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Abhimanyu Puranik wins silver medal at World Juniors 2018

by Sagar Shah - 17/09/2018

It is one of the most powerful performances that you would see by an Indian player at the World Junior Championships in recent times. Abhimanyu Puranik scored 8.5/11 with a performance of 2683 and won the silver medal at the World Juniors 2018. En route to winning the medal he beat GM Jorden van Foreest, GM Alreiza Firouzja and GM Aram Hakobyan. The last round was extremely critical as Abhimanyu had to score a win with the black pieces against a 2554 GM. He did so in fantastic style. This entire final game has been explained in the report. Isha Sharma from Karnataka performed admirably gaining not just 140 Elo points but also her second WIM norm. Full report from Gebze in Turkey by Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal.

He is one of them!

Have a look at these three players in the pictures below:

Jorden van Foreest from Netherlands with a rating of 2624

Alireza Firouzja from Iran with a rating of 2582

Aram Hakobyan from Armenia with a rating of 2554

Each of the above three players are the best from their country. They are well known in the chess world for their exploits and their skills over the board have been discussed by many experts. For example: Jorden van Foreest got the better of B. Adhiban in a 6-game match that was held in Netherlands, Alireza Firouzja is dubbed as World Champion material by the experienced Ivan Sokolov, and seeing Aram Hakobyan play blitz is enough to convince you that this boy has the capability to be the next Levon Aronian from Armenia. All three of them were beaten in rounds 8,9 and 11 by one player from India:

GM Abhimanyu Puranik from Pune, Maharashtra

And the boy made it look so easy! I interviewed him after each of his above three victories. For Abhimanyu, there was no elation in voice, or relief of having won in his expressions. For him fighting and winning against these stars was normal. For him it was just another day at the office.


Abhimanyu became the 49th GM of India in August 2017 at the Abu Dhabi Masters at the age of 17 years, 6 months and 11 days. At the start of 2016 Abhimanyu didn't have a single GM norm. He scored his first GM norm at the Zalakaros Open in Hungary in 2016, second one in the same tournament in 2017 and third one at Abu Dhabi Masters. Within a span of a year he had achieved his GM title. When so many players from India were struggling to get their third GM norm, or cross 2500 on the Elo scale, Abhimanyu came out of the blue and achieved the coveted title. That's when you start to realize that this boy has a talent to make things look easy. With that same ease he achieved another great feat in his chess career - silver at the World Juniors 2018.

Tournament director Ozgur Solakoglu gives the trophy to the Indian

Abhimanyu started the tournament as the 23rd seed and finished second! He gained 22 Elo points in the process and won the silver medal. He also got his rating up to 2546.

Abhimanyu Puranik versus Aram Hakobyan

On the last day of the event, Abhimanyu was in a must win situation against GM Aram Hakobyan. A draw would not suffice as Abhimanyu had a worse tiebreak than Aram. But to play for a win with the black pieces against such a strong opponent is never easy. But, Abhimanyu made it possible. Here are a few things that he did right:

1. He chose an opening which wasn't ultra aggressive. It was solid (Guioco Piano or the Italian from Black) but at the same time kept pieces on the board and gave Black chances to capitalize on his opponent's mistake if he ever went wrong.

2. Calm and composed. If you look at the video at the start of the game, you realize that Abhimanyu had the perfect mix of determination coupled with aggression and calmness. His moves and attitude showed that he wanted to win, but at the same time there was no desperation. This balance is not so easy to strike.

3. When things were looking drawish, he kept playing the best moves in the position not worrying about the result of the game. The result, medal and the prize giving ceremony happen later. What is more important is to keep making the best moves in the position.

4. Not getting under time pressure. Abhimanyu always makes sure to play at a good pace so as to put his opponents under pressure. He himself hardly gets under time pressure. That's a big plus point when you are playing a crucial game. Mistakes happen when you are short on time under high pressure scenarios.


Here's the game first with some annotations for you to go over, then you can look at the last 12 minutes of the game as to how calmly Abhimanyu made his way towards victory and finally we have a 13-minute interview with Abhimanyu where he goes over the game and thanks all the people who have helped him in his journey to be where he is right now!

Final moments of the game between Aram Hakobyan and Abhimanyu Puranik
How did Abhimanyu Puranik win the silver medal at the World Juniors 2018 - Interview by IM Sagar Shah

Gold - Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran (centre), Silver - Abhimanyu Puranik of India (left), Bronze - Sergei Lobanov of Russia (right) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Gold - Aleksandra Maltsevskaya of Russia (centre), Silver - Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (left), Bronze - Nino Khomeriki (right) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

With the glittering trophy

You have to bite that medal! Always wondered why people bite their medals? Here's an article explaining why!

It was not a traditional round medal

IM Ravi Teja tasted success on his first assignment as the head of delegation of boys' team!

Farrukh Amonatov who was present at the tournament as the head of Russian delegation said jokingly, "I am glad three of my students won a medal here! Two Russians and Abhimanyu!" The Pune lad has trained with GM Amonatov in the past.

Isha Sharma had a very successful event as she scored her second WIM norm and gained 140 Elo points! Naturally Aarthie Ramaswamy, the head of delegation of girls' team was elated!

