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Batkhuyag Munguntuul wins the SBI Life AICF Woman Grandmasters Round Robin in a thrilling finish

by Sagar Shah - 20/06/2018

It was for the first time that a closed Round Robin Women's International Tournament was held in India. Although no Indian player was able to make a WGM norm, the amount of learnings that our girls took home was mammoth. The winner of the event was Mongolian IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul. In the last round she edged out Guliskhan Nakhbayeva, who lost her game to third placed Srija Seshadri. Srija, Aakanksha and Vantika gained Elo points from the event, while Monnisha, Divya and Rakshitta gained experience! Rakshitta scored just 0.5/11, but we tell you why it can be a blessing in disguise. Photos and interviews by the mother-son duo of Supriya and Avathanshu Bhat. 

Guliskhan Nakhbayeva did all the right things at the SBI Life Insurance AICF Women Grandmaster Round Robin 2018. She led from the start. She was leading until the last round. She even didn't lose to her closest competitor in the penultimate round. Munguntuul and Nakhbayeva drew their tenth round game. She went to the last round with half point lead. Yet, the pressure was on her shoulders to win because her second tiebreak was worse than that of Munguntuul. So even though Guliskhan had 7.5/10 and Munguntuul was on 7.0/10, the former had the pressure to win.

 

In the final round everything went downhill for Nakhbayeva as she blundered a complete piece against Srija Seshadri. On the other hand Batkhuyag Munguntuul was clinical and she defeated her opponent Elena Tomilova with the white pieces. 

Trisha Kanyamarala sends us the analysis of the game between Srija and Nakhbayeva

And in this way, it turned out that Munguntuul edged ahead of Nakhbayeva at the finish line and took home the trophy as well as Rs.1,65,000.

Final crosstable:

Rk. NameRtgFED123456789101112Pts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
1IMMunguntuul Batkhuyag2410MGL*½110½1½11½18,00,040,5062
2WGMNakhbayeva Guliskhan2323KAZ½*0½11101½117,50,036,2563
3WIMSrija Seshadri2207IND01*½1100½1117,00,534,0063
4WGMVo Thi Kim Phung2376VIE0½½*½1½½1½117,00,532,7541
5WIMAakanksha Hagawane2297IND100½*½½½1½116,50,031,0041
6WIMVantika Agrawal2279IND½000½*11½1-15,52,025,7542
7WIMMonnisha G K2295IND001½½0*1011½5,51,027,5043
8WGMTokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim2379UZB½11½½00*½½015,50,030,5032
9WIMTomilova Elena2334RUS00½00½1½*½115,00,020,7531
10IMZozulia Anna2314BEL0½0½½00½½*114,50,019,7521
11WFMDivya Deshmukh2138IND½0000+0100*13,50,015,5021
12Rakshitta Ravi2067IND000000½0000*0,50,02,7500


The top three finishers of the tournament: First: Batkhuyag Munguntuul (Centre), Second: Guliskhan Nakhbayeva (right), Third: Srija Seshadri (left) | Photo: Supriya Bhat

It was nice to see that in spite of such stiff competition, the players relaxed towards the end and were on friendly terms with each other! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

All the players at the closing ceremony. The Indians in the front row, the international players behind them! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Staying to her top billing, Batkhuyag Munguntuul took home the first prize! | Photo: Supriya Bhat
Avathanshu Bhat interviews Munguntuul after the closing ceremony!

The ever smiling Guliskhan Nakhbayeva finished second!| Photo: Supriya Bhat
"It's just a game", says Guliskhan Nakhbayeva

One of the best performers for India was Srija Seshadri. She missed her WGM norm by a very small margin but she gained 50+ Elo points! | Photo: Supriya Bhat
Interview with Srija Seshadri at the end of the event

The closing ceremony had the students of The Green Acres Academy performing! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Modern hip-hop dance moves! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

An open tournament was simultaneously held with this WGM round robin event and it was won by IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Final standings

Rk.SNoNameTypsexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
11IMKulkarni VikramadityaIND23238,00,049,052,047
212Bhat SanjayIND15967,50,050,554,525
32Boricha KetanIND21007,00,051,555,036
9Mishra SanjeevIND16417,00,051,555,036
53Bartakke Amardeep S.IND20847,00,050,554,025
613Giri AbhishekIND15797,00,049,053,046
75Patil KetanIND17647,00,047,051,536
87Tajane GaneshIND17277,00,046,550,536
921Dharia VishalIND14496,50,047,049,525
1026Rahi SumeetIND13496,50,044,546,536
1114Kandke SachinIND15796,50,044,048,526
1217Suthar PradipIND15386,50,043,546,036
1311Govind Prabhu MahIND16026,50,043,045,526
1430Patni SuketuIND13036,50,039,542,535
1527Aditya RamanathanU11IND13296,50,039,541,016
1618Kadam Rishi RU13IND15196,00,048,051,525
17110Parshva ShahIND06,00,046,551,026
1819Boricha YohanU12IND14866,00,046,550,535
1920Shrey NilkantU12IND14586,00,046,548,525
2023Kotibhaskar AtharvaIND14456,00,045,548,036

Final standings

The final picture with all the people who made this tournament a success - the players, the organizers, the sponsors, the arbiters and the support staff! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Although no Indian players achieved their norms, this turned out to be an excellent event for our youngsters. Aakanksha, Srija, Monnisha, Vantika, Divya and Rakshitta - the oldest of them was Srija, but she too is born is 1997! That's just 21 years of age. Meanwhile Divya and Rakshitta got a chance to play in a Round Robin tournament at the age of just 12! In future when these players will become top players of Indian and the world they will have to regularly play Round Robin events, and this experience will be invaluable.

 

I think All India Chess Federation has done a tremendous job. They sponsored the entire prize fund of Rs. 7.5 lakh rupees. It is an investment into the future of women's chess in India. The selection of the players was also quite interesting. Munguntuul, Nakhbayeva, Torkhirjonova, Vo Thi Kim Phung have been some of the top woman players of Asia. They coming to India ensured that our players have the best possible practice against some of the best players of Asia. One more closed WGM Round Robin tournament will happen in India this year.

Rakshitta Ravi, you are an inspiration! Why?

She scored just 0.5/11. Yes, you read that right. She lost 10 games in a row. Every time Rakshitta lost a game, we are sure that she got upset. But she was back at the board fighting for the next game! Day after day, round after round she is gave her all. After 10 losses, she managed to draw her final game! A few years later when she will be one of the top players of the world, everyone will be in awe of her achievements and ask her how did she do it! At that point all that you have to remember is that Rakshitta went through this tough time and came out strong! 

A huge congratulations to Mr. Praful Zaveri, the tournament director, who put in his heart and soul to make this event a grand success! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

All the pictures in this report and throughout the event were taken by ChessBase India's Supriya Bhat (left). She has been a powerhouse of energy as she manages the ChessBase India office in Mumbai during the day, makes sure her son Avathanshu played in the open section of the event and took pictures for the ChessBase India report! True woman power on show!