Newsletter # 04 from ChessBase India

by Priyadarshan Banjan
5/8/2016 – April turned out to be yet another month of success for Indian chess in general. While the man responsible for the chess boom in this country played some sparkling games in the Candidates tournament in March, his legion of followers continued to progress in the following days. ChessBase India brings you this brief overview of the happenings in chess in India in the bygone month.

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Tournament coverage:

India wins the Asian Nations Cup 2016

The ninth round of the Asian Nations Cup 2016 saw the leaders India take on the Vietnamese, with even a draw assuring the title. But the team was raring to go and they roared to a class victory. India lifted the Asian Nations Cup 2016 and qualified to the World Teams Championship! The women's team ended its disappointing campaign by drawing the match with Iran, finishing fourth. We bring you a detailed report with comments by the players and the coach of the winning team!

Asian Youth Championship 2016: rapid and blitz

Approximately 470 young players assembled at Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia for the Asian Youth Chess Championship 2016. After the fifth round, the Asian Youth Rapid and Blitz Championship 2016 was held on 10th April 2016. Check out how the Indian youngsters performed in this pictorial report.

Neelotpal dazzles in Skopje!

What do you do when the opponent that you are going to face in the next round is rated 150 points above you and has written an entire book on the Sicilian Richter Rauzer? While some players will shy away from the challenge, players like Neelotpal Das will confidently take him into the same opening and beat him there! The 34-year-old grandmaster from Kolkata was the hero of India at the Karpos Open 2016 where he scored 7.0/9 finishing joint second. We have a short interview with him and Neelotpal has specially sent us an annotated game!

Asian Youth Championship 2016: Eight medals for India!

The Asian Youth Championship came to a close on 14 April 2016 with the Indians scooping up a total of eight medals — three golds, two silvers, and three bronzes. A report highlighting the winners with games.

Bangkok: Ganguly wins the title!

India's Surya Shekhar Ganguly is the 2016 Bangkok Chess Club Open Champion, finishing ahead in the tiebreaker by the narrowest of margins over Spain's Paco Vallejo. Read the first part of our final report chronicling Ganguly's victory march.

Dubai: Vidit joint second

Indians Sethuraman and Gagare were in close pursuit of the leaders before the eighth round began. However, things did not end positively for them. In the end, after nine rounds of play, Vidit Gujrathi ended joint second with 7.0/9, fifth on the tie-break. Englishman GM Gawain Jones completed a double victory after his win in the blitz event, lifting the Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Cup. Report.

A respectable 50% for Hari in Norway

Harikrishna is just seven points away from Anand in the live Elo list. With a rating of 2763 it was extremely important for Hari to prove that he could fight it out with the absolute elite players in the world. And he did pretty well. 4.5/9 with wins over Anish Giri and Li Chao and draws against Eljanov, Topalov, Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave and Grandelius. Indian fans will be looking for more such appearances by Hari so that his experience of playing at this level can match his undeniable talent.

SYNA 07-09: The student and the teacher

The SYNA International Open 2016 turned out to be a double delight for Maharashtra as the leading light from the state IM Anup Deshmukh finished second while GM Swapnil Dhopade was first. The leaders after six rounds — Himal Gusain and Srinath Narayanan — stuck to the top tables throughout the event but missed opportunities finishing third and fourth respectively. The shocking news was the untimely death of the visionary Satyendra Pathak, founder of SYNA group, on the last day of the tournament. SYNA Open 2017 will be held in his memory. An illustrated report with games.

Shyam Sundar wins HCT Rapid in Goa

GM Shyam Sundar is a strong rapid player and he made that fact quite evident by winning the HCT Rapid event held at Goa on 23rd and 24th of April. But it was not an easy victory. Going into the last round Shyam was trailing Karnataka's Gahan M G by half a point. The winner would be decided based on this crucial encounter. And Shyam delivered. He beat Gahan and lifted the winner's trophy and a cheque of Rs. 25,000. Follow this exciting last round game with annotations by the grandmaster himself. A tournament report with GM analysis.

Hasselbacken 01-03: Indians in Sweden

The Hasselbacken Open 2016 began in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 30, 2016, with Dimitry Andreikin and the legendary Alexei Shirov as star attractions. While Shirov enthralled one and all with his fireworks in the third round, Indians haven't disappointed either. Adhiban, Sethuraman, and Sasikiran are amongst the large pack of leaders with perfect scores. And they aren't the only Indians in the fray. Check out this report after the first three rounds, with LIVE grandmaster commentary of the fourth round in progress. Simultaneously, you can also check out the games of the Indian stars on our interface.

Asian Juniors Rapid: Vaishali's perfect nine

The Asian Junior Championship 2016 began in Delhi on 03 April 2016 with an adrenaline gushing rapid tournament that was won by Iran's IM Masoud Mosadeghpour, with GM Aravindh Chithambaram and GM S.L. Narayanan taking the silver and bronze respectively. In the girls section, Vaishali R. cleaned up her opposition to score a perfect 9.0/9. In the first round of the main event that began the next day, the grandmaster trio had an easy outing but we still witnessed a couple of upsets. Report.

General articles:

And the winner of Fritz 15 is....!

When Vishy Anand was playing at the Candidates 2016, we set up a page where chess fans could send their wishes to the Indian champion. We received many messages from people all over India, a few even from foreigners. The best entry would get a Vishy Anand signed copy of Fritz 15. It was a difficult choice as many of the entries were well written and a lot of thought was put behind them. Finally, we have the winner and also an annotated game by Anand himself!

Chess at 10,500 ft. above the sea level!

