Sriram, Venkatesh win Indian Rapid and Blitz

by Sagar Shah
5/12/2014 – Inspired by the decades of chess excellence by Anand, the noble game has all but exploded in India, and the number of masters, grandmasters, and prodigies, seems to grow almost daily. Held in the city of Ahmedabad, the Indian Rapid and Blitz championships were recently held, with exciting play and a large turnout. Here is an illustrated report with GM analysis by the players.

ChessBase 15 - Mega package ChessBase 15 - Mega package

Find the right combination! ChessBase 15 program + new Mega Database 2019 with 7.6 million games and more than 70,000 master analyses. Plus ChessBase Magazine (DVD + magazine) and CB Premium membership for 1 year!

More...

“If everything is under control, you are not going fast enough.”- Mario Andretti.

When an amateur chess player sees two Grandmasters fighting it out in a classical game, there are high chances that he may be totally disinterested or start feeling sleepy after a certain point of time. The reason is that everything seems totally under control and things are moving at a really slow pace. However the same cannot be said about Rapid and Blitz chess. Here, the length of the game is severely shortened and mistakes, often blunders happen within minutes from the start. Rapid and blitz formats have become exceedingly important in the world of chess because they have made the sport spectator friendly. The Indian National Rapid and Blitz tournament were held in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat from 26th-29th April 2014.

Ahmedabad is a city located near the Western coast of India. It is the largest city and former capital of the Indian state of Gujarat. With a population of more than 5.8 million and an extended population of 6.3 million, it is the fifth largest city and seventh largest metropolitan area of India. It is also ranked third in Forbes' list of fastest growing cities of the decade.

The Rapid tournament was held for the first three days with 11 rounds and a time control of 25 minutes + 5 seconds increment. And the Blitz tournament of 11 rounds was played on the last day 29th April with a time control of 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment. The strength of both the tournaments was extremely good with four GMs, six IMs and two WGMs participating in the field.

Rapid Event

The rapid event was won by the super solid GM Sriram Jha with a score of 8.0/11.

This picture of Sriram taken in Paris in 2010 is quite old but it quite accurately
describes his spirits after winning the National Rapid tournament 2014.

Usually in order to become the champion of any tournament you need to have some decisive results towards the end. However Sriram drew all his games from round 8 to 11. Maybe it was his gift from Caissa for being super solid and not losing any game in the tournament. There was another player who was in scintillating form. He was M.S. Thejkumar (2454).

IM M S Thejkumar, who was the National Challenger 2013 champion, finished runner up

Thejkumar was leading the tournament up to round nine. In the round ten he surprisingly lost to Syed Anwar Shazuli (2258) which gave Sriram the chance to catch up with the leader.

After eleven rounds, both Sriram and Thejkumar were tied at eight points. None of the tie-breaks could come to the rescue as whichever tie-break was applied, their score would remain the same. Finally the arbiters came to the conclusion that the two players must battle it out against each other in two blitz games in order to decide the winner. However, both the blitz games ended in a draw. The last resort was therefore an Armageddon game.

Armageddon means a site of gathering of armies during the end times. It is also used in a generic sense as the end of the world scenario. At the National Rapid tournament, Armageddon had to end the mystery as to who would be the winner. As the two players sat across each other, Thejkumar had the black pieces. That meant that he had five minutes to Sriram’s six but a draw would mean that Thejkumar would be the champion. As Sriram later told me, he would have preferred to be black in such a situation because the one minute disadvantage is not really so huge when you have the draw on your side. This exciting game was not error free but highly entertaining. In the end after many ups and downs Thejkumar lost on time and Sriram became the National Rapid Champion 2014.

Sriram receiving the winners cheque of Rs 50,000 (approx 950$) from the CEO
of All India Chess Federation (AICF) Bharat Singh Chauhan

The Armageddon game has been especially annotated by GM Sriram Jha and sent to us.

