National U-18 chess championship: 238 players in the fray in Pollachi

The 31st National under-18 open and girls chess championship will be held in Pollachi from April 18 to 23. With a total prize money pool of nine lakhs, the championship will follow the Swiss system.

Chessboard

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: The tournament will be inaugurated by renowned coach R.B. Ramesh, who has produced several GMs, which include R. Praggnanandhaa.   -  Getty Images

The MPL 31st National under-18 open and girls chess championship, jointly organised by the Dr. Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology (MCET) and the Coimbatore District Chess Association (CDCA), will be held at its campus in Pollachi from April 18 to 23.

The CDCA is celebrating its 80th year and, it takes pride in organising this championship as a tribute to Dr. N. Mahalingam, who has contributed much to the game in India, in his birth centenary year.

The six-day event has attracted 238 players of which 143 will compete in the open section. Fourteen-year-old IM H. Bharath Subramaniyam of Tamil Nadu, who will be conferred the GM title later this month, is seeded at the top with a rating of 2503. IM L.R. Srihari (2398), IM elect Avinash Ramesh (2369), S. Harshad (2272), Manish Anto Cristiano
(2129) and A.R. Ilamparithi (all Tamil Nadu) and FM Ayush Sharma (2311) from Madhya Pradesh are the other strong contenders.

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WFM L. Jyothsana (Neyveli), Bhagyashree Patil (Maharashtra) and Kheerthi Ganta (Telangana) are the leading players in the girls' category.

Dr. M. Manickam, the TNSCA President and Chairman of MCET, is confident of the host State doing well. “Our boys and girls have always dominated and, I expect a strong performance from them this year as well. I am grateful to the AICF (National body) for allocating this championship to Pollachi.”

The champions from this event will represent India in the World Youth championship to be held later this year.

The championship, which carries a total prize money of nine lakhs, will be played under the Swiss system with each having eleven rounds. The top 20 games are also said to be telecast live on popular websites.

It will be inaugurated by renowned coach R.B. Ramesh, who has produced several GMs, which include R. Praggnanandhaa.

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For the record, the previous edition was held at Ernakulam in 2019 and, IM Neelash Saha, IM Aronyak Ghosh and Utsab Chatterjee (all West Bengal) wrested the top three slots. J.J. Nawin (TN) finished fifth.

Samriddha Ghosh (WB), Saina Salonika (Ori), B. Kalyani (AP) and Jyothsana (TN) finished among the top four in the girls' section.

“It has been online thus far due to the pandemic but, this time around, it's going to be face to face and exciting and interesting as well,” concluded Dr. Manickam.

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