Commonwealth Champion Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta won the 18th Delhi International Chess tournament 2020 after defeating Grandmaster Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus in the 10th and final round.


It was a four way tie at the runner up position between Aleksandrov, GM Pavel Ponkratov of Russia, defending champion  GM Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia and Indian youngster Pranesh M, who secured his Grandmaster norm in the tournament on eight point apiece in the event but better tie break scored helped Aleksandrov to finish as second while Ponkratov finished as second runner up.

While Gupta got richer by Rs. 6,50,000/- , Aleksandrov got Rs. 5,50,000/-  and Ponkratov took Rs. 4,50,000/- from the total kitty of over one crore eleven lakh prize money split over three categories.

Meanwhile in the ‘C’ group, Khagokpam Bishwajit Singh of Manipur won the first prize. Scoring 9.5 points out of a possible ten, Singh stayed a half point ahead of Shaurya Kumaria of Chandigarh, Manna Chiranjit of West Bengal and Sushant Tiwari of Delhi who were tied for the second spot on nine points but the former was declared the runners up based on his better tiebreak.

All between Abhijeet Gupta and Aleksandrov; GM norm for young Pranesh

New Delhi (15 Jan 20) :- Grandmaster Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus maintained his slender half point lead defeating higher ranked Jose Eduardo Martinez of Peru in the ninth round of 18th Delhi International Grandmasters chess tournament here at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

The victory helped the Belorussian to move to 8 points out of a possible nine keeping him a half point ahead of Indian star Abhijeet Gupta who played a fine endgame to beat compatriot Diptayan Ghosh and reached 7.5 points.

Teenager M Pranesh made his maiden Grandmaster norm drawing with Nodirbek Yakubboev of Uzbekistan after a hard fought game. It was a Sicilian defense wherein Pranesh looked threatening for the major part and Yakubboev had to find some resources to force parity.

An International Master norm was also scored by Audi Ameya who is on course to become the next International Master in the country.

With Aleksandrov a little ahead and Abhijeet following him it will be battle Royale in the final game on Thursday. The winner’s purse is a cool 6.5 lakh in one of the biggest open tournament of the world.

Aleksandrov stood slightly better in the middle game and ended up grinding down Martinez. The Peruvian did not find the complications he was looking for.

Abhijeet was in his element against Ghosh out of an English opening game. The middle game saw a level position wherein Abhijeet forced complications after the trade of queens in the middle game. Ghosh was closer to a draw for the major part with his white pieces but Abhijeet relentlessly pushed for a victory which was his after a long drill.

The festival that carries a total prize pool of Rs. 1.11 crore will end tomorrow after the last round. Apart from the top board match which is likely to be keenly contested, there are a few norm seekers like Hinal Gusain, looking for a GM norm, who will try and make a match of it against higher opposition in the finale.

PC : Niklesh Jain, ChessBase India

Aleksandrov remains ahead, Pranesh near his Grandmaster norm

New Delhi (14 Jan 20) :- Grandmaster Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus maintained his slender half point lead after settling for a quick draw with compatriot Alexei Fedorov in the eighth round of 18th Delhi International Grandmasters chess tournament here at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

It was a non-event at the top of the tables as Aleksandrov just repeated moves very early and the draw was signed within a few minutes of the start of the game.

The day belonged to teenager M Pranesh who scored another upset victory over Grandmaster Adam Tukhaev of Ukraine. Playing what was a slightly suspicious opening, Pranesh went for a dubious sacrifice which should not have worked with correct play but Tukhaev erred heavily and went down.
Pranesh shares the second spot on 6.5 points and is almost assured of his Grandmaster norm in all likelihood. The teen has already confirmed his International Master norm from the tournament. Pranesh shares the second spot with six others. They are Fedorov, GM Abhijeet Gupta, GM Diptayan Ghosh, Jose Eduardo Martinez of Peru, Kirill Stupak of Belarus and Nodirbek Yakubboev of Uzbekistan.
Among the Indians Abhijeet Gupta scored a fine victory over compatriot Himal Gusain who will now have to work hard to score his GM norm. It was an interesting battle wherein Abhijeet sacrificed a pawn for decent counter play and then cashed in during the mutual time trouble in the end.
Diptayan Ghosh defeated N Lokesh and will now clash with Abhijeet in the next round. With just two rounds to come in the 39 lakh prize money tournament the battle is likely to heat up. Pranesh is up against Yakubboev and is again likely to go all out given his track record here.

