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SYNA 07-09: The student and the teacher

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 02/05/2016

The SYNA International Open 2016 turned out to be a double delight for Maharashtra as the leading light from the state IM Anup Deshmukh finished second while GM Swapnil Dhopade was first. The leaders after six rounds — Himal Gusain and Srinath Narayanan — stuck to the top tables throughout the event but missed opportunities finishing third and fourth respectively. The shocking news was the untimely death of the visionary Satyendra Pathak, founder of SYNA group, on the last day of the tournament. SYNA Open 2017 will be held in his memory. An illustrated report with games.

SYNA 07-09: The student and the teacher

The much awaited SYNA Open 2016 kicked off on the 24th of April in the SYNA International school, Katni, Madhya Pradesh. It is a nine-round Swiss tournament that has attracted 170 players from all the corners of India. The event will last for six days and the last round will be played on 29th of April. The first prize of the tournament is a hefty Rs. 1,00,000 and this has attracted one grandmaster and six International Masters to participate in the tournament. GM Swapnil Dhopade is the top seed with a rating of 2499.


At the end of six rounds, Tamil Nadu's IM Srinath Narayanan (2469) and Chandigarh's Himal Gusain (2429) were comfortably perched atop the leaderboard with 5.5/6 apiece. A handful of challengers were in close pursuit, including the top seed GM Swapnil Dhopade (2499), who had just beaten his erstwhile coach IM Anup Deshmukh (2213).


Hence, going into the business end of the tournament, it was expected to be a race between the top three seeds: Swapnil, Srinath, and Himal.

Himal held Srinath in a marathon 106-move draw in the seventh round but suffered a defeat to Swapnil in the penultimate round.

Besides marvelling at the theory and preparation displayed by both the players, do observe white's light squared bishop in Himal's game with Srinath:

[Event "Syna International Open"]
[Site "Katni"]
[Date "2016.04.28"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Gusain, Himal"]
[Black "Srinath, Narayanan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B94"]
[WhiteElo "2429"]
[BlackElo "2469"]
[PlyCount "211"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Bc4 Qb6 8.
O-O Qc5 9. Bd5 e6 10. Re1 Be7 11. Be3 Qa5 12. Bc4 Ne5 13. Be2 O-O 14. f4 Nc6
15. Bf3 Qc7 16. a4 Rd8 17. Qe2 Nxd4 18. Bxd4 e5 19. Be3 exf4 20. Bxf4 Be6 21.
Nd5 Bxd5 22. exd5 Re8 23. Kh1 Nd7 24. a5 Nf8 25. Bg3 Bh4 26. Qxe8 Rxe8 27. Rxe8
Bxg3 28. hxg3 g5 29. Rae1 Kg7 30. R8e7 Qxa5 31. Bh5 Ng6 32. Bxg6 Kxg6 33. c4
Qb4 34. Rf1 Qxc4 35. Rexf7 Qd4 36. Rxb7 Qxd5 37. Rb6 a5 38. Rb8 Qe5 39. Rd1
Qxg3 40. Rb6 Qh4+ 41. Kg1 Qe4 42. Rbxd6+ Kh5 43. R1d2 Qe5 44. Kf1 Qf5+ 45. Kg1
Qe5 46. R6d3 Kh4 47. Kf2 g4 48. Re3 Qf4+ 49. Ke2 Qc4+ 50. Kd1 h5 51. Rc3 Qf1+
52. Kc2 a4 53. Rcd3 Qe1 54. Rd4 Qe8 55. R4d3 Qe4 56. Kc3 Qb7 57. Kc4 Qb6 58.
Re2 Qa6+ 59. Kc3 Qb5 60. Kc2 Qc4+ 61. Kd2 Qc5 62. Kd1 Qc6 63. Red2 Qc4 64. Rc3
Qf1+ 65. Kc2 Qf5+ 66. Rcd3 Qf1 67. Kc3 Qf8 68. Kc2 Qe8 69. Kb1 Qe4 70. Ka2 Qc4+
71. Ka1 Qe4 72. Ka2 Qe7 73. Ka1 Qe6 74. Kb1 Qc4 75. Ka1 Qb5 76. Ka2 Qc5 77. Ka1
Qg1+ 78. Ka2 Qc1 79. Rd1 Qc4+ 80. Ka1 Qe6 81. g3+ Kh3 82. Rh1+ Kg2 83. Rxh5 a3
84. Rhd5 Qe1+ 85. Ka2 axb2 86. Kxb2 Qb4+ 87. Rb3 Qe4 88. Rd2+ Kh3 89. Rdd3 Qe5+
90. Ka2 Qe2+ 91. Ka3 Qe7+ 92. Rb4 Qe6 93. Rb5 Qe7+ 94. Kb3 Qe6+ 95. Rbd5 Qb6+
96. Kc3 Qf6+ 97. Kc4 Qf7 98. Kd4 Qf6+ 99. Ke4 Qg6+ 100. Kf4 Qf7+ 101. Ke4 Qe6+
102. Kd4 Qf6+ 103. Re5 Qd6+ 104. Ke4 Qg6+ 105. Kd4 Qd6+ 106. Rd5 1/2-1/2

