Indian prodigy wins Chennai Open

by ChessBase
11/27/2013 – The 2013 Chennai Grandmaster Open, held in celebration of the Anand-Carlsen FIDE World Championship Match, was sensationally won by 14-year-old FM Aravindh Chithambaram of Chennai. With a performance rating of 2728, which dwarfs his current rating of 2335, it seems we have a new prodigy to track! Here is the illustrated report by WGM Soumya Swaminathan

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Indian prodigy wins Chennai Open

by WGM Soumya Swaminathan

The 2013 Chennai Grandmaster Open, held in celebration of the Anand-Carlsen FIDE World Championship Match, was sensationally won by 14-year-old FM Aravindh Chithambaram of Chennai. With a performance rating of 2728, which dwarfs his current rating of 2335, it seems we have a new prodigy to track!

The Chennai GM International Open was held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai from 15th November 2013 and carried a total prize money of Rs. 10,00,000/- with the winner getting Rs. 2,00,000/- . The tournament was organized by the Tamil Nadu Chess Association and sponsored by the Tamil Nadu State Government. 

An overview of the playing hall

The organizers kept a strict rating cutoff of 2100 Elo for the tournament, so the total number of participants was ultimately held to 114, including 21 GMs, 30 IMS, 5 WGMS, and some other extremely underrated additional players! Naturally, we witnessed a lot of upsets throughout the tournament and, in the end, there emerged an unexpected but well-deserved winner.

Ivan Popov of Russia, rated 2652, was the top seed and finished with 6.5/11. He is currently seeking to make up for it at the Hyderabad Open, which started just two days after the Chennai Open. After speaking to some of the foreign players, I felt some of them had problems getting adjusted to the time difference and to the idea of a morning round. But that was inevitable, as the whole idea of this tournament was to give the players an opportunity to play some good chess and also to witness an awesome, historic match. Many of the kids participating here were also regular winners of a problem solving contest held at the match venue. Aravindh was among them!

Me having fun with a few kids at the match venue. No, these ones are too
young to solve problems. They prefer running around on the giant chess board.

The Indian challenge was led by 19-year-old GM Vidit Gujrathi, rated 2582, an intelligent, fun-loving youngster and one of the few who favours reading chess books during tournaments. He achieved the GM title last December and recently won a bronze medal at 2013 World Junior Championship.

Here is Vidit (centre) with IM (GM-elect) Swapnil Dhopade (left) & IM N. Srinath

The star of the tournament was, of course, Aravindh Chithambaram. He won the tournament with a score of 9.0/11, defeating four GMs on his way to the title. A last round draw against Chennai’s latest GM, Vishnu Prasanna, sealed it. With this result, Aravindh also secured his first GM norm and gained a whopping 80 rating points! 

Aravindh has a refreshingly relaxed attitude during the game. Many of his older
opponents have a common complaint: "How do we take him seriously? He practices
his [cricket] bowling technique during the game!"‘ 

IM Nino Batsiashvili, Georgia, won the Women’s prize with 6.0/11

Most of the female players had a very tough time playing in this tournament (I was no exception). One reason this may have been, common to each of us, was that we played in the WGM International Open held just one day prior. 

Karina Ambartsumova, Russia, played really well, scoring 6.5/11 and an IM norm

Chinmay Kulkarni, Rakesh Kulkarni & Sameer Kathmale. Sameer
also had a great tournament and made his final IM norm.
IM Mikhail Mozharov of Russia also made a GM norm here. He was amongst the leaders throughout the event and finished on 7.5/11, which placed him seventh on the prize list. In total, two GM norms, six IM norms and one WIM norm were achieved.

Thanks to Vishy, Chennai has been the epicenter of Indian chess for a long time now. Just to emphasize the point, during a recent auto (read: Indian taxi) ride in Chennai, the driver was discussing the World Championship match with me and when I asked him:  "Do you know chess?“, he replied: “Oh, I even play chess!"

GM Sethuraman, Sarvana Krishna, GM Vishnu Prasanna, FM Aravindh Chithambaram
and GM Deepan Chakkravarthy, all from Chennai, cheering on the winner following
the final round

GM S.P. Sethuraman came third with 8.5/11

GM Neverov Veleriy, Ukraine, also scored 8.5/11, but finished
second on the strength of a superior tiebreak

The champion! Aravindh with his proud mother and grandparents at the closing ceremony

Pictures by WGM Soumya Swaminathan and Michael von Keitz

Final standings

Rk. SNo Tit. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB rtg+/-
1 53 FM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND 2335 9.0 72.0 80.4
2 13 GM Neverov Valeriy UKR 2508 8.5 68.0 6.4
3 6 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2553 8.5 66.5 0.0
4 2 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2582 8.0 77.0 4.9
5 15 GM Vishnu Prasanna. V IND 2505 8.0 77.0 17.6
6 5 GM Borovikov Vladislav UKR 2558 8.0 66.5 -0.7
7 14 IM Mozharov Mikhail RUS 2508 7.5 78.0 14.0
8 10 GM Babujian Levon ARM 2510 7.5 66.5 1.9
9 3 GM Lalith Babu M.R. IND 2570 7.0 76.0 -1.5
10 11 GM Papin Vasily RUS 2510 7.0 73.0 2.4
11 9 GM Mirzoev Azer AZE 2519 7.0 73.0 -0.6
12 4 GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel ARM 2568 7.0 72.0 -5.9
13 42 IM Ravichandran Siddharth IND 2372 7.0 69.0 23.2
14 33 IM Swayams Mishra IND 2435 7.0 69.0 4.9
15 23 IM Swapnil S. Dhopade IND 2454 7.0 68.0 4.1
16 7 GM Shyam Sundar M. IND 2544 7.0 67.5 -10.2
17 57   Krishna C.R.G. IND 2304 7.0 65.5 37.8
18 22 IM Rzayev Bahruz AZE 2466 7.0 65.0 -1.3
19 19 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. IND 2471 7.0 64.0 -8.9
20 27 IM Narayanan Srinath IND 2444 7.0 62.5 -7.8

Click for complete standings


The games were broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server 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.

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