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GM Sriram Jha wins Bhopal Open 2016

by Sagar Shah - 31 December 2016

GM Sriram Jha won the 4th Bhopal Open 2016 held from the 20th-25th of December 2016. He scored 8.5/10 and emerged ahead of Srinath Rao thanks to a better tiebreak. His last round win against Anup Deshmukh was a perfect demonstration of what Sriram is so good at. Simple, purposeful and logical play. We have the game annotated for you, as well as impression, stories and videos from the event. Do not miss the end of the article for a discussion on the most number of wins tiebreak.

It was the last round of the Bhopal Open 2016. Srinath Rao was leading the event together with IM Anup Deshmukh on 8.0/9. Behind them was a pack of three players GM Sriram Jha, Ankit Gajwa and Anish Gandhi on 7.5/9. This was how the pairing looked in the last round.

Srinath Rao (8.0) Ankit Gajwa (7.5)
GM Sriram Jha (7.5) IM Anup Deshmukh (8.0)
Anish Gandhi (7.5) Chakravarthi Reddy (7.0)

The first tiebreak was direct encounter and the second one was the most number of wins. In case there was a tie between Srinath Rao and Anup Deshmukh, the former would win as he had won their individual encounter.


The grandmaster from Delhi had some different intentions. Sriram played a super solid game with the white pieces, not giving Anup Deshmukh any sort of chances. He won the battle and moved to 8.5/10. On top board Srinath Rao drew his game against Ankit Gajwa. Rao also scored to 8.5/10. However, he had seven wins and three draws, Sriram Jha on the other hand had eight wins, one draw and a loss. As the third board between Anish Gandhi and Chakravarthi Reddy ended in a draw, Jha was adjudged as the champion of the 4th Bhopal Open.

For his efforts, Sriram Jha went back home with a cheque of Rs.1,00,000,
a glittering trophy and a ChessBase 14 
One could say that Sriram was a tad lucky. He had drawn his third round against Ashwin Daniel and lost to Anish in the fourth. He then won all his six games. "This is pretty unusual for a solid player like me!", said Jha after the event ended. While there might have been some luck element for him in his tournament victory, the way he played the last round, showed that strong players always rise to the occasion.
GM Sriram Jha vs IM Anup Deshmukh
Look at White's centralisation. Also notice the complete discord in the black army. Without giving his opponent any opportunity Sriram went on to become the champion 
[Event "Bhopal Fide rated 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.12.25"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Jha, Sriram"]
[Black "Deshmukh, Anup"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D43"]
[WhiteElo "2426"]
[BlackElo "2234"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "59"]
{This was the last round of the event. A win would give Sriram Jha chances of
fighting for the first, a draw would mean that he would be pushed back. Anup
Deshmukh was in good form, so it was not going to be an easy game.} 1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Nc3 d5 {Playing the Meran ensures a fighting game of
chess.} 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 {This is relatively the safer way to play.} (6. Bh4 {
leads to the dangerous lines of the Moscow Variation.} dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5
{and so on.}) 6... Qxf6 7. Qb3 {Preparing e4 by taking control of the b4
square.} Qd8 (7... Nd7 8. e4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Qf4 10. Bd3 e5 {is the modern
approach.} (10... Be7 {is the old line.}) 11. dxe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Qxe5 13. O-O
Be7 14. Rfe1 O-O 15. Ng3 Qc7 $11 {0-1 (47) Belov,V (2614)-Anand,V (2803)
Berlin 2015}) 8. e4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Qa5+ {Making three moves in a row with the
queen is not particularly a great idea.} 10. Nc3 Be7 11. Bd3 O-O 12. O-O Na6 $6
(12... Nd7 {attempting to break with c5 later or just going to f6 was much
better. N on a6 is not particularly useful.}) 13. Rad1 Rb8 14. Bb1 (14. a3 b5
15. Ne5 $16) 14... g6 {Black's kingside already starts looking a bit loose.}
15. Qc2 Bf6 16. Rfe1 {What I like tremendously about Sriram's play is logical
simplicity with which he has played. Developed and centralized all his pieces.}
Bg7 17. Ne5 c5 18. d5 $1 (18. Nxg6 $1 {was also strong.} fxg6 19. Qxg6 Rf6 20.
Qh7+ Kf8 21. dxc5 $18 {not the easiest positions to assess. But let's put it
this way, the bishop is going to g6, the knight to e4 and Black's army is
completely out of the game.}) 18... Nb4 (18... exd5 19. Nxg6 fxg6 20. Qxg6 Bf5
21. Bxf5 $18) 19. Qb3 exd5 20. cxd5 Bxe5 21. Rxe5 Bg4 22. f3 Qb6 23. Qc4 Bd7
24. a3 Rfe8 $5 {As always Anup is tricky. But his position is just bad.} (24...
Na6 25. Re7 $18) 25. f4 (25. Rxe8+ Rxe8 26. Ne4 Na6 27. Qc3 $18) 25... Na6 26.
d6 Rxe5 (26... Be6 27. Qe2) 27. fxe5 Qxb2 28. Bxg6 {Black's position falls
apart.} Be6 29. Bxf7+ $1 Bxf7 (29... Kxf7 30. Rf1+ $18) 30. e6 {A powerful
game by the grandmaster.} 1-0

