Press Release – Round 3

Press Release – Round 3

Former British champion GM Abhijit Kunte (right) defeated IM K rathnakaran of RailwaysFormer Under 16 world chess champion SP Sethuraman of PSPB bounced back from his second round loss to score a crucial win over Deep Sengupta also of PSPB, third highest ranked player of the tournament in the third round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association at Kasi’s Inn, Tiruvarur today. Both overnight leaders Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of PSPB and P. Karthikeyan of Railways drew their respective games withShyaamnikhil of Tamil Nadu and Neelotpal Das of PSPB to continue to share the lead with 2.5 points each.

GM SP Sethuraman recorded a crucial win over GM Deep Sengupta, third highest rated player of the tournamentSethuraman adopted the O’kelly variation of Sicilian defenceagainst Deep and the game later transposed to Alapin. Actually, when Sethu played 24th Bb5 move, Deep had a superior position than his opponent. Two more moves later,he missed another chance to go for a big win, when Sethu played Be2. By exchanging the light coloured bishops, Deep threw the point to Sethuraman and adding to the woes, he also lost the dark coloured bishop in the process. Relieved Sethu played a cool game to pick up a valuable point from a formidable opponent.

Though new to the format of round robin tournament, debutant to National Premier Chess Championship, K Praneeth Surya of Telangana displayed his prowess to outwit GM elect Swapnil Dhopade of Railways. In the battle between the winner and runner up of the National Challengers Championship, Praneeth, the runner up rose up to the occasion under time pressure to expose the opponent’s unguarded king. He first sacrificed his knight on 35th move and went further to sacrifice his rook for a bishop to finish the game in style.

Former under 16 world champion Karthikeyan Murali and grandmaster MR Venkatesh of PSPB played the Steinitz defence deferred variation of Ruy Lopez opening. In a queen, rook and pawns ending, Karthikeyan deflected his opponent’s rook away from guarding his king by sacrificing a pawn. Venkatesh fell into the trap and lost a valuable point and is yet to score in the tournament.

In the French advanced set up of Sicilian defence, both Rathnakaran and Abhijit Kunte fianchettoed their bishops on the king side. The latter enjoyed a slight advantage in the middle game after an exchange of queens on 20th move. Rathnakaran lost the exchange to remove the active bishop and Kunte converted the advantage to an easy win in 47 moves

In the Sveshnikov variation of Sicilian defence, former under 14 world champion Vidit Santosh Gujrathi traded the queens with IM P. Shyaamnikhil of Tamil Nadu on 23rd move. Posting the two rooks on seventh rank, he tried to carve out a win using his outside passer pawn. But, Shyaam did not relent; went for counter attack, forcing repetition of position and extricated half a point from Vidit. Neelotpal Das of PSPB and P. Karthikeyan had a peaceful draw in a game arising from Evans gambit accepted in 25 moves.

Grandmaster M. Shyam Sundar of AAI played the symmetrical queen pawn opening against Arghyadip Das of Railways. Das tried to repeat the position for a draw, but Shyam disallowed it. Anyhow, the longest game of the tournament until the third round ended in a tame draw.

Results of Third Round

Karthikeyan Murali TN 1 beat Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 0
Neelotpal Das PSPB 2 drew with Karthikeyan P. Rlys 2.5
Sengupta Deep PSPB 0.5 lost to Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 2
Shyam Sundar M. AAI 2 drew with Das Arghyadip Rlys  2
K. Praneeth Surya TEL 2 beat Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 1
Rathnakaran K. Rlys 1 lost to Kunte Abhijit PSPB 1
Shyaamnikhil P TN 1.5 drew with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 2.5

Neelotpal Das of PSPB inflicted a shocking defeat

Press Release – Round 2

Neelotpal Das of PSPB inflicted a shocking defeat on the defending champion SP Sethuraman, also of PSPB in the second round of the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association at Kasi’s Inn, Tiruvarur today. On the day of upsets, IM Arghyadip Das of Railways defeated former under 12 world champion GM Deep Sengupta of PSPB, IM P. Karthikeyan of Railways got the better of former under 16 world champion GM Karthikeyan Murali of PSPB and the bottom ranked FM Praneeth Surya of Telangana scored over experienced GM Abhijit Kunte of PSPB. Joint top seed Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and P. Karthikeyan jointly lead the table with two points each.

