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The worst organized National Premier ever

by Sagar Shah - 20/11/2016

We earlier reported that the players were left high and dry at the 54th National Premier 2016, when the organizers didn't have a venue at the start of the event. Three rounds have been played after that and Murali Karthikeyan leads the tournament with 2.5/3. However, the main focus is no longer chess, as the organizers called up a meeting of players to inform them that the venue is no longer available. It's a nightmare for the participants and we bring you the views, opinions and all the updates.

We will come to the reasons behind the headline later. First of all let's focus on the chess. At the end of two rounds Aravindh Chithambaram was the sole leader with 2.0/2. In round three he was up against the National Challengers Champion Ravi Teja.

Image result for Ravi Teja ChessBase India

Ravi Teja played with extreme concentration and calmly refuted Aravindh's speculative piece sacrifice
[Event "54th National Premier Chess Championship"]
[Site "Lucknow Public School,Vinamra "]
[Date "2016.11.19"]
[Round "3.7"]
[White "Aravindh, Chithambaram Vr"]
[Black "Ravi, Teja S"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "2565"]
[BlackElo "2384"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2016.11.17"]
[EventRounds "13"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. c4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 b5 7. Ne5 Nd5 8. a4 f6
9. e4 Nxc3 10. Qh5+ g6 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Qxg6+ Kd7 13. bxc3 Be7 (13... b4 $1 {
would have been very strong and Black was better. Taking the pawn on b4 is not
an option and giving a passer on b3 is not something that White would be very
happy about.}) 14. Qg4 (14. axb5 $1 cxb5 15. e5 Nc6 16. exf6 Bxf6 17. Bf4 $16 {
This is a clearly better position for White.}) 14... Qg8 15. Qe2 e5 16. O-O Kc7
17. Be3 Bb7 18. d5 a6 19. dxc6 Bxc6 {Black's king is quite safe. White has
some compensation but it is not enough.} 20. axb5 axb5 21. Rxa8 Bxa8 22. Rb1
Bc6 23. h4 Na6 24. Qa2 Qa8 25. Qa5+ Kb8 26. Ra1 Nc7 27. Ba7+ Kc8 28. Qb6 Bd7
29. Qe3 Ne6 30. Qc1 Qc6 31. Be3 Bc5 32. Bh3 Kb7 33. Bf5 Nf4 34. gxf4 (34. Bxd7
Qxd7 35. gxf4 Qg4+ $19) 34... Bxf5 35. Bxc5 Qxe4 36. Ra7+ Kb8 37. Rg7 Rxh4 38.
Rg2 Bh3 39. Rg8+ Bc8 40. Rg2 Qh7 {Over ambitious play by Aravindh was refuted
well by Ravi Teja.} 0-1


Image result for Murali Karthikeyan ChessBase India

Defending champion Murali Karthikeyan played an enterprising game in the Blumenfeld Gambit to beat GM R R Laxman and take the sole lead

The stars of the event Vidit Gujrathi and B.Adhiban were pitted against each other in the third round (photo by David Llada)
[Event "54th National Premier Chess Championship"]
[Site "Lucknow Public School,Vinamra "]
[Date "2016.11.19"]
[Round "3.4"]
[White "Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi"]
[Black "Adhiban, B."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "2689"]
[BlackElo "2666"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2016.11.17"]
[EventRounds "13"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
{The battle between the top two seeds of the event.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. d4
Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d5 6. c4 c6 7. b3 dxc4 8. bxc4 c5 9. Bb2 cxd4 10. Nxd4
Nc6 {Following the game between Kramnik and Giri. It is funny that Adhiban
follows Giri's line against Giri's second!} 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Nd2 Qc7 13. Qa4
Rb8 14. Nb3 Bg4 15. Bxc6 Rfc8 16. Bg2 (16. Rfd1 $5 Bxe2 (16... Qxc6 $2 17. Rd8+
$16) 17. Rd2 Bg4 18. Re1 $36 {The position should be around equal, although it
seems that White has some initiative.}) 16... Bxe2 17. Rfe1 Bxc4 18. Be5 Qd7 $1
19. Qxd7 (19. Bxb8 Qxa4 $19) 19... Nxd7 20. Bxb8 Bxa1 21. Bxa7 Bb2 22. Bd4 Bxd4
23. Nxd4 Bxa2 24. Nc6 Kf8 25. Nxe7 Rb8 {A short but fighting game between two
of the best players of our country.} (25... Re8 26. Ra1 $11) 1/2-1/2


