Search This Blog

Loading...

Friday, July 25, 2014

My game in a famous book!

Usually when I buy a new book, I tend to go to the name Index given at the end of the book just to see if the author considered any of my games worth publishing in his book!
I remember there was once a small note in a book written by the famous opening expert Schandorff. The book was titled Playing 1.d4: Indian Defences.

I was quite elated because my name came in the book thanks to a theoretical battle I had in the Grunfeld with M G Gahan in 2008. However the author immediately suggests a novelty i.e a move that I hadn't made! So there was nothing really to be proud about.

 But today as I flipped the pages of the book written by one of my favourite authors: Jacob Aagard, I was pleasantly shocked!(yes shocked. surprise would be just too mild).

There you can see my name, second in the list!

And which book are we talking about? The book is none other than Attack and Defence which was released in December 2013. 


It is the fourth book in the Grandmaster Preparation series. The book is aimed at ambitious players and I am sure strong Grandmasters are using this book to improve their play!

The position comes under the section of the "only moves". Here you see that I have had the talented young Indian GM S P Sethuraman on the ropes. His g7 point is about to be destroyed. He has to find the only move to stay in the game (which he didn't yet I left him unpunished). And guess what?!! This is the last position in the only move section and according to Aagaard this is the most difficult position on defence that he has ever put in his books. Now that's something really to be proud of! Have a crack at the position and then check the answer which Aagaard has given below.


I am sure you are wondering, how does Aagaard find such positions? If Sethuraman had found this stunning defensive idea with Rf4 then I am sure it would have been easier to identify this game. But he hadn't and the right move remains in the notes to the game. So does Aagaard meticulously check every game in the database or scans each one of them under the watchful eye of Houdini?!! That's just too much to ask for! My guess is that he found the game when I published it New in Chess yearbook 106 in the year 2013. Here is the article that I wrote in the yearbook. I am sure if you go over the game and my analysis carefully you can learn a lot.





I have clearly mentioned all the analysis in the note to the 31st and the 32nd move in this article. It is commendable that Aagaard was able to find this nice position and maybe he kept it safely in his database and classified it under the heading of "only move". But it is sad that he doesn't even mention that he took almost all the analysis from this New in Chess yearbook source. About 32...Ba5+ He mentions that white must have forgotten about this move, while in my annotations I have mentioned that I had missed this idea. It would be nice if Aagaard would have mentioned the source from which he took the analysis. 
On the other hand, there is the chance that he found this position without reading my article in the yearbook. But I think the chances of that are really very slim. What do you think?!!

PS: This article does not in any way belittle the efforts taken by Aagaard. He is doing a great job by writing such high quality books and helping players all over the world to improve. I have always had immense respect for him and shall have it in future too. But it is my opinion that such a famous author who is writing a book that is being read by so many players must always give the source from where he took the analysis.

On the next day after I posted this on Facebook, Jacob Aagaard replied. This is what he said:
I did not use your annotations. I go through TWIC looking for examples. If I do see something in Chess Informant or somewhere else that I want to use, I find the game in my database and start analysing it from scratch, as I try to form my own opinions and try to avoid replicating others work or mistakes. 
Regarding copyright. The moves are not copyrighted. They are information. If our engines find the same moves, they are not to your credit either. However, if I use words or illustrative lines from somewhere, I do give the reference.
But as said, this example I am pretty sure I found in TWIC.
Although I would have checked the Yearbook as well. I just think I saw this game in TWIC.
 Regarding my method, it is not a secret. I go through 100s and sometimes 1000s of games a week looking for something interesting. It is time-demanding work, but also quite rewarding. Less than 5% of the examples in my books are something I have seen somewhere else. At times I mention the source, as said, also when it is not a legal requirement. When I copy someones original work, I hope I always mention it.

SAGAR: So the discussion regarding copyrights ends here. The author did not take the position from my yearbook and hence he has no need to provide the source. After all moves are never copyrighted.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

People behind my IM title!

On 18th July 2014, after 13 years of playing Chess, I achieved the Title of International Master!
Enjoying the success with a slice of my favourite dish: Pizza near Sant Marti, Spain!

