2015 Commonwealth: Gupta leads; Humpy protests

by Priyadarshan Banjan
6/27/2015 – World Champions are always closely watched by the chess world, which follows their example at the board. The current World Champion Magnus Carlsen is no different, in that he has started a trend of… players losing on time! The 2015 Commonwealth Chess Championship witnessed top Indian woman players, GM Humpy and IM Sachdev, losing on time for not knowing the time control.

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World Champions are always closely watched by the chess world, which follows their example at the board. The current World Champion Magnus Carlsen is no different, in that he has started a trend of… players losing on time!  The 2015 edition of the Commonwealth Chess Championship witnessed top Indian woman players – GM Koneru Humpy and IM Tania Sachdev - losing on time for not knowing the time control.

To add to the drama, GM Humpy even withdrew from the tournament after the appeals committee turned down her protest. In fact, in round four the board one game ended when a player forgot to press the clock, again losing on time!

The 2015 Commonwealth Chess Championship is being held from June 23-30, 2015 in New Delhi, the capital of India. It is being conducted by the All India Chess Federation (AICF) on behalf of the Commonwealth Chess Association and FIDE, and is being organised with the support of the Delhi Chess Association at the Hotel Park Plaza in New Delhi.

Hotel Park Plaza

The Championship is open to all FIDE affiliated nations that are part of the Commonwealth Chess Association. This year delegations from eleven countries have turned up. The bulk of the players – 260 out of the 298 - are not surprisingly form India, with many talented youngsters making the most of the opportunity to play a quality tournament on their home soil. Most notable amongst the absentees are the English with a sole player representing the chief Commonwealth nation.

Despite being full of Indians, even among the top seeds, this event has seventeen grandmasters and 22 International Masters among the players competing for the top honours.

The main event is a nine-round swiss with a time limit of 90 minutes for the whole game plus 30 seconds increment per move from move one. This time control, simple as it may sound, has already caused quite a stir at the tournament. English WIM Sabrina Chevannes, who takes part in the event, reports:

"In the first round, there was an announcement made that the time control was 90 minutes plus 30 seconds increment plus 30 minutes. However, there was a complete ambiguity as the published time control was 90 minutes plus 30 seconds increment without any additional time. The problem was, that so many things had changed from the original publication of the details of the event. There were originally 10 rounds scheduled, but now there are only 9. The round times are all completely different and the sections have all changed. Therefore, when this announcement was made in round one, most players just assumed that the time control had also been changed."

IM Tania Sachdev (Elo 2413)

IM Tania Sachdev was the first player to fall victim to this confusion, when in the very first round of the tournament she was flagged at move 41 as her time ran out! Probably more used to the time-controls seen in many European tournaments, IM Tania seemed unaware of the time-controls of the tournament.

GM Koneru Humpy (Elo 2589)

The trend did not stop there. GM Koneru Humpy, one of the strongest woman players in the world, forfeited her fourth round game on time against IM Himanshu Sharma (2420), in a winning position. She ran out of time on her 43rd move and pleaded ignorance of the time-control used at the event.

In her protest to the appeals committee headed by veteran IM Mamood Lodhi of Pakistan, she complained that the arbiters erred in their judgment and could have been more communicative.

As Sabrina Chevannes reports, Humpy Koneru "wrote a letter to the appeals committee, not to have the result of the game reversed, but she simply wanted the organisation to recognise that this loss was due to the fault of the arbiter and that they should recognise this. Being on the appeals committee, I was involved in the discussion of this sad situation, but unfortunately, according the FIDE rules, it is always up to the player to know the rules of the tournament. This means, regardless of what announcements the arbiter makes, the players should still read the written regulations of the event. This is quite a shocking occurrence as it means that the arbiter can make whatever mistake he/she likes, but at the end of the day, it is the player who will always suffer. Since there was no breach of any rules, the appeal had no ground and there was nothing Humpy could do about the situation.

