Goan Chess

This blog is dedicated to the development of Goan Chess. Although in its nascent stages, Goan chess is poised to take off in a big way with the budding youngsters ready to rock the chess world with their talents. We look forward to your contribution ...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

GSCA salutes Viswanathan Anand!

In its Executive Body meeting, Goa State Chess
Association passed a resolution congratulating
Viswanathan Anand for winning the World Championship
title in Mexico.

'Anand will always be special for Goa' said President
Sameer A. Salgaocar adding that 'it was here in Panjim that
Vishy won his first National title (Subjunior open) in 1983
by scoring a perfect 9 out of 9 points'.

Anand also won the National Junior crown the subsequent
crown in Vasco city to add to his fond memories of the

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bhakti remains unbeaten; wins by record margin!

Commonwealth Under 18 Girls Champion Bhakti
Kulkarni (ELO 2112) drew her last round game with National
Under 17 Champion R. Preethi of Tamil Nadu (ELO 2109)
to remain unbeaten in the National Junior Girls Chess
Championship which concluded here at Nagpur today.

At the outset of the game, Goa's wondergirl Bhakti
offered a draw to her reputed rival from down South.
However, her opponent refused as she was trying to
seal the runner up position for herself. Nevertheless,
as the game progressed, it was Preethi who found
herself in a spot of bother and she landed up offering
the draw which Bhakti gladly accepted.

With this result, Bhakti finishes with 10 out of a possible
11 points and stays unbeaten in this gruelling event.
The margin of 2 points over her nearest rivals is a record
as well as the fact that she is the first girl after Koneru
Humpy to have won the Juniors title while still being
eligible for the Subjunior category!

For the stastically inclined, Bhakti's performance of 9 points
against 10 rated players of an average ELO rating of 2119 points
will translate into a rating performance of 2219 in the event
wherein she will gain 61 points.

Dronacharya awardee, Raghunandan Gokhale, who is
also Bhakti's coach attributes her 'dream run' to the
Blessings of the Almighty.

Main results (final round) - 1. R. Preethi drew with Bhakti Kulkarni
2. Mary Ann Gomes drew with P. Lakshmi Sahiti 3. Pon. N. Krithika
beat Kiran Manisha Mohanty 4. Kruttika Nadig beat Padmini Rout
5. Sitalatchumi lost to Soumya Swaminathan 6. S. Harini lost to
P. Uthra 7. Mohana Sengupta lost to P. Sivasankari 8. N. Raghavi
drew with Shrushti Shetty 9. Ch. Divyasri lost to P. Anusha 10. Priyanka
Kumari drew with Ketaki Kulkarni

Final standings : 1. WFM Bhakti Kulkarni (10 points), 2-6. WIM Mary Ann
Gomes, R. Preethi, WIM Soumya Swaminathan, WFM Pon. N. Krithika,
WIM Kruttika Nadig (8 points), 7-8. WIM P. Lakshmi Sahiti, P. Uthra (7.5
points) 9-10. Padmini Rout, P. Sivasankari (7 points).

Friday, September 28, 2007

Goa's first National Championship - Bhakti beats reigning champ Soumya to claim the title!

In a fitting finale, Goa's Bhakti Kulkarni (ELO 2112) defeated
WIM and reigning National Junior Champion
Soumya Swaminathan (ELO 2178) of Maharashtra
to clinch the National Junior Girls Championship
which is being played in Nagpur.

Soumya had won the last two editions of this
event and was aiming for a hat trick. She had the
advantage of home state and also she was in terrific
form having accomplished three Women International
Norms in Spain in three consecutive tournaments. Besides,
she had beaten Bhakti convincingly in their only encounter in
the National 'A' in 2006. With all these factors in her favour and
the pressure of clinching the title squarely resting on Bhakti's
young shoulders, it was always going to be an uphill struggle.

As usual, it was the Coach and Dronacharya Awardee Raghunandan
Gokhale who came to the rescue with a subtle change in Bhakti's
opening. She essayed the Ruy Lopez once again with a slight
variation from her earlier game against S. Harini (ELO 2087). Soumya was caught
unaware as the game drifted into dynamic equality. In desperation,
the reigning champ lashed out and in the overstretch, Bhakti
capitalised to pocket the full point. Incidentally, the first ever National Juniors
Girls Champion was Gokhale 's student - WIM Anupama Gokhale.

This is the first National Championship for Goa coming in the 40th year of
existence of Goa State Chess Association. In a field of 5 Women International
Masters (including the Asian Junior Champion and the 2 time National
Junior Champion), to record a triumph with a round to spare speaks volumes
of Bhakti's improved play, dedication and hardwork. Bhakti will play nothing
less than 6 international tournaments next year as a result of this
victory including the World Junior and Asian Junior Championships.
All the office bearers of Goa State Chess Association including
the President Sameer A. Salgaocar and the Secretary Suhas Asnodkar are in jubilant
mood. A grand reception awaits Bhakti when she returns to Goa
following her stupendous victory in Nagpur!

