PSPB, Air India reign supreme

Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (men) and Air India (women) claimed the honours in the National Team Chess Championship in Hyderabad recently. Though the event did not see the big names of Indian chess such as K. Sasikiran, P. Harikrishna and Koneru Humpy, there were 20 GMs, both in the men’s and women’s sections, engaged in the week-long battle of brains.

Not surprisingly, PSPB men’s team, with seasoned campaigner D. V. Prasad as its mentor and comprising GMs Abhijeet Gupta, B. Adhiban, S. P. Sethuraman and M. R. Lalith Babu, lived up to the billing of pre-tournament favourite.

So dominant was the PSPB team that it won all its nine matches. Indian Railways ‘B’ and ‘A’ teams took the second and third place respectively.

Women’s team championship winner Air India was guided by the experience of Woman Grandmaster S. Vijayalakshmi. The other members of the team were WGMs Subbaraman Meenakshi, Tania Sachdev and Bhakti Kulkarni.

Air India’s victory over defending champion Airports Authority of India (AAI), which had WGM Dronavalli Harika in its ranks, in the early round proved decisive. AAI, eventually, finish second.

Final placings — women: 1. Air India (Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarni, Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman Meenakshi, Aarthie Ramaswamy); 2. Airports Authority of India (Dronavalli Harika, Mary Ann Gomes, Nimmy A. George, Padmini Rout, R. Bharathi); 3. PSPB (Rucha Pujari, Nisha Mohota, Soumya Swaminathan, M. Mahalakshmi, P. Michelle Catherina).

Men: 1. PSPB (Abhijeet Gupta, B. Adhiban, S. P. Sethuraman, M. R. Lalith Babu, S. P. Sethuraman, Deepsen Gupta); 2. Indian Railways ‘B’ (M. S. Thejkumar, Himanshu Sharma, Akshat Khamparia, K. Ratnakaran, Saptarshi Roy); 3. Indian Railways ‘A’ (Swapnil S. Dhopade, Arghyadip Das, R. R. Laxman, Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury, Somak Palit).

V. V. Subrahmanyam