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David Gochelashvili wins 9th Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit 2023

by R Anantharam - 17/12/2023

IM David Gochelashvili scored an unbeaten 6.5/9 to win 9th Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit Chess Tournament 2023. He finished a half point ahead of the field. GM Alexei Fedorov and GM Evgeniy Podolchenko scored 6/9 each. They were placed second and third according to tie-breaks respectively. FM Karthik Rajaa is the highest finisher among Indians. He scored 5.5/9 and increased his Elo rating by 14.4 points. The tenth event of the series begins today, Sunday 17th December in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. Photos: IA R Anantharam

Indians face a stiff challenge

IM David Gochelashvili (RUS) won the IM-norm tournament in his ninth attempt. Mr. J Balakrushnan, President, Salem District Chess Association and J Arun, Secretary, SDCA and Joint Secretary, TNSCA handed over the trophy to him

GMs Alexei and Evgeniy scored six points each and the tie-break favoured Alexei to secure the second place

GM Evgeniy Podolchenko was placed third

Top three winners

The ninth edition had four new faces – Karthik Rajaa (2303) of Chennai, Arjun C Krishnamachari (2265) and H Balasubramaniam (2213), brother of GM Bharath Subramaniyam, all from Chennai and Rosh Jain (2213) of Delhi. All the five foreign players and J Akshit Kumar of AP who played in the 8th tournament at Erode, continued here also.


In the fight between the youngest and oldest players of the tournament, Rosh Jain prevailed over the 65-year-old veteran Grandmaster Raset Ziatdinov of USA. In the Ruy Lopez opening by Rosh, Raset did not handle the knight and pawns ending properly. Rosh sacrificed his knight to keep his connected pawns secured, for the pawn promotion. Raset resigned on the 45th move.

Youth prevailed over the aged in the clash between 12-year-old Rosh Jain of Delhi and 65-year-old GM Raset Ziatdinov (USA)

The new entrants H Balasubramnaim and Arjun Krishnamachari clashed in the Caro Kann defence played by Arjun. Bala was able to gain a pawn on the 23rd move, after the queens were exchanged. In the resulting opposite colour bishop ending, Bala even offered his bishop for his pawn promotion. With Bala's two pawns on the sixth rank waiting for promotion, Arjun had to surrender.

H Balasubramaniam, brother of GM Bharath Subramaniyam defeated another debutant Arjun Krishnamachari

The tournament was inaugurated by Mr. J Balakrushnan, President, Salem District Chess Association and N Arun, Secretary of SDCA.

All participants in the inauguration ceremony (L to R): GM Raset, IA R Anantharam, IA Anil NJ, Chief Arbiter, N Arun, Secretary, Salem DCA, J Balakrushnan, President, SDCA, Advocate, P Palaniappan, IA, H Balasubramaniam, IM David, J Akshit, IM Asylbek, FM Rosh Jain, FM Karthik Rajaa, GM Alexei, Arhun and GM Podolchenko

J Akshit Kumar overlooked a simple checkmate combination with bishop and knight by Karthik Rajaa in the second round.

CM Akshit Kumar J overlooked a checkmate combination by FM Karthik Rajaa in the second round

In the only decisive game of the third round, the US veteran grandmaster Raset Ziatdinov. defeated IM Asylbek Abdyzhapar in a topsy turvy game arising from the Queens gambit declined. By move 30, Asylbek was in a total winning position. In another eight moves, the game became neutral because of a blunder by Asylbek. In a state of confusion, he made another blunder, with a false hope of checkmating Raset. But Raset himself sacrificed a rook to checkmate Asylbek.

Twelve-year-old Rosh Jain of Delhi had to lose the exchange against Evgeniy on the 42nd move to safeguard his position in a French Defense game. Evgeniy allowed Rosh to promote the pawn. But, by then the damage was done to Rosh’s king, which was checkmated on the 51st move.

A beautiful combination of queen and rook in the endgame by GM Evgeniy

A good tactics of exchange sacrifice by Balasubrmaniam in the endgame against GM Raset Ziatdinov fetched him a point in a Sicilian defence in the fifth round.

Good endgame tactics by Balasubramaniam against GM Raset

In the Semi-Slav Defence of the sixth round, J Akshit Kumar of Andhra allowed Kyrgyzstan IM Asylbek Abdyzhaphar to move his center pawn to the seventh rank, which posed a constant threat to him. Once Akshit forgot to put a vigil on this pawn, Asylbek made use of the opportunity to win the game.

Akshit could not manage to put a watch on the seventh rank pawn of IM Asylbek and paid the penalty

Though Alexei led in his Giuco Piano game for most part of the time in the seventh round, he made a few mistakes to slip behind. He exchanged his queen for IM Asylbek's two rooks and never looked back. His brilliant capture of Asyl's bishop with his rook, sealed the game in his favour.

GM Alexei defeated IM Asylbek comfortably with good endgame tactics

When the game between GM Raset and IM David was heading for a drawn end game, Raset made a crucial mistake of accepting the exchange sacrifice by David. The very next move, Raset’s king and rook were forked and the Sicilian defence ended in favour of David.

A simple knight fork twisted the result in round 8

IM David had a clinical victory over Rosh Jain on Delhi in the final round to surge ahead of GM Alexei and GM Evgeniy for the tournament victory.

IM David Gochelashvili had a clinical victory over Rosh Jain of Delhi in the final round

Mr. J Balakrushnan, President, Salem District Chess Association and Mr. N Arun, Secretary, SDCA distributed the prizes.

Yercaud, A Pleasant Place to Play Chess

The players enjoyed the salubrious weather of Yercaud, about 30 km from Salem. Situated at a height of 1500 meters, it has a cool climate, thick forests even in the town limit. The front and backside of the tournament hall is surrounded by mini forests.

This is not a forest. A mini forest just at the backside of the tournament hall where monkeys and peacock are common

And wild bisons too roam in the daylight

Coffee is grown in large quantities

Replay all games

Final standings

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
19IMGochelashvili, DavidRUS22916,5025,254
26GMFedorov, AlexeiBLR245460,525,254
34GMPodolchenko, EvgeniyBLR237660,525,004
47FMKarthik, RajaaIND23035,5021,753
52IMAbdyzhapar, AsylbekKGZ23405021,003
61FMRosh, JainIND22364,5016,502
73Balasubramaniam, HIND22134014,252
88Arjun, C KrishnamachariIND22652,51,59,752
95CMAkshit, Kumar JIND22292,51,58,001
1010GMZiatdinov, RasetUSA21062,5013,752


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.


The report was edited by Shahid Ahmed

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