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Tournament Diary: Srinath at Nashik

by Srinath Narayanan - 27 May 2016

IM Srinath Narayanan is one of those few players in India who consistently finishes in the upper echelons of the prize list in the various Indian tournaments. A few days back, he participated in the Resha International Open 2016 held at Nashik in Maharastra. He agreed to maintain a diary of sorts during the event and here are his entries, where he describes his day to day struggles as a professional chessplayer playing a tournament.

Tournament Diary: Srinath at Nashik



I departed for Nashik on 16th May from my home at Chennai. A few days before the event, I was a little apprehensive about playing in a field in which the 10th seed was rated below 2000. However, I had already given my commitment, and besides, I had heard excellent reviews about the organizer Mr. Milind Kulkarni from all our mutual friends. Ergo, Chennai-Mumbai-Nasik became the first leg of my ‘Around the world in two weeks’ trip. We’ve come a long way since Jules Verne indeed.


What stood out at the beginning was the way in which the organizer closed all entries on time and published the first round pairings a day before the scheduled start. Before departing for the inauguration, when I remarked to a friend about how I had never seen the events in this region begin on time, he replied how this organizer was different — how he had closed the entries a few days ago, organized efficiently and therefore everything would begin on time. Everything did begin as scheduled.


The conditions provided were excellent from the perspective of the top seeded players. I was lodged at Nasik Club with IM Chandrasekhar Gokhale. Although it was a double sharing accommodation, from the third round, for all intents and purposes, I had a single room as my roommate had to depart home. No offense to my roommate, but having a room to myself proved to be more useful than I would’ve expected as I was able to sleep whenever I wanted, turn off the lights whenever I wanted, prepare without any distractions etc. It does make a big difference.


Day Three


The first three rounds were a breeze. However, things didn’t go so smoothly in the fourth round. My opponent was a 13-year-old kid from Nagpur named Vaibhav Jayant Raut. Deceived by the appearance of his rating, I went into the game expecting him to play according to the strength his rating indicated. However, I was in for an unpleasant surprise as he quickly and confidently played some very decent moves in a complicated middlegame. This was the only game in the tournament where I stood worse at any point. At one point, I was beginning to get really scared but fortunately got a reprieve. Of course, I was far from my best at this point, and this game really helped me warm up and get into shape for the coming games against the higher seeded players.

Find the best move for White.

The afternoon game against WGM Bhakti Kulkarni went unexpectedly smooth. So, I stood at 5.0/5 at the halfway mark, along with IM Sameer Kathmale.

[Event "2nd All India International Rating Ches"]
[Site "Shree Swami Narayan Banquet H"]
[Date "2016.05.19"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Narayanan, Srinath"]
[Black "Kulkarni, Bhakti"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "2469"]
[BlackElo "2296"]
[PlyCount "65"]
[EventDate "2016.05.17"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bd7 5. Nf3 Bc6 6. Bd3 Nd7 7. O-O Ngf6 8.
Ng3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 c6 10. c4 Be7 11. b3 O-O 12. Rd1 Re8 13. Be2 Qa5 14. a3 Rad8
15. Bf4 Nf8 16. b4 Qa6 17. Bd3 Rxd4 18. c5 b5 19. cxb6 Qb7 20. bxa7 Red8 21.
Bb8 R4d5 22. Ne2 N8d7 23. Nc3 Ne5 24. Qe2 Rxd3 25. Qxe5 R3d7 26. Qa5 Qa8 27.
Bc7 Re8 28. Rxd7 Nxd7 29. Rd1 Nf6 30. h3 h6 31. Na4 Nd5 32. Nb6 Nxb6 33. Qxb6



Bhakti eventually ended up with 8.5/10 to gain the second place.

Day Four


I’ve to admit that I went into the tournament with no extravagant goals. After more than a few near misses in recent times, I realized that the need of the hour was to regain that happiness and enjoyment I received from just playing chess and being in the moment. Above all, I wanted to get into that state of mind where I played chess in an autotelic way – with little influence from extrinsic factors.

So, for the round six game with the black pieces against IM Sameer Kathmale, I really just wanted to get into this state of flow and play a full game.

How does Black retain his advantage?

I got what I had prepared for and got the position I wanted, and I understood that there would be a stiff resistance and he would defend as well as he could. But I managed to stay in the moment adequately enough and feel that I played a decent enough game.

