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The star from Assam, Shahil Dey scores his first GM norm

by Himank Ghosh - 16/06/2022

IM Shahil Dey is an inspiration for sportspersons all over North-East India. In a place with not-so-good chess exposure and facilities, he became the first International Master from Assam. Shahil recently achieved his first GM norm at the Cattolica Open 2022. Celebrating the occasion, we had an interview with Shahil and the director of Jalan Industries, Mrityunjay Jalan. Mrityunjay has supported Shahil's career with an amount of Rs.5,00,000 through the Murleidhor Jalan Foundation. In this interview, we discuss Shahil's performance, his best game from the event, get to know the vision of Mrityunjay for North East chess and much more.

Shahil Dey shines at the Cattolica Open 2022 in Italy

Check out the complete interview of Shahil Dey and Mrityunjay Jalan

An Interview with Shahil Dey and Mrityunjay Jalan

Sagar Shah(SS): Shahil, Huge Congratulations on getting your first GM Norm at the Cattolica Open! How was your experience at the event?

Shahil: Thank you so much, Sagar! It was a little bit difficult for me, but I didn't let any pressure catch up to me. I was thinking in terms of single games, and not worrying about the tournament as a whole. I just wanted to play good chess and not think about scoring norms going forward.

Shahil's game-by-game approach is something every chess player can learn from. Focus on the games, not the rating.

SS: Amazing! What is your live rating as of now?

Shahil:  Right now, my live rating is 2402. I still need 2 more norms and 98 rating points to get to the GM title.

SS: Mrityunjay, congratulations to you as well! How are you feeling about Shahil's achievement?

Mrityunjay Jalan (MJ): Firstly, thank you for the invite, Sagar! It's a great feeling to be on the same call as Shahil. I've been following Shahil's tournaments for a long time now. Huge congratulations to him for this amazing feat. You know, it's a whole different feeling when I'm following chess now - I'm always rooting for him!

Mrityunjay Jalan has supported Shahil Dey through the Murleidhor Jalan Foundation with an amount of Rs.5,00,000

SS: Absolutely! Mrityunjay, today we will share some critical positions from one of Shahil's wins in the Cattolica Open. Let's see if you and our viewers can figure out the correct moves- Shahil will give you hints! How strong are you chess-wise?

MJ: I play a lot of chess online. My rapid rating is around 1600. I mostly play on my phone, because I'm always on the move due to work. I don't know how well I'll get on, let's give it a try! (smiles). 


Critical moments of FM Elie Milikow (2460) vs Shahil Dey (2368)

What should Black play here?

After Elie played 11.Bf3, Shahil went the excellent ...Qc4! The idea was to maneuver the Black queen from c4-c7 so that the b7-pawn is protected and the light-squared bishop can develop freely.

How did Shahil continue as Black here?

 After 16.Bh4, Shahil played the excellent 16...a5! He noticed that if the White b3-knight is removed, then he can play a4-a3 and attack the b2-pawn, which will make the c3-pawn a weakness.

What if White plays 17.a4? How will you continue then?

17.a4 isn't really possible due to 17...e4! 18. Nxe4 Bxb3! winning material.

Black to play, find the winning sequence of moves.

After 23.Bxe4, Shahil found a very nice winning sequence with  23..Be6! 24. Qd1 f5! followed by 25..e5 and then axb2. He was 2 pawns up and won comfortably.

SS: So Shahil, what's next for you, which event will you play for your next two norms?

Shahil: I'm planning to play two open tournaments in Serbia - one is the Serbian Open Masters, and another is the Paracin Open. Then I have to come back home and study for my class 10th examinations.

Shahil got his IM title in Serbia. Can he get his GM title in Serbia as well?

SS: Mrityunjay, you're a big sports fan and you've been a big help to Shahil on his journey. You supported him with Rs. 5,00,000 and another talented star from North-Eastern Chess, Mayank Chakraborty with Rs. 2,50,000. What's your vision behind it?

MJ: I've been very passionate about sports since I was growing up. For the longest time, I have wanted to work in sports development. I was always surprised that even though we have so many talented sportspersons all over India, we get so few Olympic medals. My vision started from this point - why can't we, such a large country, produce many more Olympic medals? When I started working in Assam, I realized there's an abundance of talent, but they don't get the right support at the right time. A lot of times what happens is that Indian sportsmen have to decide whether to continue with their passion or get a job to support their families. This hinders their growth and performance.

The Murleidhor Jalan Foundation- named after Mrityunjay's Great-Grandfather, is powering North-Eastern stars Shahil and Mayank!

My entire vision was to support such talented people so that they can improve without having to worry about the monetary aspects. Getting connected with ChessBase India really helped. Sagar, your energy and passion really translate onto people! But this is just a small drop in the ocean. My ultimate vision is to start a sports school here. so we can provide all the resources. and talented people can play sports at a higher level.


SS: Shahil, how has this support helped you so far?

Shahil: This help by Mrityunjay sir has definitely helped me a lot. I can do hard work for chess without any distractions, and I aim to make my supporter happy! (smiles).


SS: We will have another interview like this when Shahil gets his next GM norm (smiling)- Thank you Shahil and Mrityunjay, keep up the great work!

Shahil and Mrityunjay: Thank you so much!

Previous coverage on Shahil Dey:

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