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A prelude on LBHM 30 lacs prize money chess festival

by R Anantharam - 04/05/2023

The month of May is going to witness a lot of rating chess tournaments. Among them, the fourth edition of Late Bharatbai Halkude Memorial Chess Festival is offering a combined prize fund of over 30 lacs across three tournaments - Classical, Below 1600 and Rapid. The festival will take place from 13th to 21st May in Pune. There are a dozen prizes which are over ₹100000 each combining Open and Below 1600 event. So far two GMs and seven IMs have already registered in the Classical and Rapid events. So hurry up and register now if you haven't yet. Check out the details and preview of the tournament written by the Chief Arbiter of the event - IA R Anantharam. Photo: Tournament Circular

LBHM Chess Festival, Pune is here to break the records

Of late, FIDE rated chess tournaments are shaping into new dimensions, with the organisers pouring in huge prize money. Recently there have been tournaments with prize moneys of 24 and 25 lacs in the form of chess festivals. Here comes the record-breaking Late Bharatbai Halkude Memorial (LBHM) chess festival (13th to 21st May 2023), Pune, offering a never before 30 lacs and more prize money for the three varieties of tournaments – open, below 1600 and rapid, of course, except Delhi Open. Have you ever heard about a chess festival or a tournament providing a colossal and gigantic six hundred and thirty three prizes in the form of cash, trophies and medals? It is unbelievable and LBHM does so.

30 lacs prize money and 633 prizes

India's latest GM Sayantan Das leads the field with a rating of 2516 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

GM Saptarshi RoyChowdhury is the other grandmaster in the fray until now | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The LBHM chess festival from 13th to 21st May comprises three components – the open tournament from 13th to 17th May, carrying a cash prize of Rs. 14,00,212, rapid rating tournament with a cash prize of two lacs on 18th and the below 1600 rating tournament from 19th to 21st May, which offers another 14 lacs and 22 rupees as the prize money. The total prize money amounts to Rs.30,000,234. In the history in Indian chess, the number of prizes worth one lac or more is the second best after the Delhi Open 2018. While the Delhi Open had 18 prizes (of 1.11 crore rupees), LBHM furnishes 12 such prizes of more than one lac each. An amazing prize structure. Be steady to look at the prizes and let your head not spin.

Prize structure - Open

Prize structure - Below 1600

Prize structure - Rapid

No wonder that already two Grandmasters Sayantan Das and Saptarshi RoyChowdhury both from Railways and West Bengal and seven more international masters including Neelash Saha of West Bengal and young Kushagra Mohan of Telangana have put their names on the roll call.

Apart from the huge prize money, what else does the tournament offer?

• A beautiful venue – Dhruv Global School, Katraj – Undri bypass road, Undri, Pune

• AC playing hall

• Free dormitory accommodation at the venue for 200 persons

• Separate waiting hall for parents

• Free pick up and drop facility from different parts of Pune

• Separate dining hall at a nominal rate

• 90 parents who attend the prize distribution function will get amusement park coupons

Prominent Players Registered So Far

Neelash Saha is a former national junior champion and he is bound to increase the number of grandmasters in India very soon.

IM Neelash Saha a 2436 player who won the Tata Steel Rapid tournament 2022 receives the prize from India's 2nd GM Dibyendu Barua | Photo: Sumit Roy

IM Kushagra Mohan won the team gold medal in the 10th Asia Pacific Youth Sports Games, Russia 2022.

IM Kushagra Mohan recently drew with GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy in the recently concluded Sunway Formentera tournament in Spain | Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar

International Master K Ratnakaran of Southern Railway is a seasoned chess veteran and a former Asian junior bronze medallist.

