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Sayantan Das clinches 1st SOA GM 2024, Diptayan Ghosh second and Sambit Panda third

by Shahid Ahmed - 08/02/2024

GM Sayantan Das won the 1st SOA GM International Chess Festival 2024 scoring 8/10. He finished a half point ahead of the field. GM Diptayan Ghosh, IM Sambit Panda and IM Neelash Saha scored 7.5/10 each. They secured second, third and fourth place according to tie-breaks. Sayantan scored 7/8 in his last eight games after losing the second round game to WFM Ellen Fredericia Nilssen (DEN). She went on to score a WIM-norm. Sambit also made a fantastic comeback after losing his third round game in just eight moves against FM Goutham Krishna H. CM Soham Kamotra, Jethro Dino Aquino (PHI) and Vignesh Advaith Vemula scored an IM-norm each. Producing four norms has definitely made the inaugural edition of this event quite successful. The total prize fund of the tournament was ₹3500000, ₹2000000 for Category A. The top three prizes are ₹300000, ₹200000 and ₹150000 along with a trophy each. Photos: IA R Anantharam

Tournament of comebacks; Three IM-norms and one WIM-norm

Grandmaster Sayantan Das of Railways won the 1st SOA International GM chess festival, organised by All Odisha Chess Association at the SOA Unversity campus, Bhubaneswar. He made a formal draw with his friend and Railways’ team and Kolkata city mate Diptayan Ghosh in the final round to score eight points, half a point ahead of Diptayan, Sambit Panda of Odisha and Neelash Saha of Railways. While Sayantan received three lacs rupees as the first prize, Diptayan is richer by two lacs rupees and Sambit Panda collected one lac and fifty thousand rupees.

Dr. Sanjay Kapoor, President, All India Chess Federation hands over the trophy and cheque to the winner GM Sayantan Das of Railways

GM Diptayan Ghosh finished runner-up ahead of IM Sambit Panda and IM Neelash Saha due to better tiebreak

Odisha's very own IM Sambit Panda receiving his third prize

Top 3 (L to R): 2nd GM Diptayan Ghosh 7.5/10, 1st GM Sayantan Das 8/10 and 3rd IM Sambit Panda 7.5/10

The short draw in the final round with GM Diptayan Ghosh enabled GM Sayantan Das to win the tournament

GM Sayantan Das scored 8/10, finished a half point ahead of the field and made a fantastic comeback after a second round loss

IM Sambit Panda of Odisha won the bishop versus knight ending in 55 moves against Subhayan Kundu of West Bengal. This win helped him to get the third place.

IM Sambit Panda of Odisha (left) got the third place because of his final round win over Subhayan Kundu of West Bengal

In the final round, IM Neelash Saha also from Kolkata dumped the hopes of Vignesh Advaith of Telangana, who was leading until the end of the seventh round. After exchanging the queens on the 28th move, Neelash needed only three more moves to outplay Vignesh.

IM Neelash Saha made it first, second and fourth for West Bengal by beating the young Vignesh Advaith of West Bengal

Former national under-18 champion Soham Kamotra of Jammu and Kashmir defeated IM Semetei Tologon Tegin (KGZ). Among the five players who scored seven points, Soham had a better tiebreak to get the fifth rank and also an IM-norm.

Soham Kamotra of J&K won against IM Semetei Tologon Tegin (KGZ)

Arash Tabbaz the IM from Iran did not handle the endgame properly to lose his knight for IM Shail Dey’s two pawns. It was of no use for Arash to continue the game afterwards.

IM Arash Tahbaz (IRI) lost to IM Shahil Dey of Assam in the ninth round. Shahil had a good tournament to secure sixth place

Jethro Dino Aquino (PHI) is the best foreign ranked player in the tournament. Besides achieving an IM-norm, he also increased his rating by 133.6 points. In the final round, he defeated the second seeded GM Adham Fawzy (EGY). In a pawn down position arising from the rook and bishop ending, Aquino’s outside passer pawn fetched him a point.

Jethro Dino Aquino (PHI) shocked second seeded GM Adham Fawzy (EGY) to collect seventh rank

GM Laxman R R of ICF was not well during the middle of the tournament, did not play one round; still managed to finish eighth in the rank list. He defeated IM Ritviz Parab of Goa in the final round.

GM Laxman R R, after skipping one round managed to finish eighth by collecting seven points

WFM Diajeng Theresa Singgih (INA) lost the exchange to IM Ranindu Dilshan Linayage (SRI) through a skewer. Later Ranindu’s three pawns on the kingside paved way for his win by sacrificing his rook for the knight. Ranidu got the ninth place.

