Deepan Chakkravarthy is the National Challengers 2017 Champion
In what could be called nothing short of Bollywood action, Deepan Chakkravarthy played a Karpovian (apologies to Smyslov fans) endgame and beat the leader Swapnil Dhopade to take the 55th National Challengers title. Swapnil, who led the tournament right from the start, had to be content with the 2nd spot. Himanshu Sharma took the third place. In this report we have detailed analysis of the game Swapnil vs Deepan and we also tell you about who qualified for the National Premier 2017.
Things were going really smooth for GM Swapnil Dhopade at the National Challengers 2017. He began with 5.0/5 and in the next four rounds scored 3.5/4. With 8.5/9 he was almost unreachable. But then he slowed down a bit with three draws. Going into the last round he still had a half point lead over the second placed Deepan Chakkravarthy.
For Deepan the road to the top was much more tumultuous. He lost an instructive rook endgame against Mary Ann Gomes, which we analyzed deeply in our round four article and then he lost another game in round 8 against Fenil Shah. That really was enough of losing for Deepan in Ahmedabad. He got down to business and with some great fighting spirit won the next four rounds. He thus had confirmed his qualification spot with 9.5/12.
Usually when two players who have qualified for the National Premier face each other in the last round of the National Challengers, it results in a few moves followed by a quick handshake. But Deepan was in a different mood altogether. "I have been finishing second at nationals my entire life", said Deepan talking to ChessBase India after the game. "Except for National Sub-juniors, I have never won the national title. Today I wanted to play for a win. That's it!" And boy, did he play hard.
Was Deepan surprised by Swapnil's choice of opening? "Yes, I was not expecting the exchange variation. But then I remembered this ...Na6 line and knew that it was tricky. So I went for it."
Swapnil was not well versed with theory and was not able to keep his miniscule edge which White is usually able to keep in these lines. Black equalized with ease and then we reached the following position:
I think these are the positions that Deepan excels in. The positions where you have to feel your way through. Which piece would be best placed on which square. Add to it the fact that Swapnil had the pressure of winning the title, it all went downhill for the GM from Maharashtra. Deepan was able to slowly tighten the screws and win the game.
It is a commendable effort by Deepan. Usually in order to fight well in the last rounds with so much at stake you need strong nerves. And he was able to show exactly that. He thoroughly deserves this national championship. At the same time one does feel sad for Swapnil who played a gem of a tournament right from the start. Second place is not bad, but he must surely not be happy missing out on the title when he was so close.
Another player whose fighting skills require no introduction is Himanshu Sharma. The Haryanvi GM had lost the previous round against Deepan and with 8.5/12, his qualification was in jeopardy. He was also playing the super solid Sriram Jha in the last round with the black pieces. But Himanshu showed that he doesn't buckle down under pressure. Jha had chances to get a huge advantage out of the opening on many occasions, but the didn't play it so well. In the end, Sharma was able to win a pawn and with it the knight endgame.
Nine qualify for the National Premier
|1||10||GM||Deepan Chakkravarthy J.||IND||2466||RSPB||10,5||0,0||101,0||107,5||86,00||10,0|
|2||5||GM||Swapnil S. Dhopade||IND||2516||RSPB||10,0||0,0||106,5||113,0||84,25||8,0|
|5||3||GM||Lalith Babu M R||IND||2529||PSPB||9,5||0,0||103,0||110,0||78,75||7,0|
|7||2||GM||Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan||IND||2564||KER||9,5||0,0||100,0||106,5||75,50||7,0|
The ones who missed out by a whisker (all on 9.0 points)
|10||1||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2579||TN||9,0||0,0||102,5||109,0||72,75||6,0|
|12||34||Sammed Jaykumar Shete||IND||2277||MAH||9,0||0,0||99,0||105,0||68,50||8,0|
This is how the new rule by AICF looks:
How this looks in practice:
Karthikeyan Murali is the reigning National Champion. He will play the National premier 2017. And nine players qualify from National Challengers. Now for the top rated players' spots. Vishy Anand will definitely not play, nor will Pentala Harikrishna.
Then we have four spots to be filled between five players. Parimarjan Negi will not play. Aravindh, who finished tenth at the National Challengers will only get a chance to play if anyone amongst Vidit, Sasikiran, Adhiban and Ganguy decide to give this event a miss.
A huge thanks to Gopakumar Sudhakaran who helped ChessBase India cover the National Challengers tournament round by round in an intensive manner.
An interview with the champion will soon follow.
We have the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy online prize money tournament that will be held on 10th of September. The Champion Deepan Chakravarthy, Debashis Das and R.R. Laxman from National Challengers have already confirmed their entries. Two more GMs Vishnu Prasanna and Diptayan Ghosh are also playing. Join, what is going to be India's strongest online chess tournament.
More details about the DBCA online blitz tournament.