Kramnik and Gelfand train top juniors – Chessbase News

Posted: January 6, 2020 at 10:44 am


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In August 2019 an ambitious project was undertaken where six young talents ofIndia were to train under the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik.Kramnik, who retired from chess in January 2019, had been quite busy with his post-retirement projects both in chess and beyond. However,seeing the talent crop of India and thepotential these youngsters possessed, he decided tofree up ten days in his schedule for the training camp.It was Frederic Friedel, the founder of ChessBase, who had conceived this idea just a few days after Kramnik retired from professional chess.

There was no question of talent in Indian chess. Kramnik was ready. What was now required was a sponsor, who would fund this entire project. After several months of searching, it was Microsense Networks Private Limited that came forward. Mr. Kailasanathan, the Managing Director of Microsense Private Limited and a former Tamil Nadu Chess State Champion in 1972,found this project in sync with the mission of Microsense. The company wants to create world class chess players in the years to come and training with Kramnik was sure to help them in their vision.

Participants of the August camp: Vladimir Kramnik withGM R. Praggnanandhaa, GM D. Gukesh, GMP. Iniyan, GM Prithu Gupta, IM Raunak Sadhwani (who was not a GM back then), IM Leon Mendonca and ChessBase India founders Sagar and Amruta | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ten days of training with Kramnik proved to be immensely useful | Photo: Amruta Mokal

But the camp was not the end of it all. After its completion Vladimir was in touch withthe games of the students. He would regularly communicate with me about howa youngster had got it all wrong in the opening, oranother youngster had to simply get his act together in endgame technique. It was Kramnik'shigh level ofinvolvement in the projectand subsequent results of the students that convinced Kailasanathan and Microsense of the need to continue these camps.

Praggnanandhaa went on to become the World Youth Champion in the under-18 section and also won the London Chess Classic FIDE Open. Raunak Sadhwani scored his final GM norm with a tremendous performance at theGrand Swiss 2019 in Isle of Man and became India's 65th GM.

After becoming a GM, and speaking to ChessBase India Raunak mentioned:

I can say that Kramnik sir's camp was a life changing thing for me. In a few days he taught so many practical things:

All these were encouraging signs and Microsense decided to take things up anotch. The second camp was planned in January, but this time instead of eight Indians travelling toEurope, it was decided that Kramnik should come down to India. The last time Vladimir Kramnik was in the country was back inthe 90s when heplayed a match in Sanghi Nagar against Boris Gelfand. Vladimir agreed to the proposal. As the camp had beenvery useful to the youngsters, it was decided that the number of studentsshould be increased from 6 to 14. The logisticalarrangements wouldbe much less and it made sense to have more talents working with thelegend. Butof course, it would be too much for Kramnik to work with 14youngsters alone. Anotherworld-class player was required and the naturalchoice was India's five-time World Champion Vishy Anand.

Vishy Anand withKailasanathan (right), CEO of MicrosensePrivate Limited

At a felicitation ceremony held in Chennai in October 2019, Anand showed his keenness in joining the programas a trainer in the monthsto come. But in January,it wasn't really feasible for Vishy as he was participating in theTata Steel Chess tournament 2020 in Wijk AanZee.It is quite probable that Vishy would join in for the next camp. The search for a world-class player / trainer continued.

Boris Gelfand needs no introduction. He has been one of the greatest chess players ever tohave graced the game of chess. He fought against Vishy Anand in the World Championships 2012 and after the Classicalgames the score was tied at 6-6! Anand eventually won the rapidtiebreakers, but it was clear that Boris had been a worthy opponent for the four-time World Champion back then. Over the years, Gelfand has continued to fight at the highest leveland it is this very experience ofhis that made him a worthy partnerfor Vladimir Kramnik in the training camp.

Kramnik and Gelfand: Rivals on the chess board, and friends off it!| Photo: Amruta Mokal

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The trainers weredecided,it was now time to select the students. The list of the top players in the country between the age of 12-16 was created. Some players above the age of 16 were also considered. However, the main aim was to have the best and youngest players of India attend the camp. This list of probable candidates was submitted to Kramnik and Gelfand, who went over the names with great care and selected the 8 players in addition to the six who already were in the first camp.