Annotated game by GM Sriram Jha:

[Event "National Rapid playoffs, Ahmedabad 2014"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.04.29"] [Round "?"] [White "Sriram Jha"] [Black "Thejkumar, M S."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2411"] [BlackElo "2456"] [Annotator "GM Sriram Jha"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bg4 5. d4 Nbd7 6. Nbd2 e6 7. Re1 Be7 8. e4 O-O (8... dxe4 {leads to quiter variations and would have suited Black who just needs to draw in this Armageddon game.} 9. Nxe4 Nxe4 10. Rxe4 Nf6 11. Re1 O-O 12. c3 Qb6) 9. e5 (9. c3 {is the best move in this position but I wanted to complicate.}) 9... Ne8 10. c3 c5 11. Nb3 $6 $146 (11. dxc5 Nxc5 12. Nb3) 11... a5 (11... c4 12. Nbd2 b5) 12. Be3 c4 13. Nc1 b5 14. h3 Bh5 15. Ne2 Rb8 16. Nf4 {My aim was to get this set up when I played 9.e5. The position is very dynamic and is not easy to play in an Armageddon game.} Bg6 17. Nd2 b4 18. h4 $14 bxc3 19. bxc3 Rb2 20. h5 $6 {Again no time to think. Clearly better for White was} (20. Nxg6 hxg6 21. Qa4 Nc7 22. Rab1 $16) 20... Bc2 21. Qg4 $6 Kh8 $5 {Setting up a devilish trap.} 22. Qh3 (22. Nf3 $4 Bf5 {and the queen is trapped in full view of all other pieces!}) 22... h6 23. Nf3 (23. g4 Nc7) 23... Nc7 24. g4 Be4 25. Bc1 Rc2 26. Rxe4 $2 {Desperation.} (26. Re3 {is better and keeps the game in control.}) 26... dxe4 27. Nd2 Nxe5 (27... Nd5 $1) 28. Bxe4 Nd3 29. Bxd3 Rxc3 30. Nxc4 Qxd4 $2 (30... Rxc4 31. Bxc4 Qxd4 $17) 31. Be3 $6 ( 31. Bb2 $16) 31... Qf6 32. Rd1 Rd8 33. Bd2 $2 (33. Nb2 $11) 33... Nb5 $2 (33... Rdxd3 34. Nxd3 Rxc4 $19) 34. Rb1 Rxc4 35. Bxc4 Rxd2 36. Qe3 Rd4 37. Rxb5 Qxf4 $2 (37... Rxc4 $1 38. Rb8+ Bd8 39. Ng2 Qd4 $17) 38. Qxf4 Rxf4 39. Rb8+ Kh7 40. Bd3+ f5 41. gxf5 exf5 42. Rb5 Rb4 43. Rxa5 {and White won on time in this slightly better position. A crazy game!} 1-0

Sriram also analyzed a very interesting rook endgame from the tournament. Studying this rook endgame along with the Grandmaster analysis can really help us to get a handle on how tough these endings really are.

Annotated game by GM Sriram Jha:

[Event "National Rapid, Ahmedabad 2014"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.04.28"] [Round "9"] [White "Sriram Jha"] [Black "Rahul Sangma"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2411"] [BlackElo "2333"] [Annotator "GM Sriram Jha"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/2R3p1/1p1p3p/p2r1P2/8/6P1/PP3PKP/8 w - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 30. Rb7 {White is clearly winning,but both players were very short of time.} b5 31. g4 b4 32. Ra7 h5 33. h3 hxg4 34. hxg4 b3 $5 35. a3 Rd2 36. Rxa5 Rxb2 37. Rd5 Ra2 38. Rxd6 Rxa3 39. Rb6 Kf7 40. Kg3 b2+ 41. Kf4 Ra2 42. f3 Ke8 43. Rb7 Kd8 44. Kg5 Kc8 45. Rb4 Kc7 {White has played perfectly so far in this winning endgame but now starts hallucinating and starts making mistakes.} 46. f4 $2 ( 46. Kg6 $1 Kc6 $1 (46... Ra6+ 47. Kxg7 Rb6 48. Rxb2 Rxb2 49. f6 $18) 47. Rb3 $1 $18 (47. Kxg7 $4 {This natural move leads to a draw although a difficult one.} Ra7+ $1 48. Kg6 (48. Kg8 Ra8+ 49. Kf7 Ra7+ 50. Ke6 Rb7 51. Rxb2 Rxb2 52. f6 Re2+ 53. Kf7 Kd5 54. g5 Ke5 55. g6 Rg2 56. g7 Kf5) 48... Rb7 49. Rxb2 Rxb2 50. f6 Rf2 51. f7 Rxf3 52. Kg7 Kd6 53. f8=Q+ Rxf8 54. Kxf8 Ke5 $11)) 46... Kc6 47. Kh5 {I was always worried about ...Ra6+ and ...Rb6 idea so I did not play Kg6 at all.} Kc5 48. Rb7 $2 {The final mistake.After this there is no win.Still winning and much better was} (48. Rb8 $18) 48... Kc4 49. g5 Kc3 50. f6 gxf6 51. gxf6 Ra7 52. Rb8 Ra8 53. Rb7 Ra7 54. Rb8 Ra8 55. Rb7 {A very interesting draw ! } 1/2-1/2

IM M S Thejkumar had to be content with the second place

Thejkumar also sent us his favourite game from the tournament. A very nice queen sacrifice!

