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It's not so easy to stop the evergreen Anup Deshmukh!

by Gopakumar Sudhakaran - 27/04/2017

IM Anup Deshmukh is 50 years old, but is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact his aim is to become a GM after the age of 50. He took some right steps in that direction as he won the 1st Sardar Prakash Singh Memorial tournament held in Sonipat, Haryana ahead of two GMs and seven other IMs. Gopakumar Sudhakaran, the chief arbiter of the event, sends us a beautiful report rich with vibrant pictures and descriptions. You just won't believe what happened in Anup Deshmukh's final round!

Anup Deshmukh shines at Sonipat, Haryana

1st Sardar Prakash Singh Memorial Open Fide Rated Chess Tournament organized by Baba Kalinath Chriatable Trust was held at Gulshan Dhaba, Sonipat from 17-22 April 2017. 


This rupees Five Lakhs prize money event attracted a total number of 327 players which included two grandmasters, eight International Masters and 260 international rated players from different parts of India and two foreign federations.

Fully Air Conditioned playing hall provided a good tournament conditions for the players

In a befitting opening ceremony, Shri. Bharat Singh, CEO of All India Chess Federation inaugurated the event in presence of Shri. Naresh Sharma, Secretary the Haryana Chess Association. Grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade of Railways started as top seed and the entire tournament saw lots of ups and downs as well as grueling battles over chequered board.

Shri. Bharat Singh CEO AICF and top seed GM Swapnil Dhopade making the inaugural moves

The initial two rounds progressed on expected lines but in the third round, 12-year-old Delhi Player Aaryan Varshney caused a flutter not only in the tournament but also in chess world by upsetting top seed and Grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade with black pieces.


We reported on this game and it created quite a flutter in the chess world. Check out the article here.

12-year-old Aaryan Varshney

In the fifth round, the long awaited moment for Haryana chess happened as International Master Himanshu Sharma crossed the rating barrier of 2500 to become the 47th grandmaster of India and the first from Haryana.

Felicitation of Himanshu Sharma during closing ceremony by Smt. Kavita Jain, Cabinet Minister Govt of Haryana and Shri. Mahipal Dhanda, MLA. Govt of Haryana announced a cash award of Rs. 5 lakh to Himanshu

Shock defeat of Dhopade in third round and achievement of Sharma in fifth round changed the complexion of the entire tournament.  At the end of penultimate round, Saravana Krishnan P of Tamilnadu emerged as sole leader after beating Fide Master Rakesh Kumar Jena of Odisha. 

Saravana Krishnan finished as second runner-up

In the final round, Saravana Krishnan signed the peace treaty with Hemant Sharma of Railways but seasoned campaigner International Master Anup Deshmukh of LIC had other ideas as he ensured a thrilling end to the tournament by beating Grandmaster Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury to catch up with leader Saravana Krishnan.

IM Anup Deshmukh's last round win was nothing short of epic!

Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury vs Anup Deshmukh, final round