I could go on for hours about how I worked hard on those nights when I chucked my sleep in order to get to the depths of a line which never happened in my over the board game! Or I could talk about the physical fitness regime which pushed me to the state of unconsciousness on many occasions! Or about solving a study on which I worked for days and days in my head without a chess set, thinking about it even as I had food and to experience the unadulterated joy of finding the key idea! Yes there are loads of such individualistic experiences I could share about! But since the day I was close to achieving my IM title there was one article which I wanted to write thanking all the people who have helped me to achieve it. Of course, it would be impossible to cover each and every person but I have chosen the main 11 people who I think played pivotal roles.

No great thing was ever achieved alone! Anand with his team!

1.DHARMEN and 2.JAYSHREE SHAH (DAD and MOM)

After achieving the title, the first thought that came to my mind was that this would really have been impossible without your support,mom and dad! From the day I started playing chess until today I have had the utmost support of my parents.
 My father was the one who introduced me to this game when I was around 10 years old. It was the urge to beat my dad at the game of chess which made me improve rapidly in my initial years! Barring from the fact that my parents have sponsored me for almost all my chess trips, the emotional support that they have provided me with has been of key importance. I think there has not been a single day in my chess playing life when after the game, my dad has been unaware of my result. I must have played more than a 1000 game but he has always asked me as to how my game was and if I had lost what was the reason for the same. The focus was always on how to improve as a chess player rather than on the results!

This is what my dad has to say about this pic: 
Dear All
I had the opportunity to play with the latest IM from India few years ago in Switzerland & had him in great difficulty. After that he has not dared to play against me in any competitive tournament-Dharmen Shah (IM ka Baap)

My mom I can say plays the role of the balancer. She makes sure that there is some sanity left in me. Often when I am engrossed in the middle of a deep calculation, she would come by my side and talk about what I would like to eat in the evening! While it really makes me angry at that instant, I realize how her love is totally unconditional and not at all dependent upon my success or failure in chess! In my worst of tournaments she has been the one who has motivated me to come out stronger!

3.Mahesh Ved and 4.Late Praful Shukla.
Me having a light moment with Mahesh Sir on the day of my marriage!

My first coach in chess was Mahesh Ved. Whatever qualities of integrity and discipline that I own today are thanks to him. When I was just 12 and played in my first outstation tournament, my parents were not able to accompany me because of their commitments in Mumbai. It was Mahesh Sir and Praful sir who took care of me like their son.I have been on many a trips with them ever since. Mahesh Sir taught me the importance of discipline. We were never allowed to watch TV during the tournament. This habit has been ingrained in me so well that I don't even remember when was the last time I watched TV during an event! We would have to drink plain milk with sugar in the morning in his presence which I really hated but I realized that as a sports player, you often have to do things that you don't like in order to stay in good shape! Some of the habits of Mahesh sir have also rubbed off on me. For eg. I was so inspired seeing his huge collection of chess books that I promised myself to buy a chess book in every tournament I play. Though I am still some books away from overtaking him, I can boast of the second largest chess book collection atleast in Ghatkopar!! :)
One incident which will always stay with me was the following: " I won the u-19 state championships in pune with 7.5/8 and a round to spare. I was going to agree to a draw in the last round when Mahesh sir called me. I think these were his words, " Playing for a win when nothing is at stake is a matter of attitude." I played that game and created one of the best positional masterpieces of my career. Ever since then I have stopped agreeing to draws before the game!
Late Praful Shukla: A kind and great human being.

Praful Sir on the other hand was more easy going but it was he taught me the importance of saving every penny. Praful sir who passed away a few years ago would be proud that his student has become an International Master!
I shall always be indebted to my initial gurus who gave me practical knowledge which no books in the world could ever have given me!

5.IM JEREMY SILMAN


This man is a genius. He is the author of the books Reassess your chess, Reassess your chess workbook, Amateur's mind and Silman's endgame course (Atleast these are the books I have read). I have read his books maybe 3-4 times. Whenever someone asks me what is the best way to improve at chess, I recommend his books. Oh the theory of imbalances! What a theory! It kind of brought a balance in my thinking! When I was near 2100, I read his books. His method was long. To find the imbalances, make a list of them. Prioritize and then make use of your positive imbalances. I worked on it for years. Trying to make it a part of me. As of today I have forgotten what the imbalances were but it has become a part of my natural thinking process. Anyone who thinks he or she is bad at positional chess, no matter what his rating is 1200 or 2300, I would heartily recommend his books!
I haven't met him in person but cannot wait for the day when I would!


