Delhi International Chess Festival: Pantsulaia Wins
The Top 3 finishers of Category A of the Delhi International Chess Festival. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

Delhi International Chess Festival: Pantsulaia Wins

| 15 | Chess Event Coverage

The Georgian GM Levan Pantsulaia nudged six others on tiebreak to clinch the main event of the Delhi International Chess Festival in New Delhi. The 17th edition of the Delhi International Chess Open was held across three categories (A, B and C) with a huge total of 2,810 players and a massive prize fund of $150,000 USD. FIDE confirmed a world record for the Category C event as the most number of players that participated in a FIDE-rated Swiss tournament.

Category A, the main event, was a 10-round Swiss-system open for everyone. The tournament was held January 9-16 at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. A total of 322 players from 21 countries participated. One hundred of them were titled, including 30 grandmasters who were battling it out for the Rs. 6,00,000 first prize (approx. $8,500 USD).

GM Levan Pantsulaia

GM Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

GMs Pantsulaia and January's 2019 Titled Tuesday winner SL Narayanan went into the final round with 7.5/9, half a point ahead of the chasing pack. They drew fairly quickly and saw five more players catch up to their score. Caissa rewarded Pantsulaia whereas the latter finished in seventh place on tiebreaks.

Delhi Chess Association

The top three boards of the A category were played on a stage. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

Pantsulaia's comeback with 6/7 (after losing in round three) included successive wins against GMs in rounds eight and nine and was imperative for his tournament victory. Here is his best game from the event where he defeated overnight leader GM Masoud Mosadeghpour of Iran who still managed to finish in second place.

A very unusual game was witnessed in round seven on board seven that saw a grandmaster matchup end in only seven moves with a decisive result. Bangladeshi GM Ziaur Rahman made a howler on move six and gave a point to his former protege, GM Diptayan Ghosh. Shockingly, this blunder can be seen thrice in the database, including a game between GM Levon Aronian and GM Teimour Radjabov played in 2007.

Round nine saw the 12-year-old prodigy D. Gukesh become the second-youngest grandmaster in history when he scored his third and final norm after winning against IM DK Sharma.

Gukesh Chess player
Gukesh was greeted by AICF CEO and FIDE vice president Bharat Singh Chauhan moments after becoming a grandmaster. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

In round 10, Another 12 year old, Pranav V, played a brilliant attacking game to annihilate newly-minted GM Karthik Venkatraman in typical Puzzle Rush style.

Though he didn't score his IM norm, Pranav finished 14th and was also the highest finishing untitled player. Pranav V, Sammed Shete and Grahesh Y all won one-year Diamond memberships (worth $99 each) as the three highest untitled finishers of Category A.

IMs NR Visakh and Gukesh made their third GM norms and also became new grandmasters minutes from each other. Aditya Mittal, Neelash Saha, Saurabh Anand and Bharat Reddy scored IM norms while Bommini Mounika Akshaya scored her WIM norm.

2019 Delhi GM Open | Final Standings (Top 25)

Rk. SNo FED Title Name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 3 GM Pantsulaia Levan 2597 8 0 62 65.5
2 19 GM Mosadeghpour Masoud 2517 8 0 62 65.5
3 15 GM Stupak Kirill 2542 8 0 60 65
4 1 GM Amonatov Farrukh 2621 8 0 59.5 64
5 13 GM Ghosh Diptayan 2544 8 0 59 63.5
6 9 GM Gupta Abhijeet 2581 8 0 59 63
7 10 GM Narayanan.S.L 2575 8 0 59 62.5
8 18 GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan 2533 7.5 0 62.5 67.5
9 2 GM Predke Alexandr 2620 7.5 0 58.5 63.5
10 16 GM Tran Tuan Minh 2541 7.5 0 58.5 63
11 14 GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J. 2543 7.5 0 57.5 61.5
12 23 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade 2487 7.5 0 55 60
13 26 IM Harsha Bharathakoti 2481 7.5 0 54.5 58
14 63 Pranav V 2318 7.5 0 47 50.5
15 22 IM Gukesh D 2497 7 0 63.5 68
16 17 GM Debashis Das 2538 7 0 63 67.5
17 12 GM Erigaisi Arjun 2548 7 0 62 66
18 24 IM Visakh N R 2486 7 0 62 65.5
19 29 IM Vignesh N R 2461 7 0 59 63.5
20 8 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej 2582 7 0 58.5 62.5
21 5 GM Rozum Ivan 2589 7 0 58 62
22 21 GM Movsziszian Karen 2514 7 0 57 61.5
23 76 CM Aditya Mittal 2251 7 0 57 60.5
24 38 IM Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh 2437 7 0 56.5 60.5
25 35 GM Lugovskoy Maxim 2445 7 0 55.5 60.5

(Full standings here)
ChessKidIndia's first and ChessKid booth was hosted by your author (IM Rakesh Kulkarni) and Miss Aishwarya. | Photos: Rakesh Kulkarni/

The kids loved the booth as they could solve tactics, play or analyze their game or do some Puzzle Rush between their games. Prizes and giveaways were awarded to the kids for winning daily contests. We also gave away membership prizes amounting to nearly USD $2,000. gave one-year diamond memberships to the top three finishers of every category (untitled top 3 in A) while ChessKid gave one year Gold memberships to the top 10 kids (U-12 in category B and U-11 in category C).

IM Rakesh KulkarniAll U-13 kids at the venue (even non players) were given free 3 months Gold memberships to  | Photo: Rakesh Kulkarni/

IM Rakesh KulkarniThe world's youngest GM Gukesh at the booth. Photo: Rakesh Kulkarni/

GM PraggnanandhaaGM Praggnanandhaa gave a simul and then left immediately for Tata Steel. | Photo: Rakesh Kulkarni/ 

IM Tania SachdevLocal star and fan favorite IM Tania Sachdev taking a selfie with fans after her simul. | Photo: Rakesh Kulkarni/

Delhi Chess Association TournamentThe huge playing hall of the Category C event. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

Bir KumarBir Kumar of India won the category C event and is now a world record holder. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

Prakash Yadav(L-R) 2nd Prakash Yadav,1st Dhanush Raghav and 3rd Prem Yadav (All Indians) winners of the Category B. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

Delhi Chess Tournament(L-R) 2nd GM Masoud Mosadeghour of Iran, 1st GM Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia and 3rd Kirill Stupak of Belarus, the winners of category A. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

The 18th Delhi International Chess Open 2020 is planned on the same dates for next year. Definitely many players will be back for Asia's biggest event. This author might be back too!

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