Chennai Open attracts 937 players

by Venkatachalam Saravanan
1/5/2015 – The time has come for the 7th edition of the Chennai International Open in Chennai, India, held between Dec 30, 2014, to Jan 06, 2015. With a total prize fund of Rs.1.4 million ($22,135 approx), in three different groups – the Grandmaster Open, and two others. It is the proverbial 'bigger and better' with total entries all combined reaching a mammoth 937 players.

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The tournament was inaugurated by India’s first International Master and Chennai’s original son of the soil, Manuel Aaron, who also celebrated his 79th birthday on the very same day.

Manuel Aaron making his inaugural move against the local lad and one
in a long line of chess prodigies, the ten-year-old Praggnanandhaa,
watched by India’s best arbiter, Rathinam Anantharam. Watch the
young lad’s hands: as the right one hovers over the board to make
a reply, the left is stylishly in his pocket…

The tournament has reached a crucial stage, and you have lots of grandmaster versus grandmaster clashes, and many of them quite tense…

As the top seed Ivan Popov (Russia, 2622) ponders over his next move, Marat Dzhumaev
(Uzbekistan, 2532) tries to keep his nerve…

Things have not been quite as smooth for the second seed either, as the Italian GM rated 2578 finds himself on 5.0/7.

Alberto David, a repeat visitor to India

The leader of this event has been the Indian GM elect Swapnil Dhopade, who leads with 6.5/7.

Swapnil in action at the top board, on his way to beating GM Mikhail Mozharov in a crucial game

The two grandmasters from India in this tournament are Deepan Chakkravarthy and Rarajam Laxman, who are having sedate results so far…

Deepan Chakkravarthy...

...and Rajaram Laxman having an uninspired event so far.

There is also the smart Sabino Brunello, the Italian GM

Brunello, watched by the Chief Arbiter of the event, the Vijayaraghavan

Tamilnadu and Chennai are not only home to lots of players, but coaches, arbiters, organisers and publishers also. Being a hub of yearlong chess activity, it is only natural that there would be a huge support system existing in the city. In a curious case of multitasking, one of the arbiters of the event is WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy, a former world junior champion and the better half of GM R.B.Ramesh, one of the best coaches of the country and another multi-talent personality.

Aarthie watching over Michelle Catherina – Ukrainian WIM Irina Andrenko

And what is Chennai without young talents! There are oodles and oodles of them, scattered around the hall…

The latest lad to acquire the GM title from the World Youth Olympiad at Hungary in December,
Murali Karthikeyan (left), pitting wits against Pandian Karthikeyan, who just completed his third
grandmaster norm at the Indian National Premier championship also last December

What is that familiar adage?! ‘Watch this lad’? ‘Mark my words’? ‘One day, he will beat us all’? Whatever, it will all suit this young man from Kerala, Nihal Sarin, all of ten years old, and the current world U-10 champion…

A very rare photograph indeed… You see, Nihal rarely sits at the board!

Nandhidhaa Venkatachalam of Chennai, who is the latest WIM of the
country. She too became a WIM in… you guessed it – December 2014.

But it is not only about masters and young aspiring masters. Among the prominent group of players in the country are those ‘street warriors’, who play their unique blend of chess, who almost always shun theoretical norms, and go straight for tactics from the word go!

Indian IM Rathnakaran who is known for his daring attacking style and bold play, fighting
against GM Eldar Gasanov of Ukraine. Count the number of Grandmaster spectators (two)
and now count the number of queens on the board (three!), and you understand.

It’s a busy buzzing place, the tournament hall with hundreds of kids shuffling around…

How do you keep those kids away when there are so many attractive chess sets set up
at the lobbies beckoning for a game and analysis?...

…Not to mention when there are professionals inside the tournament hall battling it out.
Did you notice that the tournament hall is actually circular in shape?

Well, the tournament is held at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium – a common name for many stadiums across the country named in honour of the first prime minister of the independent India – at Chennai which is the venue for best of the football and athletic events. Even when this tournament is on, there were races for children inside the actual arena, in the majestic setting…

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

And crucially, this is also the place where the All India Chess Federation and the Tamilnadu State Chess Association are run, overseeing the administration of the game in the country and in the state.

You will find D.V.Sundar the vice-president of FIDE…

…and V.Hariharan who heads national and state bodies, with their tables full of papers and
constantly attending to visitors, busy in administrative work.

Standings after seven rounds

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
 TB 
rtg+/-
1
22
IM
Swapnil S. Dhopade IND
2418
6.5
27.5
21.1
2
16
IM
Cruz Jonathan PER
2454
6.0
25.5
3.5
3
8
GM
Dzhumaev Marat UZB
2532
5.5
31.0
11.7
4
26
IM
Ramnath Bhuvanesh.R IND
2405
5.5
29.0
22.1
5
1
GM
Popov Ivan RUS
2622
5.5
28.5
1.7
6
6
GM
Cruz Cristhian PER
2546
5.5
28.5
2.1
7
5
GM
Mozharov Mikhail RUS
2557
5.5
28.5
3.7
8
13
IM
Karthikeyan Murali IND
2497
5.5
24.5
0.2
9
9
GM
Gasanov Eldar UKR
2526
5.5
24.5
2.3
10
2
GM
David Alberto ITA
2578
5.0
28.0
-10.6
11
69
 
K. Praneeth Surya IND
2212
5.0
27.5
82.0
12
28
IM
Karthikeyan P. IND
2400
5.0
27.0
3.5
13
31
IM
Ravichandran Siddharth IND
2381
5.0
27.0
22.5
14
21
IM
Prasanna Raghuram Rao IND
2436
5.0
27.0
-2.1
15
3
GM
Brunello Sabino ITA
2573
5.0
26.5
-6.6
16
19
IM
Das Sayantan IND
2444
5.0
26.0
4.5
17
20
IM
Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan IND
2437
5.0
26.0
0.7
18
7
GM
Evdokimov Alexander A. RUS
2538
5.0
25.5
-12.2
19
18
IM
Nguyen Van Huy VIE
2445
5.0
25.0
-4.1
20
33
IM
Navin Kanna T.U. IND
2374
5.0
24.5
-2.0

Click for complete standings


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Saravanan is an IM from Chennai, the southern-most state of Tamil Nadu, India. He has been an active chess player in the Indian circuit, turning complete chess professional in 2012, actively playing and being a second to strong Indian players. He has been consistently writing on chess since late 1980s and is a correspondent to national newspapers and news channels.
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