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Ravi Teja takes it all in Sangli!

by Avathanshu Bhat - 24/05/2017

Playing his first tournament in India after marriage IM Ravi Teja travelled to Sangli with his wife. Both of them took part in the 50th edition of the Babukaka Shirgaonkar tournament. Ravi claimed the top prize of Rs.1 lakh, while Anusha was the best woman player! Our 12-year-old reporter Avathanshu Bhat was in Sangli and has sent us a report loaded with chess content. In it you can find an interesting idea against the London played by Ravi Teja and some excellent annotations by the young upcoming talent of Mumbai Aryan Polakhare.

A picture can speak a thousand words. 373 kilometres away from mega city Mumbai lies a simple, humble city Sangli which has witnessed India's most treasured chess players. Sangli not just has its Fide Rating Open tournaments, but also the age-category events to encourage the young kids to get the feel of playing chess with the classical time control and without the fear of losing rating. And the Women only tournament has absolutely no entry fees!


Before the late 1960s, there were hardly any tournaments that were looked forward to by players. However in 1967 the Shri Babukaka Shirgaonkar (SBS) tournament changed this. Chess players would throng towards Sangli in May every year. It is one of the few tournaments that has been successfully conducted without fail for 50 years. Name a great Indian chess player and it is impossible that he/she has not been to Sangli! Right from Viswanathan Anand, Abhijit Kunte, Sasikiran, P. Harikrishna, Parimarjan Negi, Vidit Gujarathi, Swati Ghate, Padmini Rout, everyone has tasted the waters of Sangli!


So what made such a city the center of attraction for chess? I think it was a mix of many reasons: the lack of good tournaments in India during that period, the commitment for the excellence by the organizers, and the timing. (It was usually held in the summer vacations so that maximum kids can participate), the relatively cheap accommodation and not to forget the sumptuous Maharashtrian food!

Shri Babukaka Shirgaonkar tournament has flourished for 50 years now. The Shirgaonkar family contributed to this success story as well as other chess fanatics in Sangli.

Mr. Shirgaonkar is optimistic that the chess legacy will continue

During conversation with Mr. Shirgaonkar, I learned that Mr. Bhausaheb Padsalgikar was the man responsible for the staring this tournament and that he had merely carried it forward. Although 'merely' is an enormous understatement for the work in all the last years!

The two veterans who are the pillars of Sangli Chess

Deepak Vaychal, one of the important men behind the scenes of this event, shared some rare pictures from his treasure trove.

Anand from an amateur to a strong player to a World Champion - Sangli has seen it all!

IM Padmini Rout, WGM Swati Ghate and WGM Mary Ann Gommes - All these stars had their chess grind here

The 50th Shri Babukaka Shirgaonkar memorial took place in the Dr Bal Shikshan Mandir. The titled players who were here to battle it out for the winner's purse of Rs.1,00,000 were IM Abishek Kelkar, IM Ravi Teja S, IM Rajesh V A V, IM Sameer Kathamale and IM Ramnath Balasubramanium. The event took place from 7th to 12th May and saw 237 players in action.

The jubilant couple after winning. While his wife Anusha N L V came first in the women section, IM Ravi Teja took it all!

IM Ravi Teja S scored 8.5 on 10 playing some great chess. Hear what the champion has to say on this feat:

As promised, here is IM Ravi Teja's best game of the tournament with an interesting idea for Black against the London System:

