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12th Mumbai Mayor's Cup brings back the chess fever in the city!

by Sagar Shah - 11/06/2019

Mumbai Mayor's Cup is back with its 12th edition. This year the prize fund is Rs.36 lakh and the A-group has witnessed the participation of 217 players with an average Elo of 2002. We have 26 GMs and 13 IMs and players from 21 countries. Mumbai has contributed to just one out of the 62 GMs to Indian chess. In this report we tell you why the scenario is changing and how the Mayor's Cup is playing a big role in it. Three rounds have been completed in the A section and we have 14 players on 100% score. The biggest upset of the event until now happened in the second round when top seed Eduardo Iturrizaga lost to Raahul VS. We have the game with annotations and pictures by our ace photographer Amruta Mokal. 

Brimming with ideas, financial resources and talent. Mumbai is a place where chess would find an ideal abode. However, Caissa, the goddess of chess, hasn't been very kind to the city. Until now out of the 62 GMs that India has produced Mumbai has only contributed one to that list - GM Pravin Thipsay. Well, it seems that with the talent pool that is developing (Aditya Mittal, Raahil Mullick, Om Kadam, Kushager Krishnater, Vedant Panesar, Kriti Patel etc.) more players will join the list pretty soon and one of the main reasons for it would be the Mumbai Mayor's Cup. An annual event, the Mayor's Cup has been the main tournament of the city (along with IIFLW chess) since last 12 years, inviting the top players of not just the country but also the world. Into its 12th edition, the Mayor's Cup continues to be a chess tradition in the city thanks to the efforts of Mr. Ravindra Dongre and his team.

Ravindra Dongre waits at the door as the round is about to begin at the Mayor's Cup 2019 | Photo: Sagar Shah

The Mumbai Mayor' Cup in 2019, like every year, is being conducted in three sections. In A group we have 217 players from 21 countries and 26 GMs. The average rating of the tournament is 2002 Elo. In the B-group (below 2000) we have 300 participants, while in the C group which will begin from the 13th of June, 311 players have already enrolled.

This is exactly what Mayor's Cup contributes to Indian chess. Players from all across the country can meet at one place and discuss and grow together as players! | Photo: Sagar Shah

And it's not limited to children! Here's Vishvesh Kochrekar gives a tough problem to everyone. As Vishvesh claims, even Stockfish is not able to find the answer to it: | Photo: Sagar Shah

So here's the position! It's White to play and win! Mind you, it is not easy!

The top seed in the A group is GM Eduardo Iturrizaga from Venezuela | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In round two Iturrizaga suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Raahul VS.


Raahul vs Iturrizaga, Round 2

After playing an unusual opening, the Venezuelan GM tried to force matters with Nde5. It turns out that this is a mistake. Can you find out why?

White simply captured the knight with his pawn. Iturrizaga felt that this was impossible because the bishop on d3 was hanging, but after Bc3!

The queens had to be exchanged and the knight on g4 was in grave danger because of h3 coming. It soon became clear that Iturrizaga was in difficulty. In the next phase of the game Raahul didn't play so well, it was some kind of the street fight, but the Chennai lad eventually came out on top.

Raahul's talent has never been in doubt. He has three IM norms and his rating had also climbed all the way up to 2390. However, he lost nearly 100 Elo points and is now down to 2292. But it seems as if Mumbai Mayor's Cup is where Raahul is going to try and earn half of his lost points back! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

It's always exciting when you have Farrukh Amonatov playing in the tournament. The Tajik GM likes to play uncompromising chess and is well known for his tactical acumen. He drew his round three game against AL Muthaiah and is now on 2.5/3 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Caption this! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The well known positional player from Georgia Levan Pantsulaia is on 3.0/3 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Three experienced grandmasters Valeriy Neverov, Vladimir Burmakin and Petr Kostenko | Photo: Sagar Shah

Divya Deshmukh starts as the 30th seed of the tournament. She is currently on 2.0/3 with two draws against players rated lower than her. We are looking forward to some high quality games from the Nagpur youngster | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Divya is here with her family! | Photo: Sagar Shah

Back to India after a long time, Alexandr Fier is now rated 2543. At some point he had an Elo of 2653. That Elo would have given him the top billing at this event. As it turns out he is the 13th seed. Fier began with a draw, but then struck back with two wins. He is surely a contender for the first place at this event. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nubairshah Shaikh, Neelotpal Das and Deepan Chakkravarthy. Mumbai weather is quite hot and humid at this point of time as the city is expecting monsoon rains. So why did Deepan decide to wear a three piece suit? Well, we decided to ask him! | Photo: Sagar Shah
Deepan Chakkravarthy speaks about his dressing, the inspiration behind it and also about his first round encounter

Deepan is currently on 3.0/3. Him along with Shyaamnikhil and Nubairshah Shaikh are the only three Indians in the pack of 14 players with 3.0/3. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Have a look at Deepan's second round win over Michelle Catherina. Pay special attention to the king walk from e8-d8-c8 and b7.

