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Stany GA dedicates his Sautron victory to his father

by Sagar Shah - 13/11/2017

It is no secret that Stany GA loves playing in France. But the Sautron Open, which he has won for the second time in a row, is one of his all-time favourites. Not only does he enjoy the friendly chess atmosphere around, he also loves the fact that he gets to meet new people and taste some delicious food cooked by the organisers themselves! In this interview with Sagar Shah, Stany not only elaborates on all of the reasons he loves playing in France but also shares with us some annotated games from the tournament.

The 17th Sautron International Chess Open was held in the French commune of Sautron from October 21 to 28, 2017. The event was a 9-round Swiss which had a time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus an additional 30 minutes for the rest of the game with a 30-second increment from move 1.


After 9 rounds of nailbiting chess, the tournament's defending champion, G A Stany, won the event for the second time in a row. To know more about his love for France and the reasons behind his success, especially in Sautron, we caught up with the man himself.

After his win at the Sautron Open last year, Stany GA picked the title prize yet again at the tournament's 17th edition! (L to R: IM Jose Gascon, IM Stany G.A, IM Manea Alexandru)

SS: Usually players don't like to go to a tournament where they have won before. Too much pressure as a defending champion! Didn't you feel that?

SG: That's true but in my case, I was just happy to play in Sautron mainly because I like the way they organise chess here it's very relaxed and fun. I was confident about my chances of winning the tournament but I didn't feel any pressure of defending the title.

Not to mention, such off-the-board fights were also good stress-busters! | Photo: Stany G.A.

However, it was by no means a cakewalk for Stany as could be seen from the following game fragment:

SS: What's so special for you in Sautron? How do you play your best chess here?

SG: Sautron Open is special for me for many reasons: the organisers teamwork (they themselves prepare some delicious foods) very friendly chess atmosphere and I have also got to meet some really nice chess players here. I will give you an example of how different they organise chess in Sautron. They organise Blitz tournament in between and during the games they play some nice music just to make it more fun I've never seen that before in any other tournament.

The organiser, Mr Koen and his super-team...

...who prepared this mouth-watering breakfast spread! No wonder, Stany was all charged up during his games.

A snap of the blitz tournament. Unfortunately, we couldn't share with you the lively music that was played during the games in an image.

SS:  You had a GM norm performance but didn't play any GMs. Considering you need two more norms (rating is already done) why did you choose Sautron?

SG: I was playing two tournaments in Norway before Sautron (Oslo chess festival and Stavanger open) I didn't get conditions in Norwegian tournaments but I got very good conditions in Sautron so it seemed like a financially viable plan to combine all 3 tournaments. Sautron is also norm tournament but many GMs couldn't make it this year due to dates clash with many tournaments otherwise I could have played for norm here as well.

Winners of the Stavanger tournament

SS: Which was your favourite game of the event?

SG: My favourite game of the event was my game against my good friend Jose Gascon Del (2468) of Venezuela...he was leading the tournament with half point by round 5 so I had to catch him to get the lead. I like the game because it was a full-on attack!

Moments before the start of the big game. | Photo: Official Website

SS: Any particular incident that you remember from Sautron 2017 that was memorable for you?

SG: Yes, this time, I was given accommodation in the Sautron club members house and I got to meet the amazing family of Mathieu and Estell. They have 3 children Nathan (12) Camille (10) and Victor (6). I had the most fun with these kids especially with Victor who became my best friend.Victor was very confident that he could defeat me in chess and he also often believed that I was a French Expert or something. So he would go on talking in French with me for a while and then realise that I can't speak French at all (I was only saying Oui to whatever he said which means yes). I have great memories of my stay at Mathieu and Estell family now.  

Stany dining with his host couple Mathieu and Estell

The cute and confident Victor who was sure he would defeat Stany!
Victor's reaction to Stany's French speaking skills!

SS: In an interview with the tournament director you said that ChessBase India has made a positive impact on chess in India. Can you elaborate a bit more on that statement?

SG: To be honest, I'm really impressed with the way ChessBase India has grown in such short span of time. Most of the players abroad are aware of ChessBase India now and your website caters to all kind of readers with high-quality content. Also, the range of tournament coverage is huge. From Indian FIDE rated tournaments to World Cup, ChessBase India covers all kind of events. So yeah, full credit to you and your team!

Stany's interview with organizer Mr. Koen for French Television

The Sautron Open was covered widely in newspapers

SS: You and Thejkumar were in a race to become Karnataka's first GM. He became the first one. What do you have to say about Thej as a player and as a person?

SG: I was disappointed that I couldn't be the first GM but then I thought Thej equally deserved the title as much as I do or maybe even more. He is a good friend and GM title was long overdue for him. So I am happy for him.


SS: What are your next events now?

SG: My next tournament will be London classic open and Hastings Masters in December in the UK

Stany's dedidcation to his father

Stany's father Anthony Gnana Prakash died on Monday midnight (6th of November 2017) due to cardiac arrest. He was a dialysis patient for last two and half years and had a stroke on the left side of body in January 2017. He was going through lot of pain. On Monday he starting feeling numb on the other side of the body, so he started to think that there's a second stroke. Stany and his mother admitted him to the hospital but reports didn't show any problem. Due to hyper tension he had a cardiac arrest.

Late Antony Gnana Prakash

Speaking to us, Stany said, "Generally after winning a tournament I would call my mom first and tell her about my victory. After winning Sautron Open I called my mom, but my dad picked up and heard the good news first. I didn't know that would be the last time he would hear about my tournament victory. I just couldn't be a GM before he left me and that will haunt me forever"

Stany's parents felicitated for his chess achievements by Pharmacists Association. Stany's father was a pharmacist.

"It was my uncle who taught me chess, but my father was my first playing partner at home. He just knew basics and after knowing about Followchess he would see my live games all the time. My mom would try to stop him but he used to get very excited like watching a cricket game. He would fight with her and make sure that he watched my game." said Stany.

Little Stany's first playing partner

Stany with his father and elder brother Tony

Family time in Ooty

We, the chess community, thank Anthony Gnana Prakash for his immense contribution to the world of chess. He inspired and motivated a child who has become one of the most feared attackers in Indian chess. It's a tough time for the family. Our prayers and condolences. May his soul rest in peace. While nothing can fill in a father's absence, we are sure that Stany would give it his all to become a grandmaster - a wish that was so close to his father's heart.

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