Mighty peaks surround the enchanting green valley of the Beas river, with adventures seducing one from all sides — Manali is a pleasant place to be. The Himachal Pradesh State Chess Association organized a seven-day coaching camp, from 24 March-30 March 2016, in a place that can only be described as a paradise. What do you think of playing chess in three-degree celsius, 10,500 feet above sea level in a place covered with snow? Find out here!

Vishy Anand in Grand Chess Tour 2016

Following a not so memorable GCT 2015, Anand suffered a ridiculously surreal debacle at the Gibraltar Open. But that is the thing with Anand when the chips are down — you think he is done and crushed, think this is it, and he, out of nowhere, starts playing at his best, as if on demand. In its official press release, the Grand Chess Tour announced the list of superstars who will be competing in the 2016 edition, and Anand is going for the prize, once again! A quick summary.

Hridaynath Award for the conqueror of Indian hearts!

It was an evening to remember! The Governor of the state, Bollywood super-star, eminent sports personalities from various disciplines and more than 600 fans had gathered to felicitate the pride of India and the honour of Indian chess Viswanathan Anand. Vishy was feted with the Hridaynath on 12 April 2016. The ceremony consisted of impeccable compering, highly entertaining speeches and light Q&A session of 20 minutes with Anand. We not only have some beautiful pictures captured by Amruta Mokal but also the speeches and videos that give you an overall feel of how things transpired that evening.

The search for Mumbai's second grandmaster!

How do you go about changing the level of chess players in a city like Mumbai? A city that has a population of nearly 12 million people, is the financial hub of India, has produced only one grandmaster till date. To bring a positive transformation we need dedicated and selfless individuals. Hemangi and Rishi Gupta have the dream of creating champion chess players in the city. And it is with this vision they have started the iLead Chess Academy. As Lao Tzu said,"Every journey of thousand miles begins with a single step." Read on and know more about the fantastic work iLead is involved in.

Stany scores his maiden GM norm

Stany has been one of the strongest International Masters in India for quite some time now. But he never really seemed to be taking the next step towards the GM title. But in the past six months he seems to be in a hurry. The 23-year-old from Karnataka has not only gained 60 Elo points but also achieved his maiden grandmaster norm. In this article, Stany describes his journey of how he achieved the GM norm and also shares with us a truly beautiful victory against a Lithuanian GM.

A Song of Ice and Fire, and Bobby Fischer

The Game of Thrones is a wildly popular TV-show all across the world, with young and old alike watching the series with the devotion that seems unmatched. The characters, as well as the story itself, has achieved cult status following. Not surprisingly, the TV-show has an army of followers in India as well, and many of the chessplayers here, especially those belonging to the younger generation, are die-hard fans of the story, probably because of the chess-like themes so dominant in it. The TV-show is based on an equally popular series of books named 'A Song of Ice and Fire'. Did you know that George RR Martin, the man who created this whole concept, was a chessplayer? Read on.

11-year-old Nihal Sarin has a plan!

When the third round of Norway Chess 2016 was in progress, the playing hall had more than one World Champion present. Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov were all busy playing their game. However, the media attention was drawn towards the former World under-10 Champion Nihal Sarin. The 11-year-old was in Norway to witness his favourite player Magnus Carlsen in action. We urge more young talents of India and their parents to do something similar to what Nihal has done - visit a super tournament and see the big stars in action. It helps these kids to understand what exactly it takes to be a world-class player!

India sweeps the World and Asian Youth tournaments. What next?

In the Asian Youth Championship 2016 held earlier this month, India earned three golds, two silvers, and three bronzes. Last year in November, at the 2015 World Youth Chess Championship, Indians had bullied to the top with eleven medals. These examples just show the world how talented Indian youth is; however, this is not something new. Come to think of it: over the years, India has been producing an array of champions in youth events at National, Asian and World stages in both the girls and open sections. Do you think we are doing enough for these little champions? Read this opinion piece and share your thoughts.

Nepo's brilliancy!

White to play.

We realize that this is a newspage that deals with Indian chess players and Indian events. But once in while we see combinations that transcend the limitations of what we report on! On 5th of May 2016, Ian Nepomniachtchi executed a beautiful combination at the Russian Higher League 2016 against Sanan Sjugirov. The author of this line dissects this combination and shows how important it is to learn the basics of chess tactics. If your tactical roots are strong, such beautiful ideas are bound to occur in your games!

Interviews:

Learn Swapnil's favourite line from GM Williams!

One of the secrets of Karjkain's success at the Candidates 2016 in Moscow was his solid preparation in the Queen's Indian with the black pieces. Caruana, Topalov, Nakamura, Giri everyone tried but they couldn't break it. In this DVD GM Simon Williams shows us a way in which we can unsettle the Queen's Indian player by going for sharp and aggressive chess with the white pieces. He suggests a line which is a favourite of GM Swapnil Dhopade. We caught up with Swapnil to know what he thinks about this opening and also give you an idea of what can be expected from the DVD.

The elo race against Anand is not important!

India number two Pentala Harikrishna played in one of the strongest Round Robin tournaments of his career - The Altibox Norway Chess 2016. He performed very well scoring 4.5/9. In this interview he speaks about his tournament, how he prepared himself, what went wrong, how he fought back and how did he find Markus Ragger as his second. With the focused and single minded approach he has towards the game, we have a feeling that this 30-year-old will go a long way and will soon be a household name in the elite chess circles. And what about his Elo race with Vishy Anand? Well, it is not so important was his straightforward reply!

R.B. Ramesh: An Interview

R.B. Ramesh has been a top-class coach in India for a while now and has regularly brought home laurels in various important events with his chess guidance and terrific man-management skills. Today, the Chennai-based grandmaster turned forty! In a freewheeling chat, Ramesh, an astute chess coach, discussed many critical facets of the sport and its development in India.

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Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.
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