Monday, February 18, 2013

Praveen Triumphant

White to play.
Balakrishnan - Phelps, World Amateur Team 2013

Black to play.
Levina - Balakrishnan, World Amateur Team 2013

I have annotated three recent games of NM Praveen Balakrishnan, who is playing board two on FM Steve Stoyko's "Knightmare 3" team this weekend at the 2013 World Amateur Teams in Parsippany, New Jersey.  I was hoping to play board four on the team, but it was discovered that my recent rating gain would have sent us over the 2200 average by one point! So Expert Ian Mangion is playing bottom board while NM Scott Massey is playing board three. I fully expect them to win the championship this year (they are 4-0 going into Round 5), which makes it a shame that I couldn't make the team. But I got to enjoy a relaxed day visiting the tournament on Saturday to check out the games, chat with friends, and browse books.  And I will not have to stress about a last round game for all the marbles. 

Praveen has had a rapid rise over the past year, going from a Class-A player to Master in what seems like the blink of an eye.  It did not surprise anyone that he won the Kenilworth Chess Club Championship earlier this month (I have included his exciting win over NM Mark Kernighan in the final round).  I have already taken an interest in his career -- see "Praveen at the World Youth" for example -- and look forward to his continued success.


Unknown said...

Hi Mike -

Any idea how they made out in the end??

Michael Goeller said...

Hi Joe, good to hear from you. No, I have not heard anything yet and was not able to attend the last day of the event. I welcome comments from informed readers who know the final results. Also, I'd like to see some good games from players from our club, so please send them to me at michael(dot)goeller(at)gmail(dot)com.

Anonymous said...

Steve's team won 5 th but lost the 6 th to Princeton University A. In the final round Steve and Scott drew but Praveen and Ian lost. - venkat

Michael Goeller said...

Thanks so much for the update. I just got off the phone with Steve also. Apparently it was almost a repeat of a few years back when we had 5-0 and played board 1 in the final round and lost, and no prize! A shame. I think Ian was probably exhausted since it turned out he did not split Board 4 duties with Bob Rose as planned (and that may not even have been communicated to him clearly until the first round). Steve told me that he thought Praveen may have had a sneaky chance to win in the final game despite being down a pawn, but after he missed it the game was lost. Tough break -- but it sounds like they were a very tough team.

I look forward to seeing some games -- Steve has promised me at least one.

Chess Coroner said...

Steve's team (Knightmare III) won the Top NJ prize.

You can download the list of prize-winners from

The Kenilworth CC Niners also did well, going 4-2. Greg scored 4.5 points & Geoff had 3.5. Mark was 3/5 (don't know the result of his final game).

I played terribly (+1-2=3 with 3 bad openings, 2 blown/missed wins and a blown draw) but drew a Master in the last round.

Ian Mangion said...

Hi Mike! Tragically I can verify that I was exhausted in the last round. I had a decent position and.....moved myself into a mate in 3, having mixed up a very simple move order I had worked out. Very sad, I wish I had pulled through for the team. But I will send you my game from round 5, which at least was worth the sleep deprivation!

Steve had a fantastic tournament.

Unknown said...

Just saw Praveen's final game on Chess Life Online ( So close! Great tournament everyone.