India's first chess features print magazine published quarterly from Lucknow since 2004 by Aspire Welfare Society.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

IM Nubair, WIM Rucha Stream Vote Team Chess with SquareOff Pro and Fans

Two young stars of Indian chess - International Master (IM) Nubair Shah Sheikh and Women's International Master (WIM) Rucha Pujari - came together to host a novel chess event combining online with over-the-board (OTB) chess as hundreds of their fans tuned in to play as teams!

The two popular Indian chess stars upgraded their home studio acoustic systems and linked their computers to what is the world's first rollable eboard.

Though the two chess masters were connected online from different cities, they were actually making the moves on a board instead of on the screen!

"Chess witnessed an online boom during the lockdown and after the initial fizz, we all missed the real otb experience," said WIM Rucha Pujari. IM Nubair Shah added, "Staring at screens in deep thought for hours can really strain your eyes. We decided to get around that." Both IM Nubair and WIM Rucha are top streamers among professional chess players of India on YouTube and Twitch. While IM Rucha brings a modern tech style to her shows, IM Nubair is the one adding all the crazy hilarious comments.

"All our followers joined in from around the world and Indian fans were still awake even as the game continued till 3 am. We called it vote chess. Nubair's team played White versus my followers as Black. According to the majority move suggested by my team, I made the move on the board. No staring at the screen. Similarly, IM Nubair played with his team. The moves got transmitted automatically."

Midway, WIM Rucha Pujari even switched off the lights in her home studio to show the eboard glowing beautifully in the dark even as both the players exchanged in fun banter. Some chess fans tuned in to both the streams and starting voting for moves for both the sides, laughed IM Nubair. He said, "I had to step in to ask that at least don't play traitor. This was our first trial show. We are going to do several with prizes and gifts for our fans in the near future."

Rucha's team set up an exciting trap for White's Queen, but if Rucha's team dared captur the Queen, they would get checkmated. The audience was smart enough to spot everything, said Rucha. The exciting game hung dangerously for both sides for over 20 moves with neither set of fans willing to give up. Finally, the players stepped in to declare a draw around 3.30 am.

IM Nubair Shah Sheikh is awaiting his final norm to be the next Grandmaster from India while WIM Rucha is working on her next title jump. They are both active on social media bringing lots of international players to their shows for Indian chess fans. They also host shows while explaining their thinking patterns during live online tournaments.

Friday, February 25, 2022

MPL 58th National Chess: Parthasarathy holds Sankalp

Kanpur (25 Feb 22): Bengaluru-based R Parthasarathy held 11th seed Grandmaster Sankalp Gupta of Maharashtra in the opening round of the MPL 58th Senior National Chess Championship which got off to a rousing start at Ganges Club, Kanpur on Friday.

Playing white side of Ruy Lopez game, Sankalp tried hard to take full point from the first-round outing, but found Parthasarathy’s defence as a tough nut to crack and forced to split the point after 46 moves.  

In other surprising results of the day, Delhi youngster Harshit Pawar stunned International Master Pranav V of Tamil Nadu while Sikkim’s Rohit Gurung outwitted International Master Raahul  V S of Tamil Nadu. LIC’s Grandmaster Sriram Jha and International Master Dinesh Sharma were forced to split the points against lower rated Bishal Bask of West Bengal and Md Bashiq Imrose of Telangana respectively.

As expected almost all the top seeded players posted easy victories in the opening round but top seed B Adhiban faced stiff resistance from Chandar Raju of Kerala but registered victory after a marathon match lasted125 moves arrived out of Catalan opening.

Earlier, in a colourful opening ceremony, Dr Raj Shekhar, Commissioner Kanpur inaugurated the event. 

