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Delhi 01: David beats David!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 10/01/2016

The 14th Delhi Open 2016 took off in the Indian capital with almost 1600 players competing for their share of the 35 Lakhs prize fund that is up for grabs. The Category A and B of the Open began yesterday and the tournament witnessed a handful of surprises as the third seed was eliminated by a 12-year-old and a bunch of talented individuals held their higher rated opponents. ChessBase India brings you an illustrated report.

Delhi 01: David beats David!

Over the years, the biblical David vs. Goliath story has metamorphosed such that it has been used by many a sportswriter to describe situations where an underdog makes a game out of an opposition that is too strong for him/her, at least on paper.


On Saturday evening at the Ludlow Sports Complex here in Delhi, things were proceeding well for most of the higher-rated grandmasters, many of them Non-Indians, because Indian grandmasters find Delhi too far away to travel -- only three of the twenty-one GMs are Indians. Anyway, the quietness didn't last long as...

Italian GM David Alberto (2597) played for a trick that turned out to be a mirage, blundering a pawn, going down on time and eventually losing the game to...

 ...Sankalp Gupta (2068) of Nagpur who turned out to be the 'David' of the day!

Everything is fair in love, war and time pressure. Sankalp is a 12-year-old student of Centre Point School in Nagpur, Maharashtra. ChessBase India caught up with the 2016 Under-13 National Schools Champion to understand how he approached this particular game:


This is your career's first grandmaster scalp?

Yes, I have played twice with grandmasters and this is the first time I am beating one. I had earlier held GM Saptarashi Roy Choudhary to a draw.


How did you prepare for this game?

Actually, I couldn't prepare at all as the pairings came just an hour before the round and I was already travelling in a metro to the venue at the time. I just played the game as it came.


Did he walk into your preparation?

I knew until around ten moves and the game looked complicated to me. He lost a pawn in the middlegame and then buckled under time-pressure.


Were you confident of converting your extra pawn during the game? What was your thought process around that point?

Yes, I just thought I have to play at my best and make good moves. That is what I focused on and it worked well.

[Event "14th Delhi Open 2016"]
[Site "Doha QAT"]
[Date "2016.01.10"]
[Round "1.3"]
[White "Gupta, Sankalp"]
[Black "Alberto, David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D42"]
[WhiteElo "2068"]
[BlackElo "2597"]
[Annotator "Heisenberg"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2015.12.20"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.10"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Bd3 cxd4 7. cxd4 Nc6 8.
Nc3 Qd8 9. O-O Be7 10. a3 O-O 11. Bg5 b6 12. Rc1 Bb7 13. Bb1 Rc8 14. Qd3 g6 15.
Bh6 Re8 16. Ba2 Ng4 17. Be3 Bf8 18. Bg5 Nce5 {I thought this is a nice trick
-- GM Alberto} 19. Nxe5 Nxe5 {Now, I realized this was just a blunder.} 20. Qe3
f6 21. Bxf6 Qxf6 22. dxe5 Qh4 23. Qg3 Qh5 24. Rcd1 Rc5 25. Rfe1 Bg7 26. f4 Bf8
27. Rd7 Bc6 28. Rxa7 Kh8 29. b4 Rd8 30. Bxe6 Rd2 31. Bh3 Rc4 32. e6 Bc5+ 33.
bxc5 Qxc5+ 34. Qe3 {Everything is fair in love, war and time pressure.} 1-0


 The top board clash with the Kerala legend Anilkumar Ot (2070) playing the white pieces attracted a lot of spectators; nevertheless,...

 ...the top seed Russian GM Boris Grachev (2652) was through without any hiccups

In terms of the quality of games, the absolute top-seeds had nothing to worry about and they dispatched their Indian opponents, most of them underrated kids, without much ado.

 GM Ivan Popov (2650) of Russia

 GM Anton Demchenko (2596) of Russia

 GM Yuri Solodovnichenko (2581) of Ukraine

 Leader of the Indian challenge: GM M.R. Lalith Babu (2553)

 Local hero GM Vaibhav Suri (2552)

Fresh from his Qatar exploits, IM Vignesh NR (2448) will be excited to see how this tournament goes.

