OTB Chess tournaments begin!

After almost 11 months I got to play and  OTB  (over the board) chess tournament. The board pieces arranged in rows, the sound of the clock after every move, the jitters before round 1. The nervousness before every round, the excitement to watch the parings, ” switch off your mobile phones, no wristwatches allowed ” were some of the good old things.

The things that were new were Masks on during games, sanitization before entering the playing hall, temperature check, only one entry point to the playing hall, No entry for players below 10 years or above 65 years! The boards were arranged at a distance from each other. Thus the tournament was very spacious. Overall there was a mixed feeling at the start of the event. As it was a one day rapid, I kept just one expectation, to enjoy each round as the thought of getting to play a tournament turned into a reality after a huge amount of time.

Some words about the organization of the event –

Mr Prakash Kunte, chairman of Buddhibal Kreeda Trust had worked hard to maintain quality tournaments in Pune. Even this time he proved it by conducting an event with all the precautions and care. He is one of the enthusiastic organizers who has dared to conduct an event and provide a sigh of relief to players that events will happen in near future.

My experience –

Overall the first OTB Chess tournament was a mixed one for me as I scored 5.5/7 with 4 wins and 3 draws. But the experience of playing a tournament over the board was worth travelling from Ahmednagar to Pune! Playing an OTB Chess tournament made the player in me feel alive once again! All the frustration accumulated in the lockdown of not being able to play over the board went out of the window. I felt like I almost forgot the habit of thinking before making a move. This was just due to another habit of premoves which I developed by playing online. So, I took conscious effort to zone out from online chess and get in the zone of over the board chess a day before the event. Also, I was struggling in the very first round.

I did assume a situation like this might arise. So, to face any upset but never expected it to be in the very first round. Also as the event continued, I struggled with patience and stamina. At the end of round 5, I literally felt that I was running out of stamina. Still, 2 rounds to go, but I was totally exhausted. This long gap between two tournaments did make a big impact on stamina. To add to it, the mask made it quite suffocating. Things were not that easy but the excitement to play the tournament helped me finish well.

Following are a few images from the tournament
Inaugration with the hands of IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni and IM Abhishek Kelkar
Temperature check at the entry point.
Playing hall
IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni with Champions Trophy.
Prize winners from the event

 

 

 

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Sri Lankan National Chess Championship 2020

 

The first question nowadays is, is this an online event or an OTB event? It is an OTB event! You read it correctly! It was an Over The Board (OTB) event! Sri Lankan National Chess Championship 2020. The event was the topmost considered event of the country as this event is also considered for who will represent the Country. Also under the COVID circumstances, this is a big relief that OTB events are starting to happen in various countries. The venue was Taj Samudra! The games were live-broadcasted, all players were given jerseys. The playing conditions were amazing, this just proved that the standard of event was upgraded!

 

The line-up of Men’s section

The format of the event was a round-robin of 14 players who played it out for the title. The event was divided into two halves the first 7 rounds were played from 11-14september. While the remaining 6 were played from 19-21 September. Except for the first round. All other rounds were double rounds.

In the men’s section, the fight was between CM Liyanage Ranindu Dilshan(the eventual Champion ) and FM Minul Sanjula Doluweera(Runner-Up). The leaders faced off in Round 10 when Liyanage beat Minul with the white pieces. Later Liyanage maintained the lead to win the championship.

Final standings

Women’s section – Starting line up

 

Final standings

 

Fernando G W Nethmi L won the women’s section.

It was amazing to see youngsters winning the event being throughout in lead! Both CM Liyanage and Nethmi maintained the lead with crucial wins on-demand to claim the championship! Both players won their maiden national championships in the senior’s category.

 

Some tactics from Sri Lankan National Chess Championship

White to play
Black to play

 

Link of broadcasted games in Men’s section is here.

Link of broadcasted games in Women’s section is here.

Special thanks to FM Minul Doluweera and his coach Pawan Dodeja for sharing information about the event!

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