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Thejkumar special: Winning the Liffre Open in style

by Sagar Shah - 02/01/2017

M. S. Thejkumar celebrates his 36th birthday on 2nd of January 2017. He is one of strongest IMs in the country. It's been nearly seven years since Thej has achieved all his three GM norms. He definitely has it in him to be a GM, and he proved it recently by winning the Liffre Open 2016 in France with a dominating performance of 8.0/9. Through this article and a few annotated games we show you why Thej can be called a great positional player, also known as the Indian Smyslov! 

For many years now Thejkumar has been one of India's top International Masters. His story is especially inspirational because, after stagnating in the 2200 zone for quite some, Thej made real progress when he was nearing his thirties. He scored three GM norms without even having an IM title. Like Kramnik, it was his ambition to achieve the grandmaster title without becoming an IM. However, the 2500 Elo mark has been elusive for him. He has been trying to achieve that for quite some years now. His peak rating has been 2479 in August 2015. Currently Thej has an Elo of 2459.


Known for his positional play, the 35-year-old from Karnataka excels in technical positions. When in good form he plays at a very high level and has scored wins over strong players like Melkumyan, Kovalenko, Ghaem Maghami, Mchedlishvili etc. Thanks to his humility, he is liked by everyone in the Indian chess circles and people are happy to see him succeed. Naturally, it was good to see him hit top-notch form at the Liffre Open in France from 21st to 27th of October 2016.

Thej started as the third seed and scored 8.0/9 to finish a full point ahead of his nearest rival

The final standings. Complete list can be found here.

Thejkumar goes to receive his prize of Euros 1400, as the entire crowd applauds his fantastic performance

Prize winners of the event

Liffre lies in northwest region of France. The population of the town is just 6745 people.

The beautiful playing hall

It's always a joy to play on wooden DGT boards

Provisions were made for food right outside the tournament hall

Being a very solid player it is surprising that Thejkumar often uses the Albin Counter Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5!?) successfully with Black

Ojas Kulkarni was the other Indian at the event. He finished sixth.

The game between Thejkumar and Ojas ended in a win for the senior

When we asked Thejkumar to send his favourite game from the tournament with annotations he decided that it would be his eighth round victory against Velislav Kukov. If you are looking out for an option with black against the London System, this game could be very useful.

It is highly commendable that Thejkumar played for a win in the final round when a draw would have given him the title. He destroyed Brendon Bubok's King's Indian with ease.

After Stany's victory in the Sautron Open, it's Thej who continues the Karnataka domination in France!

Thejkumar and his wife Jayashree

Today, 2nd of January 2017, is Thejkumar's 36th birthday. Thejkumar is married to Jayashree. The two of them are pursuing two important goals in their career. While Thej is trying to become a grandmaster, Jayashree is working hard to be a Chartered Accountant. Thej has already achieved his three norms. He just needs 41 Elo points, while Jayashree has cleared her one group out of the two required to be a CA. We hope that the year 2017 would be a successful for both of them and that they will achieve their respective aims in life! ChessBase India wishes them the best.


Pictures from the official website

Official website

Related news:
Sasikiran wins 8th Liffre Open 2022, Sayantan Das third

@ 01/11/2022 by Shahid Ahmed (en)

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