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Commonwealth Chess Round 1: Kumar Gaurav stuns Ziaur Rahman

by Sagar Shah and Jitendra Choudhary - 04/07/2017

The Commonwealth Championships 2017 began with a bang! GM Ziaur Rahman was tactically outwitted by national junior champion Kumar Gaurav. IM Thejkumar, GM Sahaj Grover, GM Pravin Thipsay and many other top players were held to draws by their lower rated opponents. In this article we give you an overview of the first round, tell you about the stiff competition in women's section (a small contest in there!) and introducing you to a new chess broadcasting technology. Pictures from Delhi by Jitendra Choudhary.

This year the Commonwealth Championship promises to be a very interesting battle for the top spot. While Abhijeet Gupta, who has won this title three times already, is a clear favourite, he should receive a tough fight from India's rising super star Aravindh Chithambaram. Third seed is Vaibhav Suri, who won the 2nd ChessBase India prize money online blitz tournament, ahead of 15 other GMs. But classical chess is a completely different ball game and the fact that he is playing after such a long time might make him susceptible to some rustiness. Fourth seeded Ziaur Rahman's chances of becoming the Commonwealth Champion received a serious jolt when he lost to India's National Junior Champion Kumar Gaurav.

From being well over 2200, Kumar has come down to 2014 on the Elo charts, but he remains a dangerous opponent!
[Event "Commonwealth Chess-ch 2017"]
[Site "Delhi"]
[Date "2017.07.03"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Rahman, Ziaur"]
[Black "Kumar, Gaurav"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2527"]
[BlackElo "2014"]
[Annotator "TA RC"]
[PlyCount "132"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 c6 3. Nf3 e4 4. Nd4 Nf6 5. Bg2 d5 6. d3 {A20: English Opening:
1...e5} exd3 7. Qxd3 {LiveBook: 4 Games} Bc5 $146 ({Predecessor:} 7... dxc4 8.
Qxc4 Nbd7 9. O-O Nb6 10. Qd3 Be7 11. Nc3 O-O 12. Rd1 Bc5 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bxf6
Qxf6 {1/2-1/2 (32) Grachev,B (2649)-Korobov,A (2700) Skopje 2015}) 8. cxd5 {
The position is equal.} Nxd5 9. a3 O-O 10. O-O Nd7 11. Nf3 a5 12. e4 Nc7 13.
Nc3 (13. Bg5 $5 Be7 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. Qe3 $11) 13... Qe7 14. Na4 Ba7 15. Bf4
Nc5 16. Nxc5 Bxc5 17. Rac1 $36 {White is pushing.} Ne6 18. Be3 a4 19. Rfd1 Bxe3
20. Qxe3 Ra5 21. Nd2 Rb5 22. Nc4 Rb3 (22... c5 $11 {remains equal.}) 23. Qa7
$16 Nc5 24. Na5 Rd3 $1 25. Nxc6 $1 Qd6 $1 26. Rxd3 Nxd3 27. e5 $1 Qe6 28. Rd1
Qb3 29. Ne7+ Kh8 30. Rd2 Qc4 $1 {( -> ...Qc1+)} 31. Qe3 $1 {With some series
of accurate moves, White has been able to conserve an advantage.} (31. Bf1 Bh3
$11) 31... Nxe5 (31... Qc1+ 32. Bf1 Nxe5 $1 33. Rd5 Qxe3 34. fxe3 $11) 32. Nxc8
$2 {[#]} (32. Rd4 $16 {keeps the pressure on.} Qc7 33. Nd5) 32... Qc1+ $1 $19
33. Bf1 Qxd2 $1 {A tactical miss by Ziaur Rahman.} 34. Qxe5 Rxc8 {Endgame
KQR-KQB} 35. Qb5 h6 36. Qxb7 Rc2 $2 (36... Rc1 $19 37. Kg2 Qd1) 37. Qa8+ (37.
Qxf7 $11 {was the only way to keep the balance.} Qd8 38. b4) 37... Kh7 $17 38.
Qf3 Rc7 ({Don't blunder} 38... Rxb2 $2 39. Bd3+ Qxd3 40. Qxd3+ $18) 39. Qe4+ g6
40. Qxa4 Qxb2 41. h4 Kg7 42. Qb5 Qxb5 (42... Qf6 $19 {and Black stays clearly
on top. White must now prevent ... Rc2.} 43. Be2 Rc2) 43. Bxb5 $19 {KR-KB} Rc1+
44. Kg2 Ra1 45. a4 f5 46. Kf3 Kf6 47. Ke3 Ra3+ (47... Ke5 $17 48. f4+ Kd5) 48.
Kd4 $11 Rf3 49. a5 Rxf2 {Threatens to win with ...g5.} 50. a6 Rf3 51. Kc5 ({
But not} 51. Bd3 $2 Rxg3 52. a7 Rg4+ 53. Kc5 Ra4 $19) 51... Rxg3 52. Kb4 {
[#] And now a7 would win.} Rg4+ 53. Kb3 Rg1 $2 (53... Rg3+ $11 54. Kb4 Rg4+ 55.
Kc3 Rg1) 54. Kb2 $2 (54. a7 $18) 54... Rd1 {aiming for ...Rd5.} 55. a7 Rd8 56.
Bc6 Ke5 {...Kf4 is the strong threat.} 57. a8=Q Rxa8 58. Bxa8 {KB-K3P} Kf4 59.
Kc3 Ke3 60. Kc4 $1 f4 61. Bg2 $2 (61. Kd5 $11) 61... g5 $19 62. hxg5 hxg5 63.
Bh3 Kf3 (63... f3 $142 64. Bf1 g4 65. Kd5 g3 66. Ba6 g2 67. Bb5 g1=Q 68. Kd6
Kd4 69. Kc6 Qg6+ 70. Kd7 Qf5+ 71. Kc6 Qc5+ 72. Kd7 Qxb5+ 73. Kc7 f2 74. Kc8
f1=Q 75. Kd8 Qf8+ 76. Kc7 Qfb8#) 64. Kd4 g4 {Black mates.} 65. Bf1 Kf2 66. Ke4
f3 {Precision: White = 43%, Black = 52%.} 0-1