S. Nitin is a dangerous attacker and he proved this by launching a dangerous attack on Praneeth Surya in the topical line of the Najdorf
[Event "54th National Premier Chess Championship"]
[Site "Lucknow Public School,Vinamra "]
[Date "2016.11.19"]
[Round "3.1"]
[White "Nitin, S."]
[Black "Praneeth, Surya K"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "2415"]
[BlackElo "2388"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventDate "2016.11.17"]
[EventRounds "13"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3
Nbd7 9. Qd2 b5 10. O-O-O Be7 11. g4 b4 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. exd5 Nb6 14. Na5 {
This is all theory until now.} Nbxd5 15. Nc6 Qc7 16. Nxe7 Nxe3 (16... Qxe7 17.
g5 $18) (16... Nxe7 17. Qxd6 $16) 17. Qxe3 Kxe7 (17... Qxe7 18. Qb6 O-O 19.
Qxd6 Qb7 $11) 18. Bd3 Rhd8 {The first new move of the game.} 19. Qg5 h6 20. Qh4
(20. Qxg7 Rh8 $1 {and the queen is trapped as after} 21. g5 Nh5 $19 {It's all
over.}) 20... a5 21. f4 Rh8 $6 {This move is just too deep to understand. Well
it stops g5, but that move was not so dangerous anyway.} (21... a4 22. g5 hxg5
23. fxg5 Nd7 24. g6+ f6 $15) 22. fxe5 dxe5 23. Rhe1 {Now Black has to be
careful. Although he is a pawn up, his king is in the centre and it's not so
easy to play.} Kf8 (23... Rhd8 $1 $11) 24. g5 $1 Ne8 25. Qg3 (25. g6 $1) 25...
hxg5 26. Rxe5 Nf6 27. Rde1 g6 $2 28. Qxg5 $1 (28. Re8+ Rxe8 $1 29. Qxc7 Rxe1+
30. Kd2 Rh1 $19) 28... Ng8 29. Bxg6 $1 {Nitin doesn't miss sacrifices like
these!} Rxh2 30. Qf4 (30. Qf4 Rh6 {it was possible to survive for a few more
moves but not longer.} 31. Bh7 Rxh7 32. Qe4 $18) 1-0

Rank after Round 3

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Club/City Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 11 GM Karthikeyan Murali IND 2530 T N 2,5 0,0 3,50 2,0
2 9 IM Ravi Teja S. IND 2384 RSPB 2,0 0,0 3,25 1,0
3 12 GM Adhiban B. IND 2666 PSPB 2,0 0,0 2,75 1,0
4 3   Dhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad IND 2316 A P 2,0 0,0 2,25 1,0
5 8 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND 2565 T N 2,0 0,0 2,00 2,0
6 2 IM Nitin S. IND 2415 RSPB 2,0 0,0 1,50 2,0
7 1 IM Abhishek Kelkar IND 2389 MAH 1,5 0,0 3,00 1,0
8 6 GM Laxman R.R. IND 2387 RSPB 1,5 0,0 1,50 1,0
9 5 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2689 PSPB 1,5 0,0 1,50 1,0
10 14 FM Praneeth Surya K IND 2388 TEL 1,0 0,0 1,50 1,0
11 4 GM Bakre Tejas IND 2450 I A 1,0 0,0 1,50 0,0
12 7 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2494 PSPB 1,0 0,0 1,25 0,0
13 10 GM Sriram Jha IND 2426 LIC 0,5 0,0 0,50 0,0
  13 IM Mishra Neeraj-Kumar IND 2307 JHAR 0,5 0,0 0,50 0,0

Worst organized National Premier?