After the seventh round draw with Himal, Srinath, in his own words, dropped a sitter, when he let comeback man IM Suvrajit Saha (2261) of the hook.

Srinath was kind enough to annotate this particular game where he dropped a half point, and probably the tournament. The notes are educational material for any interested chess fan.

[Event "Syna International Open"]
[Site "Katni"]
[Date "2016.04.28"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Srinath, Narayanan"]
[Black "Suvrajit, Saha"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C47"]
[WhiteElo "2469"]
[BlackElo "2261"]
[Annotator "Srinath,N"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
{I had come to this game on the back of a 106 move marathon in the morning.
With just about an hour to recover, I came to the game in a dazed state of
mind.} 1. e4 e5 {This came as a bit of a surprise as my opponent has played
only 1...c5 all his life and has never begun with anything else.} 2. Nf3 Nf6 3.
Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Bb4 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Bd3 Bxc3+ $2 {The c1 bishop, of
course, began jumping in joy immediately.} 8. bxc3 d6 9. O-O h6 {This move came
as a surprise and my eyes lighted up immediately. I immediately began to
calculate e5} 10. Ba3 {After about ten minutes of thought, I felt that White
just gets a clear strategic advantage in the lines after Ba3 due to better
pawn structure and dark square bishop. I reasoned that it was better to go for
this instead of going into something more concrete.} (10. e5 dxe5 11. Ba3 c5
12. Qf3 (12. Bxc5 Qd5 13. Ba3 c5) 12... Qd5 13. Bb5+ Bd7 {I stopped here
thinking that Black is okay. I just forgot Bxd7+ and Rad1.} 14. Bxd7+ {because}
Kxd7 15. Rad1 $18) 10... Ng4 11. h3 Ne5 12. f4 Nxd3 13. cxd3 O-O 14. f5 {
fixing pawns on the light squares, creating threats} Qf6 15. d4 $2 {I just
didn't think and try to go deep in this position. I evaluated that I just had
a large advantage and the position would win by itself with natural moves.} (
15. Bb2 $142 {the main thing in this position is to get the a3 bishop on b2-g7
diagonal.} Rb8 16. Rf2 c5 17. Qe2 c4 18. d4 Re8 19. Qxc4 $14) 15... Re8 16. Qd3
$2 a5 (16... Qh4 {I just never saw this resource for my opponent} 17. Rae1 $140
$2 Bxf5) 17. Rf4 Ba6 18. c4 $2 {A direct result of not paying attention to
opponent's possibilities. I only considered d5 and c5 before playing this move
and thought that the bishop on b2 would steamroll through Black's position.
Only after playing did I notice Rab8} (18. Qe3 $142 c5 (18... Bc4 19. Re1 Bxa2
20. e5 $18) 19. Re1 Rad8 20. Bb2 $16) 18... Rab8 (18... c5 19. Bb2 Rab8 20. Bc3
) 19. Re1 $2 (19. Rd1 c5 20. dxc5 dxc5 21. Bxc5 Qe5 22. Qe3) 19... c5 20. dxc5
Qe5 21. Rg4 dxc5 22. Qe3 h5 23. Rg5 f6 24. Rxh5 {By this point, I was quite
disappointed at ruining a nice position.} Qd4 25. Bxc5 Qxe3+ 26. Rxe3 Bxc4 27.
Bd4 Rbd8 28. Bc3 Rd3 29. Kf2 $2 {decisive mistake.} (29. Rxd3 Bxd3 30. e5 fxe5
31. Rg5 Kf7 32. g4 {would've given real promising chances for converting
White's advantage.} a4 33. a3 c5) 29... Rxe3 30. Kxe3 Bxa2 31. Bxa5 c5 32. Bc3
Bb1 33. Rh4 Rd8 34. Ke2 Rd3 35. Be1 1/2-1/2