Top seed and defending champion Abhijeet Gupta won against talented youngster Divya Deshmukh without too many problems
[Event "Commonwealth Chess-ch 2017"]
[Site "Delhi"]
[Date "2017.07.03"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Divya Deshmukh"]
[Black "Gupta, Abhijeet"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B94"]
[WhiteElo "2045"]
[BlackElo "2625"]
[PlyCount "110"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. f4 Qb6 8.
Qd2 e5 {B94: Sicilian Najdorf: 6 Bg5 Nbd7} 9. Nb3 h6 10. Bh4 exf4 {The
position is equal.} 11. Bxf6 $146 ({Predecessor:} 11. Bf2 {seems wilder.} Qd8 (
11... Qc7 12. O-O-O Ne5 13. Qxf4 Be7 14. Kb1 b5 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 {0-1 (36)
Bergsson,S (2063)-Navara,D (2736) Reykjavik 2015}) 12. Be2 Be7 13. Qxf4 O-O 14.
Nd4) 11... Nxf6 12. Qxf4 Be7 13. Be2 O-O 14. Qf2 Qxf2+ 15. Kxf2 b5 16. Bf3 {
e5! is the strong threat.} b4 17. Ne2 (17. Nd1 $1 $15) 17... Bb7 18. Ng3 Bd8
19. Rhd1 Rc8 20. Rd2 Bb6+ 21. Kf1 Be3 22. Re2 Bf4 $1 $36 {Black has some
pressure.} 23. Nf5 Rfe8 24. g3 {[#]} ({White should try} 24. Rd1 $1 $15) 24...
g6 $1 $17 25. Nfd4 Be5 26. Rd1 {[#]} (26. a3 $142) 26... a5 $1 {Strongly
threatening ...Ba6.} 27. Ree1 (27. Kg2 $17 {keeps fighting.}) (27. Nxa5 Ba6)
27... a4 28. Na1 $2 (28. Na5 $17 Ba8 29. Be2) 28... Rc4 $19 29. c3 bxc3 30.
bxc3 Rxc3 31. Kf2 Ba6 32. Ne2 Ra3 33. Nc2 Rxa2 34. Nb4 Bxe2 35. Nxa2 Bxd1 36.
Rxd1 Rb8 {Black is clearly winning.} 37. Rd2 a3 38. Ke2 g5 39. Kd1 g4 40. Bg2
Nd7 41. Rc2 Nc5 42. Nc1 Rb4 43. Na2 Rb1+ 44. Ke2 h5 45. Kd2 Nb3+ 46. Kd3 Rb2
47. Nb4 Nd4 48. Rc3 Rxb4 49. Rxa3 Rb2 50. Bf1 Rf2 {White must now prevent ...
Rf3+.} 51. Ra8+ Kg7 52. Ra1 Nf3 53. Rd1 Rxh2 54. Ke3 Bxg3 55. Be2 Ne5 {
Precision: White = 37%, Black = 70%.} 0-1

Battle of generations! India's third grandmaster Pravin Thipsay is back on the chess board after quite some time. He drew his first round game against Manish Cristiano Anto
M.S. Thejkumar needs nine Elo points to become India's next GM. After the first round draw against Bala Kannamma, he now needs 13 Elo points!
Also playing after a long gap is GM Ankit Rajpara
Always a guy to watch out for GM Deepan Chakravarthy. Did you see the attacking style in which he finished a 2600+ GM. Check this article and scroll to the end of it.
Bangladeshi GM Niaz Murshed would be looking for a strong performance at the tournament. Did you know the ChessBase India shop and its discounted prices is open for players of seven other countries including Bangladesh. The new Paypal method can help you get quality ChessBase products at nearly 60% discount.


See the tablets next to the board? That's ChessKast devices for you. The idea is that one of the players has to maintain the moves on the tablet instead of the scoresheet. The moment the moves are made on the tablet they are broadcast all around the world. In the case of the Commonwealth Championships 2017, there is a delay of 30 minutes.