Therefore, GM Koneru felt that she could no longer play in the event due to the bad organisation of the tournament. She does not feel it is acceptable that the arbiter can make an announcement as such and suffers the consequences, but nothing happens to the arbiter.

Many will look upon Humpy’s withdrawal from the event very negatively, but she wants to know that she does not agree with the way things are being organised, or with the way the situation was handled. She said: 'I want everyone to know I quit the tournament in protest of the wrong announcement (poor communication skills of the arbiter), irresponsible organisation due to which I lost. I am writing this to get clarity for the betterment of chessplayers, so that in future no player should suffer because of arbiters fault.'

She cannot believe that what the arbiter says has no value and that nowhere in the FIDE rules does it have anything to do with situations like this. In light of this she said: 'If it is so, I request the chess fraternity to confirm this, so that in future we players can keep deaf ear for their announcements and follow only regulations.'"

It should be noted that the rules and regulations are available in the tournament hall or may be crosschecked by referring to the arbiter. The onus is clearly on the player for not being aware of the rules. Humpy Koneru's appeal was turned down and she withdrew from the tournament.

GM Abhijeet Gupta (Elo 2605) leads with a perfect 5.0/5

GM Abhijeet Gupta made full use of his opportunities to be the sole leader at the end of five rounds with 5.0/5. The time-control drama in the fourth round was not just limited to GM Humpy’s game. GM Gupta was playing IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh in round four and was a pawn down, when his opponent tragicomically forgot to press the clock and lost on time!

IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh (Elo 2420)

GM Lalith Babu M.R. (Elo 2563) with 4.5/5

GM Sahaj Grover (Elo 2509) with 4.5/5

Defending champion GM Deep Sengupta (Elo 2571) with 4.5/5

Veteran IM Mahmood Lodhi (Elo 2339) from Pakistan with 3.5/5. India is at constant loggerheads
with its estranged neighbor but when it comes to chess, Gens Una Sumus!

This eleven-year-old has already become the darling of chess lovers, especially in India, with many
marking him as the next big thing in Indian chess. If you know who Nihal Sarin is, you probably also
know how rare it is to find him seated at the board! More about him in the final report.

Standings after round five

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
 TB 
1
1
GM
Gupta Abhijeet
IND
2605
5.0
14.5
2
4
GM
Lalith Babu M.R.
IND
2563
4.5
15.0
3
6
GM
Grover Sahaj
IND
2509
4.5
14.5
4
15
IM
Das Arghyadip
IND
2459
4.5
14.5
5
21
IM
Himanshu Sharma
IND
2420
4.5
14.0
6
3
GM
Sengupta Deep
IND
2571
4.5
14.0
7
9
GM
Rahman Ziaur
BAN
2500
4.5
13.5
8
14
GM
Ankit R. Rajpara
IND
2461
4.5
13.5
9
32
 
Visakh Nr
IND
2375
4.0
15.0
10
16
GM
Murshed Niaz
BAN
2457
4.0
15.0
11
8
GM
Karthikeyan Murali
IND
2502
4.0
14.5
12
36
IM
Akash G
IND
2354
4.0
14.5
13
7
GM
Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.
IND
2504
4.0
14.0
14
11
GM
Kunte Abhijit
IND
2483
4.0
14.0
15
140
 
Athul Krishna S
IND
1992
4.0
14.0
16
10
GM
Deepan Chakkravarthy J.
IND
2497
4.0
13.5
17
48
FM
K. Praneeth Surya
IND
2305
4.0
13.5
18
44
 
Sanjay N.
IND
2310
4.0
13.5
19
13
IM
Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan
IND
2462
4.0
13.5
20
17
IM
Saptarshi Roy
IND
2452
4.0
13.5

Click for complete standings

Note: The organisers have informed ChessBase that the live transmission of games has been abandoned due to an unfortunate technical issue that may not be resolved in time. The games will however be made available in the coming days and will be presented in the final report.



Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.

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