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Rahul Gurung wins the North Eastern Championship for 2nd straight year

by Nongsha Angom - 06/02/2019

Last year a historic feat was achieved by Sikkim when 16-year-old Rahul Gurung of Sikkim won the 18th North East Chess Championship title making him the youngest to do so and also the first from the state. Apart from Rahul, Sikkim also had Mr. Thendup Tamang who finished as the 2nd runners-up in the same event. This year the same feat was repeated again by Rahul Gurung when he clinched the 19th North Eastern Chess Championship title by scoring 8.5/10 points and remaining unbeaten throughout the event which took place on his home soil. We bring you a detailed pictorial report of the 19th North Eastern States FIDE Rating Chess Championship-2019 along with a short interview of the winner.

The 19th edition of the North Eastern Chess Championship was held from 29th January 2019 until 3rd February 2019 in the least populous and second smallest state of India, Sikkim. As many as 222 players from 7 different states of North East India (Nagaland Association didn't send any representative) took part in this prestigious event. Sikkim is notable for its biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, as well as being a host to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth. The event was hosted in the Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences auditorium in 5th Mile Tadong which is situated in the Sikkim's capital and also its largest city - Gangtok.

Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and reconnect to that inner place of peace. – Janice Anderson. | Photo: Wiki

Cushioned by the foothills of the Himalayas, bare and non- pretentious, Gangtok comes across as a town content to be itself. | Photo: Atanu Lahiri

The tournament was completely sponsored by AICF and the prize fund was 1.5 Lacs, of which 30,000 was the first prize. Among all the regional events in North-Eastern India, this championship is considered as the toughest and the most prestigious one.

Starting rank of the 19th North east championship

1Singh Soram Rahul250015742030ASM
2CMShahil Dey350623522009ASM
3Gurung Rakesh250853441997SIK
4Tamang Thendup350343751988SIK
5Gurung Rohit350339721969SIK
6Santanu Borpatra Gohain50236881964ASM
7Gurung Rahul350151171941SIK
8Trailokya Nanda50201901936ASM
9Neelabh Jyoti Borthakur350696401904ASM
10Nitish Das250893151884ASM
11Projit Phukon50171571873ASM
12Dupit Tabu350339131821ARP
13Tadam Dupit257052371801ARP
15Biswajit Bharadwaj50354651761ASM
16Rijied Katrai50962781749MEGH
17Singh Th. Nabachandra350343241749MAN
18Silkam Sangma350546601736MEGH
19Iftikar Alom Mazumdar256239821734ASM
20Bora Mahendra50114501733ASM

Complete starting list


The top seed of the event was Rahul Singh Soram of Assam followed by CM Shahil Dey of Assam and Rakesh Gurung of Sikkim. Rahul Singh Soram was jointly leading the tournament until the 6th round when he got defeated by the reigning champion Rahul Gurung in their 7th round encounter. CM Shahil Dey scored 8.0/10 points and came in 4th place. 3rd seed Rakesh Gurung, who is also the elder brother of the champion Rahul Gurung, scored the same points as the champion 8.5/10 and finished as the 1st runners up on the basis of their tie-break score.

A still of the top board from the last round: Rakesh Gurung (left) and Rahul Gurung( right). | Photo: Priyanka Nag

The Gurung Brothers: Rahul Gurung (Left) and Rakesh (Right). | Photo: Priyanka Nag

Hony. Secretary of AICF, Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan was the chief guest for the Inauguration of the event. | Photo: Bharat Singh Chauhan

The spacious venue made sure that it protects the participants from the cold | Photo: Priyanka Nag

It all started last year when Rahul Gurung made headlines by winning the 18th edition of the North-East Championship. He was the youngest to win the title and also the first from Sikkim which started taking part in the event from 2011 onwards only. By winning the title back to back for the second straight year Rahul Gurung proved that last year was not an accident but he had actually earned his title.

Mr.Rahul Gurung getting crowned as the North East Champion in 2018 | Photo: North East Crusaders

Rahul Gurung's performance at the North East Championship 2019

Right after his final round game against his elder brother Rakesh Gurung (which they drew), ChessBase India got the chance to have a 2 minute telephonic conversation with Rahul Gurung who was not crowned yet and was waiting for the 2nd board result.