Saptarshi had good chances for a draw with White but he clearly went wrong with his last move e4-e5. Can you see how to finish the game?
[Event "1st Sardar Prakash Singh Memorial Fide R"]
[Site "Sonipat"]
[Date "2017.04.22"]
[Round "10.2"]
[White "Roy Chowdhury, Saptarshi"]
[Black "Deshmukh, Anup"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "2345"]
[BlackElo "2228"]
[Annotator "Sagar,Shah"]
[PlyCount "136"]
[EventDate "2017.04.17"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. c3 {That's the usual style of Saptarshi. Go for calm
positional lines. That's what he excels in.} Nf6 4. Be2 Nbd7 (4... Nxe4 5. Qa4+
{is a tad uncomfortable.}) 5. d3 b6 6. O-O Bb7 7. Nbd2 Qc7 8. Re1 g6 9. Nf1 Bg7
10. Ng3 {The knight on g3 is dominated by the g6 pawn. It is possible that
White is trying for d4 but it doesn't really seem so easy to execute.} O-O 11.
Bf1 Ne5 $1 12. a4 $6 (12. d4 Nxf3+ 13. Qxf3 $11 {Could have been a better try
for White.}) 12... Nxf3+ 13. Qxf3 Nd7 (13... h5 $5 {is a very unusual move
threatening h4 followed by d5.}) 14. Qd1 e5 {I would already prefer Black. He
has nothing much to worry.} 15. a5 d5 16. a6 Bc6 17. b4 d4 $1 18. c4 cxb4 19.
Bd2 Rfe8 20. Bxb4 Bf8 $1 {Exchanging your worse placed piece makes sense.} 21.
Bd2 Nc5 $17 {Because of all the clarifications in the centre, White is left
with a weak d3 and a6 pawns and black has a majestic knight on c5. A
completely dominating position for Deshmukh.} 22. Be2 Bd7 23. Rf1 Bd6 24. Bb4
Ne6 (24... b5 $5) 25. Bxd6 Qxd6 26. Bg4 b5 27. Bxe6 Rxe6 {It's true White has
minimized the damage by some creative exchanges, his position is still quite
unpleasant. The next move is really inexplicable.} 28. Qd2 $2 (28. cxb5 {
was neccesary.} Bxb5 29. Ne2 Rc8 30. f4 {White can get some counterplay
rolling.}) 28... bxc4 29. dxc4 $17 {Black has a strong passed pawn on d4.} Bc8
30. Ra4 Rb8 31. Rfa1 Qc7 32. h4 Qe7 33. h5 Reb6 34. Qc1 Qf6 {Slowly and
steadily Black has reorganized his pieces in the best possible manner.} 35.
hxg6 hxg6 {This only helps Black who uses the h-file to attack the White king
later in the game.} 36. R4a2 Kg7 37. c5 Rc6 38. Ra3 Bg4 39. Ra5 Qh4 40. Nf1 Be2
$1 41. f3 Bxf1 (41... Rh8 {Keeping the tension was also a good idea.}) 42. Qxf1
Rh8 43. Qe1 Qf4 44. Qc1 Qh2+ 45. Kf2 Qh4+ 46. Kg1 Rf6 {Threatening Rxf3.} (
46... g5 $1 {With the idea of g4 was pretty strong.}) 47. R5a3 g5 48. Qe1 (48.
c6 g4 49. c7 gxf3 50. c8=Q Qh2+ 51. Kf2 Qxg2+ 52. Ke1 Qe2#) 48... Qh2+ 49. Kf2
g4 50. Qg1 Qf4 (50... Qh4+ 51. Ke2 gxf3+ 52. gxf3+ Rg6 53. Qf1 Qh2+ 54. Kd3 Rg2
55. Qd1 Rc8 $19 {would have been the most accurate way to finish off the game.}
) 51. Qc1 g3+ 52. Ke2 Rh2 {This is still a lost ending, but gives White a
chance to fight on.} 53. Qxf4 Rxg2+ 54. Kd3 Rxf4 55. Kc4 Rf6 $2 (55... Rc2+ $1
56. Kd5 Kf6 57. c6 g2 58. Kd6 Rh4 59. c7 Rh1 60. Kd7 Rf1 {And that's game over!
}) 56. Kd5 $1 {White has some chances now.} Rc2 57. Rg1 Rg6 58. Kxe5 Rxc5+ 59.
Kxd4 {White has limited the damage and has good drawing chances.} Rc2 60. Ke3
g2 61. Raa1 Kf8 62. Ra5 Ke7 63. Raa1 Kd6 64. Rad1+ Kc6 65. Ra1 Rb2 66. f4 Rg3+
67. Kd4 f6 68. e5 $4 {Unbelievable!} (68. Rac1+ Kd6 69. Rc3 {The game goes on
and a draw is the most probable result.}) 68... Rb4# {Mate! What a way to end
the tournament!} 0-1


A two way tie for the pole position was resolved by buchholz tie break score and better tiebreak score helped Deshmukh to lift the Sardar Prakash Singh Memorial trophy and pocketed a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh.  Saravana Krishnan had to be satisfied with Rs.71,000 while IM Dinesh Sharma finished at third position to secure Rs. 41,000 as cash prize.

