Players and personalities at the Kolkata Open

by Sagar Shah
4/1/2014 – In his first report Sagar Shah decribed the course of this very strong event, with 77 participants and a rating average of close to 2400 (!). The second part is dedicated to some of the other player who did not finish at the top but deserve their share of the limelight. Sagar also gives us some insight into the tournament, its organisation and the venue in this wonderful pictorial report.

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Players and personalities at the Kolkata Open

By Sagar Shah

The Kolkata Open, formerly known as the Goodricke Open, was held in Gorky Sadan, Kolkata, from 18th to 27th March 2014. The tournament is one of the strongest opens in Asia and has a long pedigree, with the likes of Smyslov, Korchnoi, Anand, Bologan, Short and many more star players having taken part in previous editions.

This year we saw 27 GMs, 18 IMs and four WGMs taking part. Players from 13 countries were there, making it a truly global event. The average rating of this tournament was an astonishing 2394, in spite of the fact that 77 players were participating. The strength of the tournament can be gauged when top seed GM Nigel Short played GM Sundaranjan Kidambi (2400) in the very first round.

The total prize fund of the event was 1,400,000 Indian Rupess (approx US $ 23,300). It was ten-round tournament with a time control of 90 mins for 40 moves and 30 mins for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 secs from the first move. Every round began at 14.00 IST, except for the last round which began at 10.00 IST.

The course of the tournament and the final outcome were described in my first report. Here, again, are the top scorers:

Rk.   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4  Rp
1 GM Barbosa Oliver PHI 2564 7.5 56.5 51.0 45.25 49.5 2688
2 GM Lalith Babu M.R. IND 2585 7.5 55.0 50.0 44.25 48.0 2655
3 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2439 7.0 61.0 55.5 43.25 53.5 2671
4 GM Vidit Gujrathi IND 2602 7.0 58.5 53.0 40.00 51.0 2659
5 GM Rahman Ziaur BAN 2486 7.0 56.5 51.5 41.25 49.0 2684
6 GM Adhiban B. IND 2608 7.0 55.0 50.0 41.00 48.0 2614
7 GM D. Chakkravarthy IND 2496 6.5 57.5 53.0 38.25 50.0 2630
8 GM Landa Konstantin RUS 2645 6.5 56.5 51.5 37.50 49.0 2584
9 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2578 6.5 53.5 49.0 34.00 46.5 2553
10 GM Sengupta Deep IND 2529 6.5 52.0 47.5 33.25 44.5 2539
11 GM Grigoryan Avetik ARM 2583 6.5 51.5 47.0 34.25 45.0 2566
12 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2674 6.5 51.0 46.0 34.50 44.0 2548
13 GM Gopal G.N. IND 2558 6.5 48.5 44.0 34.25 42.5 2514
14 GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil GEO 2639 6.5 48.0 44.0 33.25 41.5 2540
15 GM Fedorchuk Sergey UKR 2647 6.5 48.0 44.0 31.25 41.0 2531
16 GM Haznedaroglu Kivanc TUR 2462 6.0 53.5 49.0 32.25 46.0 2539
17 IM Swapnil Dhopade IND 2424 6.0 53.5 49.0 31.25 46.0 2528
18 IM Karthikeyan P. IND 2355 6.0 52.0 47.5 31.75 44.5 2548
19 IM Ly Moulthun AUS 2429 6.0 49.5 45.5 24.25 42.0 2507
20   Kunal M. IND 2339 6.0 44.5 41.0 26.50 38.0 2485

Other participants

The beautiful Alexandra Samaganova (2029) from Kyrgyzstan

Women power in India! In front are WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty, WGM Swati Ghate and IM Nisha Mohota, who is always a live wire. In the background center is WGM Mary Ann Gomes, with S Harini on the left and WIM Ivana Maria Furtado on the right. This covers almost all the Indian women taking part in the event except for...

... the very cute and affable WGM Padmini Rout.

WIM Ivana Maria Furtado (2177) was surely the find of the event. She turned 15 two days before the start of the event, where she not only gained 43 Elo points but also scored a WGM norm with a performance of 2406. On her way to her maiden WGM norm she defeated strong IMs like V Saravanan and Somak Palit.

