Ganguly, Sandipan, Singh win Indian Championship

by ChessBase
4/22/2006 – The trio of grandmasters scored 14 points each in the grueling 20-round event, which is also the qualifier for the Olympic team. Ganguly took first on tiebreak. In the women's section WGM Swathi Ghate scored a maiden victory in her eighth attempt at the national championship. From Visakhapatnam we bring you a report, pictures and games.

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Humpy, Deepan and finally Ganguly's hat-trick

The Indian National Championship and Olympic qualifier had all the ingredients of a thriller this year. Held in the beautiful port city of Visakhapatnam, also known as the "City of Destiny" the event culminated in a thrilling fashion, as identifying the qualifiers and the champion went upto the wire.

Visakhapatnam is a Port city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, about 650 km on North-East from Hyderabad. It has the only natural harbour on the eastern coast of India, and is home to one of India's largest ports and its oldest shipyard.

GM Koneru Humpy, world's second highest ranked female player

Grandmaster Koneru Humpy fancied her chances with a flying start 5/5 to begin with. This shy Andhra girl has improved in leaps and bounds in the last few years, and her progress after winning the World Junior title has been significant. Fear is a word not found in her dictionary, as she grounded one player after another in this edition. Her imaginative win over in-form Deepan Chakkravarthy during the middle rounds showed her class. With ten wins from twenty rounds, Humpy showed extraordinary fighting spirit. Loses to Kidambi and DP Singh the end stages robbed her of a place in the Men's team. Losing her Olympic spot by just half a point, Humpy can hold her head high, having put up her best show thus far in the Men's championship.

Though the cynosure of eyes remained on local girl Humpy, the former Asian Junior Champion Deepan Chakkravarthy stole the limelight right under her nose. It was dream sequence for Deepan right through, except for the last two rounds, when everything that could go wrong went wrong.

Friends who made their GM norms: M R Venkatesh and Deepan Chakkaravarthy, who became India's 13th GM. The very next day India had its 14th GM: Neelotpal Das!

Confidence was his forte in this event, as Deepan had just returned from a month long coaching stint in Spain with GM Ubilava. Showing preparedness much beyond his age, Deepan scaled one seed after the other and wound his way to the top. Keeping his lead right upto the penultimate round, he needed just a draw in the final two rounds to make it to the Indian Olympiad team. Playing alongside Anand, Sasikiran and Harikrishna has eluded this Madurai based lad this time, but he is bound to shine with his grit and preparation.

The winners: C. Sandipan, DP Singh and S. Ganguly, who came first on tiebreak

We come to the Champion, Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly, who patiently played his cards and when the chips were down held his cool. With numerous permutations and combinations on the anvil in the final round, Ganguly just placed his head only upon his crucial game against experienced International Master Sundararajan Kidambi and scored the much needed win. Ganguly friend and state-mate GM Sandipan Chanda helped the cause, bringing down Deepan in another exciting encounter. The result paved way for a trio sharing the top spot viz., Ganguly, Sandipan and D P Singh.

IM Kidambi, flanked by friends and chess fans

The excitement remained much after the event was over, as rookie Jharkhand player D P Singh (Elo 2395) made his way for the final spot in the Indian Olympiad team. Hats off to this quiet unsung hero, who gave it all and reaped it rich.

Final standings

Women's section

The Women's section saw WGM Swathi Ghate in great form in her eighth attempt at the national A championship. It was Swathi's maiden title. Second was 16-year-young Mary Ann Gomes, who was the runner up last year.

Rank   Name Rtng Pts
1 WGM Swathi, Ghate 2262 14
2 WIM Gomes, Mary Ann 2239 13
3 WGM Harika, Dronavalli 2358 12½
4 WGM Meenakshi, S. 2282 12
5 WGM Mohota, Nisha 2314 12
6 IM Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman 2472 11½
7 WGM Karavade, Eesha 2332 11
8 WGM Ramaswamy, Aarthie 2239 9
9   Amrutha, Mokal 2126 9
10   Swati, Mohota 2153
11   Kiran, Monisha Mohanty 2104
12   Ramya, Krishna I. 2155
13   Nimmy, A.G. 2120
14   Kavitha, J.E. 2131 7
15   Supriya, Maji 2116
16   Iswarya, Shobana L. 2153
17   Soumya, Swaminathan 2162
18   Alka, Das 2057
19 WIM Gokhale, Anupama 2203 4

WIM Mary Ann Gomes, Swati Ghate (Champion), Dronavalli Harika

Swati Ghate Mary Ann Gomes discussing Olympiad strategy?

Vijayalakshmi with her husband IM Sriram Jha

IM S Vijayalakshmi, WGM Dronavalli Harika and WGM Meenakshi sharing a laugh.

Debundants from Pune: WGM Esha Karvade, National Junior U-20 champ Soumya Swaminathan and Amruta Mokal

The article on the Indian Championship at encouraged the organisers in Visakhapatnam to spice up their own site with pictures and stories. In the turmoils of the chess federation leadership dispute over 20 electronic sensor boards went missing, so live transmission had to be done through volunteer power, with the moves keyed in through ChessBase.

Sri Hari, a local coach, organiser and arbiter, Chaitanya, web master, biotech student, and J. Subramanyam, also a coach, are the guys who bought the championship to the web.

By Kameswaran Visweswaran, Visakhapatnam, Vasudevan, Chennai,
and Vishal Sareen, Delhi. Photos: KIdambi Sundararajan

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