Annotated game by IM Thejkumar:

[Event "National Rapid"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.05.02"] [Round "2"] [White "Thejkumar MS"] [Black "Shreyans Daklia"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D45"] [WhiteElo "2454"] [BlackElo "22"] [Annotator "IM Thejkumar"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. e4 dxe4 8. Nxe4 Nxe4 9. Qxe4 O-O 10. Bd3 g6 11. Bd2 (11. O-O {was a better option with good play for White.}) 11... e5 $1 12. O-O-O f5 13. Qe1 Re8 $6 (13... e4 14. c5 Bc7 15. Bc4+ Kg7 16. Bg5 Qe8 17. Qc3 Nf6 18. d5 cxd5 19. Bxd5 Be6 $11) 14. c5 exd4 15. Bc4+ Kg7 16. cxd6 $18 Nb6 17. Qxe8 Qxe8 18. Rhe1 Bd7 19. Rxe8 Rxe8 20. Bf1 c5 21. Re1 Rxe1+ 22. Bxe1 Kf6 23. b4 1-0

Of course by now you can easily recognize the winner and the runner-up. Third
place went to the speed king of Indian chess, GM R.R.Laxman (2493). Playchess
users will know this Indian player quite well as he is one of the best blitz players
in the country.

Blitz section

The blitz tournament is often termed as fun and players don’t really take their mistakes too seriously. However, if you have to score 9.5/11, you need to be not only extremely serious but also a very strong blitz player. That was the case for GM M.R.Venkatesh who won the Blitz tournament with a one-point margin.

GM M R Venkatesh is definitely one of the finest Indian players of short time controls

In the blitz tournament Venkatesh was in his element as he didn’t even lose a single game, made three draws to finish with a tally of 9.5/11. He crushed strong blitz players like IM Swapnil Dhopade (2471) who finished second, IM Rahul Sangma (2333), Rakesh Kulkarni (2297) and Ravi Teja (2274) on his way to become the champion. Venkatesh’s pedigree and talent in chess can be attested from the fact that he won a blitz tournament in Chennai ahead of GM Krishnan Sasikiran (2680) who is a phenomenally strong blitz player.

Winner of the 66th CM lightning chess tournament in Chennai in February 2014
with a score of 8.5/9. His results can be found here

Fearless not only on the board! Venkatesh with a friendly white tiger in Thailand.

The runner-up of the blitz event was  a young lad from the city of Amravati in Maharashtra. IM Swapnil Dhopade (2471) already has three GM norms to his credit and is a wonderfully skilled blitz player. The 3rd place went to Ram S Krishnan who is not even an IM, but has such good speed skills that he is already rated 2434.

Seated is the winner GM M.R.Venkatesh (2584) (right), in the center is the runner-up
IM Swapnil Dhopade (2471) and on the left is third placed Ram S Krishnan (2434).

The winners of both the categories rapid and blitz: Sriram Jha and Venkatesh have been given entry to represent India in the World rapid and blitz championships that will be held from 15th-23rd June 2014 in the city of Dubai, UAE. The two qualifiers will have a wonderful time in Dubai as the starting list of that tournament is simply mouth watering!

With the likes of Carlsen, Aronian, Grischuk, Anand, Nakamura, Mamedyarov and
many other top players taking part in this year’s world rapid and blitz tournament,
it promises to be a cracker of an event. More information on the world Rapid and
Blitz tournament can be found here.

Pictorial impressions from the tournament

Seven-year-old Anya Agrawal receiving the prize of best under-9 girl at the hands
of Gujarat’s first GM: Tejas Bakre

Six-year-old Riddhi Patel receives her prize at the hands of CEO of AICF, Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan

Women Power in the tournament. Seated (left to right), WGM Bhakti Kulkarni,
six-year-old Riddhi Patel, Anya Agarwal and WGM Meenakshi Subbaraman

India’s most respected GM Pravin Thipsay (R) is in quite good spirits after his
game against Ravi Teja (L). The experienced GM, who has represented the
Indian team in the Olympiad on numerous occasions finished fourth in the Rapid.