[Event "Sangli Rating Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.05.10"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Wagh, Suyog"]
[Black "Ravi, Teja S"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D02"]
[WhiteElo "2138"]
[BlackElo "2369"]
[Annotator "Ravi Teja"]
[PlyCount "106"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2011.01.09"]
1. Nf3 {This is a crucial game as the opponent is a half point lead among
others} d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bf4 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. c3 Qb6 6. Qb3 c4 7. Qc2 (7. Qxb6
axb6 8. Na3 Ra5 9. Nc2 b5 10. a3) 7... Bf5 8. Qc1 (8. Qxf5 Qxb2 9. Be2 e6) 8...
Nh5 $5 {generally here the games proceed with e6 or g6 ideas while white
immediately responds with h3 to secure his f4 bishop} 9. Be5 f6 10. Bg3 e5 11.
dxe5 (11. Nbd2 Bd3 12. b3 Qa6) 11... Nxg3 12. hxg3 Nxe5 (12... fxe5 13. Nh4 Be6
14. Ng6) 13. Be2 Nd3+ 14. Bxd3 Bxd3 15. Nd4 Bc5 16. Ne2 g5 17. Qd2 O-O-O (17...
Qe6 18. Nc1 Bxb1 19. Rxb1 Qe4) 18. Nc1 Be4 19. b4 Bd6 (19... cxb3 20. Nxb3 Bxg2
21. Rh6 Bf8 22. Rh2 Be4 23. Nd4) 20. Kf1 h5 21. a4 h4 22. gxh4 d4 $5 (22...
Rxh4 23. Rxh4 gxh4 24. f3 h3 25. gxh3 Bxf3 26. Qf2 Be4 27. Nd2 {i saw upto
here and thought white is slowly devoleping his knights} Bh7 28. Ne2 Re8 29.
Nd4 Bd3+ 30. Ke1) 23. cxd4 (23. exd4 Qc6) 23... Bxb4 (23... Qc6 $6 24. f3 Bxf3
25. b5 Qe4 26. Nc3 Qg4 27. Qf2) 24. Qe2 Qc6 25. Kg1 (25. f3 Bd3 26. Nxd3 cxd3)
25... gxh4 26. f3 Bg6 27. Na3 Kb8 28. Nxc4 (28. Qxc4 Qxc4 29. Nxc4 Rc8) 28...
Rc8 29. Nb2 Qc3 30. Kf2 (30. Na2 Qa3) 30... Bd6 31. Rf1 (31. f4 Bh5 32. Na2 Qc2
) 31... Bg3+ 32. Kg1 h3 33. Ncd3 hxg2 34. Rfc1 Bxd3 35. Nxd3 Rh1+ 36. Kxg2 Rh2+
37. Kf1 (37. Kxg3 Rxe2 38. Rxc3 Rxc3) 37... Qa5 (37... Qb3 38. Rxc8+ Kxc8 39.
Rc1+ Kd8 40. Nc5 Qd5) 38. Rxc8+ (38. Nc5 Rch8 39. Nd7+ Ka8 40. Qb5 Rh1+ 41. Kg2
(41. Ke2 R8h2+ 42. Kd3 Qd2+ 43. Ke4 Rxc1 44. Nc5) 41... Qd2+ 42. Kxg3) 38...
Kxc8 39. Rc1+ Kb8 (39... Kd8 40. Nc5) 40. Nc5 Rh1+ (40... Rxe2 $4 41. Nd7+ Ka8
42. Rc8+) 41. Kg2 Rxc1 42. Kxg3 (42. Qb2 Rxc5) 42... Qc7+ 43. f4 Qg7+ 44. Kf3
f5 45. Qg2 Qxg2+ 46. Kxg2 b6 47. Ne6 a5 48. Ng7 b5 49. axb5 a4 50. e4 a3 51.
exf5 a2 52. f6 a1=Q 53. f7 Qa2+ 0-1

The players from Maharashtra had a great time here... From Left: Chinmay Kulkarni, Avathanshu Bhat, Rakesh Kulkarni, IM Sameer Kathmale

IM Abhishek Kelkar, top seed of the tournament, scored the same points as Ravi Teja, but had to be content with the second spot on tie-break.


Mumbai kid Aryan Polakhare had a gala time with some amazing games!
He scored a fantastic 7 points and increased 90 ELO points.

Here is Aryan's best game from the tournament. I really liked his annotations. Particularly the one where he mentions that exchanging a knight that has moved four times for a bishop that has never moved is not a good idea!