Important Results (Round-1) - GM Adhiban of PSPB (1) beat Chandar Raju of Kerala (0); Srimanarayana AKS of Andaman & Nicobar (0) lost to GM Arjun Erigaisi of Telangana (1); GM Abhijeet Gupta of PSPB (1) beat Kumar Gaurav of Bihar (0); Vedant Nagarkatte of Maharashtra (0) lost to GM Karthikeyan Murali of PSPB (1); GM Sethuraman S P of PSPB (1) beat Rahul Soram Singh of Assam (0); CM Ebenezer Joseph of Tamil Nadu (0) lost to GM Abhimanyu Puranik of Maharashtra (1); GM Gukesh D of Tamil Nadu (1) beat Imtiaz Islam Bora of Assam (0); Joel Paul Ganta of Andhra Pradesh (0) lost to GM Aravindh Chithambaram of Tamil Nadu (1); GM Aryan Chopra of Delhi (1) beat Sumit Grover of J&K (0); Saurabh Choubey of Madhya Pradesh (0) lost to GM Lalith Babu M R of PSPB (1); GM Sankalp Gupta of Maharashtra (.5) drew with Parthasarathy R of Karnataka (.5); Sharsha Backer of Kerala (0) lost to GM Deep Sengupta of PSPB (1); GM Visakh N R of Railways (1) beat Rahul Gurung of Sikkim (0); Nilsu Pattnayak of Odisha (0) lost to GM Deepan Chakkravarthy of Railways (1); GM Iniyan P of Tamil Nadu (1) beat Ilamparathi A R of Tamil Nadu (0); Ashutosh Kumar of Bihar (0) lost to GM Mitrabha Guha of West Bengal (1); GM Arjun Kalyan of Tamil Nadu (1) beat Santanu Borpatra Gohain of Assam (0); Arnav Maheshwari of Tamil Nadu (0) lost to GM Harsha Bharathakoti of Telangana (1); GM Swapnil Dhopade of Railways (1) beat Sparsh Khandelwal of Chhattisgarh (0); Sanchay Dubey of Uttar Pradesh (0) lost to IM Aditya Mittal of Maharashtra (1); IM Pranav V of Tamil Nadu (0) lost to Harshit Pawar of Delhi (1); Anil Kumar OT of Kerala (0) lost to IM Aronyak Ghosh of West Bengal (1); IM Raahul VS of Tamil Nadu (0) lost to Rohit Gurung of Sikkim (1).

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Adhiban top-seed at MPL 58th India National Championship

Photo: Wikipedia
Former champion Grandmaster B Adhiban of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board has been handed the top billing in a strong field which included young sensation Arjun Erigaisi in the 58th edition of Senior National Chess Championship sponsored by MPL Sports Foundation starting on Friday here. A total of 184 players from across the country including 23 Grandmasters and 30 International Masters, will be seen in action in the one-week long tournament, formerly known as National Premier Chess Championship. Commonwealth champion Abhijeet Gupta, former national champions Karthikeyan Murali, Sethuraman S P, Lalith Babu M R, defending champion Aravindh Chithambaram, young talents Gukesh D, Abhimanyu Puranik and Aryan Chopra are the other top players taking part in the event to be held at Ganges Club, Kanpur. The championship will be conducted under Swiss System with 11 rounds with a time control of 90 Minutes with 30 second increment from move 1. After roping in MPL Sports Foundation as official sponsor for all the national championships, AICF increased the prize fund of all nationals substantially and top ten players in the event will be awarded with cash prizes amounting to thirty lakh rupees out of which six lakh is reserved for the winner as well as the winner will get a bonus of 25 points while deciding the Indian team for the World Chess Olympiad and Asian Games which are scheduled later this year. All India Chess Federation National Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan while addressing the press conference at the Ganges Club, the venue of the National Championship said that the way we have developed and taken steps to reach at the district and state level competitions, we are trying to make chess even more popular throughout the country. The All India Chess Federation is searching for talent in Chess through the 'Chess in Schools' program. AICF is confident that promising players will come forward and bring laurels to the country. In other sports Kanpur is remembered and referred, then why not in the chess field the mind game. Such competitions in cities will bring out players living in oblivion. Bharat Singh said that it is not the players' reach out to the Federation, but the Federation will reach to the players from cities, towns and villages and give them better opportunities. These same players will bring laurels to the country in the world of chess. We are interested and keen efforts are on to add the Federation's Chess in Schools scheme to the curriculum. The tournament will have 23 Grand Masters, 30 International Masters are taking part in this event which has an increased prize fund.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

