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Flawless Deepan Chakkravathy wins 2nd Shaastra Rapid 2018 at IIT-M

by Sagar Shah - 26/02/2018

The Shaastra Rapid 2018 was held on the 24th and the 25th of February 2018 inside the IIT-M campus. The ten-round event had a time control of 20 minutes + 5 seconds increment. The top seed was GM Vishnu Prasanna, but he had ample competition coming from GM Deepan Chakkravarthy, GM R.R. Laxman, GM Sriram Jha and GM Tejas Bakre and seven International Masters. In the end, it was GM Deepan Chakkravarthy who won the tournament by displaying some phenomenal chess. He scored 9.5/10 and took home Rs.35,000. IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal who were present at the venue bring you a detailed report. Sagar also took part as a player in the event and shares his experience with you.

Photos by Amruta Mokal


Rapid rating tournaments are not yet very popular in India. As a result, a lot of Indian players are under-rated in the rapid section. It is nice to see that IIT-M in collaboration with Shaastra is organizing a high-quality rapid rating event for the second year in a row - The Shaastra Rapid 2018. I have been to IIT-M twice within a period of a month. The first one was when I spoke about the role of technology in chess and this was my second time. Every time I enter the premises I feel that I have been transported to a place where the quality of life is just much higher than the normal environs in which we live! Greenery all around, students moving in cycles, animals walking around freely. It's simply a different world altogether. You have to visit it in order to feel it!

There are deer moving around the campus freely!

GM Tejas Bakre, who visited IIT-Madras for the first time, is greatly amused

The tournament was a two day, ten round rapid (20'+5") event held at the Student Activities Centre

The arrangements made were simply immaculate with top 15 boards being on the stage and each game being played on an individual table. Next year they are planning to get DGT boards and broadcast the games live

A massive playing hall. I can very well imagine this to be a playing venue for some grandmaster event in the years to come!

330 players participated with 5 GMs, 7 IMs and 1 WGM. Quite a huge turn-out.

Top-seed of the tournament was GM Vishnu Prasanna (in his new look!)

Deepan Chakkravarthy (centre) was the second seed and it was nice to see IM R. Siddharth (left) back in action after quite some time.

Two rapid experts of India - GM Tejas Bakre (left) and R.R. Laxman (right)

The stature of the tournament is always uplifted when India's first WGM S. Vijayalakshmi participates!

GM Sriram Jha (left) and S. Meenakshi (right) also participated

Before the tournament began each top player was surprised to see the other. Each one was asking why the other had come all the way to Chennai to play! For many players having less competition is much better as the chances to win a good prize are higher! In a nutshell, the tournament was extremely strong and winning the first prize of Rs.35,000 (total fund Rs.2,00,000) was not going to be easy. The tournament was divided into two days of five rounds each. The first day was relatively easy for the top seeds as most of them were able to avoid any big accidents and ended with 5.0/5 or 4.5. GM Deepan Chakkravarthy, IM Sagar Shah (Yes! I also decided to play!) and Ram S. Krishnan ended day one with a perfect score.

Day two began with the top board clash between yours truly and GM Deepan Chakkravarthy

I must say, I have been a big fan of Deepan's recent play in the tournaments where I was present as a journalist. His ability to conjure up wild and interesting play from just about any position always made me marvel at his skills. Hence, playing against him when he is at the peak form of his career was quite a nice feeling! I had decided to be as solid as possible so as to not fall prey to Deepan's dangerous attacks. But Deepan had read my mind. "You know me too well," he said after the game and hence I decided to be very solid! The game was a very interesting one and one where I held the balance for a long part from the black side. But in time trouble I made a crucial error.


Deepan Chakkravarthy vs Sagar Shah

This is a position with great imbalance. My isolated pawn is weak and White has a beautiful square on d4, but my bishop pair ensures that I am not worse. With my pawn on a5, I should have improved my position with something like g6. However, I went for a4, hoping that my opponent would allow me to go ahead with a3. Of course, Deepan was extremely alert and snatched the initiative with the move b3! After axb3 axb3 Rc8 Rc2, the initiative was with White and Chakkravarthy managed to bring home the full point. I give the game below for you to play over and recommend you to watch Deepan's video interview later in the article where he discusses this win on a chess board. This was one of his favourite wins of the tournament.

Just look at the focus!

