Petroleum wave sweeps Railwaymen, Air India women in National Team Chess Championship

With three rounds to go, the women title stood virtually decided when Petroleum dismissed defending champion Air India 3-1 and maintained an all-win record after four rounds.

Petroleum Sports Promotion Boards player Nisha Mohota plays in the fourth round during the 16th National Team Chess Championship 2018 at the KIIT sports complex in Bhubaneswar.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

With masterly displays, Petroleum teams justified the tag of 'favourites' against nearest contenders and decisively inched closer to regaining a ‘double’ in the National team chess championship here on Sunday.

With three rounds to go, the women title stood virtually decided when Petroleum dismissed defending champion Air India 3-1 and maintained an all-win record after four rounds.

In the open section’s sixth round, Petroleum avenged the shock defeat suffered at the hands of Railways ‘A’, here in 2016, with an impressive 3-1 verdict, after having tamed Railways ‘B’ 3.5-0.5, earlier in the day. Now, even a draw against second seed Airport Authority of India is enough for Petroleum ensure the title.

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Surya Shekhar Ganguly outwitted Deepan Chakkravarthy after sacrificing a bishop for three pawns early in their Sicilian Defence game lasting 37 moves. B. Adhiban, following his classic display against R. R. Laxman in the morning, outplayed P. Karthikeyan in a tactical battle in just 23 moves. G. N. Gopal and M. Karthikeyan drew with Swapnil Dhopade and M. S. Thej Kumar.

Padmini Rout (above) put up a dominant show against S. Vijayalakshmi. — Biswaranjan Rout   -  Biswaranjan Rout


In what was seen as a title-deciding contest in the ladies section, Padmini’s dominant show against a rusty S. Vijayalakshmi was followed by Nisha’s effortless conquest of S. Meenakshi. By this time, Eesha Karavade had ensured a draw against Tania Sachdev and Soumya Swaminathan shared the point with Bhakti Kulkarni.

Between them, Padmini and Vijayalakshmi hold 10 National women titles. But on this day, their clash in Sicilian Defence turned out to be hopelessly one-sided. Vijayalakshmi, a six-time National champion, overlooked the loss of a bishop by the 34th move and resigned 11 moves later.

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Nisha seized control against Meenakshi – Vijayalakshmi’s younger sister – after sweeping two kingside pawns in quick succession. A little later, the loss of a third pawn pushed Meenakshi to the brink of defeat. She delayed the inevitable by some random moves before accepting defeat in 54 moves.

Important results:

Open (sixth round): Petroleum (12) bt Railways ‘A’ (9) 3-1; Bengal ‘A’ (8) lost to Airports Authority of India (10) 0-4; Odisha ‘A’ (7) lost to LIC (10) 0.5-3.5 ; Railways ‘B’ (9) bt BSNL (7) 4-0; Tamil Nadu (6) lost to Air India (8) 0.5-3.5; (fifth round): Railways ‘B’ lost to Petroleum 0.5-3.5; Air India lost to Railways ‘A’ 0.5-3.5; Odhisha-KIIT lost to AAI 0-4; LIC bt Bengal ‘B’ 2.5-0.5; Andhra Pradesh lost to Bengal ‘A’ 0.5-3.5; Odisha ‘A’ bt Maharashtra ‘A’ 3-1.

Women (fourth round): Petroleum (8) bt Air India (5) 3-1; Tamil Nadu (4) lost to AAI (6) 1-3; Odisha MCF-5 (4) lost to LIC (6) 1-3; Odisha-KIIT (5) bt Karnataka (3) 4-0; Telangana (4) bt Punjab (2) 2.5-1.5; Uttar Pradesh (3) bt Himachal Pradesh (1) 4-0.

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