6.GM DANIEL KING


Imagine this: Its a dark room. There is a table and a chair. Above the table there is small tube light. On the table lies a laptop and next to it a chess set with a book and a pen. Daniel King in his flawless English asks me to pause the laptop and have a think. I press the pause button and have a deep think and then write down my answer in the book. With utmost excitement, I click the play button to see if Daniel King agrees with what I have written! On the days when my answers matched with him I would be the happiest man on the planet! :) His Powerplay series from 1-21 are a joy to watch. If you are serious and ready to work hard you will get coaching from one of the best tutors in the world. Those days and nights of learning from Daniel King locked in a room for hours were probably what took me to the next level after Jeremy Silman!
Not to forget most of my talking and writing skills are thanks to the beautiful way in which this guy speaks! It's my dream one day to make a DVD with him! :)

7.IM MARK DVORETSKY

I must say that after working with Silman's books and Daniel King's DVDs I had developed a kind of word based approach to my thinking. Yes both Silman and King have a lot of word annotations as compared to variations! I think Mark Dvoretsky changed all of it!! Variations here, variations there, variations everywhere!! I started to think more in terms of concrete moves than abstract theories. But bear in mind, somehow Silman and Daniel King's theories worked perfectly with Dvoretsky approach. For eg. Thanks to Silman and King I would know that the best square for my knight was d4 and thanks to Dvoretsky I would concretely try to work the best possible way to bring the knight to d4! Silman and King helped me plan and Dvoretsky helped me execute! A deadly combo!! :)
His works are really of a high quality and I can recommend his books to people aiming to become an IM or GM.
I have read a lot of things about Dvoretsky as to how his methods are inflexible and he doesn't adapt them to suit the needs of specific students. But whatever it is I am grateful to him for showing me that concrete variations are the blood of chess. 
WISH: to have one training session with the man who is deemed as one of the best trainers in the world.

8.GM JESSE KRAAI


Artistic and unconventional describes this man the best! I got to know about him through his lectures on www.chesslecture.com. His way to talking in the lectures was so smooth. It seemed as if he had some fresh approach towards chess. Chess seemed easy when I heard this man speak. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that he has a Ph.d in philosophy. I really wanted to learn chess from Jesse and once even managed to contact him for training. However, I couldn't afford his fees. You can know more about Jesse from my blogpost which I wrote some months ago.
WISH: Jesse is a huge Smyslov fan. I would like to go to USA some day and sit with him and a chess set, with no engines or computers. Just a book of Smyslov's best games and to analyze the games for hours on end!

9.GM JACOB AAGAARD

The latest Grandmaster preparation series is maybe one of the best written books by Aagaard for the ambitious players. But it was back in 2006 that I was able to chat with Jacob on playchess.com server. He was playing a game and told me that he would get back to me after the game was over. Sure he did and with great patience he answered all my questions for the next 20 minutes. From questions like how I should improve to what is the correct approach towards the game of chess, he typed everything. Maybe it was one of the best chats I have ever had with anyone. The one line which I always remember is this:
Me: "So the right way forward is to work hard on chess?"
Aagaard: " I think when you do something that you like, it ceases to be hard. It shouldn't be hard work, it should be easy work!"
What a great approach!
It showed me that what a kind Samaritan he really was. Today he is a well celebrated hero in the world of Chess trainers but I have high regards and respect for him ever since that day of 2006.

10.GM JOSEFZ HORVATH

In 2010 I went to play in Budapest. There I met GM Josefz Horvath. If ever you need an inspiration to be a chess player, you should meet this man. Josefz devotes almost every single minute of his to chess. He is one of the best trainers in Hungary.He has informators from 1 to the latest one, NIC yearbook from 1 to the latest and his house his littered with every latest book that has been released in the world of chess.  The thing which really amazed me was his encyclopedic knowledge. I would show him one of my games and he would tell me ,"ahh the same structure arose in the game Ribli-Smyslov 1983 London." Or " Sagar have you seen the game Polgar-Sax Hungarian championship 1990. The same tactic was used in that game." 
Hours would pass by as he would show these wonderful games and I would be thoroughly mesmerized by his memory. Another important thing which Josefz would always do was to save each and every move that we discussed during the training session in the database. According to him, a good idea can be hidden in any move and hence no effort must be wasted! I have been saving even the silliest of my blitz games from that day onwards! 
Horvath Josefz has really played a huge role in helping me become an International Master.

