Delhi 2018: India's biggest event

by Sagar Shah
1/11/2018 – There are a lot of firsts happening at the 16th edition of the Delhi International Grandmaster Open 2018. This year, for the first time, the tournament (all categories combined) has a total prize fund of 7,777,777 Indian Rupees (great number, which is equivalent at current rates to USD $122111!) It is also for the first time that a 2700+ player is competing in an Indian grandmaster event — Arkadij Naiditsch (2701). Also a record: nearly 2300 players from all over the world are competing at the Indira Gandhi Stadium. After four rounds, 43-year-old Bangladeshi GM Ziaur Rahman was the only player with a perfect 4 / 4 score, but he was caught in the double-round action on Friday and is now tied with Naiditsch and Murali Karthikeyan with 5½ / 6.

Chess News

My Career Vol. 1 My Career Vol. 1

The first DVD with videos from Anand's chess career reflects the very beginning of that career and goes as far as 1999. It starts with his memories of how he first learned chess and shows his first great games (including those from the 1984 WCh for juniors). The high point of his early developmental phase was the winning of the 1987 WCh for juniors. After that, things continue in quick succession: the first victories over Kasparov, WCh candidate in both the FIDE and PCA cycles and the high point of the WCh match against Kasparov in 1995.
Running time: 3:48 hours


Chess in a mega city

It took me two hours on Tuesday to navigate my way from the Caspia Hotel (where I am staying) to Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. Although the distance is just 22 kilometres, the Delhi traffic was unrelenting. When I reached the venue of the 16th Delhi International Open 2018 I took a moment to come to grips with the magnitude of the event. 246 players were about to start playing in the A-group (with a first prize of Rs. 500,000 or about $7,850), while 783 players were already competing in the B-group (below 1999). This makes it over 1,000 players competing under one roof. And not to forget, a fresh wave of nearly 1300 players are expected in the C-group (below-1600) when the event begins on Saturday.

Delhi's urban area is home to 26 million people, making it the second largest in the world after Tokyo ( PDF)

Playing hall

A veritable ocean of players, and the hall is not yet full!

Top seed Arkadij Naiditsch won his first round game against Varshini. However, things were not so simple. The rook endgame was quite complicated and with correct play white could have given better resistance than in the game.


Sicilian Paulsen Powerbook 2016

In our Powerbook we have brought together all games with the ECO codes B40-B49. Added to 62 000 selected master games from both Mega and correspondence chess there 122 000 high class games from the engine room on

Abhijeet Gupta | Photo: Niklesh Jain

"Mr. Commonwealth" Abhijeet Gupta has usually performed well in Delhi | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Other notable entrants include Deep Sengupta, fresh from his victory at Hastings International 2017-18, who's hoping to continue his form in Delhi as well. We also find Ivan Rozum, a 26-year-old Russian GM who has shown promise at the Bhopal and Mumbai Internationals, but has failed to deliver. Perhaps Delhi is where all good things happen! 

Deep Sengupta and Ivan Rozum | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Deep Sengupta and Ivan Rozum, both just under 2600 Elo | Photo: Amruta Mokal

We recently wrote about Nodirbek Abdusattorov, but there's another this young Uzbek lad you have to watch out for: Javokhir Sindarov. I met him two and a half years ago at the Abu Dhabi Open 2015. He was rated around 2150. Now he is 2429 and this does not come as a surprise to me! Javokhir began his campaign with a draw against Jalpan Bhatt.

Javokhir Sindarov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Javokhir Sindarov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Delhi International 2018 - Round 1 video report | Source: ChessBase India YouTube

Timur Gareyev wins and loses

The second round saw a curious event in which the fourth seed and blindfold specialist GM Timur Gareyev was forfeited for arriving at the venue 33 minutes late, which was just three minutes past the default time of 30 minutes. He was allowed to play the game and later on when he had won, he was awarded a loss due to coming late to the round. What exactly had happened? Evidently he was moving hotel rooms and then got stuck in traffic!

His opponent Koustav Chatterjee was already given the win, but the boy wanted to play. When Timur arrived the chief arbiter Vasanth B Handevoor had a word with him and then allowed the game to be played, while the appeals committee considered the case. When Timur won the game and Koustav resigned, the decision was taken that walkover rules should stand and Gareyev was nevertheless given a loss.

Why was Gareyev allowed to play in the first instance, why the appeals committee approached, and why was the entire game played? We interviewed both Timur Gareyev and Vasanth B.H. and get to the bottom of the entire incident. What is your opinion?

Timur Gareyev in a rare case of being given a loss even after playing and winning! | Source: ChessBase India YouTube

Delhi International 2018 - Round 2 video report | Source: ChessBase India YouTube

Upsets and near upsets

Second seed Farrukh Amonatov was held to a draw in round two, and Naiditsch also yielded a draw to K. Rathnakaran in round three.


