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Harshad wins 1st Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit 2023, Srihari L second

by R Anantharam - 23/10/2023

FM Harshad S, Srihari L and IM David Gochelashvili scored 6/9 each at 1st Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit Chess Tournament 2023. Harshad won the tournament due to better tie-breaks, Srihari and Gochelashvili were placed second and third respectively. Despite starting with a loss and scoring only 2/4 in the first four games, Harshad regrouped quite well by scoring 4/5 in the last five games. The total prize fund of the tournament was US$ 1000. The first prize was $500. This is Harshad's third overall and second individual rating tournament triumph of the year. Harshad won a Rapid Rating and a Blitz Team event this year. However, this round-robin event becomes his first Classical event triumph of 2023. Photos: IA R Anantharam

Top three score 6/9

The much awaited Tamil Nadu IM norm closed circuit series of chess tournaments has begun at Chennai, which was won by 17-year-old FM Harshad S of Coimbatore, a silver medalist in the Asian under 16 chess championship 2022. He finished ahead of one GM and three IMs in the fray and seeded ninth among the ten players.

S Harshad of Coimbatore won the 1st Tamil Nadu IM norm tournament. He receives the prize of 500 USD from Ms. J Mercy Regina, General Manager Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu

Harshad, L Srihari of Pondicherry and IM David Gochelashvili (RUS) scored six points each and were placed in that order, according to tiebreaks.

L Srihari of Pondicherry is the runner-up

IM David Gochelashvili receives the third prize

FM Harshad S scored 6/9 and gained 48.4 Elo rating points

The tournament had an exciting start with all game ending decisively and a few of them in a spectacular fashion. All the four foreign players suffered defeats at the hands of their Indian opponents in the first round.


In the shortest game of the day, 12-year-old Goutham Krishna H of Kerala outplayed IM Asylbek Abdyzhapar of Kyrgyztan in just 25 moves. In the King's Indian Defence, Goutham voluntarily allowed to open his castled king side by playing Nh5.

Asylek - Goutham, Round 1

Position after 23...Rxg2!

After opening both the f and g-files, Goutham stunningly sacrificed his rook for a pawn on g2 on the 23rd move. Asylbek surrendered after two more moves.

12-year-old Goutham Krishna of Kerala defeated Kyrgyzstan IM Asylbek

In an equally good game, WGM Srija Seshdri outwitted IM David Gochelashvili in the Spanish opening. She concentrated her forces on the king side and also used the same g-file combination like Goutham. She sacrificed a knight on 37th move and paved way for the victory by offering her rook for a bishop on the 39th move.

Srija - Gochelashvili, Round 1

Position after 37.Nf8!

A beautiful checkmate combination starting with 37.Nf8!

WGM Srija Seshadri dashed the hopes of IM David Gochelashvili

60-year-old IM K Murugan, a retired sports officer at NLC Neyveli returned to competitive chess after a gap of nearly 25 years. He displayed no sign of his age by defeating the 18-year-old WFM Ayan Allahverdiyeva of Azerbaijan in the Queens Indian defence, played by the former European Under-14 girls champion.

Ashwath led the field with 3.5 points after four rounds by beating the co-leader Murugan.


In a draw position arising from the Pertosian variation of the King's Indian Defence, L Srihari of Pondicherry seized the opportunity, when his opponent IM Asylbek Abdyzhapar of Kyrgyztan wrongly exchanged his rook for a knight to avoid getting checkmated. Asylbek could not prevent Srihari’s pawn promotion and resigned.

FM Goutham Krishna of Kerala kept his norm chances alive by beating WFM Ayan Allaverdiyeva in the Fianchetto variation of the Queen's Indian defence adapted by Ayan. Goutham capitalized the four consecutive minor errors by Ayan from move 49 to 52 and checkmated his opponent a few moves later.


Harshad illustrated a good example for deflection by sacrificing his rook for a knight to pose a checkmating threat to IM David Gochelashvili.

Ashwath had a one point lead over four others at the end of the fifth round.


The overnight leader Ashwath lost to Srija Seshadri in the sixth round, enabling three others - Asylbek, Srija and Sihari to join the lead with four points each. In the Scotch variation accepted of the Four Knights Game, Srija prevented Ashwath from castling by exchanging the queens on the twelfth move. In the process of exchanging the pieces, Aswhath lost two pawns on the b and c- file, leaving two connected pawns on the same files. The rest was a mere technique for Srija to register the win.


Seventh round witnessed the all the norm seekers losing their chances, as Harshad who already had lost the chance defeated Srija, Asylbek overcame the stiff resistance from Ashwath and David defeated Srihari.


Srihari played the Giuco Piano game against the out of form GM Raset Ziatdinov (USA) to pocket a point in mere 23 moves. With almost all pieces on the board, Srihari positionally outplayed his opponent, involving a few tactics also.

Harshad played the Samisch variation of the Kings Indian defence against the Kyrgyztan IM Azylbek Abdyzhapar in the final round. Asylbek made a wrong exchange sacrifice on the 23rd move, paving way for Harshad’s victory and the title.

IM Manuel Aaron and Mr. J Meghanatha Reddy, IAS, Member Secretary Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu inaugurated the tournament

B Murugavel, Vice president TNSCA, IA R Anantharam, Dr. M Manickam, President TNSCA, Stephen Balasamy, Secretary TNSCA, IA Promodraj Moree, Chief Arbiter and DV Sundar former FIDE Vice President FIDE were also present at the inauguration ceremony.

GM Raset Ziatdinov (USA) cut the cake during the closing ceremony

The 2nd IM-norm tournament starts at Mahalingam College of Engineering, Pollachi, 40 kilometer from Coimbatore on 23rd October. The following is the list of participants:

Players list

7IMMurugan, Krishnamoorthy5000041IND2355
8FMSekar, B5043743IND2333
2IMAbdyzhapar, Asylbek13800337KGZ2314
9FMSenthil, Maran K25035681IND2298
3IMGochelashvili, David4161203RUS2277
6WGMSrija, Seshadri5055903IND2214
4Srihari, L46642056IND2200
10WFMAllahverdiyeva, Ayan13412590AZE2198
5FMHarshad, S46616551IND2177
1GMZiatdinov, Raset2015323USA2081


MCET has conducted two national championships in a span of less than one year in 2022-23.

Airports Authority of India spearheaded by triple crown National champion Aravindh Chithambaram won the National Team championship February 2023 at MCET Pollachi

Soham Kamotra of J & K won the National Under 18 Chess Championship at MCET Pollachi in April 2022

Dr. M Manickam, Chairman of Sakthi Group and President of TNSCA whose brain child is the series of IM-norm tournaments, presented the trophy.

Final standings

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
110FMHarshad, SIND21776127,255
21Srihari, LIND22006124,755
37IMGochelashvili, DavidRUS22776123,006
46FMGoutham, Krishna HIND23505,5019,255
54WGMSrija, SeshadriIND22145122,004
65IMAbdyzhapar, AsylbekKGZ23145017,505
73FMAshwath, R.IND22984,5017,503
82IMMurugan, KrishnamoorthyIND23552,5111,502
99WFMAllahverdiyeva, AyanAZE21982,509,252
108GMZiatdinov, RasetUSA2081208,001


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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