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IM KS Raghunandan leads Dubai Open with 4.0/4 and a performance of 3166 Elo!

by Sagar Shah - 06/04/2019

IM Raghunandan KS is on fire at the Dubai Open 2019. He has scored 4.0/4 and en route to that score he has beaten three GMs, with a performance of 3166! Much more impressive than his result are his games. All his three victories against Ahmed Adly (2620), Vahap Sanal (2513) and Alan Pichot (2566) have been tremendously complicated, but Raghunandan managed to navigate the complexities to perfection. We have analyzed all three of his battles in this article. Out of the 164 players at the Dubai Open, 80 of them are Indians. We bring you a half way report with pictures from the venue by Niklesh Jain. 

Until 2017 Karnataka chess was without a GM. Seeing the chess boom in the state it was quite surprising that they had been unable to produce a grandmaster of their own. Things began to change slowly when Thejkumar broke that barrier in September 2017 and became Karnataka's first and India's 50th GM. Around a year later we had the state's second GM Stany GA. But what about the young talents? Were there any youngsters below the age of 18 who were close to the GM title?

Raghunandan KS, rated 2370, is already an IM. Born in 2001, he is just 17 years old | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Raghunandan achieved his IM title in 2016 and the Karnataka state recognized his talent, awarding him Rs.35 lakh for his excellent performances in the past. But the boy slowed down and in the next couple of years didn't really show any big movement in terms of ratings and norms. But it seems as if in all of this time while the results were not coming, Raghunandan was improving as a chess player. And at the Dubai Open 2019, he is showing what he is truly capable of.

In the four rounds that he has played until now, Raghunandan has beaten three GMs, gained 23 Elo points and has a rating performance of 3166!

Two of Raghunandan's wins have come with the black pieces, where he has essayed his favourite opening - the King's Indian. In the above picture, he is up against Argentinian GM Alan Pichot | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Round 2 win against Ahmed Adly (2620)

Round 3 win against Vahap Sanal (2513)

Round 4 win against Alan Pichot (2566)

What fantastic games by Raghunandan. If you look at all three of them closely you will see that he hardly made any errors. To play against three such strong GMs and make so many accurate moves in such complex positions is never easy. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Aleksandar Indjic is the other player with 4.0/4 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Raghunandan and Indjic will fight it out against each other in round five and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Out of 164 players participating at the Dubai Open 2019, 80 are Indians! Sethuraman is the best Indian GM, followed by Aravindh Chithambaram, Debashis Das, Deepan Chakkravarthy and others.

The road leading up to the Dubai Chess Club | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The chess club is famous for its rook shaped structure | Photo: Niklesh Jain

After Raghunandan, Sethuraman is the best performing Indian with 3.5/4 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

It will be interesting to see if Divya Deshmukh manages to perform well at her current rating of 2432. Currently she is on 2.5/4. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Raunak Sadhwani is playing solid chess at the Dubai Open. After two wins in the first two rounds, he has drawn his rounds three and four against Sethuraman and Iturrizaga. Can Raunak get his second GM norm here? | Photo: Niklesh Jain

A big performance is due from Sandipan Chanda since quite some time now. Perhaps, Dubai open will be the one where he will show his true colours. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The winner's trophy, which is exquisitely designed | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Rankings after round 4

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 Krtg+/-
156
IMRaghunandan Kaumandur SrihariIND23704,00,08,55,541023,3
214
GMIndjic AleksandarSRB25924,00,08,05,04109,8
32
GMMatlakov MaximRUS26923,50,09,56,03103,3
415
GMAbdusattorov NodirbekUZB25783,50,09,05,53105,1
17
GMSantos Ruiz MiguelESP25553,50,09,05,53108,7
63
GMKuzubov YuriyUKR26533,50,08,55,03103,8
22
IMYeoh Li TianMAS25223,50,08,55,03108,9
32
IMVokhidov ShamsiddinUZB24943,50,08,55,031011,0
91
GMLe Quang LiemVIE27113,50,07,55,03101,5
18
GMBellahcene BilelALG25383,50,07,55,03104,2
118
GMSethuraman S.P.IND26243,50,07,54,53103,3
124
GMMareco SandroARG26513,50,06,54,03101,6
1320
GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.IND25343,50,06,03,53105,3
1434
IMSadhwani RaunakIND24753,00,08,55,02107,2
1524
GMKuybokarov TemurAUS25193,00,08,54,53101,5
1629
IMVisakh N RIND25093,00,08,04,53102,2
1716
GMPichot AlanARG25663,00,08,04,0310-1,3
27
GMSanal VahapTUR25133,00,08,04,0310-1,4
195
GMIturrizaga Bonelli EduardoVEN26333,00,07,54,5210-1,7
19
GMDebashis DasIND25383,00,07,54,5210-1,4

