National Challenger Championship in India

by Niklesh Kumar Jain
10/21/2013 – The National Championship cycle has started in India. The first phase is a giant thirteen round swiss tournament nicknamed the "National B" tournament. Many players flocked from all over the country to participate in the event. The top nine players at the end of the thirteen rounds will qualify for the final tournament. Niklesh Kumar Jain brings us a pictorial report.

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India’s 51st National Challengers Chess Championship

In India from the early days there are two types of national championships, the National ‘A’ and National ‘B’. These days National ‘B’ is known as National Challengers. You can find not only players from the 29 states of  the country but also some extra units: players from Air India, Railways, ONGC ect. You can compare this championship to a mini chess Olympiad. From this Championship the top 9 players will qualify for the prestigious National Premier ( ‘A’) Championship and Join five seeded players selected by the All India Chess Federation (AICF) according to the regulation for the Main Indian Team selection .

Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarters
of Bhopal District and Bhopal Division. The city was the capital of the former Bhopal State.

The tournament Venue – The Sports & Youth Welfare Department hall, TT Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

The tournament was inaugurated by Mr. Sunil Bansal by making the customary moves against topt seed GM Deepsen Gupta with GM Abhijit Kunte, all in the presence of IA Dharmendra Kumar, State Secretary Mr. Kapil Saxena and IM Atanu Lahiri.

A beautiful playing hall view with lot of colors everywhere.  A total number of 282 players including 8 Grand Masters, 36 International Masters are participating in this prestigious championship.

20th seed GM-elect International Master M.S. Tejkumar rated 2421
is leading the tournamnet  with 9.5/11  with a rating performance of 2664

5th seed Indian IM Debashis Das just confirmed his Grandmaster Title on the 8th round after crossing his live rating crossed 2500. These days he is working with GM Halkias Stelios of Greece. Now he will become the 34th Grandmaster of India and the first from Orissa State. He scored 8.5 /11 with a 2540 rating performance.

The Host Association MP Sate Star player IM Akshat Khamparia, rated 2384, played very well
and scored 8/11. In the next two rounds he will have a good chance to finish in the top nine

The second seed GM Adhiban, rated 2587, is the only GM in the top five
after eleven rounds. Despite this he is still 1.5 points behind the leader.

Sagar Shah, rated 2373, holds two IM norms. This Maharashtra player outplayed GM Lalith Babu and jumped to the sixth position in the rankings after eleve nrounds with a score of 8.0/11. He described the tournament like this: "The arbiter says 'start your game' and you try to focus, but then suddenly someone turns up in front of your board whom you haven't seen since a long time! You smile at him! Then someone else and some other guy and they just keep coming! And mind you, the smiles are truly genuine!"

8th seed GM Deepan Chakkravarthy, rated 2476, scored 8/11 so far.
He still needs a good showing in the last two rounds to make it into the finals

2003 British Open Champion and seventh seed of the tournament GM Abhijeet Kunte

The media's attention is always very important for the promotion of any event. Here is Rakesh Rao, Senior Assitant Editor of The Hindu, one of the leading dailies of the country. "“Logistically, it is one of the better organized events in the country. Of course, there are hiccups but these are only to be expected in a tournament of this magnitude. The tournament hall is truly exceptional" remarked Mr. Rao.

One of the strongest female players of India, WGM Padmini Rout,
scored 7.5/11 and has a good chance to be in the top nine.

Prachurya Kumar Pradhan, a visually challenged player and rated 1646, has scored 4.0/11 in the event!

In these events you can always find the combination of experience and youth.
Here is the oldest player in the tournament, HD Mishra who is 70 years old...

...and the youngest, Arayn Rai, who is only seven!

The Chief Arbiter IA Dharmendra Kumar is always busy and conducts the tournament in a smooth manner

Chief Organizer Mr. Kapil Saxena watching the games.
He is the Honorary Secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Chess Association.

The trophies that await the winners... but two rounds still remain

Standings after round 11/13

Rk. Title Name Rtg Club/City
1 IM Thejkumar M. S. 2421 Rlwys
2 IM Ashwin Jayaram 2461 TN
3 IM Debashis Das 2497 Odisha
4 IM Akshat Khamparia 2384 Rlwys
5 GM Adhiban B. 2587 PSPB/IOC
6   Sagar Shah 2373 MAH
7 IM Gagare Shardul 2443 MAH(ABIL)
8 IM Stany G.A. 2388 AAI
9 GM Laxman R.R. 2424 Rlwys
10 IM Swayams Mishra 2434 AAI
11 IM Karthikeyan Murali 2444 TN
12 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. 2476 TN
13 IM Vishnu Prasanna. V 2496 TN
14 IM Shyam Nikil P. 2412 TN
15 GM Kunte Abhijit 2487 PSPB
16 IM Prakash G B 2255 IB
17 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2566 PSPB(ONGC)
18 GM Neelotpal Das 2455 PSPB
19 WGM Padmini Rout 2330 Odisha
20   Visakh Nr 2218 TN

Niklesh Kumar Jain in action

Niklesh Kumar Jain

Niklesh Kumar Jain, international player, FIDE National Instructor, Arbiter, tournament organizer, won the International Tournament in Sri Lanka in 2010. He also worked in television network as an anchor and news writer for two years. He was also in a ChessBase report when he played in France 2007.

With the AICF and the school management Niklesh is working to promote chess in Schools of Central and North India.

FIDE Instructor Niklesh Kumar Jain Jain is an international chess player who has participated in tournaments in almost in 20 different countries, winning the international tournament in Sri Lanka in 2010. He also worked for a television network as an anchor and news writer for two years and reported in Hindi during World Chess Championship 2013 and 2014.


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