Nongsha Angom: Congratulations Rahul for winning the title one more time!

Rahul Gurung: Thanks but I am not sure if I am the winner because the 2nd board game is still on and if black wins then anything can happen.


NA: I take my words back, Okay Rahul remaining unbeaten throughout the event and performing so well, how did you prepare for the event?

RG: I prepared in the usual way and this time I also prepared against the top players of the event by going through their recent games.


NA: We saw you last in the Nationals and then here, did you play any event in between?

RG: Yes Nationals was my last event and then I decided to prepare for this Championship as I needed to defend the title.


NA: I remember last year you performed really well in the Kathmandu Open and also held the top seed of the event Sergey Volkov. Do you get difficulties in selecting your desired event or you get support?

RG: Yes, Kathmandu was a nice experience as I got lot of lessons from the event and yes I do get support from our state association.


NA: Rahul, you and your brother's chess skills are no secret. We often hear stories about the upcoming chess players from Sikkim. Who is guiding you all?

RG: We don't have any professional coach but our General Secretary Mahendra Dhakal helps us a lot and you can say he is our coach.

Mr. Mahendra Dhakal, the man who is helping Sikkim chess players

NA: Okay Rahul thanks for your time and looking forward to meeting you soon! Best wishes for the result.

RG: Thanks a lot.

And the winning streak continues for Rahul! | Photo: Priyanka Nag

The youngest player in the championship was 5-year-old John Lalrinfela from Mizoram and the oldest player was 84-year-old TP Ghimirey from Sikkim.

Hony. Secretary of AICF, Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan with oldest players of the event: 84-year-old TP Ghimirey from Sikkim(Right) and 74 years old Anju Sarkar from Tripura (Left). | Photo: Bharat Singh Chauhan

A still from the last round of the event. | Photo: Priyanka Nag

Top three winners: 1st runners up Rakesh Gurung(Left), Champion Rahul Gurung( Centre) and 2nd runners up Rahul Singh Soram (Right). | Photo: M Arun Singh

Future champions are in action. | Photo: M Arun Singh and Priyanka Nag

The chief arbiter of the event was IA Dharmendra Kumar and he was assisted by FA Biju Singh Th, FA Arun Singh M, NA Taba Anam, NA Bimola Prasad Lahon, NA Amar Bhandari and NA Priyanka Nag. The prize distribution ceremony had Sikkim Olympic Association president BK Roka as the chief guest, who along with other special guests gave away trophy and medals to its winners.

IA Dharmendra Kumars bridage. | Photo: Priyanka Nag

Final Ranking after 10 Rounds

Rk.SNoNameRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
17Gurung Rahul1941SIK8,50,564,569,5
23Gurung Rakesh1997SIK8,50,563,068,0
31Singh Soram Rahul2030ASM8,00,064,069,5
42CMShahil Dey2009ASM8,00,058,562,5
56Santanu Borpatra Gohain1964ASM8,00,058,063,0
65Gurung Rohit1969SIK7,50,063,566,5
78Trailokya Nanda1936ASM7,50,063,565,5
810Nitish Das1884ASM7,50,061,566,0
919Iftikar Alom Mazumdar1734ASM7,50,061,066,0
1012Dupit Tabu1821ARP7,50,060,064,0
1118Silkam Sangma1736MEGH7,50,057,562,0
1211Projit Phukon1873ASM7,50,057,061,5
1422Das Monaj1720ASM7,00,065,068,5
154Tamang Thendup1988SIK7,00,064,569,5
1625Hage Lasa Nado1658ARP7,00,062,067,0
1736Rajbeer Ahmed1550TRI7,00,060,564,5
1824Barbith M Sangma1685MEGH7,00,059,564,0
1916Rijied Katrai1749MEGH7,00,059,561,5
2026Raluk Dui1658ARP7,00,059,062,5

Complete list of final standing

Previous coverage by ChessBase India on Rahul Gurung

Final moments of Rahul Gurung holding GM Sergey Volkov at the Kathmandu Open 2018
Rahul Gurung's interview with ChessBase India after he held Sergey Volkov to a draw at the Kathmandu Open 2018

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