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Abhijeet Gupta wins the Commonwealth title for a record fifth time!

by Sagar Shah - 08/07/2019

Legends have a habit of raising their game when the situation demands it. That's the reason why they have maximum grand slams to their credit, or highest number of goals, or most runs scored! In chess, the mark of a strong player stems from how he plays in the last round, especially when he is in a must-win situation. This is what happened with Abhijeet Gupta, four time Commonwealth winner. Abhijeet was in a must-win situation and came out all guns blazing to beat his opponent Arjun Erigaisi and claim his 5th Commonwealth title. He deserves the title of Mr. Commonwealth. The women's section was won by IM Tania Sachdev, who also scored her 3rd title. In this report we have the final critical game of Abhijeet versus Arjun analyzed, interviews with both Gupta and Sachdev and all the pictures of the prize winners.

Mr. Commonwealth = Abhijeet Gupta!

"If I played four events, I would rather choose gold in one and no medals in other three over four silver medals!" This statement by Abhijeet Gupta aptly sums up his attitude. Winning tournaments means a lot to him. He is ready to take tremendous amounts to risk to win the title and he proved this in the last round of the Commonwealth Championships 2019. Playing with the white pieces against Arjun Erigaisi, Abhijeet had his task cut out. Gupta had missed a win against Swapnil Dhopade on the previous day after playing for over 140 moves. Health-wise he was not in the best possible shape. Still, he went for the sharpest variation against Arjun's Slav. We soon had the Moscow system on the board and after Abhijeet's opening decision, it boiled down to a situation where White had burned all hi bridges. There was no going back!

Abhijeet Gupta took on Arjun Erigaisi with the white pieces  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Abhijeet Gupta vs Arjun Erigaisi

This position was reached after 17 moves. And if you give this to a computer, it will say that the position is just better for Black. Black is a pawn up and has a very active bishop on d5. But Abhijeet felt that his position was not bad at all. In fact it was an ideal one for his last round must win situation because the black king is not sure where it can go to.

The bishop moving to g5 was an important part of Abhijeet's entire concept. He wanted to prevent black from castling long.

Changing the character of the position at the right moment is one of the big skills of a match winner. Abhijeet gives up the g2 pawn, but in return gets more activity.

How should White get a winning advantage here?

You have think prophylactically here. You need to stop your opponent's plan of 0-0-0. Hence the right move is Qh4! Also creating a threat of Qh8+!

The black pawn is on c2, and the position is quite complex. But White has only one direct way to win here. How do you do it?

The best move here is to take the pawn on g5. Black then makes a queen in order to distract the rook. Now it is important to see the intermediate check Nd6+. Black must take the knight with his queen, and we reach this very unique position:

Black has two queens and both are hanging. But you can only take one piece at a time! How should White finish off the game?

Abhijeet played the move Qg6+ and after Kd8 he picked up the queen with exd6! Although White is a piece down, the black king is stranded in the centre of the board and the game ended in just a few moves!

Other two players who were on 6.5/8 - Aravindh Chithambaram and S.L. Naryanan drew their game, which made Abhijeet the sole champion with 7.5/9  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Standings after round 9:

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11GMGupta AbhijeetIND2606Delhi7,50,048,553,0
23GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND2598Tamilnadu7,00,048,552,5
310GMSwapnil S. DhopadeIND2488Maharastra7,00,047,051,0
55GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND2557Tamilnadu6,50,045,049,5
66GMDebashis DasIND2544Orissa6,50,044,549,0
714GMKarthikeyan P.IND2445Tamilnadu6,50,042,545,5
812GMKunte AbhijitIND2478Maharastra6,50,041,045,5
97GMErigaisi ArjunIND2526Telangana6,00,048,052,0
104GMLalith Babu M RIND2571Andra Pradesh6,00,045,049,0
1119IMTania SachdevIND2401Delhi6,00,043,547,0
129IMSwayams MishraIND2493Orissa6,00,042,547,0
138IMIniyan PIND2525Tamilnadu6,00,042,546,5
1416IMShyaamnikhil PIND24346,00,042,046,0
1517WIMDivya DeshmukhIND2414Maharastra6,00,040,043,0
1627IMSaravana Krishnan P.IND2290Tamilnadu5,50,050,554,5
1721WGMKulkarni BhaktiIND2380Goa5,50,045,049,0
1815GMLaxman R.R.IND2437Tamilnadu5,50,044,549,0
1935FMSrihari L RIND2214Tamilnadu5,50,043,548,0
2029Bhambure ShantanuIND2248Maharastra5,50,043,547,0