[Event "Nashik"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.05.26"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Kathmale, Sameer"]
[Black "Narayanan, Srinath"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C86"]
[WhiteElo "2345"]
[BlackElo "2469"]
[PlyCount "138"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Qe2 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3
d5 9. d3 Be6 10. Nbd2 h6 11. exd5 Nxd5 12. Ne4 Re8 13. Re1 Bf8 14. Qc2 Kh8 15.
h3 Qd7 16. a3 Rad8 17. c4 Nb6 18. cxb5 axb5 19. Be3 Qxd3 20. Qxd3 Rxd3 21. Bc2
Rdd8 22. Nc3 b4 23. Nb5 Nd5 24. Be4 Bd6 25. Rac1 Nce7 26. Bc5 bxa3 27. bxa3 Nf4
28. Be3 Nfd5 29. Bc5 f6 30. a4 Bxc5 31. Rxc5 c6 32. Bxd5 Rxd5 33. Rxd5 Nxd5 34.
Nd6 Ra8 35. Ra1 Nc3 36. a5 Ba2 37. Nd2 Rxa5 38. N6e4 Ne2+ 39. Kh2 Ra6 40. Nb3
Ra3 41. Nbc5 Nd4 42. Nd6 Nc2 43. Rc1 Nb4 44. Nc4 Ra8 45. Nb6 Rd8 46. f3 Rd2 47.
Nc4 Bxc4 48. Rxc4 Nd5 49. Ne4 Rxg2+ 50. Kh1 Ra2 51. Rxc6 Nf4 52. h4 Ra3 53. Rc3
Rxc3 54. Nxc3 Ng6 55. Kh2 Nxh4 56. Kg3 Ng6 57. Kg4 Kh7 58. Nd5 Nf4 59. Ne7 g6
60. Nc8 h5+ 61. Kg3 g5 62. Ne7 Kg7 63. Nf5+ Kf7 64. Ne3 Kg6 65. Nc4 h4+ 66. Kh2
Ne6 67. Kg2 Nc5 68. Kh2 e4 69. fxe4 Nxe4 0-1


I was paired against Mahindrakar Indrajeet (1860) for the 7th round. For some reason, it was a lot more uncomfortable for me to be paired against a player of 1800 rating than someone at 2300. I was really nervous, but fortunately, it didn’t fatally affect the quality of my game — 7.0/7. It’s a nice thing being in a position like this, but with great lead comes great pressure. I mean, we’ve only recently seen how teams dominate the entire proceeding and concede 16 runs off the last three or four balls and mess up everything built so carefully.


Day Five


At this point, I had begun to get a little exhausted by the double round days — the everyday schedule. As my alarm rang in the morning, my mind was begging me to go back to sleep. Although I tried hard, remembering what Rocky Balboa taught us all ‘going that one more round when you don’t think you can is what makes all the difference in life’. And managing to muster sufficient willpower to not give a walkover and go back to sleep, my brain was in the alpha waves phase in the first hour. After I misplayed a move from my preparation, I sensed danger and decided to eject with a draw offer. It did pinch a bit that it would cost me that the simple offer if accepted would cost 3.5 points, but I really wanted to preserve my energy and go all in for the last rounds. And thus, I offered a draw and went back to room, straight to bed.


After feeling a little refreshed for an hour, I began preparing for GM Shardul Gagare, appropriate to the tournament situation. I prepared for around 1-1.5 hours and then decided to switch off and have lunch and take another nap. However, I was in for a surprise as GM Shardul was held to a draw by the less fancied Pratik Mulay. I was paired against FM Nitish Belurkar (2305) instead. I was reasonably well rested by this point and could go all in. I went with intent, and he repeated the line I faced against WGM Bhakti.

White just broke with 15. d5!? What do you this is the best continuation for Black?

Nitish, playing black, chose 15. ... cxd5 16. cxd5 Nxd5, resulting in the following position.

Mouth watering, isn't it? But can you calculate all the details?

Once again, the afternoon game with white pieces went unexpectedly, pleasantly smooth. The game was over in just 90 minutes.

Srinath Narayanan - Nitish Belurkar (Notes by IM Srinath N.)