And friends last but not the least, no recipe is ever complete without the magic ingredient. The ingredient which brings all the factors together and magically makes everything work. For me without doubt that person has been my wife and the love of my life: AMRUTA MOKAL

With my biggest support after crossing 2400 elo in live rating list.

There is a widespread notion in the chess world that marriage spells the end of one's chess career. While many have witnessed a slump in their form after tying the knot, things have really gone like a fairy tale for me! I not only gained almost 100 Elo points in the first five months of my marriage but also made my final IM norm and achieved the IM title. Lady luck has smiled upon me some would say! But I say that the lady luck believes in a lot of hard work! After marriage we had a nice relaxing honeymoon for seven days and have been on the chess board ever since. It's so nice to have a playing partner at your disposal any time you want! :) In the Barbera Open where I made my final norm and gained 53 Elo points, Amruta took complete care of me. She didn't play in the tournament, cooked food for me, prepared against my opponents, analysed my games and told me the mistakes I had made. A totally dedicated second! :)
I was an IM strength player since many years but somehow I managed the feat only after marriage! A big thanks to my wife who had a huge role to play in my success.



I would really like to thank from the bottom of my heart to all my facebook friends. I received nearly 735 likes and 222 comments!! :) That's just too much!! Now I am inquisitive to know the number of likes I will receive when I become a GM!! That's really a cool motivation to work harder!! :)

As you can see, there were so many people who selflessly helped me in becoming an IM. The time has come for me to do something similar.
I am ready to guide people who wish to improve in the game of chess with whatever knowledge I have. You can contact me on my email address : sagarchess1@yahoo.co.in or contact me via message on my facebook page or write to me on twitter
Age, financial situation is no bar. You can contact me. However two things are quintessential: love for the game of chess and an appetite for great hard work.

I will try my best to become a GM soon but as I have always said the fun is not in reaching the destination but in enjoying the journey! I will soon post my journey to the IM title! Till then! Adios!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Our Spanish trip begins!

It's said there is no gain without pain! We tweaked this a little and made it, "there's no gain without spain!" :) With our aim to become better chess players and further our chess playing careers, I and Amruta left for Spain on 21st June 2014 to play in four tournaments.
Me and my wife at home just before we left! :)

Our first tournament begins on 25th of June in Montcada, Barcelona. We decided to leave a bit early so that we could acclimatize ourselves with the Spanish climate and not let any fatigue affect our play.
Staying in Europe can be extremely cheap if you are in a group of four or more people. However, this time we had no one with us and hence taking a full apartment on rent was not feasible as it would be too expensive.
Thus we decided to stay as a paying guest through a booking done on www.airbnb.com.

The bedroom is a little small but cozy. However, nothing compares to.....


The beautiful view from our apartment.

Currently my Elo rating is 2314 and Amruta is on 2043. Our main ambition is to play excellent games of chess. The results will follow on it's own!
Let's hope for the best! I will keep you posted on our progress. Till then you can have a look at the starting list of the tournament.

I leave you with three pictures from three different countries. India, France and Spain!

Lord Krishna with Radha at the Mumbai airport!

At the Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris. Our 3 hour halt before we left for Barcelona!

Hot theplas and pickle in the cool morning! A perfect Gujju breakfast!



Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Maharashtra Chess League is back!


We are into the 2nd year of Maharashtra Chess League and it promises to be another spectacular event. This year the Maharashtra Chess League will be held in Pune from 11th to 15th of June 2014 at PYC Hindu Gymkhana.
The thing which makes this event special is that everything is done so tastefully. Right from the opening ceremony to the auction, to the selection and decoration of the playing hall and the closing ceremony, it's all so grand. It makes the game of chess come to life. After all these are same Indian players who having been playing in different tournaments all over India since years together, yet when they play in MCL it gives an altogether different feeling. What might be the reasons for that? Let's have a look:

1. Auction- to be selected in a team through auction is a new feeling for chess players. It makes them feel confident that people actually are ready to spend money for their chess skills.

The Auction is a fast paced event and any wrong move can leave you with a poor team.

2. Owners- The owners take care of your every need in the tournament be it boarding, lodging as well as transportation. All they ask in return is for you to give your 100% in every game. Naturally every player is motivated.

3. Mistmatched pairing- Though every team has GMs, IMs, WGMs, Rated players etc, the fact that any player can be paired with anyone makes this format so very interesting. Sometimes it's a wonderful news for a team whose weakest player is paired against strongest player of opposing team. For eg. if your team has a lower rated player and is paired with a 2600 GM, it is great news. Though, the chances of losing that point are high, you can win the match in the remaining games.


