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Is the Indonesia national team too strong?

by Sagar Shah - 29/10/2019

The Indonesia team travelled for nearly 12 hours to reach from Jakarta to Chennai on 27th night. They took some rest and were on the chess board on the 28th afternoon for the ChessBase India vs Indonesia friendly match taking place in Chess Gurukul. The 10-member Indonesian national team has a rating average of 2373.6, while the 10-member ChessBase India team has a rating average of 2361.6. It promised to be quite an evenly contested battle, at least on paper. And this was seen in the 1st round as India eked out a win by the nearest of margins 5.5-4.5 But in round two, Indonesians went ahead full throttle and beat the Indians by a whopping 7.5-2.5 score. At the end of day one the score is 24-16 in favour of Indonesia. A detailed report from Chennai. 

When the Indonesian national team decided to visit India ahead of their South East Asian Games for a friendly match, we at ChessBase India tried to find worthy opposition for them. After all their average rating was a hefty 2373.6. We were helped by Chess Gurukul who generously agreed to host the match in their premises. We didn't have much time to find the players. A week ago we wrote an article on ChessBase India inviting players across the country, if they would be interested to fight it out against the strong Indonesian players. We were able to gather together a good line-up and this is how the two teams looked on paper: 

  ChessBase India   Indonesia  
1 Karthikeyan Murali 2617 Susanto Megaranto 2550
2 Arjun Kalyan 2483 Novendra Priasmoro 2484
3 Sreeshwan Maralakshikari 2449 Sean Winshand Cuhendi 2425
4 Bharath Subramaniyam 2417 Kharisma Sukandar 2400
5 Rathanvel 2410 Muhamad Lutfi Ali 2399
6 Leon Mendonca 2388 Medina Warda Aulia 2360
7 S. Rohit 2234 Muhamad Ervan 2356
8 Suyog Wagh 2229 Dede Lioe 2314
9 Varshini 2227 Chelsie Monica Sihite 2252
10 N. Raghavi 2162 Ummi Fisabilillah 2196
    2361.6   2373.6

GM Karthikeyan Murali, with an Elo of 2617, is leading the ChessBase India team!

The Indonesian team is 12 Elo points stronger on paper. Indonesia's experience is matched by India's young talents. Looking at the players list, it promised to be an exciting match!

Team Indonesia travelling with coach GM Ruslan Scherbakov (left) and the manager of the team Kristianus Liem (fourth from left), the man who organized everything for the Indonesian team | Photo: Kristianus Liem/Percasi

Welcome to Chess Gurukul! | Photo: Kristianus Liem/Percasi

This is how the schedule of the rapid event looks like

The ChessBase India vs Indonesia friendly match will consist of ten rounds of rapid chess (15 mins + 10 sec) and 10 rounds of blitz (3 min + 2 sec) chess. All 10 Indian players will play against all 10 Indonesian players in each format - the Scheveningen format. Each win in the rapid counts for two points, while each win in the blitz is one point. Let's see how things panned out on day 1.

Round 1: ChessBase India vs Indonesia: 5.5-4.5

The first round provided India with a nice win with 5.5-4.5. One of the biggest upset was Suyog Wagh winning his game against Indonesia no.2 Novendra Priasmoro. Suyog Wagh travelled from Mahrashtra to Chennai on 28th early morning and this win was crucial in providing India with a win. Leon Mendonca winning against Medina Aulia was also a good result for Indians.

Board No. White Result Black
1 Chelsie Monica Sihite 1/2-1/2 Arjun Kalyan
2 Dede Lioe 1/2-1/2 Sreeshwan Maralakshikari
3 Muhamad Lutfi Ali 0-1 Karthikeyan Murali
4 Ummi Fisabilillah 0-1 Bharath Subramaniyam
5 Varshini 0-1 Sean Winshand Cuhendi
6 S. Rohit 0-1 Susanto Megaranto
7 Rathanvel 1/2-1/2 Muhamad Ervan
8 N. Raghavi 0-1 Kharisma Sukandar
9 Suyog Wagh 1-0 Novendra Priasmoro
10 Leon Mendonca 1-0 Medina Warda Aulia

Round 2: Indonesia vs ChessBase India - 7.5-2.5

It seemed like round one was just a warm up for the Indonesians. In round two they showed their true colours and gave the Indian team a thorough beating with a 7.5-2.5 victory. Some excellent results which went Indonesia's way were experienced Lioe Dede beating Arjun Kalyan and Irene Sukandar getting the better of Bharath Subramaniyam.

No. White   Black
1 IM Sreeshwan Maralakshikari [2449] 1-0 WIM Chelsie Monica Sihite [2252]
2 IM Arjun Kalyan [2483] 0-1 IM Dede Lioe [2314]
3 WIM N. Raghavi [2164] 0-1 IM Muhamad Lutfi Ali [2399]
4 GM Karthikeyan Murali [2617] 1/2-1/2 WFM Ummi Fisabilillah [2196]
5 IM Sean Winshand Cuhendi [2425] 1/2-1/2 IM Leon Mendonca [2388]
6 GM Susanto Megaranto [2550] 1-0 WIM Varshini [2217]
7 IM Muhamad Ervan [2356] 1-0 S. Rohit [2214]
8 IM Bharath Subramaniyam [2417] 0-1 IM Irene Kharisma Sukandar [2400]
9 IM Novendra Priasmoro [2484] 1-0 IM Rathanvel [2410]
10 WGM Medina Warda Aulia [2360] 1/2-1/2 Suyog Wagh [2229]

The setup of the match - Indonesian players in their red and colourful outfit | Photo: Kristianus Liem/Percasi

We agree with the quote on the wall! Photo: Joni/Percasi

Megaranto Susanto, the top rated Indonesian player has not disappointed. He is on 2.0/2. | Photo: Kristianus Liem/Percasi

Irene Sukandar, who has been the top rated player female of Indonesia for many years, two time Asian Champion and the first woman from Indonesia to get the WGM and IM title played excellent chess to beat N. Raghavi in round one and the talented Bharath Subramaniyam in round two. | Photo: Kristianus Liem/Percasi

Leon played the 4.e3 line in the Nimzo India and beat Indonesia no.2 woman player Medina Aulia. Behind them occurred the biggest upset of round one when Suyog Wagh managed to beat Novendra Priasmoro. | Photo: Kristianus Liem/Percasi

IM Sean Winshand Cuhendi (left) has been solid at the event. After beating Varshini in round one, he drew his game against Leon Mendonca. | Photo: Kristianus Liem/Percasi

Sreeshwan Maralakshikari is on 1.5/2. He drew with Dede Lioe in round one and beat Monica Chelsea Sihite in round two. He sends us some nice annotations from his round two win. | Photo: Kristianus Liem/Percasi

Sreeshwan - Monica Chelsea

What should White do in this position? Hint: Play like Sreeshwan (aggressive chess!)

One of the biggest upsets of round two was IM Dede Lioe beating the GM elect Arjun Kalyan:

Score after day 1:

Indonesia 24 - ChessBase India 16

The home team has quite some catching up to do, but with four rounds being played today, it will be interesting to see how things pan out! Stay tuned for more action.