The idea of broadcasting games via ChessKast has been developed by Asim Pereira. He was encouraged by AICF Secretary to use the new technology at the Commonwealth Championships. Knowing Asim's high quality of work (we hope that you have all downloaded Follow Chess App) we are sure that using tablets as a means of broadcasting will become a common occurence in tournaments all over India.

A quick chat with Asim, where he explains how the ChessKast technology works and his vision
A demo of a slightly older version of ChessKast

Stiff competition amongst women players:

There is no separate section for the women players. They are all playing in the open. But there is the title of the Commonwealth women's champion on stake. And the race for it is going to be very intense as a lot of top women players are participating.

Local favourite Tania Sachdev drew her first round game
Riding on her positive performance at the World Teams, Padmini Rout is surely a favourite
Mary Ann Gomes from Kolkata is a great fighter
Former World Junior Champion Soumya Swaminathan might want to add another feather to her hat here!
The 2016 Asian Champion Bhakti Kulkarni
West Bengal's first WGM Nisha Mohota is now an IM. She will be looking forward to showing her class!
Not to be forgotten Nandhidhaa P.V. of Tamil Nadu
Who will be the women's Commonwealth Champion?
As you can see, the women's tournament is quite intense. Who will become the Champion? Do let us know in the comments section below. People who have given the right answer will win 3 months ChessBase Premium Account. Mind you, 4th of July is the last date to submit your answers. Any answers received after that won't be counted for the contest.
Wazeer Ahmed Khan, Asian Senior Champion in action. And look right next to him is Swati Ghate, you might want to consider her for the Commonwealth title candidate!

Rank after Round 1:

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 1 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2625 1,0 0,0 0,0 0,0
  2 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND 2593 1,0 0,0 0,0 0,0
  3 GM Vaibhav Suri IND 2558 1,0 0,0 0,0 0,0
  5 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade IND 2517 1,0 0,0 0,0 0,0
  6 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2504 1,0 0,0 0,0 0,0
  9 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. IND 2482 1,0 0,0 0,0 0,0
  10 GM Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib BAN 2480 1,0 0,0 0,0 0,0

Complete Rankings

Round 2 on 2017/07/04 at 1500 hrs

Bo. No.   Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg No.
1 1 GM Gupta Abhijeet 2625 1   1 WIM Nandhidhaa Pv 2221 36
2 35 IM Chakravarthi Reddy M 2227 1   1 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 2593 2
3 3 GM Vaibhav Suri 2558 1   1 WFM Srija Seshadri 2200 38
4 5 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade 2517 1   1 WCM Mrudul Dehankar 2155 42
5 37 IM Ooi Zhi Yang 2203 1   1 GM Kunte Abhijit 2504 6
6 9 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. 2482 1   1 WFM Jishitha D 2145 44
7 39   Nayak Rajesh 2198 1   1 GM Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib 2480 10
8 11 GM Ankit R. Rajpara 2474 1   1 WIM Parnali S Dharia 2140 46
9 41 WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty 2170 1   1 GM Gagare Shardul 2472 12
10 43   Mahindrakar Indrajeet 2154 1   1 IM Shyaamnikhil P 2450 14

Pairings of round two

Age groups:

This is the first time that different sections have been created for age groups at the Commonwealth. What usually would happen is that all the players would play in one open section and then the u-8, u-10, u-12 etc. champions would be selected based on the highest points scored. This time we have separate events. There are 14 categories in all. Seven age categories for both open and girls section right from under-8 to under-20. The age group events take place in the morning, and hence many players can play in the open section in the afternoon!

Tropicana keeps Kumar Gaurav going! In the morning he lost his game to Sidhant Mohapatra. The boy from Bihar came back in the evening and, as mentioned at the start of the article, beat Ziaur Rahman.
Sidhant is the second seed in the u-20 section. The top seed is GM Shardul Gagare.
In the girls u-20 section a big favourite to win the title is Aakanksha Hagawane

Live games:

Following live games of the Commonwealth has been made very easy. You can now do it from the ChessBase India website by clicking on the link below. The games begin at 15.00 hours. Apart from just watching the live games, you can also view the games of the previous rounds (and download them if you are a ChessBase Account Premium Member). There's also some light analysis of the games done by using the Tactical analysis feature.


Follow the games live by clicking on this link

Chess-results link of age categories:

U-8 Open (Ilamparthi in action)

U-8 Girls


U-10 Open

U-10 Girls (It is going to be a race between Savitha and Sahithi)


U-12 Open

U-12 Girls (Divya Deshmukh is a clear favourite)


U-14 Open

U-14 Girls


U-16 Open

U-16 Girls


U-18 Open

U-18 Girls


U-20 Open (GM Shardul Gagare is the favourite)

U-20 Girls

Articles on Commonwealth 2017 on ChessBase India:

Commonwealth Chess Championships 2017 begin today

Live Games from Commonwealth 2017


About the author:
Jitendra Choudhary is a chess trainer in Delhi. He is from Madhya Pradesh, but shifted to Delhi to pursue his passion related to chess. He currently teaches students, works as an arbiter and would like to dedicate more time to being a chess journalist.

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