After beating me in the sixth round, Deepan was unstoppable. He first beat IM Shyam Nikhil in round seven, Vishnu Prasanna in eight and Siddharth Ravichandran in ninth to seal the tournament with one round to spare!

The most critical encounter was the round nine clash between Deepan and Vishnu. Vishnu had conceded a draw and was on 6.5/7. This was his chance to snatch the lead.

The game was wild and crazy. Perhaps Vishnu was better, but Deepan showed tremendous resourcefulness to win. After the game ended, the players entered the titled players resting arena, set up the board and started analyzing. This was one of those times when the result had absolutely no bearing on the enthusiasm of the players. What they were enjoying was a session of fun analysis and uncovering new ideas. You definitely must not miss the video below where Vishnu, Deepan, Ratnakaran, Karthikeyan, Tejas and other top players are analyzing this game. It shows two things - First: how rich the game of chess is and second: how sometimes the struggle is much more fun than the eventual result.

That's how grandmasters analyze! (You will enjoy it more if you understand Tamil!)

What a performance! Deepan added 42 Elo points to his rating and has now reached a rapid rating of 2499!

Receiving the first prize

Final standings:

Rk.SNoNameTypsexGrFEDRtgIClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 nwwew-weKrtg+/-
12GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.5011IND2457ICF9,50,066,571,567,509109,57,392,112042,2
21GMVishnu Prasanna. V4738IND2476TN8,50,069,574,561,008108,57,850,652013,0
312Ram S. Krishnan4040IND2276BSNL8,00,065,570,053,5071087,260,742014,8
414Ashwath R.4696IND2272TN8,00,065,070,053,7561086,581,422028,4
59IMKarthikeyan P.4187IND2387ICF8,00,063,567,552,5061087,990,01200,2
67GMSriram Jha4598IND2395DEL8,00,063,068,053,0061088,04-0,0420-0,8
719Patil Pratik4216IND2177MAH8,00,062,067,051,7571086,491,512030,2
813IMSagar Shah9441IND2273MAH8,00,062,066,549,7571087,270,732014,6
911Kunal M.4118IND2325TN8,00,060,564,550,2571088,61-0,6120-12,2
104GMLaxman R.R.4215IND2453ICF7,50,067,071,551,006107,57,87-0,3720-7,4
115IMShyaamnikhil P4570IND2432ICF7,50,064,069,548,257107,58,43-0,9320-18,6
128IMRavichandran Siddharth4998IND2391TN7,50,064,069,049,006107,58,54-1,0420-20,8
1316Lokesh N.4693IND2212TN7,50,061,066,045,507107,58,25-0,7520-15,0
1422Ganesh Babu S4117IND2084TN7,50,061,065,045,757107,56,970,532010,6
1510IMVijayalakshmi Subbaramanw4222IND2350AI7,50,060,565,545,757107,58,50-1,0020-20,0
163GMBakre Tejas4215IND2454AI7,50,060,065,046,007107,58,87-1,3720-27,4
1728Balkishan A.4780IND1996KAR7,50,060,063,042,757107,55,092,412048,2
1824Manigandan S S4005IND2059TN7,50,059,564,545,757107,58,30-0,8020-16,0
1944Dinesh Rajan MU154642IND1809TN7,50,059,563,545,257107,57,360,14405,6
20122Jayachandra Srinivas VellankiU155905IND1308TN7,50,057,561,544,75796,50,835,6720113,4

The secret of Deepan's success:

I would strongly recommend you to reserve 26 minutes of your time and go over the interview with Deepan below. First of all, he analyzes his win against IM Sagar Shah and shows his thought process to the viewers, but more importantly, he also discusses things which have helped him to bring a completely new approach to his play. What exactly is it? Let Deepan do the talking:

Master Class with GM Deepan Chakkravarthy

Deepan became a GM at the age of 19. He was a player whom everyone feared. With his imaginative style of play everyone thought he would go really far. However, Deepan got stuck. And he was stuck very badly for well over a decade. Constant thoughts of reaching 2600 and many other factors played a role where he stagnated and couldn't improve. But suddenly things have changed! Chakkravarthy now plays chess freely. He doesn't really care about the result. He just believes in making the best move in any given position. And his new mantra is: "You have to give up something to get something." The saying is so true in life, but also makes a lot of sense on the chess board. Deepan is free from the illusion that he can keep complete control and yet be able to beat strong players. He goes into positions where things are complex and gives a chance for his opponent to go wrong. Just like Mikhail Tal said, "You have to take your opponent into a deep forest where 2+2=5 and the road leading out is only wide enough for one!" We hope that with this renewed spirit Deepan is able to make across 2600 and much further!