GM Swapnil Dhopade saw his chance and beat Atul Dahale (2112) in the seventh round, and in the crucial penultimate round game, overcame Himal Gusain. He sealed his victory by reaching 7.5/9, with an early draw against Srinath in the final round.

Here is Swapnil's crucial victory against Himal Gusain from Round 08:

[Event "SYNA International 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.05.02"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Dhopade, Swapnil"]
[Black "Gusain, Himal"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D31"]
[WhiteElo "2499"]
[BlackElo "2429"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[SourceDate "2016.05.02"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bb4 6. e3 b5 7. Bd2 a5 8. axb5
Bxc3 9. Bxc3 cxb5 10. b3 Bb7 11. bxc4 b4 12. Bb2 Nf6 13. c5 O-O 14. Bb5 Bc6 15.
Ba4 Bxa4 16. Qxa4 Qd5 17. O-O Nc6 18. Rfd1 Rfc8 19. Ne5 Ne8 20. Nd3 Qe4 21. Bc1
e5 22. f3 Qd5 23. dxe5 Nxe5 24. Nxb4 Qxc5 25. Nd5 Nc4 26. Ba3 Nxa3 27. Qxa3
Qxa3 28. Rxa3 Ra7 29. Rxa5 Rd7 30. e4 Kf8 31. Rda1 Rcd8 32. h4 h5 33. Ra7 Rxa7
34. Rxa7 g6 35. Kh2 Rc8 36. Nb6 Rd8 37. Nd7+ Kg7 38. Ne5 Nd6 39. Kg3 Re8 40.
Nd3 Nb5 41. Rd7 Kf8 42. Kf4 Re7 43. Rxe7 Kxe7 44. Kg5 Nc7 45. Nc5 Kf8 46. Kh6
Nb5 47. e5 Nd4 48. e6 Nf5+ 49. Kg5 Ne3 50. Nd7+ Ke7 51. exf7 Kxf7 52. Ne5+ Kg7
53. g3 Nf5 54. Nxg6 Nxg3 55. Nf4 $18 {and white soon won.} 1-0

Veteran IM Anup Deshmukh made the most of his opportunities in the final three rounds, winning all his games to storm to 7.5/9 as well, and was rewarded with the second place!

Watch IM Deshmukh's trademark attacking style of play in action as he rips Bihar's talented youngster Saurabh Anand (2065) to shreds.

