Unpredictable board-orders were over ruled by unexpected results in the first two rounds of the Amanora Maharashtra Chess League 2015 which began at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana. Pune Tru Master and Ahmednagar Checkers emerged joint leaders with 6.5 points each and have Jalgaon Battlers and Pune Attackers following half a point behind. Mumbai Movers and Thane Combatants have tallied 5.5 points each. The first leg of the event is a Round Robin league with the six teams fielding six players for each round will play each other once. These will be followed by the knock-out, contested between the top four teams.
The second round produced a spate of shocking results where un-fancied players stole the limelight with stunning victories over the established stars. Talented youngster from Maharashtra, Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh shocked former World junior Champion Abhijeet Gupta, Shyam Sundar upset the highest rated player in fray Vidit Gujrathi and untitled Akanksha Hagawane defeated WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty.
In the second round Pune TruMasters defeated Mumbai Movers 3.5-2.5 and Pune Attackers scored over Thane Combatants with an identical margin. Ahmednagar Checkers and Jalgaon Battlers reached a 3-3 deadlock.
The team Ahmednagar Checkers owned by RBS Sportsethix defeated Goel Gang Group owned Pune Attackers by a 3.5-2.5 score to emerge sole leaders after round one. The encounter between Thane Combatants (owned by mep Infrastructuure developers) and Mumbai Movers (Owned by SHEL) ended in a draw with each side scoring two victories and two games ending in draws. Defending Champions Jalgaon Battlers (Owned by Jain Irrigation) also had to settle for a draw against Punte TruMasters (owned by Truspace).
Those expecting high profile Grandmaster encounters in the first round of the six player, six team event were in for a treat as some of the biggest names in this 3rd edition of the Amanora Maharashtra Chess League(MCL) 2015 locked horns in the inaugural round. The event sponsored by Amanora and co-sponsored by Persistent and Kelzai Volcanic Waters present a colourful picture with the contestants sporting multi coloured T-shirts which offer a stark contrast to the Black and White squares of the chequered board. The game which drew maximum crowd featured GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, currently the best youngster player in Maharashtra against seasoned campaigner GM Abhijit Kunte and one which ended with the youngster sighting victory. “ Abhijit had an isolated pawn and I intensified pressure on it. There were inaccuracies from both of us but I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game” beamed Vidit immediately after the game.
In another high profile tussle, Koneru Humpy despite a better position had to settle for a draw against Eesha Karavde, having less time on her clock. ‘ I think that perhaps I did have an interesting tactic to blunt out her advantage and shortage of time helped me to eke out the draw” said Eesha later.
For Ahmednagar Checkers, Gupta, and IM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan scored the expected victories against IM Padmini Rout and Parnali Dharia but it was Rucha Pujari who scripted the team victory by defeating slightly higher rated Aniruddha Deshpande. GM Venkatesh and Swapnil Dhopade scored for Pune Attackers while the only game to end in deadlock was between Thek Kumar and Shyam Sundar.
Jalgaon Battlers suffered a slight hiccup when highly rated GM B Adhiban had to split point with WGM Mary Ann Gomes even as Vidit and Narayanan Srinath brought in victories for the team. GM S P Sethuraman and Swayam Mishra scored for TruMasters while ABhishek Kelkar was held to a draw by Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh.