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Nandhidhaa wins 4th Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit 2023, Srihari L second

by R Anantharam - 12/11/2023

WGM Nandhidhaa P V and Srihari L scored 6.5/9 each at 4th Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit Chess Tournament 2023. Nandhidhaa won the tournament as she started the event with a victory over Srihari. Thus, her tie-breaks were better. IM David Gochelashvili scored sole 5.5/9 to finish third. Nandhidhaa's 2465 performance earned her fifth IM-norm. She now requires to fulfill the rating criteria to become India's next International Master. Nandhidhaa also gained 46.8 Elo rating points in the process. The Tamil Nadu IM-norm Closed Circuit tournaments have already produced three IM-norms out of the four events. That definitely speaks about the success of the events. The fifth event of the series starts today. Photos: IA R Anantharam

Nandhidhaa scores an IM-norm

WGM Nandhidhaa of Tamil Nadu won the 4th Tamil Nadu IM-Norm Closed Circuit Chess Tournament, organized by Tamil Nadu State Chess Association at the hill town Kodaikanal. She and L Srihari of Pondicherry scored 6.5 points, but the direct encounter tiebreak favored Nandhidhaa to be the champion, as she defeated Srihari in the very first round.

WGM Nandhidhaa’s win against L Srihari helped her to win the title also

Srihari L had to be content with the runner-up spot

Second Runner-up - IM David Gochelashvili (RUS) 5.5/9

All the players with the guests

The tournament had three new foreign players – Evgeniy Podolchenko (BLR), Shubh Jayesh Laddha and Yash Jayesh Laddha, the USA brothers. WGM Nandhidhaa PV and JJ Nawin of Tamil Nadu, Shaik Sumer Arsh of Telangana and L Srihari of Pondicherry are the new entrants from India.


In the French defence by debutant WGM Nandhidhaa P V ended in favour of her against L Srihari of Pondicherry. Srihari’s opening of both flanks and further play without castling did not pay any dividend. Srihari lost the exchange and the game in 32 moves. This game turned out to be crucial, as Nandhidhaa’s win gave her the title later.

Nandhidhaa's win over Srihari helped her to win the title

WGM Nandhidhaa scored 6.5/9 to win the tournament and gained 46.8 Elo rating points

Belarus Grandmaster Evgeniy Podolchenko started his campaign in the circuit with a win over experienced FM Sekar B of Chennai in a game of French Defence. In the equal position of queen and knight versus queen and bishop ending, Sekar’s fatal 59th move of the king forced him to lose the point.

GM Evgeniy Podolchenko started his campaign with a win over FM Sekar B

Mr. P Pragadesh, Joint Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Chess Association and Mr. P Uma Maheswaran, Secretary, Madurai District Chess Circle, inaugurated the tournament.


The immature attacks of Nawin were of no help against the Kyrgyzstan IM Asylbek Abdyzhapar in the second round.

Nawin's untimely attacks cost him the game against IM Asylbek (KGZ)

IM David Gochelashvili (RUS) defeated Yash Jayesh Laddha (USA) with London System. David's move with bishop, which would result in checkmate in the following moves, forced Yash to give up the fight.

IM David Gochelashvili (RUS, at the background) won against Yash Jayesh Laddha (USA) in the fourth round

Yash Jayesh Laddha (USA) defeated FM Sekar B of Chennai in a short game of Sicilian Defence in the fifth round.

Yash bounced back from the defeat to win against B Sekar in the fifth round

Nandhidhaa continued her good run, beating Asylbek, Abdyzhapar the King's Indian defense: Orthodox Variation with her incredible game. In the last few moves, Nandhidhaa's queen made a continuous check and captured Asylbek's rook. As soon as the rook was seized, Asylbek resigned the game.

Nandhidhaa displayed tremendous form in beating IM Asylbek (KGZ)

In the Reti opening, Shubh Jayesh Laddha (USA) defeated Evgeniy Podolchenko (BLR). Due to Podolchenko's incorrect bishop displacement on the eighth move, he lost two pawns in the opening itself. Shubh’s pawn advantage continued throughout the game, which led the game to land in his safe hands.

Shubh Jayesh Laddha (USA, left) defeated GM Evgeniy Podolchenko (BLR) in the seventh round

FM B Sekar of Chennai defeated CM Shaik Sumer Arsh of Telangana with French Defense: Paulsen variation. In a double rook ending, Sumer surrendered when Sekar’s pawn could not be stopped from promotion.

FM Sekar B won against CM Shaik Sumer Arsh of Telangana

Woman Grandmaster Nandhidhaa P V consolidated her lead with six points at the end of the seventh round, one full point ahead of her nearest rival L Srihari.


GM Evgeniy Podolchenko (BLR) was defeated by WGM Nandhidhaa P V using the Yugoslav variation of the King's Indian Attack. On the 33rd move, Nandhidhaa performed a brilliant play with the bishop that gave her the upper hand. Nandhidhaa's pawn made another ingenious move that cost Podolchenkoo’s rook. As soon as the rook was captured, Podolchenko shook hands to accept his defeat.

Nandhidhaa consolidated her lead with a win over GM Evgeniy Podolchenko

Nandhidhaa met her match in the form of the IM David Gochelashvili (RUS) in the eighth and penultimate round. Irrespective of the loss, she needed half a point in the final round to achieve her IM-norm. She did it in the final round, with a draw against B Sekar.

Nandhidhaa met her match in IM David in the eighth round

Mr. D V Sundar, former FIDE Vice President, was the Chief Guest and distributed the prizes in the presence of Mr. P Stephen Balasamy, General Secretary of Tamil Nadu State Chess Association. The 5th TN IM-norm event starts at the same venue without any break.


FM Prasannaa S, Surendran N, Arnav Maheswari of Tamil Nadu and Md. Imran of AP will replace WGM Nandhidhaa, Nawin J J, B Sekar and L Srihari.


Three IM-norms have been obtained so far from four tournaments, which is a good measure of the success of the circuit tournaments.

Replay all games

Final standings

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgIClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 nwwew-weKrtg+/-
WGMP V, NandhidhaawIND2272Tamil Nadu6,5126,755296,54,162,342046,8
L, SrihariIND2225Puducherry6,5025,755185,53,142,362047,2
IMDavid, GochelashviliRUS23045,5021,005195,54,600,90109
GMEvgeniy, PodolchenkoBLR239550,517,7543955,81-0,8110-8,1
IMAsylbek, AbdyzhaparKGZ232650,517,7531954,900,10101
CMSumer Arsh, ShaikIND2273Telangana4,50,519,752094,54,180,324012,8
FMShubh Jayesh, LaddhaUSA23734,50,519,252294,55,54-1,0410-10,4
Yash Jayesh, LaddhaUSA21713,5110,753082,52,51-0,0140-0,4
FMB, SekarIND2320Tamil Nadu3,5014,002082,54,31-1,8120-36,2
FMJ J, NawinIND2305Tamil Nadu0,502,250060,52,85-2,3520-47


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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