Dharamshala: an Indian (chess) paradise

by Sagar Shah
5/24/2014 – Chess players travel to some wonderfully exotic places in the world, but it is not uncommon for them to come back having seen nothing at all. The game is so engrossing that it becomes much more significant than the medley of trees, mountains and rivers around them. IM V Saravanan, who played in the 52nd National Challenge, sent us impressions he captured of the Himalayan city.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Dharamshala: An Indian Paradise

By Sagar Shah, with pictures by IM Venkatachalam Saravanan

The 52nd Indian National Challenger’s 2014 took place in the extremely beautiful town of Dharamshala from 9th-19th May. It was won by the super strong Indian youngster GM Vidit Gujrathi (2606). You can read about it in our previous report. IM V Saravanan, who was playing in the event, sent us some breathtaking impressions he captured.

Dharamshala is situated in the northern part of India in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the most scenic destinations in the whole of India. The entire city is covered with dense coniferous trees which are mainly Deodar cedar trees.

The city nestled between the high ranging Dhauladhar ranges. With dense pine and deodar forests, streams, cool healthy air, the nearby snowline – Dharamshala has everything for a perfect holiday...

... especially when the clouds disappear and the sun illuminates the surrounding mountains

While you walk through the city, you find huge trees that are completely withered

Walk a few meters more and you see one colvered with violet blossoms!

A soccer field with a backdrop of the Himalayas – the ideal training camp for Magnus?

Winding green roads a sight to behold…

The Bhagsu waterfalls is a popular tourist destination

A beautiful sight: the water cascading down from a height of around thirty feet

Downstream you find chess people climbing around the waterfall

Chief Organiser Sudarshan Kumar Sharma with Chief Arbiter Rangaramanujam Srivatsan

The roadside "Chai Wallahs" or tea vendors. As you can see, Messers Kundan Lal and Rinku Choudhary run their establishments right next to each other. But the street of hustle bustle promises them a steady stream of clientele.

For this man a shanty covered with tarpaulins hoisted on bamboo sticks, with a portable
gas stove, some pot and a few bread rolls are good enough to make a living

India is a home to lot of deities. Naturally in many shops you can find the pictures of Indian gods whom people belonging to different religions worship. The state of Himachal Pradesh situated next to Punjab, so the Sikh icons Guru Nanak (who laid the foundations of Sikhism) and Guru Gobind Singh are found aplenty in posters.

And being next to the Himalayan range, Lord Shiva is very
much present as well, Mount Kailash being his mythical abode…

But definitely the place is the most famous for the living legend Tenzing Gyatso,
the 14th Dalai Lama who has made Dharamshala the center of Tibetan Administration

Mcleodganj, the hill where the temple of the Dalai Lama is located

The famous Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association...

The tournament hall is the green building next to the athletic field

Arbiters pose in front of the cricket club, the tournament hall and the Himalayas

Inside the hall is filled to the capacity with chess players

Though this was supposed to be an article just on the beauty of Dharamshala, we cannot stay away from the temptation of publishing a few pictures of the participants who are unknown but are seen to be playing chess with complete dedication.

Indian IM Nikil P. Shyam, 2422, finished third with 9.5/13 points

IM K. Rathnakaran, rated 2397, scored 8.5/13

IM Ponnuswamy Konguvel, 2363, 8.5/13 points

WGM Bhakti Kulkarni, 2258, scored 8.0/13 points

GM Roy Chowdhury Saptarshi, rated 2453, finished with 8.0/13

IM M.S. Thejkumar, rated 2460, scored 7.0/13 points

2510 rating average rating: GM Vidit Gujrathi (2606), GM Saptarshi Roy Chowdhary (2453), GM Deepan Chakravarthy (2513), GM Abhijit Kunte (2484), GM Sahaj Grover (2469), GM Deep Sengupta (2536)

Slightly lower Elo average but just as much pleasure in the game – and so much cuter!

Final standings (after thirteen rounds of play)

Rk. SNo Ti. Name Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 1 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2606 9.5 106.0 98.5 82.25
2 11 GM Grover Sahaj 2469 9.5 105.5 98.0 78.25
3 18 IM Shyam Nikil P. 2422 9.5 102.5 95.5 77.00
4 4 GM Sengupta Deep 2536 9.5 102.5 94.5 78.75
5 2 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2582 9.5 102.0 94.5 76.50
6 16 IM Swayams Mishra 2442 9.5 101.5 95.0 76.75
7 23 IM Rajesh V A V 2382 9.5 101.0 94.0 75.75
8 3 GM Lalith Babu M.R. 2571 9.5 99.5 92.0 76.75
9 6 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. 2513 9.5 98.0 91.5 75.25
10 9 GM Kunte Abhijit 2484 9.5 97.5 90.5 73.75
11 35 IM Girinath P.D.S. 2312 9.5 95.5 90.0 70.75
12 24 IM Karthikeyan P. 2380 9.0 100.0 94.0 69.75
13 15 GM Laxman R.R. 2450 9.0 99.5 92.0 71.75
14 8 GM Shyam Sundar M. 2486 9.0 92.5 86.5 65.25
15 37 IM Murali Krishnan B.T. 2299 9.0 92.5 86.5 64.00
16 19 IM Anurag Mhamal 2420 9.0 91.0 85.0 64.00
17 29 IM Himanshu Sharma 2350 8.5 105.5 98.0 70.50
18 10 IM Karthikeyan Murali 2475 8.5 104.5 97.5 70.75
19 12 GM Vishnu Prasanna. V 2467 8.5 101.0 94.0 67.75
20 7 GM Debashis Das 2501 8.5 97.0 90.0 65.75
21 22 IM Rathnakaran K. 2397 8.5 95.0 88.0 63.75
22 17 IM Swapnil S. Dhopade 2434 8.5 93.0 87.0 63.75
23 28 IM Nitin S. 2357 8.5 93.0 86.5 61.25
24 21 Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan 2402 8.5 92.5 86.0 60.75
25 27 IM Konguvel Ponnuswamy 2363 8.5 92.0 86.0 57.25
26 44 Patil Pratik 2259 8.5 90.5 84.0 60.50
27 41 Karthik V. Ap 2276 8.5 90.0 84.0 57.50
28 25 IM Das Sayantan 2373 8.5 86.5 81.0 59.50
29 32 IM Sangma Rahul 2333 8.5 86.5 80.5 59.25
30 79 Agarwal Brajesh 2065 8.5 82.5 77.5 51.25


IM Venkatachalam Saravanan is not only strong chess player but also an excellent writer as well as a photographer. When not in action on the chessboard, you can spot him with non-chess book. A voracious reader, he has a great vocabulary. ChessBase thanks him for bringing such a beautiful place like Dharamshala to the notice of the chess world.

Special thanks to Arjun. K. Mohan for sending some nice additional pictures.


You can use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server Playchess.com.

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