[Event "Sangli Open 2017"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.05.13"]
[Round "10.15"]
[White "Aryan, Polakhare"]
[Black "Soham, Datar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B80"]
[WhiteElo "1791"]
[BlackElo "2030"]
[Annotator "Aryan Polakhare"]
[PlyCount "117"]
[SourceDate "2015.05.25"]
[SourceVersionDate "2015.05.25"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 {My opponent was very
strong Najdorf player so I thought he would study my games and will be
prepared for Bg5 variation in Najdorf.} 6. g3 {surprise!} e6 7. Bg2 Be7 {
First time in my chess career I was playing this line. I saw many games of
Adams Michael before the round.} 8. O-O O-O 9. a4 {I prepared e5 variation
very deeply but he played e6 and now I was playing with candidates and
prophylaxis.} Qc7 10. Be3 Nc6 11. Nxc6 (11. Nde2 {This was idea my opponent
was talking about. In the longer run c4}) 11... bxc6 12. a5 {I thought b6
square was very weak so started to put pressure on it} Nd7 {My opponent told
that he was also applying prophylaxis.} (12... Bb7 {but the move I played in
the game was right} 13. Bb6 (13. Qe2 c5 14. Rfd1 Rad8 15. Bf4 Nd7 16. Nb1 Nb8
17. Nd2 Nc6 18. Nc4 Nd4 19. Qd3 e5 20. c3 exf4 21. cxd4 fxg3 22. hxg3 Bf6 23.
e5 dxe5 24. d5 Qd7 25. Be4 g6 26. d6 Bxe4 27. Qxe4 h5 28. Ra3 Bg7 29. Rb3 Qa4
30. Rbd3 Kh7 31. b3 Qb5 32. Qd5 Rd7 33. Nxe5 Bxe5 34. Qxe5 Qxa5 35. g4 Qb4 36.
gxh5 Qg4+ 37. Kh2 f6 38. Qxc5 Rh8 39. Qc4 Qf5 40. hxg6+ Kg7+ 41. Kg2 Qh5 42.
Qe6 Qh2+ 43. Kf1 Qh1+ 44. Ke2 Qb7 45. Rc1 Rhd8 46. Rc5 Qh1 47. Rh3 {1-0 (47)
Predke,A (2535)-Jakovenko,D (2731) Sochi 2016}) 13... Qc8 14. b4 Nd7 15. Na4 c5
16. bxc5 dxc5 17. Qe2 Bc6 18. Rfb1 Rb8 19. Bf1 Bxa4 20. Rxa4 Bd8 21. Qxa6 Qxa6
22. Bxa6 Nxb6 23. axb6 Rxb6 24. Rxb6 Bxb6 25. Bc4 g5 26. Ra6 {1/2-1/2 (26)
Dragun,K (2594)-Sasikiran,K (2637) Moscow 2016}) 13. Na4 Rb8 14. Nb6 c5 15. Nc4
(15. Nxc8 {I had read in some book that when Knight travels 4 moves and bishop
has not moved there is no use to take the bishop.}) 15... Bb7 16. c3 {again
prophylaxis to support e4} f5 17. exf5 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Rxf5 19. Bf4 Qc6+ 20. Kg1
e5 21. Bc1 Rf7 22. Qe2 $6 (22. f4 $1 $13 {I liked this move when I was
analysing at home}) 22... e4 23. Bf4 $2 g5 24. Be3 $2 d5 25. Nd2 Ne5 $2 (25...
Rxb2 {very simply bad} 26. Rfb1 Rxb1+ 27. Rxb1) 26. f4 $1 {the move I like a
lot. After this move I became very confident.} exf3 27. Nxf3 Nc4 28. Bc1 {
my style of going very passive I should have played Nd2 so I think I must
start again with practical chess defence book.} Rbf8 29. Bxg5 Bxg5 30. Nxg5
Rxf1+ 31. Rxf1 Rxf1+ 32. Qxf1 {A game with many mistakes but after I got plus
position I converted it properly.} Qg6 33. Qf4 Qb1+ 34. Kg2 Qxb2+ 35. Kh3 {
King is very safe} Qb7 36. Qg4 Ne5 37. Qe6+ Nf7 38. Kg4 $1 (38. Qxf7+ Qxf7 39.
Nxf7 Kxf7 40. Kg4 Ke6 $11) 38... Kg7 39. Qxf7+ Qxf7 40. Nxf7 Kxf7 41. Kf5 Ke7
42. Ke5 d4 43. cxd4 c4 44. Ke4 Kd6 45. d5 Kc5 46. d6 $1 Kxd6 47. Kd4 c3 48.
Kxc3 Ke5 49. Kc4 Kd6 50. g4 Kc6 51. g5 Kd6 52. h4 Ke6 53. Kc5 Kf5 54. Kb6 Kg4
55. Kxa6 Kxh4 56. Kb6 Kxg5 57. a6 h5 58. a7 h4 59. a8=Q 1-0