Putting on his thinking cap: IM Prasanna Rao (2410)

Behind every succesful man is a woman. Recently wed IM Karthikeyan (2355) gained
25 Elo points and performed of 2555. No money for guessing who his second was!

Abhishek Kelkar (2286), an extremely aggressive player, made his maiden IM norm

He already has three IM norms, but what's the harm in making a fourth?
CRG Krishna is surely way more than IM level material!

Tenacity best describes the man on the left, M Kunal (2339), who made yet
another IM norm at the Kolkata Open and is well on his way to the IM title

Looks like a fan of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang theory:
very strong IM from USA Justin Sarkar (2452)

The little things at the Kolkata Open

The Kolkata Open is often termed as a one man show when it comes to organization. Soumen Majumar (who is seen on the right with GM Harikrishna in the above picture) is the soul of this event. There is definitely something about the man and the way he organizes the tournament. He tries to not compromise on the quality and instead focuses on providing the very highest quality, which is one of the reasons why the average rating of the tournament was 2394.

The beautiful entrance to the tournament hall. It is well decorated with bright
lighting to make one feel that there is some gala event is in progress!

Near the entrance of the hall you are greeted by pictures of all the world champions. Let's see if we can get them all. Top row: Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Euwe, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky; bottom: Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov, Khalifman, Anand, Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov, Topalov, Kramnik, Carlsen. Looking at these world champions before the game motivates you to give your best!

In every game the players were given something to energize themselves.
It was a small yet a very kind gesture by the organizers.

This is a picture for posterity! Everyone in the picture is a GM, and most are very talented and promising ones! Sitting and analyzing are GM Harikrishna and GM Ganguly (who were not participating in the event) with Nigel Short. Looking at them with rapt attention are (from left to right) GMs Vidit Gujarathi, GN Gopal, Abdulla Al Rakib, Enamul Hossain, Debashish Das, Shyam Sundar, Sethuraman and B Adhiban.

A huge thanks to the organizer for having a separate analysis room with eight chess sets. This shows that they understand the importance of analyzing the game after the round – players never had to wait to discuss their games with the opponent. As the very famous GM Pravin Thipsay of India once said to me: "Analyzing the game with your opponent after its over is a quintessential for a chess player's progress".

All of the above were just little things but they somehow made the entire experience of playing at the Kolkata Open quite a memorable one! The only thing I feel that could have been improved was to not charge any entry fees to the IMs. That would have ensured many more IMs taking part in the tournament.

Some scenes from the city

The Howrah bridge is one of the most famous symbols of the city of Kolkata. It weathers the storms of the Bay of Bengal region, carrying a daily traffic of approximately 100,000 vehicles and possibly more than 150,000 pedestrians, easily making it the busiest cantilever bridge in the world. [Picture: SiliconIndia]

Beautiful art work at the metro train stations. The metro (underground) was opened in 1984 in Kolkata. It was the first of its kind in India. While it was revolutionary concept when it was opened, now Business Standard describes as an "exercise in antiquity".

For living in India you do not need a home or any permission from the government
authority – you just find a good spot on the road and build your little nest!

Tea, one of the most popular drinks in India and one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. However the best part about the tea in Kolkata is that you get them in little earthen pots which lend its own special feeling while drinking it. Also unlike plastic cups it is environment friendly!

There were a lot of beautiful gardens near the playing venue

Some players, like GM Grigoryan Avetik from Armenia, made excellent use of these
parks in order to unwind and build their stamina in the evening after the game

Alexandra Samaganova tries the very famous Bengali sweet Rasagulla! (which she loved!)

The author of these lines, yours truly Sagar Shah (right) and his wife Amruta Mokal are seen in the picture with the two best players of India GM Harikrishna (left) and GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly

The game of kings and queens is highly respected in the city of Kolkata. I hope you enjoyed this little report on the Sixth Kolkata Open 2014, and that you will make it a point to visit the beautiful land of India and play in this excellently organized event in the year 2015.

All pictures by Amruta Mokal


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Topics: India

Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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