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Kolkata GM Open 2018 Round 1: Short's last holiday event before campaign

by Sagar Shah - 15/05/2018

It's a gathering with diverse personalities that makes the 3rd Kolkata GM International 2018 so interesting. As the top seed you have the former World Championship Finalist and the current FIDE Presidential Candidate Nigel Short. Strong GMs like Abhijeet Gupta, Karthikeyan Murali, Aravindh Chithambaram are going to give Short a hard time when it comes to winning the first prize. And when it comes to young talents this tournament is quite unparalleled. You have Nihal Sarin, Gukesh, Raahil Mullick and manny other youngsters. In the first round we had quite a few good games and upsets as well. We bring you all the action from Newtown school in Kolkata. 

A casual chat on Facebook has turned the 3rd Kolkata International Grandmaster Chess tournament into one of the focal points for the world of chess. GM Dibyendu Barua, the main organizer of the tournament pinged Nigel Short on Facebook about his plans in the month of May. Nigel agreed to come down to Kolkata to play at the event. Perhaps, at the point when Short accepted the invitation to play, he was not sure that he would be running for the FIDE President's position. As on today, Nigel Short is in the middle of an extremely important fight with the FIDE officials trying to find the whereabouts of the FIDE bank funds that were transferred a few days ago. The battle off the board is so intense and filled with traps that we wonder how is Nigel going to focus on his play on the board. He begins the Kolkata International GM 2018 as the top seed.

Says Nigel in his opening ceremony speech, "After playing this event, I shall be embarking on a 7 country tour to campaign for the FIDE elections. So, you can call this tournament my holiday!" | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Starting rank

GMShort Nigel D0400025ENG2656ENG
GMGupta Abhijeet4389420135010608IND2619PSPB
GMKarthikeyan Murali4553720135074452IND2617TN
GMAmonatov Farrukh014700077TJK2608TJK
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.4039620135072786IND2597TN
GMRozum Ivan024104272RUS2581RUS
GMSandipan Chanda5454720145004225IND2573WB
GMSengupta Deep4637820135008352IND2563PSPB
GMTukhaev Adam014109476UKR2551UKR
IMNihal Sarin42031201325092340IND2551KER

Complete starting rank

This is going to be far from a holiday for Nigel as some of the best junior and senior players from India have gathered at the event. Usually you do not see many Indian GMs playing in Indian events, but Kolkata is an exception. Abhijeet Gupta and Karthikeyan Murali, 2600+ spearhead the Indian challenge. Aravindh Chithambaram, three Elo points short of the 2600 mark, is the fifth seed and all eyes will be on tenth seeded Nihal Sarin to see if he can achieve his final GM norm. 28 grandmasters are competing in this 207 player event where you have participants from 13 countries fighting it out for the top prize of Rs.3,00,000.


Hasan Mehdi vs Nigel Short

No matter how deeply involved in FIDE politics you are, when your opponent plays Kb1 in this position, Black's move is 100% clear!

Nigel didn't think twice before sacrificing his rook on c3. The idea is very common in the Sicilian and the Bangladeshi player had great difficulties in dealing with Black's simple moves on the queenside after the sacrifice.

For now, Nigel Short might be more confident with the mic than on the chess board, but when your opponent allows you to sacrifice an exchange on c3 in the Sicilian, you don't really have to think too much! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The top three boards have an independent table dedicated to them | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sandipan Chanda's table number 007 definitely influenced his play in the first round! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Another game which was highly interesting and which was one of the three nominees for the best game of the day prize was Swapnil Dhopade's brave victory over A. Harshini. Swapnil sacrificed an exchange out of the opening and played a very strong game to overcome all the complications and bring home the full point.

Game of the Day Prize:

Everyday, there will be a Facebook Poll on selecting the best Game of the Day. The voters will be joined by Grandmasters Suryasekhar Ganguly and Dibyendu Barua, and International Master V.Saravanan. Join the Polls and select the best game of every round. The winner of the selected game will be awarded a Prize at the tournament hall. In case of a drawn game being adjudicated as the best game, both the player will receive an award.


The three games that have been nominated for the game of the day prize have been covered above: Hasan Mehdi - Short, Rahman Syed - Chanda and Dhopade - Harshini.


Vote for your favourite game

GM Vishnu Prasanna was the biggest casualty of round one as he lost with black against Senthil Maran | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Senthil Maran vs Vishnu Prasanna

Black had an excellent position, but Vishnu's last move ...f5 was clearly an error. How did his opponent make the best use of this opportunity?