[Event "SYNA International 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.05.02"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "Deshmukh, Anup"]
[Black "Anand, Saurabh"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D58"]
[WhiteElo "2213"]
[BlackElo "2065"]
[PlyCount "64"]
1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 O-O 6. Qc2 h6 7. Bh4 b6 8. Nf3
Bb7 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. cxd5 exd5 11. Be2 c5 12. dxc5 bxc5 13. O-O Bxc3 14. Qxc3
Nd7 15. Rfd1 Qe7 16. Qa3 Rfc8 17. Rac1 Kf8 18. Ba6 Bxa6 19. Qxa6 Nb6 20. a4 Qe6
21. Qd3 a5 22. b3 c4 23. bxc4 dxc4 24. Qc2 c3 25. Nd4 Qc4 26. Qh7 f6 27. Rxc3
Qxc3 28. Nf5 Rc7 29. Qh8+ Kf7 30. Qxg7+ Ke6 31. Qg4 Rf8 32. Rd6+ Kf7 1-0


Niklesh Kumar Jain, the winner GM Swapnil Dhopade, IM Anup Deshmukh and Himal Gusain with the SYNA School principal.

The happenings of the penultimate and the ultimate rounds meant that Himal Gusain, who finished with a win over Abhishek Das (2241), and Srinath Narayanan, both of whom were leading the tournament at the end of six rounds, were relegated to the third and fourth positions respectively with 7.0/9.


Thus, the SYNA International Open turned out to be a double delight for Maharashtra as the leading light from the state IM Anup Deshmukh finished second while GM Swapnil Dhopade was first.


Swapnil has, over the past one year, turned into a tournament-winning-machine in India, as he has been romping past many talented players to win the opens with remarkable consistency. On the other hand, Anup Deshmukh has produced many strong players in the past. He has been thoroughly processing the raw talent of the juniors who come to him and has turned them into world beaters.


As it turns out, Swapnil himself has been a student of the veteran International Master in the past. Safe to say that the teacher and the student won this grand event!

Final Standings:

Rk. No.Ini.   Players FED Elo State Pts.  Des 1   Des 2   Des 3 
1 1 GM Swapnil S. Dhopade IND 2499 Mah 7,5 50,5 46,0 44,75
2 11 IM Deshmukh Anup IND 2213 Lic 7,5 46,5 41,5 41,00
3 3   Gusain Himal IND 2429 Chnd 7,0 51,0 45,5 42,00
4 2 IM Narayanan Srinath IND 2469 Air India 7,0 50,5 45,0 42,25
5 8 IM Murali Krishnan B T IND 2255 Railway 7,0 47,5 43,0 38,75
6 19   Dahale Atul IND 2112 Mah 7,0 47,5 43,0 37,00
7 9   Debarshi Mukherjee IND 2245 Wb 7,0 46,0 41,0 38,50
8 21   Wagh Suyog IND 2081 Mah 7,0 43,0 38,5 35,75
9 10   Abhishek Das IND 2241 Railway 6,5 50,0 45,0 37,75
10 22   Dhananjay IND 2076 Cg 6,5 48,5 43,5 35,00

Check the complete final standings here.

Near the end of the eighth round, the organisers received a shocking message that the founder of the SYNA group, ex-minister Satyendra Pathak passed away.

It turned out that the school was the place where the chief minister and other VIPs would be landing before the cremation at 10 AM while the final round was scheduled for 9 AM!

The whole city was jam packed as people rushed to pay their final homage to this sports loving ex-minister.

Mr. Sanjay Pathak, son of the late Mr. Satendra, decided that in any case, the tournament must go on, and the final round was postponed by some three hours and began at 12.30 PM.

Players pay their respects before the start of the final round.

It was also decided that the tournament will be an annual affair and will be renamed as 'Pandit Satyendra Pathak Memorial International Chess Tournament'.

Niklesh (left) presenting a memento to the school principal Dr Aditya Kumar Sharma.

Niklesh Kumar Jain has done yeomen service to our beautiful game with his writings, coaching and organisation of quality chess tournaments where we presented seventy-five winners with ChessBase accounts as prizes. ChessBase India is glad to have partnered with the SYNA International Open 2016!

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