After the event came to an end, we caught up with the winner and asked him about his decision to play in this event, the problem of double rounds, what are his future plans and also a thing or two about his wife Viji, whom he considers to be one of the most talented players he has ever seen.

A short interview with GM Sriram Jha

Srinath Rao finished second and won the prize of Rs. 60,000

The story of Srinath Rao is inspiring. The boy lives in Pune and has stopped his studies so that he can pursue his passion - chess. He plays all over India, trying to win prize money, so that he can sponsor his trips to Europe and foreign countries. It's this determination and dedication which makes him a winner in life.

Anup Deshmukh (right) with his friend and former student Arjun Tiwari

IM Anup Deshmukh finished third and went home with Rs.30,000. Anup is a highly respected figure in Indian chess. He is two years older than Vishy Anand and the two have crossed swords on many occasions. Anup has also beaten Anand a few times. But, the thing that is most impressive about Deshmukh is his generosity. He has trained hundreds of talented players for absolutely no fees. They include players like Abhijeet Gupta, Parimarjan Negi, Swapnil Dhopade, and many others. You feel happy when such a selfless person plays well. And now the ever-optimistic Anup has a new aim. "A lot of people become grandmasters when they are young. I want to set an example by becoming a grandmaster after 50 years of age!" The IM from Nagpur who has just turned 49 has all our support!


Interview with the evergreen Anup Deshmukh

Amruta Mokal finished fourth with 8.0/10 and won Rs.20,000. Suffice it to say, it was not easy to carry back this huge check to Mumbai!

According to Amruta, it was this home-like food (available in the BHEL guest house for just Rs.50) that helped her to maintain her energy levels at the event
Ankit Gajwa (5th place), Arjun Tiwari (13th), Anish Gandhi (7th) and Sudarshan Malga (10th)
Ashwin Daniel, an upcoming player from Madhya Pradesh, finished sixth
Chaitanya Awadh finished on the eighth spot
Ninth place went to Anuj Shivrari

