AICFB National Juniors: Sam Peniel dominates, Tanish seizes the moment, John wins hearts
P Sam Peniel (1364, TN) won the National Junior Chess Championships for the Visually Challenged! Sam scored 6.5/7, and his only draw of the tournament was against John Harris Sujin. Tanish Waghmare (MAH) took the 2nd position with 6/7, and John Harris Sujin came in 3rd with 5.5/7. Sam Peniel and Tanish Waghmare will now represent India in the forthcoming IBCA World Junior Chess Championship which will be held in Spain. Two players will also get an entry into National senior championships of the visually impaired. Read the final report of the AICFB National Junior Championships below.
Sam and Tanish set to represent India at the IBCA World Junior Championships
In round 5 of the National Junior Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged, the top two seeds of the tournament, P Sam Peniel and John Harris Sujin faced each other. The winner of the game would have great chances to win the tournament.
The stage was set and the top two seeds took to the board. They pushed each other and would not give an inch. But then, the game ended in a stalemate. Both players were tied on 4.5/5 and it looked like they would be heading to the IBCA World Junior Championships based on how things stood at the end of Day 2. With a round to go, the youngsters from TN were on 5.5 / 6 and they were closely followed by Tanish Waghmare from Maharashtra who was on 5 / 6. Waghmare was high on confidence and was coming off three consecutive victories after a 3rd round loss. Sam and John were unbeaten in the tournament and were fighting for the top spot.
Going into the final round, John was ahead of Sam on tiebreaks. Both of them knew that they needed a draw to take them through to the World Championships but they were also competing for the title of National Champion. Sam continued his dominating run at the championships and defeated Manish Verma in a short game. Now, he had to wait for the result of the game between John and Tanish. As Sam waited nervously, John and Tanish were engaged in battle.
The pressure was building on both the players and they knew what was at stake. Both players were not ready to give an inch and at various points, it looked like John would take the game. Tanish had his chances too and he sensed that the game was slowly turning in his favour. And then, the engineering student from Maharashtra clinched the decisive advantage and converted it into a full point.
With four straight victories in the last four rounds, Tanish Waghmere booked his ticket to Spain where he will be representing India. Through the weekend, Sam Peniel lived up to his seeding and dropped just half a point. He emerged as the National Junior Champion for his dominating performance.
It was a heartbreaking final round for young John Harris who had a foot in the door of the World Championships but such is the cruel nature of sport and one bad game can take you from the top to third place.
Despite the last round defeat, at the age of just 11, John had shown that he could take on the best Indian juniors, some of whom were almost ten years older than him. The future is bright and we could very well be witnessing the beginning of the journey for a young kid who has the potential to be the best blind chess player in the world.
Final Standings after 7 rounds
|1||1||Sam Peniel P||IND||1364||Tamil Nadu||6,5||28,5||30,5||27,75|
|3||2||John Harris Sujin||IND||1111||Tamil Nadu||5,5||29,5||32||22,75|
|7||26||Sanskruti Vikas More||IND||0||Maharashtra||5||23||25||14,50|
|11||24||Rahul Modi||IND||0||West Bengal||4||23,5||25||10,50|
|13||6||Amit Kumar Gupta||IND||0||Delhi||4||21||23||11,75|
|15||22||Omkar Sameer Talwalkar||IND||0||Maharashtra||4||18,5||20,5||11,50|
|18||4||Alvin J Pradeep||IND||0||Kerala||3||25||26||9,00|
|21||21||Niraj Kumar Pandey||IND||0||Delhi||3||20||22||8,50|
|23||17||Kushal Ramanna Jagali||IND||0||Karnataka||3||17||18||4,50|
|24||18||Lakhi Pada Bauri||IND||0||West Bengal||2,5||23,5||25||5,25|
|25||19||Lokesh K||IND||0||Tamil Nadu||2,5||22||23||4,50|
|26||9||Ayisha Sainab K A||IND||0||Kerala||2,5||21||23||6,50|
|27||14||Jirku Oraon||IND||0||West Bengal||2||23||25,5||6,50|
The AICFB National Junior Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged - 2023 was held at the Rotary House of friendship,Lavellee Road, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru. A total of 31 players participated in this 7-round swiss event from 13th-15th January, 2023. The time control of the tournament was 60 minutes + 30 second Increment.
About the Author
Saishyam Srikanth is a journalism student who is currently studying in the final year of his bachelor’s programme at St. Joseph’s College, Bengaluru. He has been a sports fan from the time he can remember and one day, aspires to translate this love for sport into a career as a media professional.