Reports : Commonwealth Chess Championship

Report 9 : 10 July 17

Abhijeet Gupta scores a hat-trick in Commonwealth Chess

Commonwealth Champion Abhijeet Gupta

Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta came up with an inspired performance in the final round to crush Aleksander Wohl of Australia and annexed the gold medal in the Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017.

Abhijeet Gupta with winner’s trophy

The Delhi-based stretched his total Commonwealth titles to four in the last five years and completed a hat-trick of titles. In 2015, he had won the title in Delhi and had won the 2016 edition at Sri Lanka. Gupta was in his elements in the final round as Wohl found no defense. Playing white, it was a queen pawn game by the Indian and Wohl chose an off-beat system that soon spelt doom. The middle game was one sided as Wohl struggled on all parts of the board and it took just 24 moves for Gupta to wrap the issues.

“Every championship or tournament is special but somehow I am able to bring out good chess playing especially the Commonwealth in last few years”, said Gupta after the game. The four times champion pointed out that he played decently right through. “I was better in most of the games I won but I was worse against Tejas (Bakre) especially in the penultimate round, generally I am satisfied about my play here and hope to take this forward in the next few events”, he said.

First Runner Up Vaibhav Suri, Champion Abhijeet Gupta and Second Runner Up Tejas Bakre

For the records, Vaibhav Suri won the silver while the bronze medal went to Tejas Bakre. Vaibhav Suri played out a draw with fellow GM Abhijeet Kunte, who finished fourth, while Bakre played well in a difficult position to beat M S Thej Kumar. The Women’s Championship was won by Swati Ghate who got rewarded for some excellent play in the early phase of the event. In the final round Ghate defeated Indian junior champion Kumar Gaurav. The Silver here went to Mary Ann Gomes while last year’s champion Tania Sachdev had to be content with the bronze.

Women Champion Swati Ghate Receiving Trophy
Swati Ghate and Abhijeet Gupta

Results final round: Abhijeet Gupta (7.5) beat Aleksandar Wohl (6.5); Abhijit Kunte (6.5) drew with Vaibhav Suri (7); M S Thejkumar (6) lost to Tejas Bakre (7); Erigaisi Arjun (6.5) drew with P Shyaamnikhil (6.5); Shardul Gagare (6) drew with Ziaur Rahman (6); Swapnil S. Dhopade (6) drew with Tania Sachdev (6); Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib (6) drew with C R G Krishna (6); Ankit Rajpara (6) Rishi Sardana (6); Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh (6) drew with Praveen Thipsay (6); Deepan Chakkravarthy (5.5) drew with Mary Ann Gomes (6).

Report 8 : 09 July 17

Aleksander Wohl stuns Swapnil Dhopade

International Master Aleksander Wohl of Australia continued with his dream run and defeated Grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade to be among joint leaders after the end of the eighth and penultimate round of Commonwealth Chess Championship now underway here at the Leela Ambience.

Alexander Wohl and Swapnil Dhopade

Wohl, was a picture of confidence even as Dhopade had his chances out of huge complexities that arose after a rather dull opening system. Usually known for his fantastic composure, Dhopade, for once, slipped heavily in the middle game when an erroneous plan turned a rather dull looking position in to something with wild tactical possibilities.
Wohl might have won sooner but the appetite of the watching spectators would not have been satiated. Instead what happened was a perfect error-filled game wherein both players had their chances but in the end the Australian proved his weight thanks to a big blunder by Dhopade.

Smiles before the battle. Tejas Bakre and Abhijeet Gupta

With just one round to come in the Rs. 10 Lakh championship Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta , Vaibhav Suri and Wohl share the lead on 6.5 points apiece. As many as five players – Tejas Bakre, M S Thej Kumar, Erigaisi Arjun, Abhijit Kunte and P Shyamnikhil share the fourth spot having six points apiece.

Vaibhav Suri and Shardul Gagare

The ‘Battle Royale’ in the final round on Monday will see Gupta crossing swords with Wohl and the winner is likely to win this year’s championship. It may be recalled that Gupta is a winner of this championship for last two years and has won it three times in the last four years. If Gupta wins, he will surpass Nigel Short of England and be the record holder in Commonwealth Championships.

Tejas Bakre
Abhijeet Gupta

It was not an easy outing though for Gupta who was relegated to a slightly worse position against Tejas Bakre. However, a timely queen exchange led to only a slightly better position for Bakre when the draw was agreed.