Local girl IM Nisha Mohota came all prepared not only on the board but also off it with her matching earrings and dress! She started off with a win in round one. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nihal Sarin will be looking forward to achieving his 3rd GM norm at the event. He began with a draw when his opponent Sambit Panda played very solidly, not giving him any chances. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Everyone is rooting for a Short vs Gukesh rematch! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The youngest 2200 in the world Raahil Mullick will be looking to cross 2300 mark at this event | Photo: Amruta Mokal

2597 at the age of 18! We have a real world beater in Aravindh Chithambaram! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

GM Farrukh Amonatov didn't have the best of starts as he drew his round one game against Kushager Krishnater. However, the Tajak GM can be happy about the result as he was completely lost. | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Amonatov's opponent Kushager Krishnater shows some of the ideas in his game

Inspiration to many, multiple times World disabled Champion Jennitha Anto is seen in action in the tournament | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Father of one of the upcoming talents of our country Kushagra Mohan | Photo: Prashant Mullick

The happiest mobile keeper that one would ever see! Mohana Sengupta. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The woman who has worked tremendously behind the scenes to make this tournament a grand success - WIM Saheli Dhar-Barua | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Results of round one:

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
1102FMMehdi Hasan Parag220700 - 10GMShort Nigel D26561
22GMGupta Abhijeet261901 - 00CMS M Sharon2204103
3104CMAditya Mittal219900 - 10GMKarthikeyan Murali26173
44GMAmonatov Farrukh26080½ - ½0Krishnater Kushager2195105
5106CMBharath Subramaniyam H219000 - 10GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.25975
66GMRozum Ivan258101 - 00Ajay Karthikeyan2189107
7108FMRahman Syed Mahfuzur218800 - 10GMSandipan Chanda25737
88GMSengupta Deep256301 - 00Bhambure Shantanu2188109
9111Godbole Atharva218100 - 10GMTukhaev Adam25519
1010IMNihal Sarin25510½ - ½0Panda Sambit2181112


Complete results

Pairings of round two

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.
GMShort Nigel D265611WIMVaishali R2316
FMRaja Rithvik R231611GMGupta Abhijeet2619
GMKarthikeyan Murali261711WIMVantika Agrawal2296
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.259711Saurabh Anand2294
Pranav V231511GMRozum Ivan2581
GMSandipan Chanda257311FMGajwa Ankit2290
Sekar B230411GMSengupta Deep2563
GMTukhaev Adam255111Sai Vishwesh.C2288
FMMohammad Fahad Rahman229611GMLalith Babu M R2531
GMBurmakin Vladimir252811Vatsal Singhania2283

Complete pairings

Video interviews:

Rani Hamid is one of the most inspiring personalities in Bangladesh chess. She started playing competitive chess after she was married and had four children! She won the Asian Zonal when she was 73 years old. Here's the story 21-time Bangladeshi Champion. Check out the video as she narrates many interesting incidents eapecially the one with Vishy Anand.

GM Dibyendu Barua is the main organizer of the Kolkata GM Open 2018. In this video he tells us about his involvement behind the organization of the Kolkata Open. What is his motivation to organize such an event? Barua also apologizes to the participants of B group for cancelling the tournament at the last moment. Kolkata GM Open 2018 is perhaps the only event in India where so many Indian GMs participate. We asked Barua the reason for the same, and his answer: "I am just very lucky!"

Opening ceremony:

Debashis Sen was the chief guest of the event | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Debashis Sen's LinkedIn profile says, 'Experienced administrator with a demonstrated history of working in senior government positions. Skilled in Policy Formulation, Governance, Smart Cities, Information Technology Policy, Start Up Policy, Strategic Planning, and Public Administration. Strong professional expertise in city development, urban analysis and democracy. Trained at Harvard Business School and IMF Institute.' | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sen has been instrumental in developing the New Town in Kolkata, the part of the city where the tournament is taking place. He showed full support towards promoting chess in the New Town giving special emphasis that a man versus machine match should be held.

Making the opening move by pushing his e-pawn two steps forward! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
The entire opening ceremony captured in video
Nigel's ...h6 and ...g5 against the West Bengal grandmasters!

Sunil Agarwal, the founder director of the Newtown school, which is the venue of the tournament | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The organizers of the event - Chairman of the AllSports Foundation Srenik Sett speaks to Dibyendu Barua | Photo: Sagar Shah

The author of these lines along with one of the finest writers and orators in Indian chess - V. Saravanan | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Visually Challenged team:

The visually challenged team have an entire table dedicated to them in the tournament hall

In what was a magnanimous gesture by the organizers, the entire visually challenged team of India (top five players) were given free entries at the Kolkata Open 2018, along with free boarding and lodging facilities. Kishan Gangolli, Ashvin Makwana, Aryan Joshi and Soundarya Pradhan are playing at the event. This is an ideal platform to prepare for the World Team Championship that will be taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria, in July 2018.

Huge gratitude shown by the blind players towards the organizers for allowing them to play

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