Abhijeet Gupta receives the winner's trophy. Second place went to Aravindh Chithambaram and third to Swapnil Dhopade  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Aravindh won the silver medal. He has won the national title in all three formats - classical, rapid and blitz. He was looking to win another gold, this time at Commonwealth, but a silver is also an excellent result!  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Swapnil Dhopade is now almost a full time coach. Yet he is able to deliver such a powerful performance! He scored a win against P. Iniyan in the final round and secured his bronze medal. | Photo: Swapnil Dhopade's Facebook
Abhijeet Gupta on winning the Commonwealth Championships 2019 and winning the Commonwealth title for a record fifth time!

Tania Sachdev scored 6.0/9 and became the women's champion. She played a great last round and beat Varshini. This meant that Tania was able to defend her title. The silver went to Divya Deshmukh (right) and bronze to Bhakti Kulkarni (centre)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Tania Sachdev scored an important last round win against V. Varshini to win the gold!  | Photo: Sagar Shah

One of the best things about the Commonwealth Championships is that the youngsters are able to interact with the world class GMs. In the above picture you can see youngsters eagerly taking their photos with Tania Sachdev. It will be a great memory for them for years to come!  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Divya Deshmukh with her complete family - mother Dr. Namrata Deshmukh, sister Arya Deshmukh, who was seen for the first time at a tournament venue, Divya and father Dr. Jitendra Deshmukh. Divya not only won the silver in the open women's section but also gold in under-16. She has surely graduated into the big league!  | Photo: Sagar Shah

The bronze medal winner Bhakti Kulkarni with AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan  | Photo: Sagar Shah

A proud coach! IM Vishal Sareen with both his students who have become the Commonwealth Champions!  | Photo: Sagar Shah

From left to right: Tania's husband Viraj, Tania's mother-in-law, sister in law, Tania Sachdev, Tania's parents, Abhijeet Gupta, Tania's father in law, Abhijeet's wife Aditi and Bharat Singh Chauhan  | Photo: Sagar Shah
The Tania Sachdev interview after she became the Commonwealth Champion 2019

Age group

One of the finest points of the Commonwealth Championships 2019 is the fact that the age group of under-8 and under-10 get to play in the same playing hall as the open section. This means that the youngsters can go and see the games of top grandmasters like Abhijeet Gupta, Aravindh Chithambaram, S.L. Narayanan and so on. And also the grandmasters often visit the games of these youngsters. In all there were 14 age category tournaments that took place and there were 42 medals at stake. Below you can find the photos of all the winners.

Under 8 girls

From left to right: Aishani Pathak (gold), Yatee Kothari (silver), Tashna Aggarwal (bronze) | Photo: Sagar Shah

k.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12Aishani PathakIND12136,01,031,034,0
28Yatee KothariIND10806,00,027,530,0
36Aggarwal TashnaIND11015,50,530,032,0
44Lakshana SubramanianIND11555,50,528,530,0
55Daksha RudraIND11235,00,028,531,0
67Kolagatla Alana MeenakshiIND10945,00,027,029,5
73Prisha KesarwaniIND12035,00,026,029,0
839Shradha S RaiIND05,00,025,528,5
938Sequeira JennicaIND04,50,028,029,5
1018Arhashirsha BiswasIND04,50,025,027,0


Under 8 Open

From left to right: Chinmay Kowshik (gold), Vivaan Saraogi (silver), Amogh Bisht (bronze) | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
14Chinmay KowshikIND13856,00,026,529,5
22Vivaan Vijay SaraogiIND14645,50,028,531,0
36Amogh BishtIND13555,50,024,527,5
421Rudradaman MertiaIND10335,50,024,527,5
55Jaivardhan RajIND13845,00,029,531,0
610Ayushman MohantyIND12485,00,027,529,5
71Rosh JainIND15105,00,026,029,0
87Jval Saurin PatelIND12905,00,025,027,5
98Adharsh KIND12835,00,024,026,0
1025Madhvendra Pratap SharmaIND10124,50,025,528,5


Under 10 girls

From left to right: Sneha Halder (gold), Shefali AN (bronze) and Hiya Panchal (silver)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11Sneha HalderIND14746,00,026,529,5
27Panchal HiyaIND12956,00,026,029,5
34WCMShefali A NIND13375,50,028,029,0
45WCMShriyana S MallyaIND13165,00,028,031,5
53Arshiya DasIND13454,50,029,032,0
613Srishanthi GIND12404,50,029,031,5
76Pournami SIND13144,50,026,529,5
816Indira Priyadharshini SubbuIND11894,50,025,529,0
910Arushi SrichandanIND12614,50,025,028,0
102Sanikommu ManasviIND13534,50,025,027,5