Aleksandrov leads Delhi International

New Delhi (13 Jan 20) :- Seasoned Belorussian Grandmaster Aleksej Aleksandrov played out a hard-fought draw with Ukrainian Grandmaster Adam Tukhaev to lead the tables with 6.5 points after the end of the seventh round of 18th Delhi International Grandmaster chess tournament here at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

With Aleksandrov in front, his compatriot GM Alexei Fedorov and Indian International Master Himal Gusain share the second spot on six points each with three rounds still remaining in the Rs. 39 Lakh prize money event.
Ortik Nigmatov of Uzbekistan found the going tough against Fedorov while Gusain got the better of GM N R Visakh to come within striking distance of his Grandmaster norm.

As many as 14-players including Indian Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta, Karthik Venkatraman, Diptayan Ghosh and V Vishnu Prasanna are in the hunt for the top slot on 5.5 points apiece. The surprise packet in this lot is 13 years old M Pranesh who is gunning for a Grandmaster norm. In the seventh round Pranesh drew with Kirill Stupak of Belarus.

Highest rated Indian Murali Karthikeyan also remains in the hunt for a podium finish taking his tally to five points overall. The Indian star however will have to win the remaining three games to be in with a chance.

For Abhijeet Gupta, this was an easier round by comparison as he made short work of International master C R G Krishna. The Grunfeld defense by Gupta as black met with the Fianchetto variation by Krishna.

In the middle game Gupta sacrificed a pawn to gain counter-play and Krishna miscalculated quite early to allow a serious attack on his king. Abhijeet wrapped the issue quickly.

PC : Niklesh Jain

Karthik on song

New Delhi (12 Jan 20) :- Grandmaster Karthik Venkatramana continued with his winning ways and downed Grandmaster Hose Martinez Eduardo of Peru to share lead with Aleksej Alekksandrov of Peru after the end of the fifth round of Delhi International Grandmaster chess tournament now underway here at IGI Stadium.

Karthik, who is having the run of his life, scored another emphatic victory with black pieces and is now a front runner for the title at the half way stage of this 39 Lakh prize money tournament. The Indian again was tested by Martinez who played white but came up triumphs in the heat of the battle.

Aleksandrov defeated seasoned Bangladeshi Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman. It was a tense battle wherein the Belorussian had the final say.

With two players sharing the lead, C R G Krishna is the only player occupying the third spot on 4.5 points while a huge pack of thirty follows these three with four points in their kitty. This list includes top seed Farrukh Amonatov of Tajikistan and five times Commonwealth Champion Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta.

Al Muthaiah caused his second big upset of the tournament as he defeated highest rated Indian Murali Karthikeyan. After a hard fought middle game, Muthaiah was able to stage a huge comeback in t Queen and Rook endgame where his queen and rook dominated the important part of the board. Karthikeyan will now need a huge recovery to come back in the tournament.

In other upset results of the day, M Pranesh put it across Stanislav Bogdanovich of Ukraine while Italian Grandmaster Alberto David was held to a draw by local talent Aaryan Varshney. V Pranav also did well to hold compatriot Grandmaster M R Lalith Babu

Five rounds still remain in the biggest open tournament of Asia.

Meanwhile the B category of the festival ended today and Himanshu Moudgil of Delhi won the title to pocket cash prize of 3 lakh. It was a four way tie for the pole position with 9 point eachand after the tie was resolved Md Imran of AP, Chandan Mandal of Delhi and Aansh Gupta, also of Delhi finished second to fourth and won cash prize of 2.5, 2 & 1.5 lakh respectively.

PC : Niklesh Jain

Karhitk, Krishna among early leaders

New Delhi (11 Jan 20) :- Grandmaster Karthik Venkatramana and C R G Krishna emerged in a five-way lead at the top after the end of the fourth round of Delhi International Grandmaster Chess tournament now underway here at IGI Stadium.

Karthik, who put it across Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta in the previous round was a bit lucky for a minute a minute when rookie Ishvi Aggarwal failed to find a winning manoeuvre in the middle game. The Grandmaster thereafter pounced on his chances in quick time to register his fourth victory on the trot.