Sethuraman started with the Anti Marshall variation  the Ruy Lopez opening against former national Rapid champion Neelotpal Das of PSPB. The game was evenly poised until move 17 and Sethu began making some aggressive moves. But, hisf4 on 20th move nullified the slight advantage he had and Neelotpal capitalised the mistake to launch a series of attack on Sethuraman’s pieces. Neelotpal grew with confidence, when Sethu had to lose a rook with nothing in compensation. The result was clear on the wall, when the queens were exchanged and Sethu surrendered on 34th move.

Vidit played another enterprising game today on the white side of the English opening against former Asian Junior bronze medallist IM K Rathnakaran of Railways. He did not bother to castle his king and pushed his g- and h- pawns forward and his pieces were controlling the centre effectively, whereas Rathnakaran’s pieces were dormant at the back ranks. Rathnakaran had to forego his queen for a rook and knight and he resigned on the 36th move, when he was about to lose his knight.

In the clash between two Karthikeyans of the tournament, the international master from Railways enjoyed a big advantage until the grandmaster from Tamil Nadu sacrificed his rook for a knight on move 22. The Railways player could have maintained the advantage by capturing the rook with his queen, but preferred to capture with the pawn, which caused a slight set back to him. Railways Karthikeyan managed to overcome the situation and better had a better chance to promote his seventh rank pawn than that of Karthikeyan Murali.The latter fought grimly a losing battle, extending to 53 moves, but in vain.

  1. Shyaamnikhil of Tamil Nadu made up his yesterday’s unexpected loss by beating the PSPB grandmaster MR Venkatesh in a Reti opening, played by the latter. When Shyaam offered a knight sacrifice on 14th move, a counter sacrifice by Venkatesh would have fetched him better returns. Instead, he captured the knight with his bishop, not realising the danger ahead. Another exchange sacrifice and offer of a pseudo rook sacrifice by Shyaam helped him to grab the full point in just 32 moves.

Twice national champion Abhijit Kunte of PSPB could not hold on his rook and bishop advantage to the rook and knight of Praneeth Surya of Telangana in a Reti opening, as he failed in the race against the clock to complete his first 40 moves in the stipulated time of 90 minutes, with an increment of 30 seconds for each move. This is second such incidence in two rounds.

IM Arghayadip Das of Railways met his state mate from West Bengal for the second consecutive round, this time his opponent being GM Deep Sengupta of PSPB. The Caro Kann defence went off peacefully until almost the first 40 moves, when Arghyadip began to control the game. Arghyadip’s dynamic moves of his knight, rook, bishop and queen put paid to the hopes of Deep in 46 moves.

GM Shyam Sundar of AAI declined the queen’s gambit by Swapnil Dhopade of Railways as the game did not produce any decisive result and they drew the game in 25 moves by three fold repetition.

Venkatesh M.R. PSPB 0 lost to Shyaamnikhil P TN 1
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi PSPB 2 beat Rathnakaran K. Rlys 1
Kunte Abhijit PSPB 0 lost to K. Praneeth Surya TEL 1
Swapnil S. Dhopade Rlys 1 drew with Shyam Sundar M. AAI 1.5
Das Arghyadip Rlys 1.5 beat Sengupta Deep PSPB 0.5
Sethuraman S.P. PSPB 1 lost to Neelotpal Das PSPB 1.5
Karthikeyan P. Rlys 2 beat Karthikeyan Murali TN 0

Press Release – Round 1

IMG_0410ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship 2015

Press Release – Round 1

Former Under 16 world champion SP Sethuraman and former Under 14 world champion Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, the joint top seeds of the tournament, each withan Elo rating of 2651, registered facile wins in the first round of the ONGC National Premier Chess Championship, organised by Tiruvarur District Chess Association, which kicked off at Hotel Kasi’s Inn, Tiruvarur, today. IM P. Karthikeyan and K Rathnakaran of Railways and GM M Shyam Sundar of Airport Authority of India also landed on the winning side in the inaugural round.

The tournament is a 14 player round robin system, with a prize fund of Rs.ten lakhs. It boasts eight GMs, five IMs and one FM, with an average rating of 2501, which belongs to Category 11, the first of such kind for a national championship in India.