IM Ratnakaran K (right) of Southern Railway Vs GM Visakh N R of ICF in the All India Inter Railway Championship 2022 | Photo: IA R Anantharam

IM Abhishek Kelkar finished ninth in the recent Capablanca Chess School rating tournament, Thiruvananthapuram | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Sekhar Sahu IM & FST, one of the senior most trainers in India is in the fray | Photo: Niklesh Jain

IM Ravi Hegde, a veteran enjoying chess

International Master R Balasubramaniam receiving the prize from GM Vishnu Prasanna in a tournament at Sivakasi

The first edition of the LBHM tournament in 2018 was won by IM Rajesh VAV of South Central Railway and the next one was clinched by Grandmaster M R Venkatesh of PSPB. IM Nubairshah Shaikh was the champion in 2012.

Winners of the first three editions of LBHM tournaments | Photo: Tournament circular

The tournament director, 42-years-old Nagnath Halkude, a rated chess player from Sangola, near Sangli in Maharashtra is highly passionate with chess and organises the tournament in memory of his father.

Nagnath Halkude

Nagnath does not want to organise his rating tournament in an ordinary manner like most of the tournaments. He wants to make it special and innovative.

LBHM team May 2022

Entry fee: Rs.7000 for open and below 1600 each. If paid for both before 5th May, it will be Rs.12000. Registration for the tournament has to be done through here. Entries with a late fee of Rs.500 will be accepted until 10th May for the Open. For the below 1600 category, the last date is 10th and with a late fee of Rs.500/-, it is 16th. The entry fee for the rapid tournament is Rs.1000/- until 10th and a late fee of Rs.300/- will be levied and received until 17th.


Why do you still wait to join this great tournament? Hurry up and register.

Players list in Open

No. NameIDFideIDFEDRtgsexTypClub/City
GMDas, Sayantan650020215034426IND2516Due : AICF Renewal
IMNeelash, Saha648120215094160IND2436WB
IMKushagra, Mohan2725202125033638IND2400TG
GMRoy Chowdhury, Saptarshi281020215002974IND2273Due : AICF Renewal
IMRatnakaran, K.486720215005507IND2257KL
IMAbhishek, Kelkar241920215019257IND2217MH-Pune
IMSahu, Sekhar Chandra472420215000157IND2013S55Due : AICF Renewal
Sinha, Sushil Kumar18309920235012015IND1953S55BR
IMRamnathan, Balasubramaniam771520215001277IND1929TN
IMHegde, Ravi Gopal3020020215000254IND1916S55KA


Players list in Below 1600

No. NameIDFideIDFEDRtgsexTypClub/City
Shreya, G Hipparagi43355202125743953IND1573wF13MH
Siddhant, Nath Jha9615202135062425IND1564Due : AICF Renewal
Saikat, Nath23810202146667180IND1531DL
Aaditya, Salunkhe91071202133412596IND1518Due : AICF Renewal
Ritish, Chander A15791202145000565IND1508TG
Shejal, Sahil Sanjay89265202125605755IND1498Due : AICF Renewal
Muchandikar, Shrikant15053202135059599IND1495MH-Pune
Pachwadkar, Ansar9085202146645675IND1478MH-Pune
Vishal, Vala18463202135078720IND1470Due : AICF Renewal
Wadke, Suyog56618202125967096IND1465U15MH-Pune


Players list in Rapid Open

No. NameIDFideIDFEDRtgsexTypClub/City
GMDas, Sayantan650020215034426IND2413Due : AICF Renewal
GMRoy Chowdhury, Saptarshi281020215002974IND2379Due : AICF Renewal
IMNeelash, Saha648120215094160IND2328WB
IMKushagra, Mohan2725202125033638IND2308TG
GMLaxman, R.R.8697920215005361IND2244ICF
IMRatnakaran, K.486720215005507IND2226KL
IMAbhishek, Kelkar241920215019257IND2185MH
IMSahu, Sekhar Chandra472420215000157IND2016S55Due : AICF Renewal
Sinha, Sushil Kumar18309920235012015IND1953S55BR
IMHegde, Ravi Gopal3020020215000254IND1940S55KA



Official site


The article was edited by Shahid Ahmed

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.

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