World Under 8 Girls Champion and Goan Wondergirl Ivana Furtado
added two more feathers in her already crowded
cap when she won both the Individual Gold and
the Team Gold in the World Schools Chess Championships
that concluded in Halkidiki, Greece today. Abhimanyu Puranik
won the Gold in the Boys Under 7 Section and Sweety Patel (ELO 1993)
won the Gold in the Girls Under 9 Section to continue the
Indian dominance in the World Chess Events.
Ivana finished with 6 out of a possible 9 points and thereby
edged out arch rival C.H. Meghna of Kerala (ELO 1720) who finished
with 5.5 points. Meghna, who is the reigning National Under 7
Girls Champion, was beaten by Ivana in the crucial head
to head encounter in the 7th round and had to settle for
the Silver medal. Interestingly, Ivana has played Meghna 5 times
in various competitions and has come up trumps every time!
India's only Dronacharya Awardee and Ivana's coach Raghunandan Gokhale
mentioned that this could be because of a 'huge pyschological edge' that
Ivana enjoys against Meghna. Ivana's father Eli Furtado, who accompanied
Ivana to Greece, added that Meghna is 'visibly distressed' every time
that she notices that she has been paired opposite Ivana in an
upcoming round and the first time this was evident was during the
Asian Championship in New Delhi in December, 2005. Eli also remarked that
this tournament was far more 'competitive, tougher and demanding' than the competition in Batumi as this field included the dominant Russians who had
boycotted the Georgian event due to certain political reasons.
In the Team Championship, Ivana and Meghna teamed up to
win the Gold Medal for India. With this victory, Ivana has taken
her personal tally to 5 International Gold medals and Goa's tally
to a stupendous Seven. 'Surely a case can now be made to make Chess the
State sport of Goa?', asked AICF Vice President and GSCA
President Sameer A. Salgaocar, adding that 'in no other sport are we even
remotely as successful!'