When the players arrived for the 54th National Premier they were informed that there is no venue where they could play. We reported this in the article that was published three days ago. Instead of the 16th, the tournament was delayed by a day and began on 17th of November. After three rounds were played the participants are faced with the same situation once again. The Lucknow Public School where the tournament is being held is no longer available.


One of the reasons quoted by organizer Anil Raizada is that the school is getting disturbed due to National Premier event. 14 players sitting together in one room with pin drop silence is the scene of the National Premier. There is absolutely no way in which they can disturb the proceedings of school.


Speaking to ChessBase India, top seed of the event Vidit Gujrathi said, "On the first day the organizers called us and said they don't have a tournament hall. This happened on the day that we were supposed to play the first round. Players decided to co-operate and everyone extended their hotel and flight bookings by one day. Now after three rounds the organizers call us again to the venue. He said that he doesn't have a tournament hall for the rest of the tournament. We spent four hours, yes four hours after the game, wasting our time and energy. It's so irritating that as a player I cannot do anything. Now it is 8 a.m. and I still don't know if there is a round or tournament happening?! How is a player supposed to play in such a chaotic and intolerable conditions. I don't think this is a way to organize a tournament where so much discomfort and trouble is caused to the players. This shouldn't happen at any tournament, let alone the highest valued National Championships."


The second seed of the event B.Adhiban said, "So far I am really not happy with the organisation, but I came here expecting the worst conditions. That's why I wouldn't mind continuing the tournament inspite of all this drama. But the organizers must provide a venue which is near the players' hotel."


GM Abhijit Kunte who is a respected organizer himself, spoke to ChessBase India, "If the organizers are not equipped to hold the tournament, the event should be postponed. It's very stressful. We want to prepare before the game, not check whether the venue is available or not. I don't want to play under such conditions. On the first day the chief arbiter rejected the venue. Why did AICF select it? And now the player's interests are also not being look after by the Federation. No office bearer until now has spoken with the players. According to me, the event shoud be postponed as it is an extremely important tournament. A qualification spot to the World Cup is at stake here."


GM Tejas Bakre said the following to ChessBase India, "Never in 25 years have I faced this problem of not having a venue. That too tournament of such stature. The organiser here just has to provide 7 boards. He doesn't have to provide accommodation, boarding, transport anything. It's the easiest of the tournaments to organise. I asked the organizers yesterday to show me allotment and cancellation letter of the venue. He didn't provide it. It's an insult to the players. The organizer should be banned and the players should be given back their expenses."


IM Abhishek Kelkar playing in his first National Premier wrote to us, " Two top players of the country, who are among best 100 players in the world, are playing. Organizers and AICF should have taken care of everything. After the third round we were called to the venue. Eight players had gone to the hotel, two were playing, four were there itself. We contacted all eight players and asked them to come. Abhijit and Vidit were not picking up their phone. I went and picked them up and came to the venue. Organizer has absolutely no clue of what is going on. He didn't provide exact reason why we are thrown out of current venue. He told us about a new venue which was 17 kms away from the current one. Everyone put down the idea of 17 km away venue as it nearly takes 45mins to reach in the traffic. The organizer has promised to search a new venue until 11 a.m. today."

Anil Raizada (third from right) has organized many successful events in the past, but this one has been a thorough debacle

One of the sources who wishes to remain unnamed said, "Lucknow is the headquarters of Chess Association of India (CAI). We all know about the issues between AICF and CAI. It is quite possible that CAI authorities used their power and influence to disrupt this tournament."


As on 20th November 10 a.m. there are some players who are seriously thinking about boycotting the event. And there are a few who want to play at all costs. The next few hours will decide whether the most important event in our country will continue or not. ChessBase India will bring you the updates. 

Update: Five players withdraw

Five players have withdrawn from the tournament: Vidit Gujrathi, Abhijit Kunte, Tejas Bakre, Abhishek Kelkar and Neeraj Mishra.