India dominates the Commonwealth

by Sabrina Chevannes
7/14/2014 – Glasgow was the host to the 2014 Commonwealth Chess Championships. The tournament reminded all of us why India is considered to be one of the strongest chess countries in the world! The top stages were filled with Indian players and they duly took home most of the prizes. Our reporter, Sabrina Chevannes, bring us a detailed review of a traditional event. Pictorial report.

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I have just returned from the Commonwealth Chess Championships 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland where we were all reminded why India are one of the strongest chess countries in the world. Very often, on the top “stage” boards, it was just those from the Indian delegation. They left the rest of us to shame, whilst all we could do was desperately try to catch up.

The event was held at Glasgow City College, inside a sports hall, which doesn’t sound particularly glamorous but it was kitted out perfectly well, providing live boards on the top 40 boards which were being streamed live at We were even entertained during round 6 when there was a live marching band performing through the streets. The music was so loud, it was as if they were marching through our tournament hall! Whilst being provided with authentic Scottish music for our visitors, this was too much for some and many had to put their games on pause until the music passed!

Graduation at Strathclyde University

Most competitors were staying at Strathclyde University accommodation, which was basic but had everything we needed and it was nice to have everyone in the same place. There were several graduations going on throughout the first half of the tournament in the courtyards. I had fun trying to blend in and “obtain” some free beverages! That was not the only entertainment at the university, as on the day of round 9, one of the flats was evacuated due to a fire alert! There were several fire engines and firemen called to attend this “emergency” and we were unable to get back into our rooms for a good 25 mins. It turned out it was a false alarm and someone had just burnt their breakfast (it might have been me – oops!). The bright side: we got to see some firemen!

Adam Taylor - one of England's top u16 players

Sixteen federations turned up for this year’s commonwealth championships with the home country dominating the entries and India following closely behind. There was a very disappointingly low number of entries from England considering we are just next door. Strange, as it would have been the perfect warm-up for the British Chess Championships, which is starting next week.

James Evans, top Welsh junior, with his Welsh Dragon mascot!

The tournament saw 9 GMs, 10 IMs, 3 WGMs, 7 FMs, 4 WIMs and 5 WFMs! So there were plenty of norm chances up for grabs!

In addition to the main event, they held the Commonwealth Junior Championships alongside, where they awarded prizes in 12 junior categories – U10-U20 boys and girls. The numbers for the junior events were rather low, which is surprising, but a number of the stronger juniors were in the open section.

Ali Roy - Scotland Ladies' Olympiad team memberand second u20 female

The diversity of the tournament was shown when the organisers even ran a disabled championships alongside the main event, consisting of those players who were less able than others.

With 152 competitors in the event and no accelerated pairings, you were bound to get some pairings with huge rating differences and therefore some upsets. There seemed to be several extremely underrated players in the tournament costing many people a lot of rating points! There were a large number of juniors in the open event who were playing in both the junior and open championships, racking up a total of about 8 hours of chess a day! I really don’t know how they survived 9 days in a row of that!

Monica Espinosa Cancino - a leading Scottish female junior

GM Abhijeet Gupta looked to be the favourite in the tournament, being about 100 points higher rated than the rest of the field. He has always done rather well in tournaments in the UK, being a past winner of London Chess Classic too. He especially looked unstoppable after six rounds when he was on a perfect score, already taking 2 GMs and 2 IMs and a point clear of everyone. He halved out

Jonathan Pein - son of IM Malcolm Pein, organizer of the London Classic. Jonathan won over 30 rating points!

Stephen Whatley - Gibraltar's representative and winner of a rating prize category

in rounds 7 and 8 against GMs Das and Sengupta but was still half a point clear going into the last round.

What was almost a perfect tournament for Abhijeet was absolutely destroyed by junior IM Chithambaram (only 15 years old), who had already won the U16 championships that morning with a whopping 9/9! Despite IM Chithambaram having the black pieces and being substantially outrated, he was not fazed in the slightest and went on for a stunning victory, depriving Abhijeet of the title and gaining the top highest score himself.

Abhijeet Gupta - top seed

[Event "Commonwealth Chess Championships"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.08"] [Round "9.1"] [White "GM Gupta, Abhijeet IND (7)"] [Black "IM Aravindh, Chithambaram VR. IN"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A06"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. c4 dxc4 6. Qa4+ Nbd7 7. Qxc4 O-O 8. d4 Nb6 9. Qb3 Be6 10. Qd1 Qc8 11. Nc3 Bh3 12. e4 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 c5 14. d5 e6 15. d6 Nfd7 16. Qe2 Qc6 17. Rd1 Ne5 18. Qb5 Qxb5 19. Nxb5 Nxf3 20. Kxf3 Nc4 21. Rb1 Rad8 22. b3 Ne5+ 23. Ke2 Nc6 24. Ba3 b6 25. b4 c4 26. Nc7 Nd4+ 27. Rxd4 Bxd4 28. b5 Be5 29. Rd1 c3 30. Rd3 g5 31. Bb4 Rd7 32. f4 gxf4 33. gxf4 c2 34. Kd2 Bxf4+ 35. Kxc2 Rfd8 36. Bc3 Bxd6 37. Na6 e5 38. Nb4 f5 39. Nc6 fxe4 40. Rd1 Re8 41. Bxe5 Re6 42. Bc3 e3 43. Nd4 e2 44. Re1 Re4 45. h3 Be5 46. Nxe2 Rc7 47. Rg1+ Kf7 48. Rf1+ Ke6 0-1

Meanwhile, on the next board, GMs Sengupta and Grover were battling it out for what they probably didn’t quite realise at the time, was the Commonwealth title! Their game was so interesting that there was a big crowd of people surrounding it for most of the game. I actually spent more of my game time watching their board, rather than mine! GM Sengupta came out victorious and on tie-break, became the new Commonwealth Champion 2014!