"I am enjoying life", says Deepan and one of the key reasons is his wife Malini! The grandmaster's better half has created the perfect environment for his creativity to flow on the board! Thank you, Malini for bringing out the best in Deepan!
Vishnu Prasanna speaks to ChessBase India after finishing second
We didn't miss the opportunity to ask Vijayalakshmi (the first WGM of Inidadia) about the current state of Indian women's chess. There is one player who Viji thinks has great ptenotential. Check out the interview to know who.

Ram S. Krishnan from BSNL, who is well known for his rapid play, finished third

R. Ashwath finished fourth

P. Karthikeyan finished fifth. Karthikeyan is one of those players whose GM title has been in trouble because of some technicalities. When asked about them, he says it will happen when it has to. I am not at all thinking about it! One GM norm and he will be India's 52nd GM. Maybe HD Bank in Vietnam will be that event!

Always a class act - GM Sriram Jha

Pratik Patil travelled all the way from Jalgaon and made his trip worthwhile by finishing seventh.

Top players had a separate room where they could relax between the rounds

Refreshments were provided to them to make sure that they keep up their energy levels and don't fall prey to the talented Chennai youngsters!
A big talent - M. Pranesh who beat IM K. Rathnakaran in the third round

Everyone wants to know their future from him - that's Dhilip Kumar (right). One of India's most famous astrologers. We caught up with Dhilip and asked him about Astrology and chess and how they affect each other:
For people who enjoy astrology, this interview would be quite revealing

When R. Anantharam is the chief arbiter you can expect the tournament to be conducted without any hiccups

Members of the Kanchipuram district chess association with R.R. Vasudevan (left)

A huge thanks to M.S. Sivakumar, Dean of students of IIT-M, who is supprting chess in a big way. Thanks to his efforts and vision, we are sure that many more chess events will take place in the campus.

The man behind the success of the entire event - Nitin Pai, an ardent chess lover and an engineer from IIT-M. Did you know in the recent CAT results that were announced Nitin scored 99.95 percentile! He is being invited by top Management colleges all over India including IIM-A. He is a shining example of how chess can help in academics.

We at ChessBase India are always thrilled when people were our t-shirts! The clothing has been extremely well received by the chess community of India. If you haven't bought one yet, please do!

Everyone went back with a smile! Make sure you are a part of the 3rd edition of the Shaastra Rapid which will be held in 2019. And yes, if you would like to enjoy the IIT-M campus, they are holding a three day classical rating tournament of six rounds on the 13th,14th and 15th of April.

On a personal note:

For a chess player, nothing can match the thrill of playing on the board. The joy of outwitting your opponent in the opening, the thrill of a middlegame tactic, or simply the nail-biting pressure of playing with less time. Let's get it straight - playing chess is stressful, but we love the stress! I played a competitive chess event after quite some time (the last classical event I played was in August 2017). And I must say I was extremely pleased with my decision. I scored 8.0/10, finished 8th with one loss to Deepan and two draws against Laxman and Ratnakaran. This tournament made me believe more in my abilities as a chess player and I thank Nitin Pai for suggesting me to play this event. There were many nice games that I could share, but I will limit it to just one. It was my battle against GM R.R. Laxman where I used a theme that I had learnt from him five years ago!

After the game, I vividly remember Swapnil telling me that he thought he was better after he had made the move e4. The idea of Ne5 and d4 came as a surprise to him. I was also very impressed with Laxman's play and kept this idea of d5-d4 in my mind!


Coming to my game against GM R.R. Laxman, it was played in the eighth round. Laxman, of course, is a wonderful player and I am glad that we could indulge in a fighting game of chess.

In my workshops all over India talking about ChessBase softwares I have always told people that you must save your games. No matter what the event is - be it blitz, rapid or classical. Your games are your most important possession and you must save them carefully. Just to make sure that I practice what I preach I am putting up a link with all my 10 games below. The point I want to make is that saving these games in ChessBase 14 helped me to learn a lot more from mistakes. This is one of the fastest ways to improve. Make sure you too save your games using ChessBase 14. 


Replay my games


You too can create an online link to your games and share it with your friends. All you have to do is select the games you want to publish from the database on ChessBase 14, right click, go to output - publish to web - one click publication. You get the url for all the games which can be freely shared!

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