From the CEO

I travelled to World Junior Championships recently in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. A beautifully organized event with some of the strongest young talents in the country and the world. It was after a long time that I visited such a youth event in India. I was so happy to meet so many people. For example, I met Pranav Anand (India's top rated junior in open) and his grandmother. The last time I saw them together was in 2017 when the boy was rated 2068! Now 2540! Simply amazing. 

Pranav and his Grandmother over the years! 

I was inspired by 14-year-old Kalyani Sirin. The girl from Kerala was the only one playing in open section! When I interviewed her she said, "I am not very happy with my performance because I came here to win the event!" I nearly dropped my phone when I heard those lines. She was 2163 rated in a field of several IMs and GMs. But the honesty with which she said those words made me believe that she believed she could win. Watch out for this girl in the coming days. I am pretty sure she will make it big. Hats off to her trainer G.A. Stany for taking some hard calls and kudos to her parents for having a long term vision. 

Check out our complete interview with Kalyani Sirin after World Juniors 2024.

Some new revelations to me on the trip were the amazing schemes of Gujarat state Government for chess. When we speak about state Governments supporting chess, the state that comes to mind is Tamil Nadu. Turns out Gujarat has something similar and maybe more structured schemes for its players. It starts from Khel Mahakumbh, a state level sports festival with excellent prizes, chess being introduced in schools now in ways that allow players to pursue it vigorously, the Shaktidooth scheme for top players with an amount as high as Rs.25 lakh per year, a stipend of Rs.5000 per month for close to 60 players and much more! I was very impressed. These schemes have been running for years. If implemented well, we will definitely see in the next few years the increase in tally of GMs from the state from 2 (Tejas Bakre and Ankit Rajpara) to something more.

The two Grandmasters from Gujarat - Tejas Bakre and Ankit Rajpara!

I wanted to end today's newsletter with a habit of chess players that I find quite interesting. I used to do it when I was playing and everyone still does it. The habit is to talk about your losses or missed chances whenever someone asks you what happened. I might have asked close to 100 players about their tournament and almost 90% of them told me how they couldn't win their games that they were winning or how they blundered in losing positions. I was thinking if they asked me back how ChessBase India is doing I would recount them all my missed opportunities with regards to new endeavours that we were trying! :)

But jokes aside, what starts to happen when you keep the missed opportunities so closely in your head is that you start building a narrative around it. This narrative may be true or sometimes may not be. For eg. When a player says I am so unlucky, I just didn't spot this move - they are building a narrative in their head that they are not lucky. The truth is more deep and subtle than this. They missed the move and why did they miss it? The reasons could be many - they didn't look carefully enough, they were distracted, the clock was ticking down, they have issues in closed positions, they were under pressure and couldn't fight back. Each missed opportunity if analyzed and the right understanding is ingrained with regards to it, you grow as a player. 

Photo: Remote Chess Academy

As an entrepreneur when I look closely at my decisions, I realize I have so many biases. The same was true when I was a chess player. The same is true about everyone out there. If you make a blunder and lose, I know it's sad but remove your emotions around it. After the tournament maybe go on a long walk and think carefully about them, you will uncover deeper secrets about yourself as a player and a person! - Sagar Shah


Divya Deshmukh and Kazybek Nogerbek are the FIDE World Junior 2024 Girls and Open Champions

IM Divya Deshmukh defeated WGM Beloslava Krasteva (BUL) to clinch Gold at FIDE World Junior 2024 Girls convincingly. She scored an unbeaten 10/11 and finished a half point ahead of the others. She was the top seed and the favorite to win the tournament, the reigning Asian Continental Women's champion achieved it without any trouble. Second seeded, WIM Mariam Mkrtchyan (ARM) kept her pursuit till the very end. She scored 9.5/11 to secure the Silver. WIM Ayan Allahverdiyeva (AZE) scored 8.5/11 to win the Bronze. In the Open event, GM Kazybek Nogerbek (KAZ) scored a big win in the final round over the sole leader GM Mamikon Gharibyan (ARM) to earn the Gold 8.5/11. GM Emin Ohanyan (ARM) also scored the same. He had to be content with Silver as per tie-breaks. GM Luka Budisavljevic (SRB) secured the Bronze scoring 8/11 as per tie-break scores. Photos: Aditya Sur Roy