Naiditsch's 7...c4?! didn't seem like a great move. In fact it had only been played before in one game. Resolving the tension in the centre meant that White's f4-f5 would come much faster and stronger than Black's b5-b4.


Some people would have prepared for f5, but Ratna is Ratna! He goes for the 11.f5 break with the neat point that Rxf5 is met with Ng3. In the game Black played 11...exf5 and after 12.Nf4! White was doing quite well.

If you would like to know what an intuitive player Ratnakaran is, check out this video.

Sergei Tiviakov had a lucky escape in the third round against Kaustuv Kundu.


Sergei Tiviakov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sergei Tiviakov | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Kaustuv Kundu would have got Tiviakov to resign immediately if he would have taken the knight on b4. As it turned out he played Rdc1 and the game ended in a draw!

The game between D. Gukesh and Gupta Abhijeet was a really interesting match up between one of the top grandmasters of our country and a young and upcoming talent. For 80% of the game Gukesh was matching blow for blow and at some point was clearly better. But in time pressure he lost the plot and Gupta as he usually does, managed to trick his opponent.


Chess Endgames 9 - Rook and Minor Piece

Endings with rook and minor piece against rook and minor piece occur very frequently, even more often than rook endings, yet there's not much literature on them. This endgame DVD fills this gap. The four different material constellations rook and knight vs rook and knight, rooks and opposite coloured (and same coloured ) bishops and rook and bishop vs rook and knight are dealt with. In view of the different material constellations Karsten Mueller explains many guidelines like e.g. "With knights even a small initiative weighs heavily".

 Gukesh D - Gupta, Abhijeet

 D. Gukesh vs Gupta, Abhijeet | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The biggest upset of the day was definitely Sammed Shete's win over Rozum. Sammed of Kolhapur played some fine bit of chess to beat his much favoured opponent. He played the opening well, also the middlegame and then set a very sly trap into which his opponent fell.


Sammed (White) has just moved his queen to g3. Rozum completely oblivious to the idea played 38...Rc4?. And Now Sammed shocked his opponent with the next move. Can you find it? (Replay the complete game below.)


The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2

The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Black’s play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether. I have analyzed the new trends carefully and found some new ideas for Black.

World famous photographer David Llada with his family

World famous photographer David Llada, who has a new book out, The Thinkers, is visiting with his family, here, his daughters Nahui and Isel.

Round four saw the first GM clashes and all the players with a perfect score drew their games — all except 43-year-old Bangladeshi GM Ziaur Rahman, who beat Tran Tuan Minh to become the first sole leader of the tournament!


In this position, Black desperately needed to defend his king with 37...Qg8, but he failed to sense the imminent danger and played instead 37...a4? after which the cold reality of 38.Qh5! must have come as an unpleasant shock. 38...Ng6 39.Qh6+ Kg8 40.Bxd5 signalled not just the loss of a pawn, but the collapse of the black position.

UPDATE: January 12th, 17:45 CET

Top Round 6 results

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Rahman Ziaur 5 ½ - ½ Sengupta Deep
Naiditsch Arkadij 1 - 0 Vaibhav Suri
Karthikeyan Murali 1 - 0 Gusain Himal
David Alberto ½ - ½ Akash Pc Iyer
Gareyev Timur 4 ½ - ½ Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh
Rozum Ivan 4 1 - 0 4 Arjun Kalyan
Tiviakov Sergei 4 1 - 0 4 Sammed Jaykumar Shete
Sivuk Vitaly 4 1 - 0 4 Saravana Krishnan P.
Sardana Rishi 4 0 - 1 4 Tran Tuan Minh
Gomes Mary Ann 4 ½ - ½ 4 Pruijssers Roeland

Standings after six rounds (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Rahman Ziaur 5,5 0,0
2 Naiditsch Arkadij 5,5 0,0
3 Karthikeyan Murali 5,5 0,0
4 Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh 5,0 0,0
5 Sengupta Deep 5,0 0,0
6 Tiviakov Sergei 5,0 0,0
7 Akash Pc Iyer 5,0 0,0
8 Tran Tuan Minh 5,0 0,0
9 Vignesh N R 5,0 0,0
10 Rozum Ivan 5,0 0,0
11 David Alberto 5,0 0,0
12 Sivuk Vitaly 5,0 0,0
13 Gajwa Ankit 5,0 0,0
14 Neelash Saha 4,5 0,0
15 Gusain Himal 4,5 0,0
16 Vaibhav Suri 4,5 0,0
17 Koustav Chatterjee 4,5 0,0
18 Erigaisi Arjun 4,5 0,0
19 Amonatov Farrukh 4,5 0,0
20 Gareyev Timur 4,5 0,0

Replay commentary of Round 4

Commentary by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal, Niklesh Jain and Vishal Sareen | ChessBase India YouTube

All games (rounds 1-4)




Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register