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India's terrific trio at the 18th IPCA Championships in Prague

by Sagar Shah - 26/06/2018

Indian chess has some brilliant chess players up its fold, right from five-time reigning World Champion to the 12-year-old second youngest GM in the world R. Praggnanandhaa. But today we are going to look at three of our champions who have braved all sorts of odds to come out victorious on the chess board. They playing chess shows not only how great the sport of chess is, but also what gritty, determined and courageous individuals they are. We are talking about the terrific trio of IM Shashikant Kutwal, WIM Jennitha Anto and Samarth Rao who are representing our country at the 18th IPCA World Championships currently taking place in Prague. 

The reigning IPCA world Champions Shashikant Kutwal (centre) and Jennitha Anto (right) with Samarth Rao (left), bronze in Junior category in World Championships. Also in the picture are fathers of Jennitha and Samarth.

Samarth Rao suffers from celebral palsy

Shashikant Kutwal, hit by Polio at a very young age, is the reigning IPCA World Champion

Jennitha Anto, also like Shashikant was hit by Polio at the age of three, is five-time IPCA Woman World Champion

Shashikant, Jennitha and Samarth are currently in Prague playing in the 18th IPCA Championships. The tournament has not been going so well for all three of them. Shashikant was on 3.5/4 but lost to Polish youngster Nowak Lukasz in the fifth round. Jennitha is on 2.5/5, while Samarth is on 1.5/5.

Rank after round 5

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11IMYarmonov IgorUKR23525,00,0517,0
219FMValenta VitCZE20394,00,0417,5
310Tersinsev AndreyRUS21784,00,0416,0
45Nowak LukaszPOL22934,00,0415,5
56IMScerbin DmitrijRUS22634,00,0414,0
63IMGurbanov AndreiISR23354,00,0314,0
77IMBabula MilanCZE22264,00,0313,0
82IMObodchuk AndreiRUS23363,50,0315,5
99Wielecki ZygmuntPOL21893,50,0314,5
1014IMShashikant KutwalIND21333,50,0314,0
1112Tebenkov VladislavRUS21523,50,0313,5
1238Alekseev MikhailRUS18463,50,0311,5
1336Sovetov OleksandrUKR18593,50,0216,0
148FMMukha NikolayUKR22013,00,0315,5
1524Denisov DenisRUS20033,00,0315,0
1639WIMMelnik GalinaRUS18343,00,0314,0
1711Glazar DomagojCRO21683,00,0312,5
1826Reznicek MarcelCZE19843,00,0214,0
1933Gerasimova SvetlanaRUS19133,00,0213,5
2016Kozhabekov AdilkhanKAZ21023,00,0212,0
2117Navratil RobertAUT20923,00,0211,0
2221Zavarsky JurajSVK20173,00,0113,0
2318Linqvist GrelsFIN20422,50,0214,5
2430Nyvlt OttoCZE19252,50,0214,0
2520Lipilin IliaRUS20262,50,0212,5
264FMSoltanov SerikKAZ22932,50,0212,5
2723Kozicz AndrzejPOL20042,50,0212,0
2827Hanus MichalCZE19762,50,0211,5
2940Strakos JiriCZE18312,50,0211,5
3037WFMAleksandrova AleksandraISR18522,50,0211,5
3135Kocur ValterCZE19032,50,0211,5
3225WIMJennitha Anto K.IND20002,50,0211,0
3331Belak StefanSVK19162,50,029,5
3415Tsapalin SergeyRUS21142,50,0114,5
3550Petrov MaksimRUS17302,50,0114,0
3613Palin DenisRUS21402,50,0112,5
3744Tocklin TomiFIN17982,50,0014,5
3832Smolin StefanGER19152,00,0213,5
3922Jurkiewicz KrzysztofPOL20102,00,0212,5
4034Lizner MilanCZE19122,00,0212,0
4143Mikulencak JanCZE18122,00,029,0
4228Pronin VladimirRUS19412,00,0113,5
4348Travnicek JaroslavCZE17582,00,0111,5
4445Haderka KarelCZE17941,50,0114,5
4554CMSamarth J RaoIND15961,50,0111,5
4642Bainhofner JiriCZE18121,50,0111,0
4752Pilimon ZbigniewPOL16711,50,0110,5
4847Kouba PetrCZE17591,50,0110,0
4941Strnad PavelCZE18271,50,019,5
5053Shchukina EkaterinaRUS16431,50,019,0
5156Frumin RebekaISR13611,50,018,5
5257Vanek JakubCZE10261,50,009,0
5349WFMDorozhkina MariyaRUS17491,50,007,5
5458Sovietova KaterynaUKR01,00,0111,5
5555Mikulencakova JanaCZE14041,00,0010,0
5651Bola ZygmuntPOL17031,00,009,0
5746Slezak PetrCZE17670,50,0010,5
5829Holovcak JiriCZE19260,00,0010,0


The boy who beat Shashikant is Lukasz Nowak (right)

In 2017 when I met Lukasz in Poland, I wrote this about him in my ChessBase report: One of the most inspiring players in the tournament hall was Łukasz Nowak. The 19-year-old from Poland was just a few months old when he was diagnosed with a spinal muscular atrophy in its hardest form. When he was seven, his grandfather taught him to play chess. Łukasz  really liked the game and after five years decided to play his first tournament - Najdorf Chess Festival in Warsaw. The boy kept working on the game and his level improved. In 2011 he won a bronze medal in the Warsaw Youth Olympiad and a few months later he became the IPCA World Youth Champion.

In the first round it self Samarth and Jennitha faced each other. The five-time World Champion was able to emerge victorious!

The playing hall of the tournament with enough space for helpers of the players to sit and move around

If you are a helper and you enjoy chess, it can be quite interesting to follow the games!

Fighting against all the odds to play the game you love!

The organizers from Czech Republic have done a great job in hosting this event!

Do send in your best wishes to these champs for the last four rounds. Special thanks to Halsagar Chincholimath for making these photos available to us.

Know our champions:

Shashikant Kutwal:

Jennitha Anto:

Samarth Rao: