CHENNAI: Winner of a chess tournament organised by a chess player is also the one who organises chess tournaments! That’s what happened at the LIC Kolkata Open international meet, where Srinath Narayanan won the biggest title of his career on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old is not like the average Indian chess player focussed solely on playing. The GM from Chennai runs a start-up that conducts tournaments. It’s owned by a group of like-minded players and having organised two events last year, they are planning a third this November. Not that this enterprise has taken anything away from Srinath’s game. In the nine-round event organised by GM Dibyendu Barua, he topped a moderately strong field including English heavyweight Nigel Short.
“It’s challenging, but not that difficult to balance the two, since I do only one at a time. So activities related to organising chess events don’t interfere with my preparation as a player. And it helps to have a good team, they take a lot of load off me,” Srinath told Express from Kolkata, where he edged GM Deepan Chakravarthy on tie-breaker after both finished on 7.5 points.
The player with a rating of 2525 was unbeaten with three draws and his notable wins came against GMs Abhijeet Gupta, Murali Karthikeyan and Deep Sengupta, the first and third with black pieces. All three have ratings higher than him. His other game against a higher-rated opponent, Tajikistan’s GM Amonatov Farrukh, ended in a draw with white. Needing another draw with white in the final round against GM M Shyam Sundar, he secured it after 27 moves to take home winner’s cheque of `3 lakh.
“Of the nine games, not that there is a particular one which I am going to remember as special. In terms of satisfaction and quality of play, I’d pick the games over Abhijeet Gupta (fifth round) and Murali Karthikeyan (seventh round). Although I was in a reasonably good position throughout the competition, it’s only in the final round that I started thinking of winning the title. So I played safe, concentrating on defence. Considering the field, it’s the biggest win of my career,” said the three-time former Asian junior champion.
Even though this does not change things dramatically for this B Com graduate from Chennai’s Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College in terms of securing entry to elite tournaments, it’s an added motivation to better nonetheless. “Not that I have set myself goals as far rating is concerned, but I want to make sure the process continues and I add stability to my game.”
Rd 1 bt Jeet Jain 2169
Rd 2 bt Aronyak Ghosh 2294
Rd 3 bt Kaustav 2360
Rd 4 drew IM S Nitin 2432
Rd 5 bt GM Abhijeet 2619
Rd 6 drew GM Amonatov Farrukh 2608
Rd 7 bt GM Murali Karthikeyan 2617
Rd 8 bt GM Deep Sengupta 2563
Rd 9 drew GM M Shyam Sundar 2518
Top 5: 1. GM Srinath (Ind, 7.5). 2. GM Deepan Chakkravarthy (Ind, 7.5). 3. GM Nigel Short (Eng, 7). 4. GM M Shyam Sundar (Ind, 7). 5. Arjun Erigaisi (Ind, 7).