for Millionaire Monday.


He was black against English GM Gawain Jones. The game had mostly bordered around equality most of the time, although black may have had a slight edge.

Black to play. Prophylaxis!

Adhiban could have taken a draw here with one accurate move. Black has a weak pawn on h5 that the white bishop plans to attack. How will you hold the draw?

[Event "Millionaire Chess Open 2016"]
[Site "Atlantic City, NJ"]
[Date "2016.10.09"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Jones, Gawain C B"]
[Black "Adhiban, B."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2647"]
[BlackElo "2689"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "5k2/8/5p2/4pP1p/4P2P/7B/2n2K2/8 w - - 0 79"]
[PlyCount "21"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:40"]
[BlackClock "0:01:15"]
79. Bf1 Kg7 $4 (79... Nd4 $1 {This covers the e2 square, stopping Be2. White
has no way to attack h5. ...Nd4 covers f3, e2, c2, and b3. Whatever maneuver
the bishop tries, it just cannot reach the diagonal. Draw.} 80. Bc4 Kg7 81. Ke3
Kf8) 80. Be2 Kh6 {The problem here is that the black king becomes PASSIVE. It
cannot leave the h5 pawn. This allows the white king to invade easily.} 81. Bd1
Nd4 82. Ke3 Nb5 83. Kd3 Nd4 84. Kc4 Nc6 85. Kc5 Nd4 86. Kb4 Nc6+ 87. Kc4 Nd4
88. Kc5 Kg7 89. Bxh5 {and White soon won. A heartbreaking loss for Adhiban.}


V Prudhvi Kumar (1699) won the U1800 section and laughed his way to the bank with $12,000 (Approx. Rs. 8 lakhs).

Prudhvi hails from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and is trained by Riyaz Ahamad SK. Prudhvi had scored 5.5/7, qualifying for the Millionaire Monday event in the U1800 section.


In the grand finale, he was pitted against Artem Verdiya, who had not even dropped half-a-point in the entire event. The first two games, held in 25-minute time control, ended in draws. A 2-game match with 15-minute time control became necessary to break the tie.

Black to play

Prudhvi was black and had lost a pawn. But his opponent has just blundered with Bb5! Can you find the winning trick that Prudhvi found to take the lead?

[Event "Millionaire Monday"]
[Site "Atlantic City, NJ"]
[Date "2016.10.10"]
[Round "10.11"]
[White "Verdiya, Artem"]
[Black "Prudhvi Kumar V"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D02"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r1r1k3/1p2bpp1/1Bn2np1/3pp3/8/1NP1P3/PP3PPP/R3KB1R w KQ - 0 17"]
[PlyCount "12"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
[WhiteClock "0:02:02"]
[BlackClock "0:02:59"]
17. Bb5 $4 Nd7 $1 18. Bxc6 bxc6 19. Ba5 c5 {White is helpless.} 20. Ke2 c4 21.
Rhd1 Nf6 22. Nd2 Rxa5 $19 0-1









White to play. Bishop vs. Knight. How can you simply kill the black knight?

Prudhvi is white and he went on to win the game. But he did not find the best move here. He took back the pawn with Rxa5, but this is only equal. He would have won the prize with a draw even, but his opponent threw the game away anyway.

[Event "Millionaire Monday"]
[Site "Atlantic City, NJ"]
[Date "2016.10.10"]
[Round "11.11"]
[White "Prudhvi Kumar V"]
[Black "Verdiya, Artem"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A01"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/1p2rppk/7p/p1R2P2/P7/1P3K1P/5B2/3n4 w - - 0 37"]
[PlyCount "2"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:39"]
[BlackClock "0:00:43"]
37. Rxa5 $2 $11 (37. Bd4 $1 {and the knight is dead.} Rd7 38. Rc4 Re7 39. Rc1
Re1 40. Rc7 Kg8 41. Rxb7 $18) 37... Nc3 {this should be equal, but Bklack lost
out of frustration anyway.} 1-0 

Polish Grandmaster Dariusz Swiercz won the 3rd Millionaire Chess Open. The 22-year-old former World Junior Champion beat Gawain Jones in the final.

GM Maurice Ashley -- the brain behind the move

Kudos to the organizing team — Maurice Ashley and Amy Lee — for an excellent show.

Amy was reportedly hospitalized at the start of the tourney. ChessBase India wishes her speedy recovery.


There were a handful of Indians participating in the tournament, and many managed to win some sort of a prize in the end. Notably, Jagpreet Singh won the second position in the U2000 section, winning $6,000. Meet Puri was third in the U1600 section and won $3,000.


This may be the last Millionaire Chess event we saw for the time being. It always had been a unique event in the chess calendar. The fun may be matched by other events, no wonder. But can the prize money be...?


That is the question.


Games in PGN

Final Standings

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