Winner Anup Deshmukh receiving his trophy

Champion IM Anup Deshmukh with a cheque of Rs.1,00,000

This interview was taken in December 2016. Born in 1967 Anup Deshmukh is nearly 50 years old. His confidence is infectious. He says there are many young GMs in the world but very few who become GMs after the age of 50! That's his aim! :)

IM Dinesh Sharma finished as second runner-up

Hemant Sharma (right) finished fourth while R.A. Pradeep Kumar was fifth

Top seed GM Swapnil Dhopade finished at tenth

Last round lose against champion Anup Deshmukh pushed GM Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury to eleventh place finish

K. Srikanth of Indian Air Force and Raj Prakhar of Haryana were the best players below 1900 and below 1600 respectively. They won cash awards of Rs. 25000 and Rs. 21000.  Amit Kumar Bansal of Uttar Pradesh and Stuti Bhanot of Haryana secured prizes for Best Unrated and Best Girl respectively.

K Srikanth of Indian Air Force: best player in Below 1900 category

Raj Prakhar of Haryana finished best among below 1600 players

Stuti Bhanot of Haryana - best female player in the event

Chess event of such a magnitude happened for the first time at Sonipat and the enthusiasm of organisers made it a memorable event for the players.

Tournament Directors Shri. Nilesh Jindal and Shri. Dayanand Sindhu put meticulous effort to make the event a successful one

Pahalwan Dhaba owned by tournament director Shri. Dayanand Sindhu provided delicious food to the participants


Players will never forget the Parathas with ‘Desi Makkhan’ and Lassi that they were treated to

Sonipat welcomes you to enjoy the hot parathas with makkhan in 2018!

Final Ranking after 10 Rounds

Rk. SNo   Name Typ sex FED Rtg Club/City Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4   TB5 
1 12 IM Deshmukh Anup     IND 2228 LIC 8,5 0,0 65,0 69,5 58,25 7,0
2 5   Saravana Krishnan P.     IND 2347 KVB (TN) 8,5 0,0 60,0 64,5 54,00 8,0
3 11 IM Sharma Dinesh K.     IND 2262 LIC 8,0 0,0 65,0 70,0 54,25 6,0
4 4   Hemant Sharma (del)     IND 2375 RLYS 8,0 0,0 64,5 70,5 55,50 6,0
5 9   Pradeep Kumar R A     IND 2316 TN 8,0 0,0 64,5 69,0 53,00 7,0
6 3 IM Krishna C R G     IND 2393 RLYS 8,0 0,0 64,0 69,0 53,00 7,0
7 10 FM Srinath Rao S.V.     IND 2312 MAH 8,0 0,0 62,0 67,0 51,00 7,0
8 22   Doshi Moksh Amitbhai     IND 1974 GUJ 8,0 0,0 59,5 64,0 48,25 7,0
9 29   Sumit Grover     IND 1933 J&K 8,0 0,0 58,0 63,5 48,75 7,0
10 1 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade     IND 2545 RLYS 8,0 0,0 58,0 62,5 48,25 7,0
11 6 GM Roy Chowdhury Saptarshi     IND 2345 RLYS 7,5 0,0 65,0 69,0 48,50 6,0
12 15   Joshi Govind Ballabh     IND 2107 AI 7,5 0,0 61,5 65,5 47,75 6,0
13 40   Srikanth K.     IND 1886 IAF 7,5 0,0 61,0 65,0 45,75 7,0
14 2 IM Himanshu Sharma     IND 2493 RLYS 7,5 0,0 60,0 63,5 46,25 6,0
15 68   Sahil Dhawan     IND 1737 HAR 7,5 0,0 56,0 59,0 42,00 7,0
16 52   Pankaj Sindhu     IND 1819 HAR/SPT 7,5 0,0 55,5 60,0 42,75 6,0
17 18   Vinay Raj Bhatt     IND 2041 UTT 7,5 0,0 55,5 60,0 42,00 7,0
18 34   Mahindrakar Indrajeet     IND 1901 MAH 7,5 0,0 54,0 57,5 41,25 7,0

Complete final rankings list

Download all the games of the event in PGN format

About the author:

Gopakumar became an A-grade International Arbiter during the FIDE Arbiter's Commission meeting. He is only the fifth Indian to achieve this feat. He was the chief arbiter at two 2600+ double round robin events, Asian Youth Chief Arbiter at South Korea, Deputy chief arbiter at Asian Youth and Asian Junior at New Delhi. He dedicates his success to the Air Force background that he comes from.