India Set for Asian Games Medal Haul

New Delhi, Jan 29: With eight months left for the Asian Games 2022 to kick start at Hangzhou, China from 10 September, All India Chess Federation is hopeful for a rich medal haul from their men and women team when the chess discipline returns to the Asian Games fold after 12 years.

Aiming to make a big difference from 2010 Guangzhou Games, where India only achieved two bronze medals, All India Chess Federations started the preparation well in advance by selecting ten each probable to the men and women team. The team has been selected on the basis of their International Rating and Vidit Gujarathi, P Harikrishna, Nihal Sarin, S L Narayanan, K Sasikiran, B Adhiban, Karthikeyan Murali, Arjun Erigaisi, Abhijeet Gupta and Surya Shekhar Ganguly made the cut in the Men team while the women team will be selected from K Humpy, D Harika, Vaishali R, Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarni, Vantika Agrawal, Mary Ann Gomes, Soumya Swaminathan and Eesha Karavade. The selection committee consisting of Abhijit Kunte, Dibeyandu Barua and Dinesh Sharma will decide the final list of five players in the month of April.

Eyeing the four gold medals at stake in the games, legendary Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand took a different role and will mentor the team and first session with him and players will kick start next Thursday.

The chess event of the games will start on 11 September and will be played in two formats. The Individual Event of Men and Women will be played in Rapid time control from 11 September to 14 September while four Board five-member Team Event will be played under Standard time control from 16 September to 24 September.

Monday, January 17, 2022

"Take Advice, but Play YOUR Own Move in Life!"

Indian chess found a literary and philosophical voice recently. Black & White catches up with Chennai-born engineer chess player-coach, and author, Naveen Karthikeyan. Zainab Raza Undulusi convinced the shy young man to step out of his shell for a bit.

Title: 18x64 - Chess Class, Life Lessons with Bhagavad Gita shlokas

Availability: Amazon, Flipkart, Publisher website, author website, select brick 'n mortar bookstores (discount link at end of article)

"Sit anywhere and have whatever if you wish to," smiles the lanky author pointing to a tray of tea and coffee sachets as you enter his study.

Part amused, part charmed you take off your mask and sit down.

"Freedom. I believe in Freedom," says Naveen Karthikeyan sounding apologetic, "I didn't mean to be rude according to Indian traditions of welcoming a guest."

Q: Indeed. Isn't there a whole chess and life lesson link to the idea of "Freedom" in your book?

Karthikeyan explains, "Everyone likes to control someone else's game of life. We are constantly told what move to play particularly when making the most important choices in life. Not that people want to harm you when advising. It can be well-meaning friends or family members but they may have no clue who you really are as an individual. It can be society looking at generalising everyone or prejudices etc. Just that freedom of individual choice is restricted or missing. It's your life, your game. No one else has the right to play it. Take advice and take decisions your way. Young Indians truly need to do that. Like in chess. It's worth the struggle to be you - the original you - and take responsibility for being you."

Q: So how do you know your decision is right?

"I don't know. Please don't project me as a guru. I'm not one. I don't have any answers," he's quick to reply.

There's a silence between us. I decide on the tea.

Karthikeyan continues, "This monk once told me that the decision has to feel right for you in your heart region. You try to sense honestly the energy there. 

"That's why we read, discuss, travel etc to cultivate ourselves, to have the knowledge to take good decisions for ourselves. It's not about me versus someone or society. It's about me versus the old me." 

