The 1st Nellai Below 1600 Fide Rated Chess Tournament was organised by the Tirunelveli District Chess Development Association at the Community Hall, Courtalam from 28th to 30th September 2019. A total of 312 players from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, AP, West Bengal, Pondicherry, UP and Karnataka took part in the nine round three day tournament. The time control was 30 minutes plus 30 seconds increment from move 1.
KR Prasath of Madurai the top seed of the tournament was held to a draw in the fourth round, which witnessed the sharing of the lead by eight players. Of the eight players, S Rutherford and U Gowrichander of Tamil Nadu and KS Sudeepan of Kerala registered fifth consecutive victories in five rounds to share the lead. Gowrichanderfell a victim to Rutherford in the sixth round and he was joined at the top by Sudeepan who defeated R Kannan of TN.The two leaders drew their seventh round encounter which helped Kesavan G of Tamil Nadu to join them by beating AkhilVIjayakumar of Kerala.
In the penultimate and eighth round, Rutherford got the better of Kesavan and Sudeepan defeated his Kerala team mate Emmanuel Thomas, again to share the lead among them with 7.5 points each. Vishwanath Kannan of AP and Gowrichander were half a point behind the two leaders. Things turned around in the final round, as Vishwanath defeated Rutherford and Sudeepan was held to a draw by Gowri, resulting Vishwanath Kannan and Sudeepan to tie for the first place with eight points each. Vishwanath had a better tiebreak to clinch the title as a clear winner with 8.5 points and bag the first prize of Rs.70000/.Sudeepan received Rs.50000/- for his efforts. The total prize money for the tournament was five lakh rupees. Rutherford who was leading throughout the tournament had to be content with the third place because of the final round debacle.
Sri Arunachala Prabhu, Area Manager C & S Electricals distributed the prizes on the final day. The weather and climate in Courtalam were fine with all the waterfalls almost flooding, making the tournament a memorable one for the players and parents.