In the Taimanov variation of Sicilian defence adopted by former under 16 world champion SP Sethuraman of PSPB played a positional game to outwit his state mate Karthikeyan Murali from Tamil Nadu. After losing a pawn on 27th move, though Karthikeyan combined his knight, rooks and queen to threaten Sethuraman’s king on the open file, the latter never felt the pressure and picked up another pawn on 35th move. Karthikeyan gave up the fight after 43 moves.

Vidit Santosh Gujrathi recorded the first win of the championship, employing Caro Kann defence against the lowest seeded player of the championship, K Praneeth Surya of Telangana. Praneeth started well, preventing his opponent’s king from castling. He even offered some minor piece sacrifice, but Vidit consolidated his position slowly. A weak Qh3 on the 17th turn by Praneeth forced him to lose a piece and after a couple of moves, Praneeth was left with 45 seconds on his clock compared to one hour and fifteen minutes to that of Vidit. Praneeth’s few more incorrect moves cost him the game, after 36 moves.

In the fight between two grandmasters, M Shyam Sundar dealt a blow to higher seeded Abhijit Kunte of PSPB, a former British champion. Kunte, playing English opening, overlooked a crucial pawn loss on 31st move to hand over an advantage to Shyam. The two active rooks of Shyam played a stellar role in pocketing a point for him.

Former Under 17 national champion P. Shyaamnikhil of Tamil Nadu build up a good advantage against the Alapin variation of Sicilian defence by K Rathnakaran of Railways, right from the opening. Though Rathnakaran had the open e- file under his control, Shyaam seized it from him and also broke open his opponent’s king side. But, the overall slight advantage held by Shyaam was of no use, when he ran short of time and he was adrift by ten moves when he had to complete the first 40 moves in the first time control.

Former Asian Junior champion P. Karthikeyan of Railways sacrificed his knight on 12th move, facilitating him to win exchange after two more moves in a Slav defence played by grandmaster MR Venkatesh of PSPB. Though Venkatesh defended accurately, he had to lose two valuable pawns during the process of revival. Karthikeyan pseudo sacrificed his knight to disconnect Venkatesh’s pawns and his two extra pawns in the end game were vital to subdue Venkatesh in 50 moves.

In a bishop vs knight end game between former under 12 world champion Deep Sengupta of PSPB and Swapnil Dhopade of Railways, awaiting for his GM title agreed for a draw after 46 moves.

The semi Slav defence arising from the Queens gambit declined game between GM Neelotpal Das of PSPB and IM Arghyadip Das of Railways petered out into a draw after 27 moves. When Neelotpal was trying to force a win, Arghyadip exposed his opponent’s unprotected king to perpetual check and grabbed half a point in 27 moves.

Earlier, Sri. R Kamaraj, Minister for food, Tamil Nadu Government inaugurated the championship, in the presence of Sri. V. Hariharan, General Secretary of All India Chess federation.

Results of first round

Karthikeyan P. 1 Rlys beat Venkatesh M.R. 0 PSPB
Karthikeyan Murali 0 TN lost to Sethuraman S.P. 1 PSPB
Neelotpal Das 0.5 PSPB drew with Das Arghyadip 0.5 Rlys
Sengupta Deep 0.5 PSPB drew with Swapnil S. Dhopade 0.5 Rlys
Shyam Sundar M. 1 AAI beat Kunte Abhijit 0 PSPB
K. Praneeth Surya 0 TEL lost to Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 1 PSPB
Rathnakaran K. 1 Rlys beat Shyaamnikhil P 0 TN

Sethuraman, Vidit Gujrathi Start Favourites

DSC_0508_2144x1424  Sethuraman, Vidit Gujrathi Start Favourites
By Arvind Aaron

The ONGC National Premier Chess Championship will start with the first round scheduled to begin on November 15, 2015 at Tiruvarur, in Tamil Nadu. S.P. Sethuraman of Chennai and Vidit Gujrathi of Nasik are favourites based on their 2651 Elo ratings.

The 53rd edition is a 14-player all-play-all. The field comprises of 8 GMs, 5 IMs and one FIDE Master.

DSC_0539_2144x1424Sethuraman won his maiden title in 2014 in this annual event at Kottayam. G Akash of Chennai became the youngest champion in Kolkata 2012 when he pipped M.R. Venkatesh for the title. Venkatesh has never won this title and is one of the hungry young players.