The tournament is a splendid opportunity for titled players, especially Indians, to earn their norms or complete their titles, as IM N. Srinath is bidding to. By the way, he is the one who came up with the title for this article. 

Karnataka's Vinayak Kulkarni (2043) led the pack of Indians who held their higher rated opponents to draws. He drew with GM Artur Gabrielian.

 IM Sameer Kathmale (2306) surprisingly lost to...

...nine-year-old Aditya Mittal (1960) who was too excited during the game to remain calm! 

Speaking of little kids playing strong chess, this tournament has been a breeding ground for a handful of Indian talents who have taken this opportunity to play, learn and improve. The 14th Delhi Open 2016 is host to some of India's finest young blood. Two of them are already category World Champions...

Ten-year-old Praggnanandhaa R. (2174) of Tamil Nadu checking out his own game!

 Eleven-year-old FM Nihal Sarin (2217) of Kerala

Earlier in the day, in the inaugural function, the AICF CEO Mr. Bharat Singh Chauhan made a pleasantly surprising announcement: the 15th Delhi Open will be held in January 2017, and now hold your breath, with a prize fund of Rs. 51 Lakhs! Talk about improvement...

Pairings for Round 02:

Bo. No.   Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg No.
1 1 GM Grachev Boris 2652 1   1   Iniyan P 2275 52
2 53   Patil Pratik 2270 1   1 GM Popov Ivan 2650 2
3 55 FM Rajdeep Sarkar 2267 1   1 GM Demchenko Anton 2596 4
4 5 GM Solodovnichenko Yuri 2581 1   1 IM Murali Krishnan B T 2260 56
5 59   Lokesh N. 2255 1   1 GM Sivuk Vitaly 2566 6
6 7 GM Mozharov Mikhail 2559 1   1   Deshpande Aniruddha 2257 58
7 61   Dhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad 2248 1   1 GM Belous Vladimir 2557 8
8 9 GM Tukhaev Adam 2556 1   1 FM Raghunandan Kaumandur Srihari 2252 60
9 63 IM Krishna Teja N 2246 1   1 GM Lalith Babu M R 2553 10
10 11 GM Vaibhav Suri 2552 1   1   Vijay Keerthi K. 2248 62
11 64   Hemant Sharma (del) 2242 1   1 GM Bernadskiy Vitaliy 2546 12
12 67   Shailesh Dravid 2230 1   1 GM Ernst Sipke 2536 14
13 15 GM Esen Baris 2530 1   1   Debarshi Mukherjee 2233 66
14 69 FM Nihal Sarin 2217 1   1 GM Neverov Valeriy 2506 16
15 17 GM Dzhumaev Marat 2495 1   1   Hirthickkesh Pr 2187 75
16 71   Ram S. Krishnan 2212 1   1 GM Nguyen Duc Hoa 2494 18
17 73 AGM Lakshmi Narayanan M V 2205 1   1 IM Narayanan Srinath 2478 20
18 23 IM Rathnakaran K. 2457 1   1 FM Praggnanandhaa R 2174 77
19 76 IM Chakravarthi Reddy M 2176 1   1 IM Vignesh N R 2448 24
20 25 FM K. Praneeth Surya 2429 1   1   Snehal Bhosale 2155 81

View the complete pairing list here.

Watch the games LIVE!

Download round one top games in PGN

Category-B Open

Alongside the main event, the 14th Delhi Open is also conducting a rating tournament for players rated below the 2000 mark, with a record prize fund. Such tournaments are often a question of deciding a winner among equals; however, here too, there is no dearth of top seeds tumbling left and right.


You will find the pairings for the fourth round today and other details of the Category-B here.

Ten-year-old WFM Divya Deshmukh (1784) has won numerous laurels at the World and National stage already and is a precious talent.

Hinduja Reddy (1953) of Telangana qualified for the Women's National A in 2014 and will be looking forward to a good performance here.

On a personal note, I was overjoyed to meet some of my oldest friends, most of them after more than two years (from left, row-wise): Batman, Superman, Rohan Joshi, Pankit Mota (navy blue), Sairaj Chittal (grey), Akshay Nehete, and Sanjeev Nair.

This is why I love chess tournaments! It helps you call on friends you've never seen, reminisce old memories and forgive your enemies! Live your life like you're never living twice.

Photos for ChessBase India

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