Under 10 Open

From left to right: Yash Bharadia (gold), Ilamparthi AR (silver) and Daaevik Wadhawan (bronze)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12Bharadia YashIND19426,00,030,033,0
21Ilamparthi A RIND20366,00,028,031,0
39Daaevik WadhawanIND16036,00,027,530,5
47Md ImranIND16595,50,026,529,0
58Aakash GIND16225,50,026,028,5
63CMManon Reja NeerBAN18505,00,028,532,0
74Mayank ChakrabortyIND17845,00,025,528,5
85Adireddy ArjunIND17025,00,023,526,0
937Rounaiv RanaIND12644,50,029,032,5
1033Vedant MistryIND12864,50,027,529,5


Under 12 girls

From left to right: Yashita Rout (bronze), Riddhi Patel (gold), Tejaswini G (silver)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
110WCMPatel Riddhi RIND14046,00,026,528,5
27Tejaswini GIND14515,50,022,024,0
35Rout YashitaIND14535,00,027,529,5
413Sai Mahati AIND13945,00,022,024,0
512Cera DagariaIND13954,50,026,530,0
614Mythri MaddisettyIND13804,50,025,026,5
720Tejasvee Naresh SinghIND11934,50,024,528,0
89Mohitha VIND14214,50,023,025,5
94Ratnapriya KIND14984,50,021,022,5
108Tejaswi RIND14264,00,029,031,5


Under 12 Open

From left to right: Shreyash Patnaik (bronze), Tanmay Jain (silver) and Garv Gaur (gold)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
18Garv GaurIND17975,50,030,032,0
26CMTanmay JainIND18375,50,029,032,0
33Shreyash Shuvam PatnaikIND18855,50,028,031,0
47Chilukuri Sai VarshithIND18045,50,027,030,5
52Harsh SureshIND18875,50,027,029,5
621Swayham P DasIND15185,00,021,523,5
711Shaik Sumer ArshIND17334,50,028,531,5
81Pawar HarshitIND19174,50,026,529,0
924Bang AtharvaIND14464,50,024,526,0
1020Md Bashiq ImroseIND15524,50,024,525,0


Under 14 girls

From left to right: Vyshnavi Chinnam (bronze), Yash Jyoti Bir (silver) and Divya Deshmukh (gold)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11WIMDivya DeshmukhIND23736,00,027,030,5
26Yash Jyoti BirIND16465,50,026,529,5
34WCMChinnam VyshnaviIND16645,00,025,528,0
47Velpula SarayuIND16404,50,027,530,0
55Shivika RohillaIND16484,50,026,529,5
63Boramanikar Tanisha SIND17204,50,026,529,0
716Hemakshi ChauhanIND13754,50,026,028,0
88Renganayaki VIND15834,50,025,028,0
912Femil ChelladuraiIND14464,50,024,026,5
1014Sanjana RaghunathIND14274,50,024,025,5


Under 14 Open

From left to right: Srihari LR (gold), Rohith Krishna (silver), Aditya Gampa (bronze)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12FMSrihari L RIND22006,00,029,532,5
21FMRohith Krishna SIND23125,50,028,030,5
39Aditya Varun GampaIND19185,50,025,528,0
45Jain Kashish ManojIND19705,50,023,526,0
513Smit DevonRSA17435,00,027,030,0
63Manish Kumar (2006)IND20555,00,027,029,5
711Komal Srivatsav SajjaIND18325,00,022,525,0
814Chauhan NarayanIND17034,50,026,529,5
97Aaditya DhingraIND19314,50,024,527,0
1020Prithvvi SinghIND15804,50,024,025,0


Under 16 girls

From left to right: Nityata Jain (bronze), Bristy Mukherjee (gold), Meenatchi Rajam (silver)   | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12WCMBristy MukherjeeIND1862West Bengal6,00,026,530,0
29Meenatchi Rajam VIND1564Tamilnadu5,50,026,029,0
31WFMJain NityataIND2135Madya Pradesh5,00,027,030,5
47Sahoo AnkitaIND1586Orissa4,50,026,028,0
55Sudipa HaldarIND1678West Bengal4,50,024,527,5
66Routray PriyankaIND1647Orissa4,50,024,027,0
712Shreetu Bhavikbhai NandiIND1328Gujrat4,50,023,025,0
88Rindhiya VIND1573Tamilnadu4,00,029,032,0
94WCMArushi KotwalIND1744JK4,00,028,031,0
103Adane NarayaniIND1859Maharastra4,00,025,028,0