2602 at the age of 14! Pragg is one of the finest young talents, not just in India but also all over the world.

Praggnanandhaa | Photo:Lennart Ootes

Arjun Erigaisi has raced to an Elo of 2575. The 16-year-oldhas been extremely consistent andwe have seen his Elo climb upwards for quite some timenow. He was part of the first camp as well, but a last minute injury meant that he had to miss it. It's wonderful to have Arjun in the second training camp.

Arjun Erigaisi | Photo:Lennart Ootes

The second youngest GM in thehistory of chess and a tremendous talent.

D. Gukesh | Photo:Lennart Ootes

India'slatest GM.His performance at the FIDE Grand Swiss 2019 where he was unbeaten for seven rounds against some of the best players in the world including Sergey Karjakin drew attention from all corners of the world.

Raunak Sadhwani | Photo: Amruta Mokal

GM P. Iniyan hails from Erode, a place with absolutely no chess culture. For a GM to emerge from such a town, at such a tender age, shows Iniyan's talent.

P. Iniyan | Photo:Lennart Ootes

Arjun Kalyan has already scored3 GM norms and is on the brink of becoming India's next GM.

Arjun Kalyan | Photo: Sagar Shah

India's 64th GM isclearly the one who plays the least number of tournaments amongall of these youngsters. The fact that he could become a GM by playingsuch few events, shows what a consistent player he is.

Sreeshwan Maralakshikari is a talentto watch out for. Just 13 years old, he is already an IM. Financial difficulties and lack of structured training have proved to be impediments in this youngster's progress, but with this camp, he should be able to make headway towards his GM title pretty soon.

Sreeshwan Maralakshikari | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A gutsy youngster who has never let anyoff the boardobstacles come in between his journey towardschess excellence. Aditya had an accident before the event and hence will be joining in the camp remotely.

Aditya Mittal | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Gaining in strength every day, thisyoungster from Goa is sure to become a GM soon. Check outLeon's symphonyon the board which he created at the World Juniors 2019.

Leon Mendonca| Photo: Amruta Mokal

He became an IMjust at the age of 11 years and 8 months. BharatSubramaniyamknows no fear andin the next few months will be looking forward to breaking Karjakin's youngest GM world record.

BharatSubramaniyam | Photo:Lennart Ootes

When it comes to women's chess in India, R. Vaishali is one of the best. She already is a WGM, has two IM norms, but more importantly she has alsoscored a GM norm recently.

R. Vaishali | Photo:Lennart Ootes

You only need to seeRaahil Mullick's couple of wins at the Abu Dhabi Masters 2019 against 2600 rated opponentsto know how talented he is!

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Raahil Mullick shows Sagar two sparkling wins

Rakshitta Ravi is just 14, is already a WIM and has twoWGM norms.

Rakshitta Ravi | Photo:Lennart Ootes

Note:WIM Divya Deshmukh was invited to the camp. However, due to other commitments, shewill not be able tobe a part of the camp. She was replaced byR. Vaishali in the camp.

When is it held:The first session will begin onJanuary8thand the last day of the camp will beJanuary17th, 2020.

How many hours each day:Each day the training camp will have six hours of training divided into twothree-hour sessions

Whereis it held:The camp is held in a villa on the East Coast Road in Chennai and no parents are allowed to be a part of the camp. It's a residential training program.

How will the students be taught:There will be two groups created and trainingthat will happen in two separate rooms. Each group willget time with both Kramnik and Gelfand for training.

Innovations:There are several innovations that will be seen at the training camp:Firstly a Michelin Starred chef will be preparing food for the youngsters throughout the event. Secondly a yoga expert will train the youngsters.

ChessBase India founders Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal will bepresent at the venue as the managers of this entire camp and also to bring you further updates.Initiator of the training camps, Frederic Friedel fromChessBase International, will also be visiting.

"Our vision and mission are to build India as a powerful chess-playing nation" The man with thevision the MD of MicrosenseNetworks Private Limited S. Kailasanathan

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Kramnik and Gelfand train top juniors - Chessbase News

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January 6th, 2020 at 10:44 am

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