Final Ranking after 10 Rounds

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Club/City Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 1 GM Sriram Jha IND 2426 LIC 8,5 0,0 8,0 63,5
2 5 FM Srinath Rao S.V. IND 2250 MAH 8,5 0,0 7,0 65,0
3 6 IM Deshmukh Anup IND 2234 MAH 8,0 0,0 8,0 66,5
4 12   Mokal Amruta Sunil IND 2107 MAH 8,0 0,0 8,0 61,0
5 4 FM Gajwa Ankit IND 2279 Delhi 8,0 0,0 7,0 66,0
6 16   Aishwin Daniel IND 1966 MP(Bhopal) 8,0 0,0 7,0 58,0
7 9   Gandhi Anish IND 2167 MAH 8,0 0,0 6,0 67,0
8 23   Awadh Chaitanya IND 1833 MP 7,5 0,0 7,0 59,5
9 20   Anchit Vyas IND 1886 MP 7,5 0,0 7,0 59,0
10 19   Sudarshan Malga IND 1900 MP 7,5 0,0 7,0 57,5
11 18   Anuj Shrivatri IND 1960 MP 7,5 0,0 7,0 57,0
12 36   Saxena Anshul IND 1620 MP(Bhopal) 7,5 0,0 7,0 53,5
13 11   Tiwari Arjun IND 2146 RAILWAY 7,5 0,0 6,0 62,0
14 7 IM Chakravarthi Reddy M IND 2230 AP 7,5 0,0 6,0 61,0
15 28   Bandekar Aditya IND 1717 MAH 7,5 0,0 6,0 57,0
16 21   Mraduhas Tripathi IND 1868 MP 7,0 0,0 7,0 58,0
17 31   Prakash Yadav IND 1688 MP 7,0 0,0 7,0 57,5
18 27   Ayush Bhai Mehta IND 1719 MP 7,0 0,0 7,0 57,5
19 67   Malviya Mohit IND 1375 MP(Bhopal) 7,0 0,0 7,0 56,5
20 34   Devang Bisani IND 1656 MP 7,0 0,0 7,0 56,5
21 41   Sharma Varun IND 1558 MP(Bhopal) 7,0 0,0 7,0 56,0
22 29   Sikka Sumit IND 1708 MP(Bhopal) 7,0 0,0 7,0 54,5
23 190   Rishabh Jain IND 0 MP 7,0 0,0 6,0 59,0
24 24   Gupta Dinesh IND 1741 MP 7,0 0,0 6,0 58,5
25 25   Bhogal Rupesh IND 1732 MAH 7,0 0,0 6,0 57,0
26 17   Sakalle Abhisar IND 1963 MP 7,0 0,0 5,0 57,5

Complete ranking list

Organizer Kapil Saxena and Chief Arbiter Dharmendra Kumar prepare the final ranking list

Some people are real champions not only on the board but also in life!
A budding talent from Madhya Pradesh is Nityata Jain with her mother Nidhi Jain. The girl finishes at the top of her age group nationals on a regular basis and has a bright future ahead of her. In the tournament she beat Mehar Chinna Reddy and drew with Chakravarthi Reddy.
All age group winners were given three months of ChessBase Premium Account
Prize winners, arbiters, and team of organizers - it's a huge family!
Kapil Saxena, secretary of Madhya Pradesh Chess Association with his wife. Their son...
...Anshul Saxena is a strong chess player as well as a talented musician

Most number of wins tiebreak

More and more tournaments are beginning to use the most number of wins tiebreak. In this tiebreak the player that has scored most number of wins finishes ahead of the player who has the same number of points but more draws. For example: If you have scored 8.0/10 with eight wins and two losses, your tiebreak is better than a person who has 6 wins and 4 draws. In the Bhopal Open, one player who was badly affected by this rule was Anish Gandhi.

Anish's performance was top class as he remained undefeated and gained 43 Elo points. He beat strong players like Ravi Teja and Sriram Jha.
However, he finished seventh. On the other hand players like Anup Deshmukh, Amruta Mokal, Ankit Gajwa and Ashwin Daniel performed worse than Anish but finshed ahead of him. We caught up with Gandhi and asked him about the maximum number of wins tiebreak.
Anish Gandhi on most number of wins tiebreak
India's experienced International Arbiter Dharmendra Kumar also gave his opinion about this tiebreak.
Dharmendra Kumar on most number of wins tiebreak and his life as an arbiter
It's true that no tiebreak is perfect, there were loopholes in progressive and buchholz system as well. What is your opinion about the most number of wins tiebreak? Do you think it is the best one? Do give your feedback in the comments section below. Based on the comments and the material we have collected, we will have an entire article dedicated to this interesting debate.