Under 16 Open

From left to right: Arjun Erigaisi (gold), Kashyap Dhrupad (silver) and Jinan Jomon (bronze)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11GMErigaisi ArjunIND25316,50,028,532,0
27Dhrupad KashyapIND18845,00,027,029,5
34Jinan JomonIND20535,00,026,529,5
45Tanmay ChopraIND20015,00,026,528,5
58Esshan WadhawanIND18595,00,025,528,0
62FMAjay KarthikeyanIND22164,50,027,531,0
79Akshit Kumar JIND18564,50,025,028,0
83Soham KamotraIND21364,50,022,525,0
910Debata SarthakIND18564,50,020,022,5
1015Kadam Rishi RIND17184,00,026,528,5


Under 18 girls

From left to right: K. Priyanka (gold), Sanskriti Goyal (silver) and Srishti Pandey (bronze)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11Priyanka KIND22176,50,025,528,5
22WFMSanskriti GoyalIND19486,00,026,029,0
33Pandey SrishtiIND18825,00,026,529,0
45Jinal YagnikIND12024,50,024,524,5
54Mudaliar NandiniIND16094,00,027,530,0
67Jaiswal KritikaIND11413,50,023,523,5
78Mahima JaiswalIND10843,00,026,526,5
89Manya SharmaIND10633,00,023,523,5
910Drishti GroverIND10623,00,020,020,0
106Villoen ShariseRSA11842,50,020,520,5


Under 18 Open

From left to right: Vedant Panesar (bronze), P. Iniyan (gold), Gaurav Zagade (bronze)  | Photo: Sagar Shah


Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11IMIniyan PIND2524Tamilnadu7,00,026,530,0
28Gaurav Rajesh ZagadeIND1979Maharastra5,00,027,529,5
34Panesar VedantIND2092Maharastra4,50,028,532,0
49Deota Snehil SIND1972Chattisgarh4,50,028,530,5
510Dubey SanchayIND1823Utter Pradesh4,50,028,031,0
62FMManu David Suthandram RIND2415Tamilnadu4,50,027,531,0
718Tiwari ShivanshIND1593Madya Pradesh4,50,023,525,5
83Arjun C KrishnamachariIND2212Tamilnadu4,50,022,525,5
96Aakash Sharadchandra DalviIND2032Maharastra4,00,027,030,0
107Vinay Thomas AbrahamIND2020Kerala4,00,024,027,0

Under 20 girls

From left to right: Rutuja Bakshi (gold), Mounika Bommini (bronze), Vishwa Shah (silver)  | Photo: Sagar Shah

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
13Bakshi RutujaIND19585,50,024,525,0
27Shah VishwaIND17345,01,028,530,0
32WFMBommini Mounika AkshayaIND20635,00,026,028,5
45WIMChandreyee HajraIND18684,50,028,530,5
54WFMPotluri SupreethaIND18734,50,027,029,5
66Eesha Ajay SardaIND17524,50,021,023,5
78Rathi DhanashreeIND16854,50,021,021,5
89Ishvi AggarwalIND16644,00,023,025,0
910Devanshi RathiIND15534,00,020,021,5
101WFMMakhija AashnaIND20673,51,025,527,0


Under 20 Open

From left to right: Nilsu Pattnayak (bronze), Suyog Wagh (gold), Indrajeet Mahindrakar (silver) | Photo: Sagar Shah
Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11FMWagh SuyogIND2242Maharastra5,50,527,030,5
26Mahindrakar IndrajeetIND2092Maharastra5,50,527,030,5
39Pattnayak NilsuIND1967Orissa5,00,025,027,5
48Rohit SIND2001Tamilnadu5,00,024,527,0
511Karthik Sai ChIND1864Telangana4,50,027,029,5
616Dutta SarthakIND1702Utter Pradesh4,50,026,527,0
73FMDushyant SharmaIND2168Punjab4,50,025,529,0
810Chaitanya Sairam MogiliIND1922Andra Pradesh4,50,023,025,5
912Sparsh KhandelwalIND1830Maharastra4,00,026,028,5
1019Mckenzie Lionel JosephIND1596Tamilnadu4,00,024,527,0

On the last day IM Sagar Shah conducted many interviews with the medal winners in different categories. All of these interviews will be published in the separate report.

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