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When you begin your journey of building an opening repertoire, how nice would it be to get a glimpse of what each opening looks like through the eyes of a super GM. It would help building your opening repertoire and understanding the vast world of chess openings. It is exactly with this thought that "A Supergrandmaster's Guide to Openings with Anish Giri” was made.

This video course includes GM Anish Giri's deep insights and IM Sagar Shah's pertinent questions to the super GM. In Vol.1 all the openings after 1.e4 are covered. This includes the Ruy Lopez, Italian, Petroff, Scotch, French, Sicilian, Caro Kann, Pirc, Modern and much more. Along with explaining the nuances, each video also has a story, narrated by Anish, on the favourite game he played in that opening and his memories related to it. It is extremely valuable to hear the thoughts of a player who is currently considered one of the best opening experts in the world of chess. Getting this video course will elevate your knowledge of chess openings and will help you make informed decisions on how to go about building your opening repertoire.

Today, we have a big 10% discount on "A Super Grandmaster's Guide to Openings Vol.1 & 2 by Anish Giri"! Just use the coupon code "ANISHG10" to avail the discount. The offer expires on 22nd June 2024 - hurry up and get it NOW!


5th Stepan Avagyan Memorial R6: Arjun Erigaisi hunts Bluebaum's king, increases his sole lead

Arjun Erigaisi defeated Matthias Bluebaum (GER) to increase his sole lead by a full point at 5th Stepan Avagyan Memorial 2024. Arjun gobbled up two pawns in the middlegame and he managed to protect them. When the German declined the trade of queens, the World no.4 in live ratings, went for his opponent's king. Robert Hovhannisyan (ARM) scored the only other victory of the round. It was also his first win of the event and his opponent, Haik Martirosyan's (ARM) second loss. Haik misplayed in the sharp major piece endgame. It allowed his opponent to gain full control and liquidate into a favorable queen endgame. Arjun is at 4.5/6, followed by Samuel Sevian (USA), M Amin Tabatabaei (IRI) and Bogdan-Daniel Deac (ROU) at 3.5/6 each. Round 7 starts today at 3 p.m. local time, 4:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Chess Academy of Armenia


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26th Asian Youth R5: Narayani Umesh Marathe emerges sole leader with a perfect 5/5

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4th Cairns Cup R2: Harika Dronavalli outplays Alexandra Kosteniuk

GM Harika Dronavalli got the upper hand out of the opening against GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (SUI) in the second round of 4th Cairns Cup 2024. She had no trouble converting her extra pawn advantage into a full point. GM Nana Dzagnidze (GEO) scored the only other win of the round. She capitalized on her opportunity when her opponent, IM Anna Zatonskih (USA) made a tactical error in the middlegame. GM Zhongyi Tan (CHN) and GM Irina Krush (USA) had a well-contested draw. GM Elisabeth Paehtz (GER) and IM Alice Lee (USA) played a back and forth game which could have gone either player's way. Round 3 starts today at 1 p.m. local time, 11:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Saint Louis Chess Club/Lennart Ootes

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FIDE receives 3 bids for the World Championship Match 2024 between Gukesh and Ding Liren

The World Chess Body, FIDE, has received three bids of US$8.5 million for the World Championship Match 2024 between Gukesh and Ding Liren. The bids are 2 from India (Chennai and Delhi) and one from Singapore. We speak to FIDE's CEO Emil Sutovsky about this development and he sheds more light on this. With Gukesh being the youngest ever World Championship contender, there is a lot of interest in the match. The entire chess world is on the edge of their seats to know where the match is going to.

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