Commonwealth: Gupta Doing A Caruana; Koneru, Sachdev Doing A Carlsen

Commonwealth: Gupta Doing A Caruana; Koneru, Sachdev Doing A Carlsen

| 34 | Chess Event Coverage

On Tuesday GM Abhijeet Gupta won the Commonwealth Chess Championship in New Delhi. The 25-year-old Indian grandmaster “did a Caruana” as he won his first seven games.

GM Humpy Koneru withdrew at the end of round four after “doing a Carlsen.” She lost on time as she was unaware of the time control. Her appeal against the arbiter’s decision was turned down.

The 2015 Commonwealth Chess Championship was held 23-30 June, 2015 at Hotel Park Plaza in Shahdara, New Delhi, India. It was organized by the Delhi Chess Association under auspices of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) and on behalf of the Commonwealth Chess Association (CCA).

Founded in 1980, the CCA unites the 54 commonwealth chess federations. Its main activity is the annual Commonwealth Championship.

Held in its capital, this year's tournament saw a huge majority of players from India: 260 out of a total 298 in the main group. However, the top 7 wasn't there: Vishy Anand, Pentala Harikrishna, Parimarjan Negi, Santosh Gujrathi Vidit, Krishnan Sasikiran, Baskaran Adhiban and Surya Ganguly.

The countries represented in the tournament were Australia (2 players), Bangladesh (6), England (1), India (260), Malaysia (1), Maldives (2), New Zealand (2), Pakistan (6), South Africa (13), Sri Lanka (4) and Zambia (1).

It was GM Abhijeet Gupta who stole the show in New Delhi. Although his opponents were all lower rated, let's call it “a Caruana” anyway: Gupta won his first seven games! Here's a nice one from the fifth round against one of his compatriots:


In the seventh round Gupta scored one of the easiest wins in the whole tournament. Initially Black was doing fine in this Botvinnik Semi-Slav with 9.Bg3, but giving up his bishop on d5 was a big strategical mistake. Gupta's combination was not difficult.



 A quick win for Gupta vs Sengupta. | Photo Delhi Chess.


The top seed finished with two quick draws to end on 8.0/9 and a 2735 performance rating. He took home 150,000 rupees (a bit more than 2,000 Euros). Three players finished on 7.5/9: Arghyadip Das, Babu Lalith and M.R. Deepan Chakkravarthy J.

“I guess I was doing well right from the start. I got off with some victories and it was nice to win seven games in a row,” said Gupta. “I could not remember the last time I did that in any international event.”

A winner always has a bit of luck, and for Gupta it came in the fourth round. His opponent Ramnath Bhuvnesh forgot to press his clock in the final moments of the game, and was declared lost on time. Gupta was a pawn down but position was probably drawn.

The winner with his trophy and certificate. | Photo Delhi Chess.


One could say that losing on time was the theme of the tournament. There were two incidents similar to what happened to Magnus Carlsen at Norway Chess recently.

In round four GM Humpy Koneru, the world #3 in the women's rating list, let her time run out in a winning position against IM Himanshu Sharma. The arbiter declared her game lost. Remarkably, the very same thing had happened to WGM Tania Sachdev in the first round of the tournament, which Humpy was unaware of.

Humpy appealed, and when the appeals committee turned down her appeal, she decided to withdraw from the event. 

Humpy Koneru (r.) in her game with Ahmed SK Nasir | Photo Delhi Chess.

WIM Sabrina Chevannes, who was a member of the appeals committee, gave more details about what happened on First, she quoted Sachdev, who made clear that it was connected to the language used by the arbiter:

Before the start of round one the arbiter was making the usual announcements. This is what he said about the time control "Time control is 90 min+30 seconds from move one and 30 min grace time." This was said all in one sentence. He never used the phrase 'for the entire game' or 'zero tolerance'. After this he moved on to round timings, etc.

'Grace time' does refer to zero tolerance. I found out later that exactly this had confused many players, and they double checked with the arbiter. Before this announcement I wasn't aware of the time control as mentioned in the prospectus. The way in which it was communicated I took it as 90 min + 30 min. Unfortunately, in my head I was convinced. The games started and I did not bother confirming. (...)

Humpy told Chevannes:

I questioned that the announcement was made that we would have 90 min + 30 sec from move 1 and 30 minutes. To my surprise, the arbiter said 30 minutes is grace time. I accepted the result and immediately signed the score sheet. (...)

When such things occur, it is the moral responsibility of the arbiter and the organizing committee to inform players, so that further incidents do not occur. Instead, they hid the whole matter. I did not know that Tania had also lost this way. It was not announced to the players in any of the rounds to give clarity about the time control. Only after my loss, many players became aware of the time control that was in force. If they had published the issue on their website or made an announcement with the correction, this incident wouldn't have occurred.

The number one Indian player felt there was “no point to play in such circumstances” in a tournament that “was run well below the international standards.”

With so many incidents related to the time control occurring in a short period of time, the lesson seems to be: arbiters should communicate better, players should know better. 

2015 Commonwealth Championship | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 1 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2605 8.0 55.0 49.5 52.50
2 15 IM Das Arghyadip IND 2459 7.5 51.5 46.5 44.75
3 4 GM Lalith Babu M.R. IND 2563 7.5 51.0 46.0 43.75
4 10 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. IND 2497 7.5 48.0 43.0 42.25
5 3 GM Sengupta Deep IND 2571 7.0 50.5 46.0 40.25
6 22 IM Ramnath Bhuvanesh.R IND 2420 7.0 49.5 44.0 39.75
7 8 GM Karthikeyan Murali IND 2502 7.0 48.0 43.0 38.00
8 7 GM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND 2504 7.0 47.0 41.5 40.00
9 18 IM Padmini Rout IND 2441 7.0 43.5 39.5 35.75
10 19 IM Mohammad Minhaz Uddin BAN 2439 7.0 43.5 39.0 37.00
11 39 IM Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman IND 2342 7.0 39.5 35.5 32.50
12 90 WGM Meenakshi Subbaraman IND 2153 7.0 36.0 32.5 31.50
13 32   Visakh Nr IND 2375 6.5 49.5 44.0 37.00
14 11 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2483 6.5 49.0 44.0 36.75
15 36 IM Akash G IND 2354 6.5 48.5 43.5 36.25
16 14 GM Ankit R. Rajpara IND 2461 6.5 47.5 42.5 36.25
17 44   Sanjay N. IND 2310 6.5 47.5 42.5 36.25
18 34 IM Nitin S. IND 2357 6.5 46.5 42.5 33.50
19 28 GM Sriram Jha IND 2396 6.5 46.5 42.0 34.50
20 9 GM Rahman Ziaur BAN 2500 6.5 46.0 41.5 35.75

(Full standings here.)

In the women's section, Padmini Rout won the gold medal and the 20,000-rupee first prize (280 Euros). The championship has been sub-divided in to separate categories for under-8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 age groups for boys and girls. The under-18 and under-20 titles were merged in the open section. A total of 564 players registered for the event.

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