Sangli is known as Sugar Belt of India and so are the mangoes! Players take these home as souvenirs!

Sangli is cheaper than other big cities, so a basic room near the venue costs Rs. 600 per night 

The riverside near the venue is soothing after a tough match

Well, this is another year and another feather for the organisers. I hope Sangli chess flourishes and continues to spread like it has always done in the past nurturing all the budding stars of chess. It is also our duty that we support this event that has built up an amazing chess culture in the country! See you all in 2018!

Final Ranking after 10 Rounds

Rk. SNo   Name Typ sex Gr FED Rtg Club/City Pts. 
1 2 IM Ravi Teja S.      AP IND 2369 RLY 8.5
2 1 IM Abhishek Kelkar      Pune IND 2398 Custom 8.5
3 3 IM Rajesh V A V      TN IND 2314 TN 8
4 12   Wagh Suyog  U18   Ahme IND 2138 MAH 8
5 5 IM Kathmale Sameer      Sang IND 2294 RLY 8
6 7   Sammed Jaykumar Shete  U18   Kolh IND 2263 MAH 8
7 6   Deshpande Aniruddha      Pune IND 2270 MAH 7.5
8 15   Bartakke Amardeep S.      Mumb IND 2095 MAH 7.5
9 8   Kulkarni Chinmay      Pune IND 2256 MAH 7.5
10 22   Mohite Ranveer      Pune IND 1985 MAH 7.5
11 9 FM Sauravh Khherdekar      Nagp IND 2207 MAH 7.5
12 38   Nagare Akhilesh      Nasi IND 1807 MAH 7.5
13 19   Satkar Chirag      Mumb IND 2041 MAH 7.5
14 4   Kulkarni Rakesh      Mumb IND 2306 MAH 7
15 11 IM Ramnathan Balasubramaniam      TN IND 2153 TN 7
16 10   Shelke Sankarsha  U14   Ahme IND 2185 MAH 7
17 32   Ponkshe Sarang      Pune IND 1880 MAH 7
18 44   Rahul Bharadwaj B  U16   TN IND 1765 TN 7
19 37   Rohan Bharat Joshi      Pune IND 1810 MAH 7
20 13   Phadke Sohan      Pune IND 2119 MAH 7

Complete ranking list

About the author:

Avathanshu Bhat is a 12-year-old chess player from Mumbai. Apart from being a chess fanatic, he is a voracious reader and his favourite books include Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and the complete adventures of Feluda by Satyajit Ray. He loves Daniel King and enjoys his Power Play DVDs very much. He maintains his own blog.


Read more articles by Avathanshu Bhat:

Life of a young chess player

Joy of losing

G. Akash wins the Grand Hyderabad affair

10-year-old boy's deep calculation (16,000+ hits on Youtube)

12-year-old chessentrepreneur Avathanshu Bhat

Chess species classified


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