Overview of Indian performances

SNoNameRtgFED123456789Pts.Rk.Krtg+/-
8GMSethuraman S.P.2624IND11½13,511103,30
12GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2602IND1½½13,03510-3,90
19GMDebashis Das2538IND½11½3,02010-1,40
20GMDeepan Chakkravarthy J.2534IND½1113,513105,30
23GMChanda Sandipan2521IND11½½3,021101,50
25GMVenkatesh M.R.2517IND1½1½3,032100,90
26GMVishnu Prasanna. V2515IND1½102,54110-2,50
28IMIniyan P2512IND10113,03010-4,30
29IMVisakh N R2509IND11013,016102,20
30GMHarsha Bharathakoti2497IND11½02,546101,90
34IMSadhwani Raunak2475IND11½½3,014107,20
36IMVignesh N R2457IND1½½½2,54510-6,50
37CMAditya Mittal2457IND11013,026101,60
39WIMDivya Deshmukh2432IND110½2,54910-3,70
40IMShyaamnikhil P2429IND½1012,55810-3,00
41GMLaxman R.R.2428IND11013,023101,00
43CMMendonca Leon Luke2427IND11013,03410-0,50
45IMAkash G2414IND10113,028102,10
46GMSundararajan Kidambi2413IND10102,07710-7,30
47FMManush Shah2405IND10½½2,08310-7,20
49IMNitin S.2400IND1½012,551102,40
50IMRaja Rithvik R2391IND101½2,55210-2,30
53Saurabh Anand2385IND101½2,550204,20
54IMDhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad2384IND10102,07220-3,60
56IMRaghunandan Kaumandur Srihari2370IND11114,011023,30
57IMRathnakaran K.2351IND01012,09210-16,40
58IMSidhant Mohapatra2348IND1½½02,062104,30
62FMNitish Belurkar2327IND10102,06420-1,60
63FMShailesh Dravid2316IND1½012,553205,60
64WIMPriyanka Nutakki2313IND10102,06820-2,80
65CMBharath Subramaniyam H2301IND110½2,5432016,80
69IMRavi Thandalam Shanmugam2276IND10102,08610-2,60
71CMMullick Raahil2275IND101½2,559408,40
72Kunal M.2273IND1½½02,063208,60
73FMSrihari L R2263IND10½12,56120-9,00
75Pranav V2258IND½1½13,0332016,20
78Raahul V S2252IND10102,08020-6,20
79IMPraveen Kumar C2225IND10012,09910-8,60
80FMJeet Jain2219IND1½0½2,071209,80
81Panda Sambit2218IND101½2,560406,80
83Gandhi Anish2202IND011½2,556207,40
84FMAaryan Varshney2199IND0½½12,08820-12,60
87CMPrraneeth Vuppala2177IND0000000000,0156400,00
95Thrish Karthik2096IND01012,084406,80
96Shiva Pavan Teja Sharma U2093IND010½1,510220-8,40
99WCMMrudul Dehankar2078IND01012,08240-1,60
101Kumar Gaurav2074IND½0½12,089202,00
108Shanya Mishra2026IND0½101,511140-22,80
110Sri Sai Baswanth P2018IND01012,076201,80
112Mohammed Dilshad2006IND01102,0692016,00
113Niklesh Kumar Jain1995IND01012,09620-1,00
114Krithigga K1994IND0½½½1,511840-51,60
115WCMIsha Sharma1989IND01½½2,0732015,00
116Parthasarathy R1989IND01012,094200,20
118Anilkumar O.T.1975IND10012,09320-2,20
119Mota Pankit1974IND0½½01,012920-20,20
125WFMSanskriti Goyal1929IND0½½12,0854054,80
126Rakshith Srinivasan1923IND01½01,51034043,20
127Souradip Deb1899IND0½101,51072020,60
128Rohit S1868IND00011,012640-29,60
129WFMMeghna C H1863IND010½1,51152020,00
130WFMPotluri Supreetha1855IND0½½01,01314015,20
131Jinan Jomon1848IND½0101,51064041,60
135AIMKomal Srivatsav Sajja1778IND00112,0984025,60
136AIMKaushik G Iyer1771IND000½0,514940-50,40
140AIMSidharth Balaji Sridharan1732IND00011,014540-30,40
142Aasha C R1691IND00000,016220-10,40
143Devnani Kush1650IND00½11,51164047,20
144Nanditha V1650IND00101,01394027,20
145Aagam Aditya E1649IND000000,015240-14,40
147Madduri Satya Tejeswar1632IND0½000,5148407,20
148Antony Jesumarian Leslie1621IND001½1,51144042,00
149Ravindra Dange1598IND10001,01212013,60
150Singh Gurmeher1589IND10001,011940-9,60
153Garvit Kumar Kalra1564IND0½½01,01334027,20
154Rebecca Jesumarian1561IND0½000,5150407,20
157AIMKumaravel Adhav1531IND½0½12,0954067,20
158AIMDurgesh K1521IND00101,01372011,40
160AIMVishal Choudary B1519IND00101,01414021,20
161Harshavardhini M.S.1514IND01001,01304027,20

The traditional Dubai Blitz took place on the rest day on Friday and IM K. Ratnakaran finished sixth | Photo: Niklesh Jain