Erigaisi Arjun caused a sensational upset of the day defeating Aravindh Chithambaram.
In the women’s championship Tania Sachdev and Mary Ann Gomes emerged as the expected new leaders on 5.5 points following victories over Srija Seshadri and Bala Kanamma respectively. The pairings for the last round will decide who meets tougher opposition but as of now it seems Tania holds some advantage thanks to her high rating.

GM Abdullah Al Rakib of Bangladesh in action

Results round 8: Tejas Bakre (6) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (6.5); Vaibhav Suri (6.5) beat Shardul Gagare (5.5); Aleksander wohl (6.5) beat Swapnil Dhopade (5.5); Pravin Thipsay (5.5) lost to M S Thej Kumar (6); Aravindh Chithambaram (5) lost to Erigaisi Arjun (6); Ziaur Rahman (5.5) drew with M N Sheikh (5.5); M Guha (5) lost to Abhijit Kunte (6); Rishi Sardana (5.5) drew with Abdulla Al Rakib (5.5); P Shyam Nikhil (6) beat M C Reddy (5); Swati Ghate (5) drew with Sahaj Grover (5).

Abhijit Kunte

Report 7 : 08 July 17

Commonwealth Chess: Abhijeet Gupta beats Vaibhav Suri to snatch lead

Abhijeet Gupta and Vaibhav Suri

Grandmaster and defending champion Abhijeet Gupta lived up to his top billing and put it across Vaibhav Suri to snatch the sole lead on six points after the end of the seventh round of Commonwealth Chess Championship here at the Leela Convention Centre.

Abhijeet Gupta

Looking for his third straight Commonwealth Crown, Gupta came out with one of his best performances thus far as he slowly but surely outplayed Suri. The Bogo Indian defense by Suri was a mild surprise for Gupta but he pursued his objectives determinedly in a tense middle game.

Just while it looked Suri was much in the game, Gupta spotted a nice tactical trick thanks to an optical blunder. The end result was a queen for two pieces for Gupta and thereafter Suri did not stand a chance.

Suri, leading by a half point at the start of the round, suffered his first loss but the young GM from Delhi is still tied for the second spot on 5.5 points.

Swapnil Dhopade and Tejas Bakre

With Gupta at the helm, Tejas Bakre, Shardul Gagare, Pravin Thipsay, Suri and Alexander Wohl of Australia share the second spot on 5.5 points apiece. The race is still tight and tomorrow’s game could be crucial to decide the outcome of the tournament.

Swapnil Dhopade

The women’s championship was thrown wild open as the in-form Swati Ghate and Bhakti Kulkarni suffered defeats at the hands of Gagare and Abdullah Al Rakib of Bangladesh respectively.

Young Suhani Lohiaa in Under-8 Girls Section

Highest rated among women, Tania Sachdev is now among the leaders in the women’s section. It’s a tough draw for most of the women players in the penultimate round as well and Tania along with Mary Ann Gomes are now favourites to annex the title in the women’s championship.

Namaganda Christine of Uganda and evergreen Rani Hamid of Bangladesh

Important results round 7: Abhijeet Gupta (6) beat Vaibhav Suri (5.5); Swapnil S. Dhopade (5.5) drew with Tejas Bakre (5.5); Aravindh Chithambaram (5) drew with Aleksandar Wohl (5.5); Abhijit Kunte (5) drew with P Shyaamnikhil (5); M S Thejkumar (5) drew with Mitrabha Guha (5); P M Thipsay (5.5) beat Deepan Chakkravarthy (4.5); Shardul Gagare (5.5) beat Swati Ghate (4.5); G M H Thilakarathne (4) lost to Ziaur Rahman (5); Abdullah Al Rakib (5) beat Bhakti Kulkarni (4); Ankit R. Rajpara (4.5) drew with  Rajesh Nayak (4.5); M Chakravarthi Reddy (4.5) beat Enamul Hossain (3.5); P V Nandhidhaa (4.5) drew with Tania Sachdev (4.5)

Report 6 : 07 July 17

Vaibhav Suri noses ahead in Commonwealth Chess

Vaibhav Suri

Grandmaster Vaibhav Suri defeated compatriot GM Aravindh Chithambaram to emerge as the sole leader on 5.5 points after the end of the sixth round of Commonwealth Chess Championship now underway here at the Leela Ambience.

Vaibhav Suri and Aravindh Chithambaram

On what turned out to be a tough day for Chithambaram, Suri capitalised on most of the opportunities offered by his younger rival and took the point home.