IM Swapnil Dhopade (R) playing a high intensity game against GM RR Laxman (L)

IM Dinesh Sharma (R) making his move against Shreyans Daklia (2192)

Mr. Ajay Patel, President of Gujarat State Chess Association, asks his next opponent
to choose the color of his pieces!

Mr.Ajay Patel has a vision of introducing the game of chess in almost five thousand villages of Gujarat. According to him introducing chess in villages will help the students to make productive use of their time and improve their concentration and other skills.  It will be a wonderful initiative and will surely produce many future champions from the state of Gujarat.

The logo of Tirth Chess Club which organized the National and Rapid blitz tournament. Tirth Chess Club is a dream of four chess friends: Palak Patel (1812), Joy Chauhan (1993), Hemal Thanki (2061) and Mukund Bhatt (1816) that has come true. On 28th April 2014, the chess club completed one year of its existence. It is currently one of the best clubs in India in terms of infrastructure and facilities.

The founders of Tirth Chess Club along with the world famous GM and chess trainer Elizbar Ubilava

Huge life size chess set outside the Tirth Chess Club

The beautiful playing hall inside the chess club where the rapid and blitz tournaments were held

A very nice training room for the students to learn the art of this royal game

Library with world class chess books

Within just one year, the Tirth Chess Club has organized a lot of events in India. In the coming future it can well and truly become the hub of Indian chess. After all it isn’t a common sight to having a world class training center, playing halls, library and all the chess related facilities at one place. I thank Mr. Ankit Dalal and Rakesh Kulkarni whose valuable input helped me write this article.

Pictures from the Tirth Chess Club Facebook page

Final rapid standings

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
TB
1
4
GM
Sriram Jha
IND
2411
8.0
70.5
2
3
IM
Thejkumar M. S.
IND
2454
8.0
70.5
3
2
GM
Laxman R.R.
IND
2493
8.0
70.0
4
6
GM
Thipsay Praveen M
IND
2389
8.0
67.5
5
21
FM
Ramakrishna J.
IND
2218
8.0
66.5
6
17
 
Ravi Teja S.
IND
2250
8.0
65.0
7
16
 
Syed Anwar Shazuli
IND
2258
8.0
64.5
8
7
IM
Sharma Dinesh K.
IND
2372
7.5
69.0
9
8
IM
Prasad Devaki V
IND
2346
7.5
61.0
10
19
FM
Matta Vinay Kumar
IND
2234
7.0
72.5
11
18
WGM
Kulkarni Bhakti
IND
2246
7.0
66.0
12
11
IM
Murali Krishnan B.T.
IND
2325
7.0
65.5
13
9
IM
Sangma Rahul
IND
2333
7.0
64.5
14
20
WGM
Meenakshi Subbaraman
IND
2219
7.0
64.0
15
15
 
Kathmale Sameer
IND
2271
7.0
59.0

Click here for full standings

Final blitz standings

Rk
SNo
Ti.
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
 TB 
1
1
GM
Venkatesh M.R.
IND
2584
9.5
75.0
2
3
IM
Swapnil S. Dhopade
IND
2471
8.5
72.0
3
4
 
Ram S. Krishnan
IND
2434
8.5
70.5
4
9
IM
Sangma Rahul
IND
2333
7.5
73.0
5
2
GM
Laxman R.R.
IND
2504
7.5
71.5
6
15
 
Ravi Teja S.
IND
2274
7.5
70.5
7
11
FM
Matta Vinay Kumar
IND
2303
7.5
68.0
8
18
WGM
Kulkarni Bhakti
IND
2203
7.5
61.5
9
13
 
Kulkarni Rakesh
IND
2297
7.0
70.5
10
12
 
Hemant Sharma (del)
IND
2301
7.0
70.0
11
6
IM
Thejkumar M. S.
IND
2391
7.0
64.5
12
10
IM
Murali Krishnan B.T.
IND
2306
7.0
60.5
13
14
 
Kulkarni Chinmay
IND
2294
6.5
66.0
14
8
IM
Sharma Dinesh K.
IND
2372
6.5
65.5
15
28
 
Rathod Gopal Ashok
IND
2039
6.5
64.0

Click here for full standings




Sagar 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.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

Palak Patel Palak Patel 5/13/2014 05:31
:) Nice !!
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 5/13/2014 02:05
That's right, I think. Too risky to ask him though.
Bostonian Bostonian 5/13/2014 02:01
That to me looks like a tiger - unless his name is "lion"
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 5/13/2014 01:59
The children are cute and intrigued by Venkatesh cosying up to the lion :)
1