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Rajdeep and Varshini win National U-17 Championships 2015

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 27/10/2015

Rajdeep Sarkar and Varshini emerged as the National under 17 champions held in Bangalore, Karnataka. While the open section was hard fought with all the top three places scoring 8.0/11, in the girls section V.Varishini won the tournament with great ease with a score of 10.0/11. One of the highlights of the tournament was R.Vaishali playing in the open section and finishing third. We have pictures and game annotations from the event.

The National U-17 Chess Championship has been a notable national event in the annual chess calendar of India, with the tournament acting as a playground for many a talented youngsters to showcase their skills. The city of Bangalore, Karnataka hosted the 26th edition of this prestigious tournament. FM Rajdeep Sarkar won the open section on tiebreaks with 8.0/11, while WFM V. Varshini won the Girls section with 10.0/11.

Into its 26th edition, the BEL Officers Club, Bangalore, Karnataka hosted the 2015 National U-17 Championship from 3rd October, 2015 to 11th October, 2015. The time control was 90 minutes per player for the whole game plus 30 seconds increment per move.

The top three players from this tournament qualify for the World Youth Championships 2016, and consequently, this made for tough competition among the contenders. The tournament was an 11 round swiss with 81 players in the open section and 64 in the girls.

The open group was a close fight among the young stars battling for the top prize. FM Rajdeep Sarkar and WFM R. Vaishali (yes! she played in the open section!) were leading with 8.0/10, when a curious string of victories by White on the first four boards in the final round resulted in six players being tied at the top for 8.0/11!

This invited M/s. Bucholz and Co. to come into play and decide on the winners.

Winner: FM Rajdeep Sarkar (2233) of West Bengal

Rajdeep began the competition as the eighth seed, however, was coasting through the tournament, winning his first five rounds, grabbing the early lead. He then paused to give away two draws, and yet again shot into the sole lead after his eighth round victory over Jayakumaar S. (2223) of Tamil Nadu.

[Event "BEL Officers Club 26th National Under-1"]
[Site "BEL Officers Club, Jalahalli "]
[Date "2015.10.08"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Rajdeep, Sarkar"]
[Black "Jayakumaar, S."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D05"]
[WhiteElo "2233"]
[BlackElo "2223"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2015.10.03"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. b3 c5 5. Bb2 Nc6 6. Nbd2 cxd4 7. exd4 Bd6 8. a3
{Cautious, stopping ...Nb4. However, White could have gone Bd3 straightaway.} (
8. Bd3 Nb4 9. Bb5+ Nc6 10. O-O) 8... Ne4 9. Bd3 f5 10. c4 O-O 11. c5 Bc7 12. b4
Qf6 13. Nb3 (13. b5 Ne7 14. Rc1 Bd7 (14... g5 15. Ne5 $11)) 13... g5 14. Qe2 (
14. b5 Na5 15. Ne5 $2 Nxb3 16. Qxb3 Nxc5 $1) 14... g4 15. Nfd2 {Black's
position looks aggressive yet solid.} Bf4 (15... e5 $1 {gives Black the edge.
This move is thematic in similar structures.}) 16. Bxe4 dxe4 (16... fxe4 {
is more logical.} 17. Qxg4+ Kh8 {with play.}) 17. Nc4 b5 $6 {hard to
understand why Black chose to play this.} (17... Qg6 {gives Black good play.})
18. Nca5 {Strange decision.} (18. cxb6 axb6 19. Nxb6 $16 {is just better.})
18... Ne7 $4 {Black hands White the game and the lead in the tournament with
this horrible move.} (18... Nxa5 19. Nxa5 Qh6 20. g3 Bc7 21. Qxb5 e3 $1 $11)
19. d5 Be5 20. Bxe5 Qxe5 21. d6 Ng6 22. O-O f4 23. Qxg4 Rf5 24. Nc6 Qg7 25.
Ne7+ (25. Rad1 {Bringing in more pieces would have worked as well.}) 25... Nxe7
26. Qxg7+ Kxg7 27. dxe7 Kf7 28. Nd4 Rh5 29. Nxb5 Kxe7 30. Nd6 Ba6 31. Rfe1 f3
32. g3 Bd3 33. Nxe4 a5 34. Nc3 axb4 35. axb4 Rxa1 36. Rxa1 Rg5 37. Re1 Rg4 38.
Nd5+ Kf7 39. Nf4 Bb5 40. h3 Rg8 41. Nxe6 Bd7 42. Nd4 Bxh3 43. Nxf3 1-0


