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Commonwealth: 13 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 21/09/2016

First of all, sorry for the late report -- the writer was away on world juniors duty. Did you know that WIM Nandhidhaa actually finished ahead of Tania Sachdev in the Commonwealth Chess Championship? Despite that, Tania took the Commonwealth Women's title and not Nandhidhaa! The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka organized the Commonwealth Championship 2016. IM Tania Sachdev took the women's title of the Commonwealth Champion, while GM Abhijeet Gupta was crowned the men's champion. Enjoy our report with some lip-smacking portraits by Sri Lanka's Ruwan Gunaratne.

Commonwealth: 13 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze

Commonwealth Championship 2016:

The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka on behalf of the Commonwealth Chess Association and the FIDE had organized the Commonwealth Chess Championship 2016 from July 31 to August 6. The event was a gala affair with as many as 32 Indians from among 185 odd players -- with 9 grandmasters and 6 international masters -- competing for prizes in Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-14, Under-16, Under-18, and the Under-20 section for both boys and girls. (By the way, do you like this system of having so many category prizes in place is good? Or do you think it just defeats the purpose of quality competition?). In addition, of course, there is the Commonwealth Champion title for both the men and women.

Citrus Hotel Waskaduwa:

The regal Hotel Citrus Waskaduwa was the host and venue of the tournament. You can see that it is situated directly in front of the beach. [Photo:]

The Champions:

IM Tania Sachdev took the women's title of the Commonwealth Champion, while GM Abhijeet Gupta was crowned the men's champion. [Photo:]

GM Abhijeet Gupta's five consecutive wins won him the tournament

Abhijeet Gupta retained his Commonwealth title winning the Championship with a strong finish of five consecutive wins after dropping two half points earlier on, one to Sri Lanka’s National champ (3rd Round) Rajeendra Kalugampitiya and one to A Hagawane of Indonesia (4th Round). He scored 8.0/9.

Final Standings:

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4   TB5 
1 1 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2630 8,0 0,0 7,0 5 49,5 54,5
2 4 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan IND 2515 7,5 0,0 6,0 4 48,5 52,5
3 7 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. IND 2477 7,0 0,0 7,0 5 50,0 54,5
4 24 WIM Nandhidhaa Pv IND 2151 7,0 0,0 7,0 4 44,0 48,0
5 5 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade IND 2500 7,0 0,0 6,0 5 47,0 51,0
6 6 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2495 7,0 0,0 6,0 4 51,0 56,0
7 3 GM Vaibhav Suri IND 2556 7,0 0,0 6,0 4 50,0 55,0
8 2 GM Lalith Babu M R IND 2565 7,0 0,0 6,0 4 47,5 51,0
9 10 IM Tania Sachdev IND 2398 7,0 0,0 5,0 4 50,0 54,0
10 13 FM Thavandiran Shiyam CAN 2344 7,0 0,0 5,0 4 46,0 50,0

Full list here.

Nandhidhaa's Dubious Move:

If you look at the final standings carefully, you will notice that WIM Nandhidhaa actually finished fourth on the tie-break, while Tania, with the same points, had finished ninth. Logically, Nandhidhaa should have become the Women's Champion, right? Wrong!

WIM Nandhidhaa Pv (2151)

Nandhidhaa was in choppy waters in the middle of the event, after losing to GM Deepan Chakravarthy and Sri Lanka's Osheen De Silva (1904). But she came back very strongly with four consecutive wins, including her last round upset of GM Ankit Rajpara.


She finished fourth on the tie-break, but, before the tournament had begun, she had registered her name for the Under-20 section! Hence, she was given the Under-20 prize and not the Open one. Talk about the rigidity of rules...

Nevertheless, IM Tania Sachdev played much stronger opponents on an average and was undefeated throughout. This included draws against three grandmasters. A fully deserved Commonwealth title!


Do you want to play like Tania Sachdev?

Tania has recorded a wonderful series of DVDs for ChessBase.

Have you been in a situation where you felt lost in the middlegame? Many players rated below 1800 don’t know how to judge positions and develop their play – and their chess stagnates. Are you one of them?


To make matters worse, they refer to tonnes of useless chess material and get frustrated when their attempts go to waste.


On this DVD, well-known Indian WGM Tania Sachdev shows you how to evaluate certain positions and then find the right concepts and plans on the basis of her own games. Sachdev explains her own thoughts and recounts how she arrived at successful decisions and, as a result, played good moves. She will teach you to:

  • How to handle pawn structures
  • How to handle piece play
  • How to make the right exchanges

The first DVD in the two-part series touches on the positional themes that she displayed in the games you saw above. Learn from IM Tania Sachdev and improve and enjoy your chess!




13 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze

The Indian contingent took home a total of 13 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze medals while Sri Lanka settled for two gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze medals. There were separate and concurrent tournaments in several age group categories as we mentioned before (for boys and girls who opted to play in these sections). Prizes were awarded for the best performances in the Open category by those in the under-16, 18 and 20 age groups as well. Check the complete prize list here.

Portraits by Ruwan Gunaratne

Silver Medal: GM S.L. Narayanan (2515) of Kerala with 7.5/9.

Bronze Medal: GM Deepan Chakravarthy (2477) of Tamil Nadu with 7.0/9.

GM Lalith Babu MR (2565) also scored 7.0/9.

Gujarat's GM Ankit Rajpara (2476) scored 6.0/9, despite being leading the event with 5.0/5 at one point. He finished with two losses to slip to the 21st place.

Fifth seed GM Swapnil Dhopade (2500) finished fifth with 7.0/9.

GM Tejas Bakre (2453) of Gujarat was 6.5/9.

Aradhya Garg (2262) of Delhi was silver in the under-16 section.

Barath Kalyan M. (2197) of Tamil Nadu scored 6.0/9.

Akanksha Hagawane (2181) scored 6.0/9 and was gold in under-16 girls' section.

WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty (2112) was also 6.0/9.

Smaraki Mohanty (1827) scored 5.5/9 and was gold in under-18 section.

WGM Mary Ann Gomes (2301) scored 6.0/9.

IM Nisha Mohota (2257) could muster up only 5.5/9.

WFM Rucha Pujari (2137) scored 5.0/9.

Ruwan Gunaratne

Ruwan Gunaratne has photographed countless chess players and chess fans in Sri Lanka over the years. You can find his works on his Facebook profile.

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