Some fans picking up the book at a meet-the-author event
at Dubai Expo recently.

Q: You've already been apologetic twice about your thoughts here

"Maybe, I want to protect your freedom of not getting influenced by me," he smiles.

Such life lessons combined with super-strong chess studies make Karthikeyan's book a delight to read.

Karthikeyan says, "The 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita and 64 squares of the chessboard hold spiritual secrets. Isn't it amazing that we talk of two battlefields and the message is construction, not destruction."

"I have also tried to explore the concept of meditation in my book. It's state of flow. The world's best sportsmen, musicians, creative artists all go into a zone that is defined by a timelessness. Somehow, we can access creativity or, what I would call, a higher consciousness. We, as Chess players, feel the state of flow or meditation during our games." 

Karthikeyan adds, "I want the book to be a beginning of philosophical analysis among chess players and a beginning of Chess for non-players."

18x64 is written in simple English structured in carefully thought-out 22 chapters. Each chapter consists of a shloka (in Sanskrit), followed by a literal translation, scene setting from the Kurukshetra battlefield, a life philosophy interpretation and a thought for chess players. There are a total of 108 chess studies in the book which are sure to raise your playing strength.

Q: How did the book happen?

"Dr Junaid Ahmad (former chess champion of Uttar Pradesh) is a senior Indian chess player and chess club administrator. I was visiting him for my chess sets business at his club. I had no clue that a short trip would extend to so many days. The virus happened. There were no return flights. I was forced to spend time in his extensive library. My father had changed worlds a few months back. I was already emotionally at my weakest. The library kept me afloat. I was reading the Bhagavad Gita and I was studying Chess. By some grace, it all came together."

"The beauty of Chess is that you don't have to be a professional player to benefit from what it gives you. I'm no expert. I just want to share what I gained during my own healing process and while studying Chess," he says.

Q: An engineer by profession, Naveen Karthikeyan is also a chess coach and Fide arbiter. How's that?

"I started out by playing actually. I had to switch to teaching to earn during my father's illness," he says. "I hope I can return to playing, but my greater satisfaction now will be even if one person benefits the slightest from the content of my book - in life and in chess." 

*Hot seat Rapid Round*

Favourite world champion: Bobby Fischer

Favourite chess player: Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson (also my hero. I want to think, play, and write like him.)

Favourite openings: 1.e4, Caro Kann, King's Indian

Favourite city: Really can't say one please so that's Chennai, Lucknow, Berlin, Barcelona and Amsterdam. 

Favourite food: Dosa evermore 

I am happy when: the kids in my class fall in love with chess 

Future plans: all adventures entrusted to destiny 

Girlfriend/Partner: too personal to tell 

Life is: a game

Chess is: Life

India is: the best

Meditation is: Power

Workout: Yoga and Qi Gong

Chennai has so many GMs because: It's in the air

Other interests: learning languages, reading everything, gardening and cooking

Favourite book: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Pets: Cat lover

Life philosophy: Freedom. Individual liberty and free societies.

The book can be purchased on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.
If you purchase the paperback book on author website, use code BANDW for a Rs 100 discount.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Aid Visually Challenged Star

Mohammed Saliah is a national-level chess player with International Fide rating of 1463, but born blind. He has won several chess championships at the state and national levels. Saliah has the ability to play with multiple people simultaneously by memorising up to 10 boards. 

He is currently pursuing his LLB and his dream is to start a chess academy where he could support people to refine their skills in chess and giving training on techniques to improve memory and thinking power. 

Six members of his family are blind including his grandfather, father, Saliah himself, his two sisters and his daughter. Your donation will light up their life.

Most people who watch his game, congratulate him, sympathise and some rarely offer donations but no one has really come forward to help him create a stable income by starting his own venture in the field of chess. 
Saliah is 100 % visually challenged. However, most of his accolades were achieved not as a participant in that category!

For donation details contact: Mr Unnikrishnan Nair @ +919745009573


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