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Double delight for Neelash Saha at LBHM Chess Festival 9th Rapid Rating Open 2023

by R Anantharam - 20/05/2023

IM Neelash Saha scored an unbeaten 8.5/9 to win Late Bharatbai Halkude Memorial Chess Festival 9th Rapid Rating Open 2023. He finished a half point ahead of the field. This is his second consecutive rating tournament in as many days. GM Sayantan Das, CM Soham Datar and Shriraj Bhosale scored 8/9 each. They were placed second to fourth respectively. Neelash drew against Sayantan in the penultimate round. Both of them remained undefeated. Soham missed the first round. The total prize fund of the tournament was ₹200000. The top three prizes were ₹25001, ₹15000 and ₹10000 along with a trophy each. This was Neelash's third rating tournament triumph overall in 2023. Photo: IA R Anantharam

Neelash clinches two rating tournaments in two consecutive days

International Master Neelash Saha of South-Eastern Railways won two titles in a space of two days, a rare feat, at the LBHM Chess Festival organized by Aryans Enterprises, Pune at the Dhruv Global School. He was the outright winner with 8.5 points, conceding only one draw to his Kolkata mate GM Sayantan Das.

IM Neelash Saha won the LBHM open as well as the rapid tournaments in a space of two days | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Sayantan, CM Soham Datar and Shriraj Bhosale both of Maharashtra scored eight points and secured the second to fourth places in that order.

Top seed GM Sayantan Das was relegated to the second place | Photo: IA R Anantharam

CM Soham Datar of Maharashtra finished second runner-up | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Top three finishers (L to R): 2nd GM Sayantan Das 8/9, 1st IM Neelash Saha 8.5/9 and 3rd CM Soham Datar 8/9 | Photo: IA R Anantharam

IM Neelash Saha scored 8.5/9 and gained 6.2 Elo rating points

Shiraj Bhosale of Maharashtra was fourth in the overall list | Photo: IA R Anantharam

The final round loss against Neelash pushed Nithin Babu to fifth place | Photo: IA R Anantharam

The dramatic fifth round saw the debacle of a grandmaster and three international masters – third seeded IM Aditya S Samant to Viresh Sharnarthi of the same state and seventh seeded IM Ratnakaran K of Southern Railway to Atharva Madkar of Maharashtra and IM Charkravarthy Reddy of Telangana to S Rutherford of Tamil Nadu. GM Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury suffered his second loss of the tournament in four rounds, as he lost to Siddhant Saluke of Maharashtra.

GM Sayantan Das had a revenge on Nameet Chavan of Maharashtra who drew with him in the Open tournament of this festival a few days back | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Viresh Sharnathi of Maharashtra defeated the IM Aditya Samant in the fifth round. Aditya had to be content with eighth place | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Rutherford of TN defeated IM Chakravarthy Reddy in the fifth round and was ranked ninth in the final list | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Sayantan defeated Jai Sankar S of Tamil Nadu in the sixth round | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Similar to the open tournament, IM Neelash Saha emerged sole leader at the end of the seventh round with seven victories, by beating R Sailesh of Tamil Nadu. The other joint leader GM Sayantan Das had to be satisfied with a draw against Nithin Babu of Kerala.

Neelash Saha was the sole leader after seven rounds by beating R Sailesh of Tamil Nadu | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Nithin Babu continued his good run in the tournament by beating the fifth seeded IM Kushagra Mohan to share the lead after the eighth round, with IM Neelash (7.5 points each), who drew with GM Sayantan on the top board. Before entering the final round, seven players had seven points each to their credit.

The encounter between the eventual top two finishers ended in a draw | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Nithin Babu defeated IM Kushagra Mohan to share the lead with Neelash after the penultimate round. Kushagra got the sixth place | Photo: IA R Anantharam

Neelash did not show any mercy and defeated Nithin in the final round to clinch the second title in two days, with 8.5 points. Sayantan Das defeated S Mohit of Tamil Nadu, Soham Datar defeated Sourabh Mhamane of Maharashtra and Shriraj Bhosale of Maharashtra got the better of S Gokulakrishna of Tamil Nadu.

Aaryan Singla of Maharashtra defeated FM Nikhil Dixit in the final round to get the seventh place | Photo: IA R Anantharam

IM Ratnakaran K beat Viresh in the ninth round and was placed twelfth | Photo: IA R Anantharam

A total of 512 players including 2 GMs and 6 IMs participated from various parts of the country, one from Singapore and two from USA. The one-day nine-round Swiss league Rapid Rating tournament was held on 18th May 2023. It was organized by Aryan Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. at Dhruv Global School, Handewadi, Undri in Pune, Maharashtra. The time control of the tournament was 10 minutes + 5 seconds increment from move no.1.

Final standings

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
IMNeelash, SahaIND2328WB8,552,55753,0008
GMDas, SayantanIND2413WB852,55748,5007
CMSoham, DatarIND2102MH8505247,0008
Bhosale, ShrirajIND1948MH846,55044,5008
Nithin, BabuIND1977KL7,555,56047,5007
IMKushagra, MohanIND2308TG7,553,55847,2507
Singla, AaryanIND1496MH7,55256,546,0006
IMSamant, Aditya SIND2367MH7,551,55646,0007
AGMRutherford, SIND1617TN7,5515544,2507
Ankur, Mahesh GokhaleIND1800MH7,550,555,544,7507
FMThakur, AkashIND2135MH7,547,552,542,2507
IMRatnakaran, K.IND2226SRLY7,54751,541,7507
Mhamane, SourabhIND1736MH7535842,0007
Sailesh, RIND1818TN751,556,541,5007
Gokulakrishna, SIND1570TN75154,538,5007
IMChakravarthi Reddy, MIND2125TG748,55339,7506
Bhanushali, KunjIND1335MH748,55337,5007
Gaikwad, ManasU13IND1601MH748,55237,7506
Om, Nagnath LamkaneIND1680MH74852,539,0007
Jai, Sankar SubramanianIND1734TN7485238,0007
AFMMohit, SU13IND1583TN7485137,7506
Vikramaditya, Abhijit ChavanU13IND1489MH7475136,5007
Soham, RoyU13IND1516WB7465038,0007
Sudarshan, MalgaIND1869MP745,55037,5007
Shreya, G HipparagiU13wIND1444MH745,549,538,0007
GMRoy Chowdhury, SaptarshiIND2379RLY745,549,537,5007
AGMKiran, PanditraoS55IND1848MH74548,538,0007
Raihaan, ZahidU13IND1584TG74448,534,5007
IMKulkarni, VikramadityaIND2240MH7444836,0007
Druvesh, DondapatiIND1409AP74447,536,5006


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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