Bhakti fights back to win crucial encounter

In the ninth round of the National Junior
Girls Chess Championship being played
at Nagpur, Bhakti Kulkarni (ELO 2112) fought back from
a dead lost position to win her game against
fancied P. Uthra (ELO 2060) of Tamil Nadu to take a 1.5 point
lead with two rounds to go in the event.

Former National Under 17 Girls Champion
P. Uthra had obviously prepared well for this game as she
gained superiority right from the opening itself
and won a pawn. However, Goa's Commonwealth
Under 18 Girls Champion Bhakti was given a lifeline
through sheer Divine Intervention when her opponent
grabbed another pawn and opened a file for her rook.
Bhakti counterattacked and in the ensuing time scramble
held her nerves to win the crucial encounter.

Bhakti on 8.5 points has the sole lead and is followed
by two time National Junior Champion WIM Elect
Soumya Swaminathan (ELO 2178) and Asian Junior Girls Champion
WIM Mary Ann Gomes (ELO 2274) who are on 7 points each.
Bhakti needs just half a point from her remaining two games to
win the Championship. She next plays reigning Champion
Soumya in the 10th round to try and seal her victory in the event.

Even the worst case scenario sees Bhakti finishing no worse than
third and she has thus ensured her place in both the National Junior
team and the World and Asian Junior events next year. Coach
Raghunandan Gokhale, India's first Dronacharya awardee in chess,
has expressed confidence that Bhakti will get the half point
and emerge victorious in the Championship!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bhakti beats Harini to take a one point lead

Goa's Commonwealth Under 18 Girls Champion
Bhakti Kulkarni (ELO 2112) beat Tamil Nadu's 11th seeded
S. Harini (ELO 2087) to establish a clear one point lead
in the Eighth round of the National Junior Girls
Championship being played at Nagpur today. Bhakti,
not given a chance by too many of the pundits at the
start of the tournament, had participated in
the event primarily for experience. This performance,
especially her wins in the last two rounds against
S. Harini and P. Sivasankari (ELO 2101) has
surprised all the chess faithful and perhaps Bhakti herself.

S. Harini is an extremely experienced player
(having played in the National Women's 'A') and
had the advantage of playing with the White pieces.
She had beaten Bhakti in the National Women's 'B'
in 2006 and although Bhakti had reversed the score in
the National 'A' later in the same year, this encounter was expected to be
closely fought. The expectations were rightly justified and
what decidedly turned the match in Bhakti's favour was the
superior opening preparation imparted to her by
her Coach - Dronacharya awardee Raghunandan Gokhale.
She played a new line from the Ruy Lopez which she had
never employed before and this caught her opponent
offguard. Harini could not cope with the surprise and
eventually resigned after an enthralling middlegame.
Bhakti next plays P. Uthra (ELO 2060) of Tamil Nadu in the
ninth round later today.

On the second board, the game between top seeded Asian Junior Champion
WIM Mary Ann Gomes (ELO 2274) of West Bengal
and highly rated Padmini Rout (ELO 2246) of Orissa
ended peacefully in a draw. This means that Bhakti with 7.5 points has a clear lead
of one point over her nearest rival. However, with three rounds to go, anything
is possible and Goa's wondergirl Bhakti will be aiming
to finish in the top 3 and book herself a spot in the
World Junior Championships to be played in Ankara, Turkey
in August, 2008.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bhakti held to a draw by Padmini

Goa's Bhakti Kulkarni (ELO 2112), who is the reigning
Commonwealth Under 18 Girls Champion, was
held to a draw by National Under 13 Girls
Champion Padmini Rout (ELO 2246) in the 6th round of the
National Junior Girls Chess Championship
being played at Nagpur.

Bhakti had beaten Padmini twice this year in
Calicut in the Under 17 Nationals and in Tashkent,
Uzbekistan in the Asian Under 16 Girls tournament.
However, she was lucky to get off with a draw
as the third seeded Padmini missed several winning
chances in a Pirc Defence opening. However, her coach
Dronacharya awardee Raghunandan Gokhale was satisfied
with the result and said that Bhakti will have to 'maintain' the momentum
to make it to the medals tally.

8th seeded Bhakti had beaten National Sub Junior Champion
and the 7th seed WIM P. Lakshmi Sahiti (ELO 2142) in the morning
in the 5th round. She now has 5.5 points and stands a bright chance
to make it to the top 6 for a spot in the National
Junior team. She next plays P. Sivasankari (ELO 2101) of Tamil Nadu in
the seventh round.