Equally ambitious for the title are Vidit Gujrathi and National Challengers champion Swapnil Dhopade. The bottom seed is FIDE Master K Praneeth Surya of Hyderabad, one of the big achievers of the National Challengers in Nagpur this August as he earned a ticket to Tiruvarur.

DSC_0556_2144x1424The chief arbiter is R Anantharam. V. Hariharan is the Deputy Chief Arbiter and N.K. Nandakumar is also an arbiter. The Tournament Director is International Arbiter R.K. Balagunashekaran, Secretary of the Tiruvarur District Chess Association.

The opening round pairings: IM P Karthikeyan (TN) v GM M.R. Venkatesh (TN), GM Karthikeyan Murali (TN) v GM S.P. Sethuraman (TN), GM Neelotpal Das (WB) v IM Arghyadip Das (WB), GM Deep Sengupta (WB) v IM Swapnil Dhopade (Mah), GM M Shyam Sundar (TN) v GM Abhijit Kunte (Mah), FM K Praneeth Surya (Tel) v GM Vidit Gujrathi (Mah), IM K Rathnakaran (Ker) v IM P Shyam Nikil (TN).


sethuraman-basel2014SP Sethuraman, a grandmaster since 2010, representing PSB, hails from Tamil Nadu. He qualified for the National Premier Chess Championship 2015 by the virtue of winning the 2014 edition of the championship at Kottayam. The former world Under 16 champion has a current rating of 2651 and is the highest rated player in the tournament, along with Vidit Santosh Gujrathi who has the same rating. Sethuraman played a key role in India carving out a historic bronze medal win in the 2014 Olympiad in Tromso, Norway. He has won Voivodo Cup, an international tournament in Poland in 2010 and international GM tournament at Hyderabad in 2013. He had a superlative performance in the recent World Cup, wherein he defeated higher rated Sanan Sjugirov of Russia in the first round, scalped P. Harikrishna, India’s current best player after Vishy Anand in the second round and lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the third round. Earlier, he was trained by his father SP Panaiappan, who is running a chess academy in Chennai.

ShaymShyam Sundar M achieved two GM norms by winning the Asian Junior title in 2010 and 2011 and became a GM in 2012, 12th Tamil Nadu player to receive the title. Though friends and classmates Adhiban and Sethuraman have cornered more glories, Shyam is yet to reveal his true potential and his current rating is 2481.



Karthikeyan1Karthikeyan Murali, the 1999 born Tamil Nadu GM is the youngest participant among the elite 14 of the National Premier. A grandmaster at the age of fifteen, Karthikeyan has two world titles under his belt – Under 12 in 2011 and Under 16 in 2014, besides being instrumental in India winning the World Youth Olympiad twice. He plays the Premier championship with a rating of 2498. After grooming under the talented coach Velayutham of Bloom Chess Academy, Chennai, Karthikeyan is being taught the higher echleons of the game of chess by K Visweshwaran.

m-r-venkateshVenkatesh MR won the Under 10 bronze medal in World Youth Chess Championships way back in 1995 in Brazil. After becoming a grandmaster in 2012, Venkatesh narrowly missed the title in 2013 Premier. The national blitz champion in 2014 is a genuine fighter on the board. According to November FIDE list, the Tamil Nadu and PSPB player’s rating is 2464.


kunte01Abhijit Kunte, the Pune based grandmaster since 2000, working for PSPB, is the oldest and most experienced player in the pack. A former British champion (2003), twice national champion (1997 and 2000) and thrice national junior champion, Kunte is also a silver medalist in Commonwealth Chess Championship. He has represented India in four chess Olympiads. With innovative ideas, Kunte is keen in developing chess in and around Pune. He belongs to the 2500 club, with a rating of 2515.


Deep-SenguptaDeep Sengupta of PSPB is a potential threat to the higher rated players in the National Premier. Rated 2589, the third best rating in the field, Deep is a former Under 12 world champion from West Bengal. He has won Doeberi Cup in Australia in 2009 and Hastings tournament in England in 2011. He had to be content with the runner up spot in the previous Premier.


