Three tough rounds, inspirational chess by rising stars and steady display of strength by established players were the hallmark of Day two of the Amanora Maharashtra Chess League 2015 in progress at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana. In a scintillating fifth round, the most exciting one of the event so far, Pune TruMasters trounced Pune Attackers 5.5-0.5 to top the six team league with 18 points while Thane Combatants outplayed Ahmednagar Checkers 4-2 to tally 16 points and grab the second spot.
Ahmednagar Checkers and Jalgaon Battlers tallied 15 points each to grab the next two qualifying slots after the latter were held to a draw by Mumbai Movers with a 3-3 score. Pune Attackers with 12.5 points and Mumbai Movers with 13.5 points were the teams to be eliminated in the first part of the event which was a Round Robin League comprising of six teams fielding six players for each round.
In the knock-out stage to be played tomorrow, Pune TruMasters will battle it out with Thane Combatants in the first qualifier and the winner will sail into the finals. Jalgaon Battlers will be pitted against Ahmednagar Checkers and the winner will fight it out with the losers of the first qualifier to grab the second slot into the final. The event is sponsored by Amanora and co-sponsored by Persistent and Kelzai Volcanic Water.
Pune TruMasters were an inspired lot in the fifth round as they posted the biggest ever winning margin in all the editions of the event held so far.
Earlier Ahmednagar Checkers owned by RBX Sportsethix had pulled off a sensational 4-2 upset against Mumbai Movers to shoot into sole lead with 13 points after the fourth round.
It was a classic team effort by Ahmednagar Checkers where the under-rated players performed magnificently, way above their rating strength. The architects of this victory were IM Shardul Gagare who shocked higher rated GM Vaibhav Suri and Rucha Pujari who also stunned higher rated IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni. Youngster Shyam Sundar also pitched in with a draw against Women World number two, Koneru Humpy while N R Vignesh also accounted for higher ranked Rakesh Kulkarni.
Truspace owned Pune Trumasters enjoying sole lead after the third round were edged out 2.5-3.5 by mep infrastructure owned by Thane Combatants in another intensely contested tussle. For Thane, Lalit Babu, K Ratnakaran brought home the expected points but it was talented teenager Aravindh Chithambaram who prevailed over Swayams Mishra after a marathon 111 moves to lift his team’s tally and morale. For Trumasters Abhijit Kunte defeated Soumya Swaminathan and S P Sethuraman scored against Eesha Karavade.
Pune Attackers owned by Goel Ganga Group also had to settle for a 3-3 draw against Jalgaon Battlers, owned by Jain Irrigation. There were no major upsets in this encounter with ratings and titles prevailing. For Pune Attackers, Swapnil Dhopade after scoring thee victories held higher rated Vidit Santosh Gujrathi to a draw.
In the Match between the two overnight leaders Pune TruMasters and Ahmednagar Checkers, the former emerged winners with a 3.5-2.5 score. Grandmasters Abhijit Kunte and S P Sethuraman and WGM Mary Ann Gomes brought home the expected victories over Shardul Gagare, Rucha Pujari and Akanksha Hagawane respectively while Swati Ghate ended on the losing side against N Vignesh.
Pune Attackers had to stay content with a 3-3 draw against Mumbai Movers and so did Jalgaon Battlers, against Thane Combatants. For Jalgaon Battlers Narayanan Srinath notched his third victory on the trot while youngster Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh was once again impressive, holding much higher ranked and titled GM M R Lalith Babu to a draw. Viddit Santosh Gujrathi split point with Eesha Karavade while Kiran Manisha Mohanty ended on the losing side against Soumya Swaminathan.
Koneru Humpy representing Mumbai Movers defeated Thejkumar and Vaibhav Suri wriggled out of an inferior looking position against Padmini Rout to score the much needed crucial point for the team draw. For Pune Attackers Swapnil Dhopade had another good outing, defeating Vikramaditya Kulkarni to score his third successive win.