Krishna defeated Rudrashish Chakraborty in a one-sided affair to find himself in the leading pack along side Karthik, Jose Martinez Eduardo of Peru, Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus and Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.

With five players in the front, as many as six players including top seed Farrukh Amonatov of Tajikistan are sharing the sixth spot in the 39 Lakh prize money tournament. Interestingly, there are no Indians in the second group.

The fourth round started as a normal tournament after the organisers had opted for the Accelerated pairing system in the first three rounds to enable the norm-seekers have more chances in lieu of more entries in the premium group.
This paved the way for Ishvi Aggarwal to have a look at top level chess. The Gurgaon girl almost recorded the greatest upset in the event but for one move. The Benoni by Karthik did him fine but Ishvi was up to the task as well in the middle game. It was a moment of panic for the Grandmaster that left him completely lost for just one move. Ishvi, however could not spot the winning move and gradually lost.

Highest rated Indian Murali Karthikeyan was held to a draw by compatriot GM Saptarshi Roy while the second highest rated Abhijeet Gupta was lucky to score over Jay Kundaliya. Both Karthikeyan and Gupta are among those who have three points apiece.

PC : Niklesh Jain & Jitendra Chaudhary

Al Muthaiah tames Pantsulaia

New Delhi (10 Jan 2020) :- International Master Al Muthaiah caused a major flutter crashing through the defenses of defending champion Levan Pantsulaia of Gerogia in second round of the Delhi International Grandmasters Chess tournament now underway here at Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium.

It turned out to be a massive success for Muthaiah with white pieces as Pantsulaia struggled in the middle game and could never really recovered. Winning a rook for a knight Muthaiah ensured he made no further errors and won the game in style.

Utkal Ranjan Sahoo also came up with a good effort to hold Alexey Goganov of Russia on a day when top seed Farrukh Amonatov of Tajikistan was also forced to split the point with Abdialik Abdisalimov of Uzbekistan.

Top seeded Indian Grandmaster Karthikeyan Murali was also held to a draw by Denis Eraschenko of Russia in another upset result of the day. The second highest rated Indian Abhijeet Gupta however played a fine game to beat Neelash Saha.

Local boy Aaryan Varshney also impressed as he played out a draw with black pieces against Grandmaster Adam Tukhaev of Ukraine. Varshney, who is looking for his third and final International Master norm from the event, was in control for the major part of this hard fought game.

Ranveer Mohite was the other Indian to impress as he drew with Grandmaster Sahaj Grover who is back in India after a two year gap. Mohite played well under pressure to hold the forte.

With eight rounds still to come in the 10-rounds event, the next round will already see many Grandmasters competing against each other. The total prize pool for the GM event is 3900000 while the Delhi festival has a total prize pool of Rs. 1.11 Crores.

PC : Niklesh Jain & Amit Sharma

Joshi stuns Bharthakoti

New Delhi (09 Jan 20) :- Delhi’s seasoned player G B Joshi came up with an inspired effort to beat Grand Master Harsha Bharthakoti int he first round of the 18th Delhi International Grandmasters Chess tournament that goit under way here.
Joshi was at his best in probably his best performance in over fiev years as he matched the Grandmaster move for move for a long time. Harsha enjoyed the initial advantage with his white pieces but Joshi was quick to pounce on an opportunity that netted him a fine game. The result was never in doubt thereafter.
Grandmaster Yakobboev Noddirbek of Uzbekistan was held to a draw by S Dhananjay on a day when most of the top seeds sailed through int he opener over their lesser known rivals. Nodirbek found the going tough in the early phase itself and Dhananjay was able to pull off a half point without much ado.
5-times Commonwealth Champion and a former champion here, Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta made a winning start at the expense of Thrish Karthik while another local hopeful Sahaj Grover was a bit lucky to score over Sarbojit Paul. Grover is back in India after a two-year hiatus from Indian chess as he is currently pursuing studies in South Africa.
The event has over 350 players in the open section and over 800 players int he B Group. The total prize fund this year is a whopping 1.1 crore Rupees.

Earlier in the day the event was formally inaugurated by Sh. Subrata Roy, Chairman Sahara group. In his speech Mr. Roy confirmed that Sahara Group will look in to how Chess can be supported by the conglomerate.
Mr Bharat Singh ChauhaN, Hon. Secy, AICF meanwhile announced that the next event will be held with 1.25 Crores as prize fund.