Local lad Nubairshah Shaikh is gunning for his second GM norm | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Talent from Telangana, 15-year-old Rithvik Raja, who is already an IM. Rithvik suffered a loss in round two against lower rated opponent Alan Diviya Raj (2047) | Photo: Sagar Shah

Recently minted IM Koustav Chatterjee is also in action at the event. Koustav is on 2.5/3 drawing his round three game against Samvel Ter-Sahakyan | Photo: Amruta Mokal .

Players from Nepal get a good chance for fighting against some strong players in these tournaments | Photo: Sagar Shah

Watch out for the young talent from Mumbai, Om Kadam, who is born in 2008. He is currenly on 2.0/3 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Top woman player in the event apart from Divya is WGM Olga Babiy from Ukraine. She is currently on 2.5/3 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

He is now 64 years old, but is still fighting hard. IM Sekhar Sahu drew his game against IM Himanshu Sharma in round 2 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The wonderful chess family of GM Ziaur Rahman | Photo: Sagar Shah

Well known solicitor of Mumbai Swapnil Kothari never misses the Mumbai Mayor's Cup! | Photo: Sagar Shah

Standings after round 3:

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgIClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
124IMKhusenkhojaev MuhammadTJK2446TJK3,00,04,05,55,503
23GMPantsulaia LevanGEO2614GEO3,00,04,05,05,003
9GMTurov MaximRUS2579RUS3,00,04,05,05,003
11GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND2557TN3,00,04,05,05,003
26IMMohammad Nubairshah ShaikhIND2436MAH3,00,04,05,05,003
27IMShyaamnikhil PIND2434TN3,00,04,05,05,003
718GMVasquez Schroeder RodrigoCHI2476CHI3,00,04,04,54,503
812GMPaichadze LukaGEO2557GEO3,00,04,04,04,003
96GMAleksandrov AleksejBLR2588BLR3,00,03,54,54,503
7GMStupak KirillBLR2584BLR3,00,03,54,54,503
19GMKostenko PetrKAZ2473KAZ3,00,03,54,54,503
21IMNguyen Van HuyVIE2456VIE3,00,03,54,54,503
28IMSardana RishiAUS2428AUS3,00,03,54,54,503
1417GMRahman ZiaurBAN2481BAN3,00,03,04,04,003
152GMAmonatov FarrukhTJK2624TJK2,50,04,56,55,252
1610GMPetrosyan ManuelARM2573ARM2,50,04,56,04,752
16GMMalakhatko VadimBEL2505BEL2,50,04,56,04,752
184GMTer-Sahakyan SamvelARM2611ARM2,50,04,55,54,252
5GMMchedlishvili MikheilGEO2609GEO2,50,04,55,54,252
49FMMohammad Fahad RahmanBAN2305BAN2,50,04,55,54,252


Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony was well attended | Photo: Sagar Shah

The dignitaries on the dais | Photo: Sagar Shah

Divya Deshmukh opened the tournament by playing the Sicilian against MLC Parinay Fuke | Photo: Sagar Shah

Parinay Fuke (centre) the president of All Marathi Chess Association (AMCA), with the team of arbiters | Photo: Sagar Shah
Interview with Parinay Fuke, President of AMCA

The B-playing hall of the tournament | Photo: Sagar Shah

The ChessBase India stall which had all the softwares, books and accessories! | Photo: Sagar Shah
ChessBase India has launched new t-shirts at the venue! Check them out and let us know which one is your favourite?

This is what we are very proud of. Thanks to the Quality Chess books, we are making the young generation fall in love with original books! | Photo: Sagar Shah

Kids would just come to our stall and read the books and become better players! | Photo: Sagar Shah

Do not miss Supriya's Art Bucket stall which has loads of artistic products. Her stall will be present at the venue on the 13th and 14th of June. | Photo: Sagar Shah

Chess is a game that requires highest level of your concentration! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

You cannot let anything distract you! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Oh well, sometimes it does get tiring! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

What's happening here?! | Photo: Sagar Shah

Oh My that's not chess! | Photo: Sagar Shah

We felt much better when we saw this at the restaurant near the venue! Chess fever has truly taken over in the city! | Photo: Sagar Shah

A special thanks to arbiter Vipnesh Bharadwaj, who is a photography enthusiast and his SD card helped Amruta to take the pictures in the above report! Yes, Amruta forgot her SD card at home! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Video Gallery:

A feel of the playing hall of the 12th Mumbai Mayor's Cup
How 1888-rated Sudarshan Malga lost 55 kgs in 11 months
Interview with President of All J&K Chess Association Atul Kumar Gupta, who is using chess to bring peace in the Kashmir Valley
13-year-old Kriti Patel shows how to "KILL" the Smith Morra Gambit