For the records, it was a French defense exchange variation wherein Suri as white allowed Chithambaram to equalise without much ado. However, ambitious as he is, Chithamabaram went for some real complicated play after sacrificing a piece and ended up on the losing side.

Abhijeet Gupta and Swapnil Dhopade

Top seed and defending champion Abhijeet Gupta was held to a draw by Swapnil Dhopade on the top board. The Catalan opening as white gave Gupta a tangible advantage in the middle game that he carried well in to the endgame as well. To Dhopade’s credit, he stayed put till the every end and some small inaccuracies by Gupta led to a drawn rook and minor piece endgame. Momentarily, there was a scare on a single move when Gupta could have lost the game but Dhopade did not spot the chance with is clock ticking away.

Abhijeet Gupta

Among other top games Tejas Bakre did not get much and settled for a quick draw with Abhijit Kunte while Alexander Wohl of Australia defeated Bhakti Kulkarni in a tense affair.

Tejas Bakre

With just three rounds to come in the Rs. 10 Lakhs championship, Gupta, Wohl, Bakre and Dhopade share the second spot on five points apiece.

Alexander Wohl

In the women’s section that is part of the main event, Swati Ghate now leads the tables with another fighting performance. The Pune based took her tally to a very impressive 4.5 points following a draw with Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.

Swati Ghate

Important results round 6: Abhijeet Gupta (5) drew with Swapnil Dhopade (5); Vaibhav Suri (5.5) bt Aravindh Chithambaram (4.5); Tejas Bakre (5) drew with Abhijit Kunte (4.5); Mitrabha Guha (4.5) drew with Shardul Gagare (4.5); Bhakti Kulkarni (4) lost to Aleksandar Wohl (Aus, 5); Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 4) drew with Swati Ghate (4.5); Niaz Murshed (Ban, 3.5) lost to M. S. Thej Kumar (4.5); Sahaj Grover (3.5) lost to Pravin Thipsay (4.5); Deepan Chakkravarthy (4.5) bt K. Priyanka (3.5); Mary Ann Gomes (4) drew with Abdullah Al Rakib Mollah (4); Chakravarthi Reddy (4) drew with Ankit Rajpara (4); V. Pranavananda (3.5) lost to P. Shyam Nikhil (4.5).

 

 

Report 5 : 06 July 17

Abhijeet Gupta back in hunt with two wins

Grandmaster and defending champion Abhijeet Gupta came roaring back in contention with back-to-back victories in the fourth and fifth round of Commonwealth Chess Championship now underway here.

Abhijeet Gupta

After a rather easy draw with Nubairshah Sheikh in the third round, Gupta came up with some outstanding performance on the fourth day that had double rounds. In the morning, Grandmaster Niaz Murshed did not prove a match for the wily Indian while the peaceful intentions of GM Ankit Rajpara also received a jolt in the fifth round.

Grandmasters Swapnil Dhopade and Vaibhav Suri played out a draw on the top board and these two were joined by Gupta, Aravindh Chithambaram and Tejas Bakre in the lead on 4.5 points out of a possible five.

Chithambaram was in his elements as he halted the dream run of K Priyanka while Tejas Bakre played a fine game with black pieces to beat fellow Indian GM Sahaj Grover.

Gupta was up against the Fianchetto variation in the Grunfeld defense and chose a solid setup giving little away to Rajpara. The opening saw repetition of moves in the early phase of the game saw Gupta spurning an unconditional draw offer and the defending champion was in full flow on the queen side to hand Rajpara his first defeat in the event.

Chithambaram went for the Sicilian Dragon as black and was in top shape while Bakre capitalised on some middle game errors from Grover to register his fourth victory.

Among the women players, former Asian champion Bhakti Kulkarni and Swati Ghate remained on course for a podium finish with another impressive show after losing fourth round games. Bhakti proved superior to International Master Rishi Sardana of Australia while Ghate outwitted higher rated Erigaisi Arjun. Both Kulkarni and Ghate are leading the women’s section on four points apiece.

Results round 5: Swapnil S. Dhopade (4.5) drew with Vaibhav Suri (4.5); Ankit R. Rajpara (3.5) lost to Abhijeet Gupta (4.5); K Priyanka (3.5) lost to Aravindh Chithambaram (4.5); Sahaj Grover (3.5) lost to Tejas Bakre (4.5); Ziaur Rahman (3.5) drew with M Chakravarthi Reddy (3.5); Abhijit Kunte (4) beat Indrajeet Mahindrakar (3); Aradhya Garg (3.5) drew with Deepan Chakkravarthy (3.5); Abdullah Al Rakib (3.5) drew with V Pranavananda (3.5); C Praveen Kumar (3) lost to Shardul Gagare (4); Swati Ghate (4) beat Rishi Sardana (3).

