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Vrashank Chouhan and Rakshitta Ravi win the MPL 51st National Junior Open and Girls Championships

by Himank Ghosh - 24/07/2022

Vrashank Chouhan (Rajasthan) and WIM Rakshitta Ravi (Tamil Nadu) clinched the first place in the MPL 51st National Juniors U-19 2022. Vignesh B and Arun Kataria tied for second place with 8.5/11, but Vignesh took the second spot due to better tiebreaks. The top 2 seeds of the open section, IM Raahul VS and IM Avinash Ramesh both had dismal events, and finished with 4.5/11 and 5/11. In the Girl's section, top seed WIM Rakshitta Ravi went undefeated throughout the whole event, scoring 9.5/11. WIM Bommini Mounika Akshaya and WFM Bhagyashree Patil finished a full point behind with 8.5/11, Bommini claimed the second spot due to better tiebreaks. Photo: Tournament Director, Mr. Niranjan Godbole. 

Vrashank Chouhan makes an excellent comeback victory

Until the end of Round 7, Vrashank had a golden streak of 7 consecutive victories. He was leading with a margin of 1.5 points over his nearest competitor, and it seemed it was impossible to catch him. But Caissa is a fickle goddess! In rounds 8 and 9, Vrashank suffered 2 back-to-back losses against Alekhya Mukhopadhyay (West Bengal) and Srihari L (Puducherry). This is a very tough situation to handle psychologically- it's very easy to get demoralized and end up with even worse performances.

But Vrashank did not fall into such traps! He kept his head calm and scored a very important victory against FM Mohammed Anees in the penultimate round. After Round 10, 4 players were tied with 8 points- Vrashank, Aswath S, Vignesh B, and FM Ayush Sharma. It all came down to the final round battle.

Vrashank after winning the national juniors 2022. Photo: Niranjan Godbole

Ayush Sharma vs Vrashank Chouhan, Round 11

Position after 14.Qf6. Black to play, can you find the best continuation?

14.Qf6 was a big blunder in an otherwise fine position for White, the best move would've been 14.Qg3 where the queen could escape to d3. The queen is completely misplaced in f6, and Black took advantage of the same by playing 14...Nf5! and now the queen has no squares to go to. The threat now is ..Nd7, and there's no possible way to save the Queen. Ayush tried 15.Rf3 Nd7! 16.Rxf5 Nxf6 17.Rxf6, getting 2 minor pieces for the Queen. But that was not enough in any way, and Vrashank won the game comfortably.

The Board 2 game between Vignesh B and Srihari L ended in a draw. Thus, Vrashank won the open championship with 9/11, taking home a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000.

Alekhya Mukhopadhyay vs Vignesh B, Round 10

While having a passed pawn is generally considered as a big advantage, you have to be careful about it. Alekhya pushed his passed pawn prematurely, and it cost him the game.

Position after 37.b7. How should Black continue?

Vignesh found the correct series of checks to win the overextended b7-pawn: 37...Qe1+ 38.Kg2 Qe4+ followed by Qxb7. Black's extra c5-pawn secured him a comfortable victory.

Rakshitta Ravi vs Sarayu Velpula, Round 8

Rakshitta getting the cash prize and trophy. Photo: Maharashtra Chess Association

Position after 31...Re8. White to play, find the winning continuation.

White is better is in the position due to his more active pieces, but 31...Re8 was the losing mistake. Perhaps a move like 31...Kg7/Kf7 would've provided better resistance. Now White started a combination to trade off all the pieces- 32.Nd7+ Ke7 33.Rxe8+ Kxe8 34.Nf6+ Ke7 35.Nxd5+ cxd5.

Position after 35...cxd5.

The resulting king and pawn endgame is completely winning for White due to the following reasons:

- White can create a passed pawn on the queen side.

- The Black king will be busy protecting the d5-pawn.

- Any kingside pawn breaks can be prevented by playing h5.

Sarayu resigned in a few more moves, giving Rakshitta sole lead with 7/8. Rakshitta drew the next 3 games comfortably to clinch the championship and bagged a beautiful trophy and cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000.

The prizes were given away at the hands of Dr. Dipak Ripote (I.R.S), member of Income tax appellate Tribunal, Mr.Siddharth Mayur, Working president of MCA, Mr. Purshottam Bhilare, VP of MCA, Mr.Sarang Lagu, Hon Secretary of PYC, Mr.Niranjan Godbole, Hon Secretary of MCA, Mr.Shirish Sathe, Chess Department Secretary of PYC, Mr.Prakash Kunte, Trustee of Pune District Chess Circle, Mr.Debashish Barua, Chief Arbiter.

The MPL 51st National Junior Open (Under-19) & 36th National Junior (Under-19) Girls Chess Championships 2022 being organized by Maharashtra Chess Association Under the aegis of All India Chess Federation and sponsored by AICF’s Official National Championships Sponsor MPL, Co-Sponsor’s Amanora and h2e Systems, Venue Partner PYC Hindu Gymkhana, Pune.

The National junior champions in a single frame. Photo: Maharashtra Chess Association

Important Links:

Final standings of Open championships

Final standings of Girls championships

AICF official website


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