Goa's only other entry Nandini Saripalli (ELO 1876) accounted for
Sonakshi Rathore (ELO 1963) of Rajasthan to notch her 4th point
and keep up her impressive showing in this event. Next up for her
is N. Raghavi (ELO 2069). There are 5 more rounds to go
and everything is still up for grabs in this prestigious event!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Top seeded Gomes upset by Bhakti

Asian Junior Champion WIM Mary Ann Gomes (ELO 2274) was
upset by Commonwealth Girls Under 18 Champion
Bhakti Kulkarni (ELO 2112) in the fourth round of the National
Junior Girls Championship being conducted at
Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Bhakti, who is also the three time Goa state Seniors Champion,
had beaten Mary Ann in the Commonwealth
Championships in Mumbai last year. She proved that
the victory was no fluke when she convincingly
beat the Woman International Master for the second
time in their two meetings. Opening with her pet Colle
System, she gradually built up an advantage and
even sacrificed an exchange to develop a crushing attack.
When faced with queening pawns, the World Under 18
Bronze Medallist Mary Ann had no option but to resign.
Mary Ann, who is also a Woman Grandmaster Norm holder,
is coming back to chess after a long layoff, and perhaps was
a tad rusty in this particular encounter.

Also losing in the 4th round is WIM Kiran Manisha Mohanty (ELO 2247)
of Orissa. Kiran, who lost to Ch. Divyasri (ELO 2063) in the third round,
suffered another setback when R. Preethi (ELO 2109) of Tamil Nadu
beat her convincingly. Mohanty is the current National Women's 'B'
Champion and will have to score heavily in the last seven rounds
to have any chance of finishing in the medals list.

Bhakti beat S. Athirai (ELO 2005) of Tamil Nadu and K. Shruthi(ELO 1993)
of Karnataka in the previous two rounds. She next plays WIM P. Lakshmi Sahiti (ELO 2142) who is the two time and current National Subjunior Girls Champion. If she can
make it to the top 6 in this tournament, Bhakti will be part
of the National Junior team which will play in prestigious
international tournaments next year. Her coach Dronacharya awardee
Raghunandan Gokhale is in daily contact with her from Mumbai and
is guiding her in opening selection and game strategies.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bhakti starts as Eighth Seed

Commonwealth Girls Under 18 Gold Medallist Bhakti Kulkarni (ELO 2112)
started off as the eighth seed in the National Under 19
(Juniors) Girls Championship which got underway today at
Nagpur. Nandini Saripalli is the other Goan in the tough field
which will determine the top 6 to make it to the Indian Junior
team to represent the country in many international tournaments
next year.

The top seed is WIM Mary Ann Gomes (ELO 2274) of West Bengal who has previously
won the Asian Junior Girls Championship in New Delhi and the Bronze medal in
the World Under 18 Girls Championship in Batumi, Georgia.
National 'B' Womens Champion WIM Kiran Manisha Mohanty (ELO 2247) and
last years Asian Under 12 Girls Gold Medallist Padmini Rout (ELO 2246)
both from Orissa start as the 2nd and 3rd seeds. WIM Kruttika
Nadig (ELO 2238) and two time winner WIM Soumya Swaminathan (ELO 2178)
both from Maharashtra will give everyone a hard time in this tournament
as the 4th and 5th seeds. Two time National Subjunior Champion
WIM P. Lakshmi Sahiti (ELO 2142) from Andhra Pradesh is the 6th seed and
WFM Pon. N. Krithika (ELO 2122) from Tamil Nadu will be
rounding out this extremely competitive field.

Bhakti's coach Dronacharya Awardee Raghunandan Gokhale has expressed
confidence that she will give a good account of herself and keep the
Goan flag flying high.

Anurag receives Geno award for Best Sportsperson

Goa State Champion Anurag Mhammal received the Geno award
for Best Sportsperson from the Chief Minister Digamber Kamat
at a function organised by the Sports Journalists Association
of Goa at Hotel Fidalgo, Panjim.

The Geno award is the highest of its kind for any of Goa's
sportspersons. Chess in Goa has suddenly picked up in popularity
and the conferring of this award will put the sport even more in
the spotlight. Youngsters across Goa are taking to the 64 squares and
the maximum requests for coaching camps from schools are for the
enlightening mind game.

Young Anurag thoroughly deserves this award as his feats in the
preceding year defy description. He will gain a staggering 222 points
in ELO rating which is expected to touch 2100 in the October list.
He has had strong performances in various open tournaments in Sangli,
Mangalore and Rochess Thane.

Besides, he won the State Seniors Championship in fine style brushing
aside a strong field to triumph with a round to spare. His coach
Akash Thakur of Nagpur predicts 'greater laurels' for this youngster
and a possible medal at the upcoming Commonwealth Championships to
take place in New Delhi in December.

In the same function, GSCA President and AICF Vice President Sameer A.
Salgaocar was presented the 'Best Organiser' award by the Chief Minister.
Also World and Asian Under 8 Girls Champion Ivana Furtado received a cheque
of Rs. 25,000/- from Mr. Dilip Salgaocar, the head of the Geno Sports