WFM Diajeng Theresa Singgih (INA) lost the exchange to IM Ranindu Dilshan Linayage (SRI) through a skewer

Sayantan Das wrested the lead by outwitting the hitherto leader Vignesh Advaith in the eighth round. In the Sicilian defence, Vignesh resigned immediately when Sayantan obtained a winning advantage after Sayantan’s active knight was posted on a potential square. Untitled Vignesh led the field until the seventh round; but scored only half a point in the remaining three rounds. His good show in the early part of the tournament helped him to achieve the IM-norm and also the tenth place.

Sayantan's win against the leader Vignesh Advaith of Telangana tilted the proceedings in his favour

Sayantan Das once again proved his expertise in rook and pawn ending to win against GM Boris Savchenko (RUS). Though both promoted the pawn, Savchenko’s tactics of rook sacrifice failed and he resigned after 74 hard fought moves.

GM Boris Savchenko lost the penultimate round to Sayantan, vanishing the hopes of adding one more title to his kitty

In a clearly winning position, Vrashank Chauhan of Rajasthan lost his extra bishop to GM Jayson Gonzalez (PHI) to lose the game in exactly 100 moves.

GM Jayson Gonzales won a lost position against Vrashank Chouhan of Rajasthan

Denmark’s Ellen Fredericia Nilssen had a satisfactory tournament for two reasons: the first one is that she obtained a WIM-norm and the other is that she is the only player to beat the eventual champion GM Sayantan Das.

Norm makers

IM-norm: Vignesh Advaith Vemula, CM Soham Kamotra and Jethro Dino Aquino (PHI).

WIM-norm: Ellen Fredericia Nilssen (DEN).

Replay Round 6-10 games

Round 10 results

Bo.No. NameRtgClub/CityPts.ResultPts.NameRtgClub/City No.PGN
GMDas, Sayantan2514RSPB½ - ½7GMGhosh, Diptayan2568RSPB
IMNeelash, Saha2446West Bengal1 - 0Vignesh, Advaith Vemula2028Telangana
IMPanda, Sambit2404Odisha1 - 0Subhayan, Kundu2385West Bengal
IMShahil, Dey2363Assam½ - ½6IMSammed Jaykumar, Shete2441Maharashtra
GMFawzy, Adham2522Egypt60 - 16AGMAquino, Jethro Dino2166Philippines
GMNguyen, Van Huy2364Vietnam6½ - ½6GMSavchenko, Boris2489Russia
GMLaxman, R.R.2338ICF61 - 06IMRitviz, Parab2391Goa
IMTologon Tegin, Semetei2384Kyrgystan60 - 16CMSoham, Kamotra2348Jammu and Kashmir
FMDhananjay, S2151Chhattisgarh60 - 16IMLiyanage, Ranindu Dilshan2366Sri Lanka
IMTahbaz, Arash2425Iran1 - 0Ajay, Santhosh Parvathareddy2204Uttar Pradesh


Final standings

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
GMDas, SayantanIND2514RSPB852,55644,50
GMGhosh, DiptayanIND2568RSPB7,558,56448,25
IMPanda, SambitIND2404Odisha7,55356,542,25
IMNeelash, SahaIND2446West Bengal7,551,555,540,75
CMSoham, KamotraIND2348Jammu and Kashmir7555938,75
IMShahil, DeyIND2363Assam752,555,538,00
AGMAquino, Jethro DinoPHI2166Philippines751,554,534,50
GMLaxman, R.R.IND2338ICF7505737,25
IMLiyanage, Ranindu DilshanSRI2366Sri Lanka7464935,00
Vignesh, Advaith VemulaIND2028Telangana6,557,562,537,25
IMTahbaz, ArashIRI2425Iran6,55659,536,50
GMNguyen, Van HuyVIE2364Vietnam6,55559,536,75
Subhayan, KunduIND2385West Bengal6,55559,536,50
CMJohn, Veny AkkarakaranIND2112Kerala6,55558,535,25
GMSavchenko, BorisRUS2489Russia6,55255,532,50
Nithin, BabuIND2177Kerala6,551,55531,75
IMSammed Jaykumar, SheteIND2441Maharashtra6,551,55432,00
IMTologon Tegin, SemeteiKGZ2384Kyrgystan656,560,534,75
GMFawzy, AdhamEGY2522Egypt654,559,534,75
AIMAbhay, BandewarIND2025Madhya Pradesh654,558,532,75


About the Author

Prof. Rathinam Anantharam is an A-grade international arbiter. Member of FIDE Arbiters’ Commission, Chairman of Titles Commission in All India Chess Federation, Vice President of Tamil Nadu State Chess Association, Chief Arbiter for six world championships, many Asian, International and National Championships.


The report was edited by Shahid Ahmed

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