It all boiled down to nerves and a cool calculating head as Lalith Babu representing Thane Combatants edged out S P Sethuraman of Pune TruMasters in the tie-break Armageddon to ensure that his team stormed into the finals of the Amanora Maharashtra Chess League 2015 being played at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana. The Qualifier 1 between these two teams which had finished first and second in the Round Robin League had ended in a hard fought 3-3 tie and hence the tie-break.
Later in Qualifier 2, Ahmednagar Checkers defeated Pune TruMasters 3.5-2.5 to stake the second berth in the finals. Tomorrow on Sunday at 5.00 pm Thane Combatants will match wits against Ahmednagar Checkers in the finals to win the title. Abhijeet Gupta, N R Vignesh and Shyam Sundar scored the much needed wins for Ahmednagar Checkers while Abhijit Kunte and S PSethuraman scored for Trumasters while the battle between Shardul Gagare and Swati Ghate ended with the honours shared.
Earlier in the Eliminator played between the third and fourth placed teams in the league, Ahmednagar Checkers knocked out defending Champions Jalgaon Battlers with a 3.5-2.5 score to set up at Match in Qualifier 2 against Pune TruMasters . The event is sponsored by Amanora and co-sponsored by Persistent and Kelzai Volcanic Water.
“ This was the first time I was involved in playing a Armageddon (White having five minutes on the clock and Black having four minutes. A draw would award the victory to Black) and it was tense and tough and it is difficult to recall the exact dangers and the thought processes that went through my mind” summed up Lalith Babu even as his team-mates jumped in joy after this victory and rushed to hug him. Incidentally last year too, Thane Combatants had entered the Finals via the Aramageddon .
For Thane Combatents Lalith Babu and Eesha Karavade scored crucial wins while Abhijit Kunte and Swayams Mishra neutralised the score with victories. Local lad and talented teenager Abhimany Puranik brought cheer to Thane Combatants by holding higher rated GM S P Sethuraman while the encounter between city-mates Soumya Swaminathan and Swati Ghate also ended in a deadlock.
“ Our Team has done pretty well, in fact they have played wonderfully. The format can make the game churn out unexpected results and make it exciting for the spectators. We have to take the positives and negatives in our stride” said Ashwin Trimal , the owner of Pune TruMasters .
“ We believe that we have a team that is not very balanced but we have players who have performed extraordinarily well when it mattered most” said Siddharth Mayur the owner of Ahmednagar Checkers.