 

 

Report 4 : 05 July 17

Abhijeet Gupta held by Nubairshah Sheikh

Defending champion and Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta was held to a draw by International Master Nubairshah Sheikh in the third round of the Commonwealth Chess Championship now underway here.

It turned out to be a dificult outing for the top seeded player as Sheikh, who is doubling his stint in the under-20 section of the championships as well, stayed well on course in an irregular opening game with white pieces.

Gupta sacrificed a pawn in the endgame and things looked a bit complicated but Sheikh was always out of the danger-zone and drew comfortably.

The trend of upsets continued in the event as second seed Aravindh Chithamabaram was also held to a draw by Rishi Sardana of Australia. Grandmaster Abhijeet Kunte also dropped a half point when he could not force matters against Mary Ann Gomes.

The women-power was in fact on display in the third round as International Women Master Swati Ghate outwitted Grandmaster Deepan Chakkravarthy. Bhakti Kulkarni defeated higher ranked P Shyam Nikil while K Priyanka downed International Master C R G Krishna.

Bhakti Kulkarni

 

In an all-women duel, veteran IWM Bhagyashree Thipsay proved superior to Tania Sachdev even though the latter holds over 300 points rating advantage.

Indian Junior champion Kumar Gaurav remained on course for a second International Master norm with an impressive display. Having beaten GM Ziaur Rahaman in the opener and a draw with IM C Pravin Kumar, Gaurav today held higher ranked Md. Taibur Rahman of Bangladesh to a draw.

With six rounds still remaining in the Rs. 10 Lakhs Championships, Grandmasters Vaibahv Suri, Swapnil Dhopade, Ankit Rajpara and Swati Ghate, Bhakti Kulkarni and Priyanka share the lead with a perfect score.

A wolf-pack of strong players including Abhijeet Gupta is on the heels of the six leaders a half point behind and the battle is only going to heat up as the event now enters the mid-way stage.

Important results round 3: M N Sheikh (2.5) drew with Abhijeet Gupta; Aravindh Chithambaram (2.5) drew with Rishi Sardana (2.5); Alexander Wohl (2) lost to Vaibhav Suri (3); Soumya Swaminathan (2) lost to Swapnil Dhopade (3); Abhijit Kunte (2.5) drew with Mary Ann Gomes (2.5); Swati Ghate (3) beat Deepan Chakkravarthy (2); Nisha Mohota (2) lost to Ankit Rajpara (3); P Shyamnikil (2) lost to Bhakti Kulkarni (3); K Priyanka (3) beat C R G Krishna (Aradhya Garg (2.5) beat M S Thejkumar (1.5).

 

Report 3 : 04 July 17

Shanya Mishra stuns Grandmaster Thipsay

Young Delhi girl Shanya Mishra stunned veteran Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay in the second round of the Commonwealth Chess Championship now underway here at the Leela Convention center.

 

On what turned out to be a strictly one sided affair, Shanya was at the top of her game in a Kign’s Indian defense game. Thipsay is known to be an expert on the opening but on this day his form deserted him as the Delhi girl, rated more than 600 points below the Grandmaster gave no chances.

The middle game saw Shanya coming out on top with some thematic display on the queen side and as the game progressed, she tightened the noose. Winning one pawn, Shanya penetrated on the queen’s wing with all her might and it was all over when Thipsay lost a piece and then his queen.

Top Seeded Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta continued with his winning run defeating P V Nandhidhaa. Itb was an English opening wherein Abhijeet got a stronghold thanks to a tactical trick in the middle game and Nandhidhaa did not get many chances.

Vaibhav Suri

Grandmaster Vaibhav Suri accounted for Srija Sheshadri in a clean game with white pieces. It was  Semi Slav defense where Suri won a pawn and never looked back.

Yesterday’s giant killer Kumar Gaurav played out a draw with International Master C Praven Kumar to remain on course for what would be his second International Master norm.

Important second round results:

Open (Indian unless stated): Abhijeet Gupta (2) bt P. V. Nandhidhaa(1); Chakravarthi Reddy (1) lost to Aravindh Chithambaram (2); Vaibhav Suri (2) bt Srija Seshadari (1); Swapnil Dhopade (2) bt Mrudul Dehankar (1); Ooi Zhi Yang (1) lost to Abhijit Kunte (2); Deepan Chakravarthy (2) bt D. Jishitha; Rajesh Nayak (1.5) drew with Abdullah Al Rakib (Ban, 1.5); Ankita Rajpara (2) bt Parnali Dharia (1); Kiran Mohanty (1.5) drew with Shardul Gagare (1.5); G. B. Joshi (1.5) drew with Niaz Murshed (Ban, 1.5); K. Priyanka (2) bt Padmini Rout (1); Shamima Akter (Ban, 1) lost to Soumya Swaminathan (2); Mary Ann Gomes (2) bt Tarini Goyal (1); Kumar Gaurav (1.5) drew with C. Praveen Kumar (1.5); Swati Ghate (2) bt Rohit Vassan (1); Shanya Mishra (1.5) btPraveen Thipsay (0.5).

Report 2 : 03 July 17

Kumar Gaurav downs Ziaur Rahman

Indian junior champion Kumar Gaurav caused a major upset defeating Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh in the first round of the Commonwealth Chess Championship here at the Leela Convention center.

Up against an English opening, Gaurav was in a much worse position against his experienced opponent in the middle game and grabbed his chance as Rahman blundered in a tactical skirmish. The Bihar-boy won a rook for a minor piece in the bargain and did not give another chance.

It was a day of upsets in the opener wherein young players benefitted. The other Grandmaster to go down was Enamul Hossain, also from Bangladesh who went down to Rohit Vassan.

Grandmaster Sahaj Grover survived some anxious moments before he was held to a draw by Naitik Mehta while veteran Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay also had to sign peace with Manish Anto Cristiano.

Saksham Rautela also caused an upset as International Master Tania Sachdev failed to find any breakthrough and had to split the point.

At the top of the tables, defending champion Abhijeet Gupta started on a positive note with a clean victory over talented Divya Deshmukh.

Third seed Grandmaster Vaibhav Suri accounted for DMGS Dassanayake from Sri Lanka while National Women’s champion Padmini Rout had it easy against Chirag Saroha.

The Rs. 10 Lakh prize money championship was earlier inaugurated by Sh. Vijay Goel, Hon’ble Minister for Youth Affairs and sports in a glittering ceremony. AICF Secretary Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan, FIDE Vice President Mr. D V Sundar along with Jt. Commissioner of Police Madhup Tiwari and Group Captain J Rajendra, Indian Air Force graced the occasion.

This is the first time that the Championships have been split in 15 different categories. Apart from the open, there are under-8, 10,12,14,16,18 and 20 categories for boys and girls separately.

Report 1 : 30 June 17

Abhijeet Gupta starts as top seed and defending champion

Grandmaster and defending champion Abhijeet Gupta will be vying for a hat-trick of titles when he takes his chair in the first round of the Commonwealth Chess Championship beginning on Monday here at the Leela Ambience and Convention centre.

To be inaugurated by honourable sports minister Mr. Vijay Goel, the championship has over 550 registered players in various categories spanning from under-8 till open. At the last count, there are 16 Grandmasters and 13 International Masters in the fray apart from five more Woman Grandmasters.

The open section will be really strong this time with over 50 titled players out of around 120 participants. The event will provide ample opportunities for the norm seekers from the host country.

The women challenge will be spearheaded by defending champion Tania Sachdev but she is expected to get stiff resistance from the likes of national champion Padmini Rout.

Players from 15 countries including some from South Africa and Kenya have registered for the nine-day long events that will decide the medallists of this year’s championship.

This is the first time ever that the championships will be played in 15 different categories. While the Indian players are likely to dominate there is stiff challenge coming from Bangladesh in the open section wherein they have fielded as many as four Grandmasters.

The ride for Abhijeet Gupta will not be easier than the last when the Indian had annexed the crown in Sri Lanka. The local challenge from Delhi will also come from Vaibhav Suri and Sahaj Grover who are both young Grandmasters.

The championships carry a total prize fund of Rs. 10 Lacs.

Newly elected AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chuahan is organising this championship in Delhi and every time the event has seen an unprecedented uplift when organised in the national capital. This is the first time ever in India that the championships are being held in a certified five star deluxe hotel.

The championships will be played for a maximum of nine rounds. Alongside the championships the first ever media tournament in Delhi will also be organised.