FM Sarkar (2233) taking on Jayakumaar S. (2223)

After managing to win this game, he gave away two more draws. Despite losing the final round encounter, Sarkar was crowned the National U-17 Champion, 2015, on tiebreak.

IM Krishna Teja N. (2313) of AP finished second

IM Krishna Teja N. of Andhra Pradesh finished second, after a last round victory propelled him to 8.0/11. Krishna started the tournament on a shaky note, with two draws in the first three rounds to much lower rated opponents. However, the newly crowned Asian Youth (U-18) Champion clawed back into the competition and place himself second on tiebreak.

IM Krishna Teja had his lucky moments in the tournament. In the following game, he dubiously gives up a piece, and still manages to win.

[Event "BEL Officers Club 26th National Under-1"]
[Site "BEL Officers Club, Jalahalli "]
[Date "2015.10.08"]
[Round "8.3"]
[White "Krishna Teja, N."]
[Black "Kumaran, B."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E46"]
[WhiteElo "2313"]
[BlackElo "2276"]
[PlyCount "110"]
[EventDate "2015.10.03"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 d5 6. a3 Be7 7. Ng3 ({More
common is} 7. cxd5 exd5 8. g3) 7... c6 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. O-O b6 10. Qe2 Bb7 11.
cxd5 cxd5 12. Bd2 {Both sides are completing their development.} a6 13. a4 Bd6
14. Rfc1 Qe7 15. a5 {Planning to eventually control b4, with Na2, Qe1.} (15. f3
{is another plan.}) 15... b5 {The game enters a technical phase where both
armies build their setups.} 16. Qe1 Rfc8 17. Na2 Ne4 18. Bxe4 dxe4 19. Bb4 Nf6
20. Bxd6 Qxd6 21. Qb4 Qd7 22. Rc5 Nd5 23. Qd2 f5 24. Nc3 Nf6 25. b4 Qd6 26.
Nce2 Nd7 27. Rxc8+ Rxc8 28. Rc1 Rxc1+ (28... Ne5 $1 {leads to an advantage for
Black!} 29. Rxc8+ Bxc8 30. Qc3 Nc6 31. Nf4 Bd7 $17) 29. Qxc1 Nb8 30. Nf4 g6 31.
Nxe6 $4 {An extremely strange move.} Qxe6 32. Qc7 Qc8 33. Qd6 {Black is just a
simple piece up.} Qf8 34. Qb6 Bd5 (34... Qe7 35. h4 Nc6 36. h5 Kf7 $19 {
and Black has no problems whatsoever.}) 35. h4 Bf7 36. h5 Qc8 37. Qf6 Nd7 38.
Qd6 Nf8 39. h6 Qe6 40. Qc5 Qf6 41. Qc8 Bc4 42. Qc5 Be6 $4 {Giving away the a6
pawn.} 43. Qd6 Qf7 44. Qxa6 $11 Qd7 $4 (44... Bc4 45. Qa8 Qd5 $11) 45. Qb6 $18
Bd5 46. a6 Qc6 47. Qd8 Qd7 48. Qb8 Kf7 49. Ne2 Qe8 50. a7 Nd7 51. Qc7 Ke7 52.
Nc3 Qa8 53. Qa5 Qc6 54. Nxd5+ Qxd5 55. a8=Q Qb3 {Qad8 Kd6 Qa6} 1-0


WFM Vaishali R (2314) played in the Open section and finished third

Displaying supreme confidence in her abilities, Tamil Nadu talent WFM R. Vaishali played in the Open section and scored 8.0/11, finishing third. Going into the final round, she was leading jointly with FM Sarkar. In a memorable turn of events, both FM Sarkar and WFM Vaishali lost their games, pushing Vaishali to third place on tiebreak.