Isha Sharma with her norm certificate

Harsha Bharathakoti played a strong game in the final round to beat GM Awonder Liang. Harsha's live rating is now 2490 and he is just 10 Elo points away from reaching the GM title.
This video shows why Karthik Venkatraman, Ravi Teja, Karthikeyan Murali, Nubairshah Shaikh and Harsha Bharathakoti are such strong players. The tournament is over but they continue to analyze.

At the closing ceremony

The author of these lines Sagar Shah and photographer of this report Amruta Mokal with the World Junior Champion Parham Maghsoodloo. We hope that you enjoyed our coverage. After a break of few days, we will be back on the reporting job with the Olympiad as it begins in Batumi from the 24th of September!

Overview of Indian performances:

4GMKarthikeyan Murali2605IND11½½½1½½0117,51410-0,50Open
10GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2578IND111010½½½117,515101,30Open
13GMSunilduth Lyna Narayanan2573IND1½101101½1½7,512101,90Open
23GMPuranik Abhimanyu2524IND1½1101½11½18,521022,60Open
27IMKarthik Venkataraman2519IND11½½11100½½7,0201018,10Open
40IMHarsha Bharathakoti2474IND111100½½½117,591018,20Open
50IMMohammad Nubairshah Shaikh2443IND½1½01½½10106,05910-3,40Open
56IMRaja Harshit2419IND10½11001½1½6,545101,00Open
77IMKrishna Teja N2356IND100110101005,010810-16,30Open
94FMShailesh Dravid2325IND0110½01½1½½6,068208,60Open
12WIMChitlange Sakshi2279IND1½½½½½110106,52340-42,40Girls
21WIMMahalakshmi M2213IND½1½1½½0½0½16,03320-15,00Girls
32WIMVarshini V2173IND101½01111½07,0132022,20Girls
36WIMIvana Maria Furtado2144IND1½10½½001½½5,54620-5,40Girls
55WCMIsha Sharma2012IND10½011101016,52240139,20Girls
65Meenal Gupta1963IND½011½1010005,05840102,40Girls

Final rankings of open section:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 Krtg+/-
GMMaghsoodloo ParhamIRI26499,50,070,576,0591020,7
GMPuranik AbhimanyuIND25248,50,069,573,0671022,6
IMLobanov SergeiRUS25358,50,066,070,5571016,2
GMEsipenko AndreyRUS25938,50,065,068,5571011,5
GMTabatabaei M.AminIRI25768,00,069,074,5681010,4
GMBai JinshiCHN25568,00,065,069,056109,8
IMChristiansen Johan-SebastianNOR25257,50,074,078,5561016,0
GMHakobyan AramARM25547,50,071,076,0561011,3
IMHarsha BharathakotiIND24747,50,070,575,0561018,2
GMFirouzja AlirezaIRI25827,50,068,573,556108,4
GMDonchenko AlexanderGER26147,50,068,073,055102,3
GMSunilduth Lyna NarayananIND25737,50,067,071,566101,9
GMVan Foreest JordenNED26247,50,065,570,05510-6,5
GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND26057,50,065,070,05510-0,5
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND25787,50,063,568,556101,3
GMMartirosyan Haik M.ARM25977,50,063,568,06610-4,4
IMYakubboev NodirbekUZB25217,50,062,067,055100,8
IMLomasov SemyonRUS25457,50,062,066,56510-5,0
IMSindarov JavokhirUZB24847,00,074,578,5561016,2
IMKarthik VenkataramanIND25197,00,074,078,5551018,1

Final rankings of girls section:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 Krtg+/-
119Maltsevskaya AleksandraRUS22348,51,073,077,0562055,6
24WGMTokhirjonova GulrukhbegimUZB23698,50,068,573,5572016,2
39WIMKhomeriki NinoGEO23138,00,071,075,5672020,6
445WFMNurgali NazerkeKAZ20808,00,069,073,06740182,8
57WIMDordzhieva DinaraRUS23188,00,068,573,5652021,8
61IMTsolakidou StavroulaGRE23938,00,065,571,06710-0,3
75WIMZhu JinerCHN23648,00,061,566,56720-3,8
83FMAssaubayeva BibisaraRUS23717,50,073,078,055101,2
911FMAntova GabrielaFID22927,50,066,571,556207,8
1046Bai XueCHN20737,50,056,059,5574076,0
1123WFMCaglar SilaTUR22087,50,055,058,56640-24,4
1220WGMParamzina AnastasyaRUS22227,00,072,076,0572021,4
1332WIMVarshini VIND21737,00,068,072,5562022,2
148FMGorti AkshitaUSA23157,00,066,572,05620-4,8
1524WIMGhukasyan SiranushARM22057,00,064,569,5552015,2
1614WFMPotapova MargaritaRUS22777,00,064,068,556207,2
172IMNomin-Erdene DavaademberelMGL23777,00,061,065,55610-19,5
1815WFMSliwicka AlicjaPOL22726,50,068,073,06620-8,4
1928WFMKanakova NatalieCZE22016,50,066,070,055202,2
2010WIMUnuk LauraSLO22996,50,063,568,55520-27,2


Related news:
World Juniors 2018 Round 10: Can Abhimanyu win a medal?

@ 15/09/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
India gets its 49th grandmaster - Abhimanyu Puranik!

@ 23/08/2017 by Sagar Shah (en)