Strong players take over Saturday online blitz series

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/2/2020 – Amid the Coronavirus crisis, chess players have turned to online tournaments to practice, compete and keep their spirits high. In this context, ChessBase India organized a five-event series to take place every Saturday since the 21st of March. Two tourneys have already been played. Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu and Arjun Erigaisi were the winners, but Diptayan Ghosh is leading the overall standings table. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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Three-minute games

The ChessBase India online series is a five-tournament event that takes place every Saturday at 20:00 IST (15:30 CET). Each tourney is a nine-round Swiss open with a time control of 3 minutes per game, without increment. Entry is free for all players, however an active ChessBase Premium subscription is mandatory to participate.

The first two contests had 191 and 225 participants, with 43 and 55 titled players respectively. Just to get a gist of how strong the events have been, the second tournament of the series included eight 2600+ players. Although most of the top seeds were Indian representatives, the top two rated participants at the inaugural event were GM Gadir Guseinov from Azerbaijan and GM Zaven Andriasian from Armenia. 

With most — if not all — over-the-board official action either postponed or cancelled, this is a chance for strong players to prove their prowess against online-blitz specialists. Some of these experts online grinders left their mark in the second tournament, as three grandmasters did not even make the top-50 in the final crosstable.

The third competition will take place on April 4th, with Adhiban Baskaran (India), Rinat Jumabayev (Kazakhstan), Aravindh Chithambaram (India), Alan Pichot (Argentina) and Gukesh D (India) among the top participants.

Diptayan Ghosh

GM Diptayan Ghosh is leading the series so far | Photo: Niklesh Jain

First Saturday: "Chessworld" outscores the field

Playing online means you need to create a username. While some choose to use their names or something deriving from their names, others choose a different approach. The winner of the inaugural event, 14-year-old Praggnanandhaa, plays under the pseudonym "Chessworld1", and with it got the first place on March 21st after scoring 8 out 9 points.

Three players tied on a 7½ score, finishing in the following order according to tiebreak criteria: Diptayan Ghosh (Diptayan), S Rohit Krishna (Srohitkrishna) and Aryonak Ghosh (STRANGE).

GM Elshan Moradiabadi both participated (he finished on 7 out of 9) and wrote a report for ChessBase India. He found Pragg's key to success was his consistency, elaborating:

Praggnanandhaa’s level and class in over the board chess is well-established. However, he has not had same online presence in the past. This may be his first of many online tournament victories. His key to success was his consistent play, good time management, and practical decisions.  


Highlights from Pragg's games (annotated by GM Moradiabadi)

 

Second Saturday: "Indian-Lion" undefeated

Much has been said about the incredible ascent of Indian players in the last years. The winner of the second tournament of the series is yet another example of this sudden surge of strong players. Arjun Erigaisi (Indian-Lion) got his grandmaster title at the age of 14 years, 11 months and 13 days, and currently has an official rating of 2559. On March 28th, he finished atop the standings table on 8 out of 9, leaving four players a half point behind.

Some of the top scorers from the previous weekend also excelled in the second event. Second to fifth places went to those who ended up on a 7½ score: Diptayan Ghosh (Diptayan), Aryonak Ghosh (STRANGE), Zaven Andriasian (zaven Grozny) and Praggnanandhaa (Chessworld1).

The "Indian-Lion" showed nerves of steel to get his tournament victory, getting some extra half points by maintaining an acceptable level of precision with seconds on the clock. After getting seven wins in a row, he drew Diptayan and Andriasian to secure first place. 


Highlights from Arjun's games (annotated by Shahid Ahmed)

 

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.