Here is one of Vaishali's fine efforts:

[Event "BEL Officers Club 26th National Under-1"]
[Site "BEL Officers Club, Jalahalli "]
[Date "2015.10.04"]
[Round "3.2"]
[White "Vaishali, R."]
[Black "Athul, Krishna S"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B15"]
[WhiteElo "2314"]
[BlackElo "2158"]
[PlyCount "103"]
[EventDate "2015.10.03"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 e6 {A rare move, perhaps played for the surprise
value. If so, as play showed, it was Black who turned out to be surprised.} (
3... dxe4 4. Nxe4 {leads to well known channels.}) 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Bb4 6. e5
Nfd7 {And Black's queenside is bottled up.} 7. O-O c5 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. Bg5 Qc7
10. Nb5 {Black is already in huge trouble.} Qb6 11. b4 $1 Bf8 ({Of course,}
11... Bxb4 12. Rb1 Qa5 13. Rxb4 $1 Qxb4 14. Nc7+ $18) 12. a4 a5 13. bxa5 Qxa5
14. Qd2 (14. c4 $1 {is probably more aggressive.}) 14... Bb4 (14... Qxd2 $4 15.
Nc7# {A fatal intermezzo.}) 15. c3 Bc5 16. Nfd4 Nxe5 17. Nb3 Qb6 18. a5 Qc6 19.
N5d4 $2 ({Correct is} 19. Bf4 f6 20. N3d4 Qd7 (20... Bxd4 21. cxd4) 21. Nxe6 $1
Qxe6 22. Nc7+) 19... Bxd4 $1 20. cxd4 Nxd3 21. Qxd3 O-O {Black has grabbed his
opportunity to liquidate and run with his King to the K-side.} 22. Qg3 Kh8 23.
Be7 Rg8 24. Rfc1 Qe8 25. Bc5 f6 (25... Bd7 {Make hay while the sun shines!
Black must have made full use of his chance to develop his pieces.}) 26. f4 Nd7
27. Re1 f5 28. Bd6 Nf6 29. Be5 Ne4 30. Qh4 Qd8 {From here, Black begins to go
astray.} 31. Qxd8 Rxd8 32. Rec1 {White targets the weakness around c7.} Rd7 33.
Rc2 Nd6 $2 {giving up c7.} 34. Bxd6 Rxd6 35. Rac1 Bd7 36. Rc7 b6 37. a6 Kg8 (
37... Rxa6 38. Rc8+ {is the problem.}) 38. a7 Ba4 39. Rc8+ Rd8 40. Rxd8+ Rxd8
41. Rc7 $1 Ra8 (41... Bxb3 42. Rb7 {with unstoppable queening on cards.}) 42.
Rb7 Rxa7 43. Rxa7 Bxb3 44. Re7 b5 45. Rxe6 Kf7 46. Rb6 Bc4 47. Kf2 h6 48. Ke3
Ke7 49. Kd2 Kf7 50. Kc3 Ke7 51. Kb4 Kf7 52. Rxb5 $1 {The pawn ending is
winning.} 1-0


Final Standings for Open Section 

Girls section

Winner: WFM Varshini V (2105)

With WFM Vaishali R. playing in the Open section, her state-mate WFM Varshini V made mincemeat of her opposition, granting two draws and winning her remaining games. She scored a hefty 10/11, winning by a 1.5 points margin! This was her second consecutive victory at the National U-17 Championship.

WFM Mahalakshmi M of Tamil Nadu was second with 8.5/11

Toshali V (1826) of Andhra Pradesh was third with 8.0/11

Final Standings for Girls section


Winners (from left): Toshali V, WFM Mahalakshmi M, WFM Varshini V, FM Rajdeep Sarkar, IM Krishna Teja N, WFM Vaishali V