[Event "Resha International Open"]
[Site "Nashik"]
[Date "2016.05.21"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Srinath, Narayanan"]
[Black "Nitish, Belurkar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C10"]
[WhiteElo "2469"]
[BlackElo "2305"]
[Annotator "Srinath,N"]
[PlyCount "39"]
[EventDate "2016.05.17"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bd7 5. Nf3 Bc6 6. Bd3 Nd7 7. O-O Ngf6 8.
Ng3 Be7 9. c4 Bxf3 10. Qxf3 c6 11. b3 O-O 12. Rd1 {I was initially hesistant
about repeating the same idea I played a few games ago against Bhakti.
Incidentally they had the same coach and I suspected that my opponent might
have a deeply analysed improvement somewhere. But then I decided to go for it
anyway as, as far as I know, White gets an edge in such positions anyway and
nothing can go too wrong.} Qc7 13. Bb2 Rad8 14. Rac1 Qb8 15. d5 $5 cxd5 $2 (
15... Ne5 16. Bxe5 Qxe5 17. dxc6 bxc6 18. Qxc6 Ng4 {gives good compensation to
Black.}) 16. cxd5 Nxd5 $2 (16... Ne5 {was Black's only defense} 17. Bxe5 Qxe5
18. dxe6 fxe6 19. Re1 (19. Qxb7 Bc5 $44) 19... Qd5 20. Bc4 Qxf3 21. Bxe6+ Kh8
22. gxf3 $14) 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Rxd5 $1 exd5 {I was surprised when my
opponent played this after a long think and for a few moments, scared if I
missed something obvious.} (18... Nf6 19. Rg5 Rd5 20. h4 $16) (18... Bf6 19.
Rxd7 (19. Rh5+ Kg8 20. Nf5 g6 $1) 19... Bxb2 20. Rcc7 Rxd7 21. Rxd7 $16) (18...
f5 19. Re1 Bf6 20. Rxe6 Bxb2 21. Nxf5 $18) 19. Qh5+ Kg8 20. Nf5 1-0




GM Shardul Gagare (2514) was the top seed.

8.5/9. Comfortable situation. I decided to try and view this as the first round of the next tournament I was going to play. I just prepared intensely with Black, and went to bed as early as I could, realizing that sound sleep was going to be one of the key factors in the high-pressure encounter. I went to the board and had managed to catch my opponent in preparation. After 14 moves, I had a 40 minute lead on the clock and a very comfortable position. My opponent surprised me with a draw offer. Although I did imagine it as a first round of sorts, it felt too tempting to secure my $1000 and really play the first round of my next tournament that soon begins in Hungary. After shaking my opponent’s hand and ending the grueling event, it was time to sleep like a Panda.




On to Hungary from here, directly to Zalakaros. I’ll strive to keep the enjoyment factor as the priority, something that came so naturally when I was aged five. It is my honest and humble opinion that if we don’t wake up each day and engage in that we love, are passionate about, then perhaps it isn’t such a quality life after all.


On a personal level, I’ve to admit that I’ve been very fortunate to have complete autonomy in this regard. Generally, though, this still isn’t the case. Although movies like ‘Three Idiots’ and several influential mediums have portrayed this, the message hasn’t been fully grasped by the masses at large and becomes quickly forgotten.  I hope we reach a time, when like the abolition of slavery, this also becomes a basic human right in our civilized world. Or to just put it in simpler words, never forget to enjoy playing chess, no matter what.

Final Standings:

Rk. SNo   Name Typ sex Gr FED Rtg Club/City Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4   TB5 
1 2 IM Narayanan Srinath     TN IND 2469 AI 9,0 0,0 8,0 66,0 71,0 63,25
2 5 WGM Kulkarni Bhakti   w GOA IND 2296 Ai 8,5 0,0 8,0 63,5 67,5 54,50
3 3 IM Kathmale Sameer     Sang IND 2345 Railway 8,0 0,0 7,0 64,0 69,0 52,00
4 6 IM Kulkarni Vikramaditya     Mumb IND 2266 Railway 8,0 0,0 7,0 61,0 66,5 51,50
5 18   Shashwat Chakraborty     CHTG IND 1872 CHTG 8,0 0,0 7,0 56,5 61,0 46,25
6 1 GM Gagare Shardul     Ahme IND 2514 Mah 8,0 0,0 6,0 68,0 73,5 57,50
7 4 FM Nitish Belurkar     Goa IND 2305 Goa 7,5 0,0 7,0 65,0 70,0 49,25
8 19   Mahindrakar Indrajeet     Aura IND 1860 Mah 7,5 0,0 7,0 59,0 63,5 44,00
9 11   Bakshi Rutuja   w Aura IND 1972 Mah 7,5 0,0 7,0 57,5 60,5 43,50
10 8   Dodeja Pawan     Amra IND 2171 Mah 7,5 0,0 6,0 64,5 69,5 49,25

Click here for the complete list.

Srinath Narayanan

Narayanan Srinath, born on February 14, 1994, in Chennai, India, began playing chess at the age of five. At the age of eight with an initial rating of 2088, he became the then youngest rated player in the country. A former World Under 12 champion, at the age of fourteen he became an International Master and has shown surprising and unswerving loyalty to the title ever since. He has numerous achievements to his credit and likes to participate in a lot of tournaments all around the globe. He is a critical thinker and thinks deeply not only about the game of Chess but life itself.

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