Easy for Saravanan

THE Tamil Nadu Chess Association (TNCA) found a unique way of honouring its past President and patron, Dr. N. Mahalingam who will soon be 80. With the sponsorship of Chess Mate, it organised the Dr. Mahalingam Sathabishekam FIDE-rated Open chess tournament at the Nehru Stadium, Chennai. And it was fitting enough that International Master V. Saravanan of Coimbatore won the tournament to commemorate the 80th year celebration of Dr. N. Mahalingam who hails from Pollachi in Coimbatore district.

International Master V. Saravanan, who scored eight points to clinch the title. — Pic. R. V. MOORTHY-

The event, with a prize fund of Rs. 51,000 including 80 prizes, attracted 186 players from all over the country and the six-time Sri Lankan women's champion, Vineetha Wijesuriya.

Midway through the nine-round Swiss, V. Saravanan of Bharat Petroleum took the lead and never looked back. He finished the tournament with eight points, a full point more than his closest rivals. Saravanan took home the first prize of Rs. 12,000 and a glittering trophy.

There were two more IMs in the tournament besides Saravanan — N. Sudhakar Babu of Indian Bank and Wipro's Deepan Chakravarthy. Remarkably, more than half of the participants were young boys and girls from Tamil Nadu and neighbouring States.

Owing to his busy schedule, Dr. Mahalingam could not attend either the opening or closing ceremonies of the tournament. But the grand old man of Indian chess visited the venue on a Sunday, hosted lunch for all the participants and spent time with the players, enquiring about their welfare and progress in chess.

At the closing ceremony N. Ram, Editor, The Sportstar, spoke about Dr. Mahalingam's sterling contribution to sports in general and to both chess and basketball in particular. The function was presided over by former president of the TNCA, Dr. M. Gopalakrishnan. C. S. Munzini, IPS (Additional Director General of Police), D. V. Sundar, Vice President, All India Chess Federation and J. C. D. Prabhakaran, Vice President, TNCA, also graced the occasion.

Final standings:

1. V. Saravanan 8; 2-6. C. Natarajan, N. Sudhakar Babu, K. Ratnakaran, R. R. Laxman, S. Venkat Sundaram 7; 7-17. R. Siddharath, R. Balasubramaniam, K. Gunasekaran, Y. S. Anwar Shazuli, K. Visweswaran, T. J. Suresh Kumar, A. Sankar, V. Hariharan, J. Venkatramana, Saimeera Ravi, P. Saravanakrishnan 6.5. 18-32. Deepan Chakravarth, D. P. Singh, E. P. Nirmal, P. Rajesh, S. Mari Arul, B. T. Muralikrishnan, M. R. Venkatesh, M. Intykap Alam, Anirban Guha Roy, C. J. Arvind, P. Karthikeyan, J. Sridhar, C. Praveen Kumar, H. Nilavoli, S. Poobesh Anand 6 each; 33-53. Adway Chowdhury, G. Dinesh Kumar, K. Gopalakrishnan, Vinod Kumar, R. Uttam Sharma, P. Jayakumar, Aswin Jayaram, R. Sridharan, R. Rajesh, V. Haribalu, K. V. Shantharam, T. U. Navin Kanna, R. Navaneethakrishnan, M. Vijay Anand, M. Priyadarshini, S. Raghuraman, P. L. Sivagame, K. V. Venprakash, Arumugam Sureshkumar, S. P. Sethuraman, V. Balakumar 5.5.

Manuel Aaron