ViditVidit Santosh Gujrathi’s record in the World Youth championships is quite impressive. He won the Under 14 title of the World Youth Championship in 2008, finished runner up in the Under 16 category next year and claimed the bronze medal in the World Junior Championship (under 20) in 2013. He plays in the National Premier as one of the four top rated players of India, based on Elo rating list of July 2015 and represents PSPB. The Maharashtra player was coached by IM Anup Deshmukh, IM Roktim Bandopadhyaya Gm Abhijit Kunte and GM Alon Greenfield of Israel. He achieved the GM title in 2012.


NilotpalNeelotpal Das recruited by PSPB is a former national rapid champion. He is one among the earliest trio of grandmasters from West Bengal. He secured fourth place in the National Challengers and his rating now is 2475.




SwapnilSwapnil Dhopade performed well in National Challengers Championship to win the title and qualified to play in the Premier. After winning the title, Dhopade added another feather to his cap by completing his requirements for the GM title recently, set to become the first GM from the Vidarbha region and fifth from Maharashtra, ending a long three year waiting. The hard working Railway player deserves more than his achievements. His current rating is 2497.


P-KarthikeyanKarthikeyan P, another international master from Railways is a former Asian Junior champion. The Tamil Nadu player belongs to a chess family and his recent performances are impressive. His latest rating is 2441.




shyam01Shyaamnikhil P, a former Under 17 national champion is another player from Tamil Nadu waiting on the wings to become a GM. He has two GM norms and also has crossed the required mark of 2500 rating long back. Hope he will achieve his final GM norm in the championship. He will play here with a rating of 2436.



RathnakaranRathnakaran K, an international master and a Railway employee from Kerala is a former bronze medalist in Asian Junior Championship. The never say die fighter to the core, Rathnakaran is a regular participant in the Premier championship for the past several years. He has 2447 rating points to his credit.



DassArghyadip Das playing for Railways, had his best performance in chess, when he won the Leiden Trophy in Holland in 2014. The day is not far off for the former Commonwealth silver medalist from West Bengal to become a grandmaster. As on date, his rating is 2456.



praneethPraneeth Surya K The 1997 born youngster from Telangana had a splendid performance in the National Challengers to secure the second position. Though he is only a fide master, his 2413 rating is sufficient to fill up the major requirement for IM title. One has to wait and watch the performance of this upcoming youngster.

Tournament Regulations:

Tournament Regulations:

The Championship shall be played under the laws of FIDE Laws of Chess and under all play all Round robin system.

The Time control: 90 minutes each for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes each for the remaining game, with an addition of 30 sec per move from move number one. Clocks will be set in such a way that 30 minutes of second time control will be added only after one of the players overstep the first time control.


Current National champion (S.P. Sethuraman) 1

Top four Elo rated players of India 4

Immediate past National Challenger (Nagpur) 9

Note: if national champion is among the top four Elo rated players, then top 10 players from National Challenger will qualify. Further, if any of the top four Elo rated players do not participate, the seat will be filled from the National Challengers, as per the ranking.

Tie-Break: Direct encounter, Sonneborn Berger (sum of scores of opponents, whom a player has defeated plus sum of half the scores of the opponents, whom the player has drawn), number of victories, number of victories with Black pieces.

In case of tie, cash prizes will not be shared.

Zero Tolerance: The zero tolerance rule will be followed (i.e) “Any player who arrives at the chess board after the start of the session shall lose the game. Thus the default time is zero minute.”

Tournament Committee: The tournament committee, comprising the Chief Arbiter, Secretary of the AICF or his Representative, and the Secretary and two members of the host Association shall be constituted before the commencement of the tournament.

Protests: Protests if any, against the decision of the Chief Arbiter, shall be made in writing with protest fee of Rs.500/- within 30 minutes of the occurrence of the incident. The amount shall be refunded if the appeal is upheld.

Appeals Committee: Before the commencement of the tournament, a five members appeal committee shall be formed by AICF/Organizers. All members and the reserves shall be from the different states/affiliated Units. No member of the committee can vote on dispute in which a player from his own state/affiliated Unit is involved. In such cases, the reserve(s) shall take his/their place in the committee.

Disqualification: No participant will leave the venue before the prize distribution ceremony, without the permission of the Chief Arbiter. The participants disregarding this rule will be suspended for one year.

Interpretation: For interpretation of rules and deciding any point not covered by rules, the decision of the tournament committee shall be final and binding. The tournament committee has every right to make any addition or amendment to these rules without prior notice. However, such changes, after approval by AICF, will be displayed at the championship venue.