In highly engrossing and entertaining encounters, Jalgaon Battlers and Pune Sangli Navigators stormed into the finals of the Persistent 4th Maharashtra Chess League which is in the concluding stages at PYC Hindu Gymkhana. In the Qualifier1 Jalgaon took the easier and faster route by defeating Pune Sangli Navigators while the latter, after losing had to fight it against Pune TruMasters in Qualifier 2 to stake a place in the final. Pune TruMasters had earlier knocked out Mumbai Movers in the Eliminator round.
However earlier there was plenty of drama in the knock-out stage today with the clock ticking ominously, crowd converging, pressure of expectation and even those with nerves of steel failed to stayed calm in such a crunch situation in the Qualifier 1 and Eliminator round. Both the rounds interestingly ended in a deadlock with the scores levelled at 3-3 and forced the Armageddon (Five minutes for White and four minutes for Black where a draw also means victory for Black.)
In the Qualifier 1 Armageddon, Adhiban represented Pune Sangli Navigators played White against Narayanan Srinath who took the board for Jalgaon Battlers. trembling hands and shaking fingers , made it obvious that both players were under immense pressure and the game ended with Adhiban dropping his piece and pressing his clock to lose out on a technicality. Former Champions Jalgaon Battlers thus advanced to the finals and for them Srinath has been in stupendous form, the only player in the event to win all his six games and also the Armageddon.
The Qualifier 2 in contrast was a one sided affair with debutants Pune Sangli Navigators defeating Pune TruMasters 4.5-1.5. Abhijit Kunte, B Adhiban, Mary Ann Gomes and Aditya Udeshi emerged victories while S PSethuraman scored the lone victory for Pune TruMasters.
Earlier in the Armageddon face off for Eliminator, GM S P Sethuraman playing for Pune TruMasters was a trifle lucky to win in an identical manner, his opponent GM Abhijeet Gupta representing Mumbai Movers dropping his piece and also winning on technicality. “I was just lucky and cannot add anything to that” said a beaming Sethuraman even as his delighted team-mates cheered him on.
In the Qualifier1, V Varshini representing Pune Sangli Navigators played the stellar role by defeating the highly rated Koneru Humpy in a tense time pressure game where Humpy overstepped the time limit. Abhijit Kunte too scored while Narayanan Srinath and Nubairshah Shaikh roped in the point for Jalgaon battlers. Two of the battles ended in draws. An elated Varshini explained “ It was a complex game where, first I was in time pressure and later Humpy too thought too long in an equal looking position”
Mumbai Movers once again got a big lift from Vikramaditya Kulkarni as he defeated Eesha Karavade of Pune TruMasters in the dying stages of the game in an equal ending which appeared to head for a draw. Time pressure ahd Eesha cracking as she committed a few mistakes to end on the losing side. If it can be recalled, Kulkarni was also instrumental in propelling Mumbai into the first four yesterday. Abhijeet Gupta quickly pocketed a point for Mumbai Movers by defeating an erratic Vishnu Prasanna.
If it can be recalled, the Round Robin stage where six players battled it out, defending Champions Thane Combatants and Ahmednagar Checkers were eliminated.
RESULT of QUALIFIER 1
Jalgaon Battlers drew Pune Sangli Navigators -3-3
Armageddon- Jalgaon Battlers bt Pune Sangli Navigators
RESULT OF QUALIFIER 2
Pune Sangli Navigators bt Pune TruMasters- 4.5-1.5
RESULT OF ELIMINATOR
Pune TruMasters drew Mumbai Movers -3-3
Armageddon- Pune Trumasters bt Mumbai Movers.