The gorgeous Tania Sachdev - also a model for Red Bull (you can see she is faithful!)

The playing hall was adequate

Now, his tournament could have gone so differently, for in round 2 he was up against…me! Having been so rusty and really out of form lately, I was not expecting to hold my own for very long. However, I suddenly found I was just better for most of the game and had several winning chances of which I was just not confident enough to go for. Such a shame, but it was a fun game and being the great guy that he is, Deep gave me some serious respect in the post-mortem, which is flattering coming from the new Commonwealth Champion

GM Debasihi Das

[Event "Commonwealth Chess Championships"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.01"] [Round "2.3"] [White "GM Sengupta, Deep IND"] [Black "WIM Chevannes, Sabrina L ENG"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:31:03"] [BlackClock "0:01:24"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Be3 e6 5. Nd2 Nd7 6. f4 f6 7. Ngf3 Nh6 8. Be2 Be7 9. Nb3 O-O 10. Qd2 a5 11. O-O Ng4 12. c3 fxe5 13. fxe5 a4 14. Nc1 Nxe3 15. Qxe3 Qb6 16. Nd3 c5 17. h3 Be4 18. Nf2 Bxf3 19. Bxf3 cxd4 20. cxd4 Rac8 21. b3 Rf5 22. Bg4 Rxe5 23. Qd3 Rg5 24. bxa4 Bf6 25. Rab1 Qd6 26. Rxb7 h5 27. Bf3 Rc4 28. Kh1 Rxd4 29. Qb5 Nf8 30. Rb8 Rd2 31. Nd3 Rg3 32. Rf2 Rxf2 33. Nxf2 Bd4 34. Nd3 Rg5 35. Qb4 Qxb4 36. Rxb4 Be3 37. a5 d4 38. Ra4 Rb5 39. a6 h4 40. Kh2 Rb1 41. g4 1-0

FM Justin Tan is one of Austalia's leading players, but now attends school in England

WFM Elaine Bamber - Scotland Ladies' board 2

I finished the tournament on 6/9, which was a decent result, with losses only to GM Sengupta and GM Ankit, but this still wasn’t a good enough effort to be in with the shot of the Commonwealth Ladies’ title, which went to WGM Bhakti Khulkani on 6.5 points. Second place, also scoring 6.5 points was WGM Soumya Swaminathan and 3rd place, to whom I missed out on the trophy by tie break was IM Tania Sachdev, also scoring 6 points.

Yours truly sporting the "good luck" hat of Jaimie Kenmure, Australia's arbititing delegate

Incorporated in this tournament was also the Scottish Chess Championships and so there were several Scottish players fighting for this title. This year’s Champion was FM Alan Tate, who turned his final round game around against English junior Peter Batchelor to somehow win a very complicated position in which he looked to be losing. Senior Scottish Champion was IM Mark Orr and the Scottish Player of the Year was voted for and won by IM Roddy McKay. The full list of prizewinners can be found here and the final standings can be found here.

This was my first Commonwealth Chess Championships and was a very pleasant one; the event was well run and all the competitors were really friendly. Looking forward to next year!

227: GM Rajpara Ankit – U20 3rd place

The crowd around the game between GM Sengupt-GM Grover. I wonder how many people lost several minutes off their clock!

[Event "Commonwealth Chess Championships"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.08"] [Round "9.2"] [White "GM Sengupta, Deep IND (61/2)"] [Black "GM Grover, Sahaj IND (61/2)"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E20"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 b5 6. e4 O-O 7. e5 exd5 8. exf6 d4 9. a3 Ba5 10. b4 dxc3 11. bxa5 Qxf6 12. Qd5 Nc6 13. Bg5 Qd4 14. Ne2 Re8 15. Qxd4 cxd4 16. cxb5 d3 17. bxc6 Rb8 18. O-O-O dxe2 19. Bxe2 Rxe2 20. Rhe1 c2 21. Rxe2 cxd1=Q+ 22. Kxd1 Ba6 23. Re7 Bb5 24. c7 Rc8 25. Bf4 d5 26. Be3 a6 27. Kd2 h6 28. Bc5 g5 29. Kc3 Kg7 30. Kd4 Bf1 31. g3 Bg2 32. Bd6 Bxf3 33. Rd7 Bg4 34. Rd8 1-0

WFM V Vashini – U16 Commonwealth Girls’ Champion & U18 3rd place Girls.

WFM R Vaishali – U14 Commonwealth Champion (8/9) & U18 Commonwealth Girls’ Champion (6/9)

Akash PC Iyer – U18 Commonwealth Boys’ Champion

IM Roddy McKay - Scottish player of the year

IM Alan Tate - Scottish Champion 2014

293: WGM Bhakti Khulkani – Commonwealth Ladies’ Champion 2014

Commonwealth Chess Champion 2014: GM Deep Sengupta

Born in 1986 in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, England, Sabrina now lives in London where she is managing director of the London Academy of Chess and Education. With over 300 members of the academy, she has one of the largest following of students in the UK. Sabrina is a Women International Master and an active chess player.


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