4. Vishy Anand: The brand of Vishy Anand can make any tournament look grand. Calling him for the opening ceremony was a great move by the organizers and it gives a lot of credibility to this tournament.

Anand at the opening ceremony of the tournament.

5. Emotions: Last time when I played, our team mates would shout a war cry before the round and after winning we would often form a huddle and have a pep talk. All this is terra-incognita for chess players! It's really great that after winning a game, chess players don't always have to keep a straight face and actually express their happiness!

So after knowing whats so different about this unique tournament let's move onto the team composition and see what really happened at the auction.
But before that you must know the rules:
1. Each team must have 3 Maharashtra players playing out of the 6 boards.
2. Each team must have 2 woman players playing.
3. Each team must have atleast 1 unititled player playing out of the 6 boards.
4. Each team has a maximum of Rs 3,50,000 rs to buy the players.



 (owned by Goel Ganga group)
Of course this team is special for me as I am playing for it this year. They were also the winners of the first edition of MCL.

Pune attackers team in 2013 edition.




The Pune Attackers is lead by the able leadership of IM D V Prasad. GM Lalith Babu (2561) who was the star player of this team in 2013 decided to stay with the team thus earning a 10% hike over his last year's amount of 80,000.
The best player for Pune Attackers.

The interesting part about this team is that instead of going for a second GM, they have chosen 3 extremely strong IMs. Between them I think there are already 8 GM norms! Swapnil Dhopade (2419) is an excellent rapid player and so is Diptayan Ghosh (2487). The latter is a real maverick when it comes to time-pressure play. Thejkumar (2435) recently finished joint first in the National Rapid so I need not say more. Getting him for just 30,000 is a great selection by the team.


The three tremendously strong IMs in the Pune Attackers team. Swapnil's photo is a little bigger because he is the IM who has received the highest amount in the IM category: 72000/-.


 Soumya Swaminathan (2318), the 2009 World Junior champion is definitely one of the biggest attractions of the tournament as she is from Pune. With her 3 IM norms coupled up with WGM title she is one of the strongest female players in the tournament.

The other woman player in the Pune Attacker's team is Supriya Joshi.(1862) This will be the first time she will be playing in MCL and all eyes will be on her as she will be playing all the games for her team.

Mithil Ajgaonkar (2198) has surely established himself as an excellent rapid player by winning a lot of rapid tournaments in Mumbai.

Sagar Shah (2309): What can I say about this guy? He looks a lot like me! :)

The Pune Attackers team has the highest number of players i.e eight. They have made good use of their funds spending Rs 3,46,000 out of the stipulated 3,50,000. There is one person that you must know in this team before I go to the next team....

Coach and planner of the team IM D V Prasad (2346) who was potent force on the board in his heyday beating the likes of Mikhail Tal, is also a great strategist off the board too.


PUNE TRUMASTERS

This team is taking part in the MCL for the first time. It has replaced the team Nagpur Royals. Though this was their first time in the auction, I must say that the team that the owners along with coach Anuprita Patil have selected is really excellent.


This team has two GMs at the top.
These two GMs require absolutely no introduction. Sethuraman (2576) is a world beater and to get a player like Vishnu (2459) at just Rs 50,000 is really a great buy for the new team! 

The lone IM in the team is Mumbai's Aditya Udeshi.(2420)

Aditya enjoys his life away from the chessboard and I religiously follow his updates on facebook! :)

However, once on the chess board, he is concentration personified and an amazingly talented player.

The wonderful news for this team is that both there women player's are extremely strong. A lot of my work of creating a collage was saved when I found this above picture of Mary Ann gomes (2359) (left) and Swati Ghate (2260) playing for team India in the Dresden Olympiad 2008.

 Pune TruMasters got an IM in the rated player category. Sameer Kathmale (2345) has completed all his IM title requirements and awaiting his IM title. However, the team was able to use his little window of achieving the title and actually getting it, to their benefit by getting him in the rated player category. That explains his Rs 40,000 bidding.

Pawan Dodeja (2161) from Amravati is not very famous as his city mate Swapnil Dhopade but he is surely a very aggressive and at the same time a practical player who cannot be underestimated.

Pune TruMasters have made the optimum use of the Rs 3,50,000 barrier by spending Rs 3,47,000.

(owned by RBS sportsethix)

The Ahmednagar Checkers team is owned by three young and die hard sports fans, Siddharth Mayur, Dhaval Shah and Narendra Firodia. Their respect for sports players is immense and this is what every player wants from their owners! I can attest this fact as I was playing for this team in 2013. Coming to the year 2014, here is how their team looks. 


It is said that a man is truly successful when he can delegate something that he has created to other people. The same can be said about Abhijit Kunte (2482)! After slogging it out in the first year of the MCL as an organizer, he has now created a team good enough to take care of the organization so that he can play in the tournament! And boy was he in demand!! Rs.1,20,000!!

Apart from the fact that Kunte is in awesome form, Ahmednagar Checkers must be banking on him for some excellent strategy to lead their team to victory!

Ahmednagar have also bought another dynamic GM who plays such formats at sizzling pace!

In the last MCL when I saw Tejas Bakre (2452) play, he would play at such breathtaking speeds that often he would just use 5 of the stipulated 25 minites. This is mainly due to his wonderful sense of intuition. Combined with Kunte, the two veteran GMs can be threat to any team.

IM Shardul Gagare (2446) provides the balance to this team. The young IM is a reliable bet against any opposition. He is extremely solid and wonderful calculator. All in all a very difficult opponent to beat!


Dubbed as the queen of Orissa chess, Padmini Rout (2354) deserves the Rs 73000/- that she received. She was a part of the Indian team that won the Gold in blitz and silver in Rapid and Classical in the Asian Team championships 2014.

She is born in 2000, confident, focussed and hard-working. Gaining Elo points at a rapid pace, Akanksha Hagawane though rated just 1802, can be the surprise package of the tournament.

The two rated players selcted by Ahmednagar are Abhishek Kelkar (2319) and N R Vignesh (2354)
The best part for the team is that both of them are such strong players yet they got them for Rs 10,000 each. 

Ahmednagar have spent quite a lot on their top players. But they have used just Rs 30,000 to get strong players in the rated category. Good planning by the team! Total sum spent= Rs 3,26,000. 



(owned by Jain Irrigation systems)

Jain Irrigation has established itself as a huge promoter of chess in Maharashtra. It was the venue for the National Premier 2013. Obviously they have a good understanding about the chess players in India. Lets see the team they have selected.




WARNING: STAY CLEAR OF THIS PICTURE. IT CONTAINS EXPLOSIVE TALENT !!

Jalgaon Battlers have achieved the unthinkable. They were able to get two of the most talented players in Indian circuit in their team GM Vidit Gujrathi (2602) for Rs 1,20,000 and Adhiban Baskaran (2624) for 95,000.
These two players have between them the following achievements:
Under 14 world champion, Under 16 world champion, World Junior bronze medallist, National A champion, silver medallist in Asian championship open, National Challengers champion and the list just goes on and on!!

You might be thinking that this team has to be the strongest but there is a downside when you take such strong players. Rs 2,15,000 had already been spent out of Rs3,50,000. That meant that the owners had to be careful in selecting the other players. They achieved quite a good team with the level of remaining funds!
They already had retained two players from the last MCL.

Narayanan Srinath (2414) who is a talented IM was retained at just 33,000/- which is excellent while the pride of Jalgaon Pratik Patil(2280) was retained for Rs 11,000. Pratik is such a loyal team member, can be seen from his attire!

  
 Jalgaon also has two good women players. WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty(2259) is a good rapid player and plays her normal games also at quite a good speed. While Rucha Pujari (2136) is definitely one of the strongest untitled woman player in India currently. She will soon become a WIM but as of now she not having a title is an advantage for Jalgaon as they picked her up for Rs 27,000 only!

Shashikant Kutwal (2217): The best part about this player is that he is technically very strong. With 3 IM norms already under his belt, he can really play at a high level. Getting him for 10,000 is once again a good deal!

Though Jalgaon began the auction with all guns blazing and spending a lot of money, in the end they were still left with Rs 24,000 spending just Rs 3,24,000. On the paper this is definitely one of the strongest teams.


(owned by South Mumbai Chess Academy.)

The Mumbai movers has a very interesting team composition selected by their owners and coach IM Prathamesh Mokal. It has a mix of really strong players and at the same time a few rapid specialists in the team.

GM Parimarjan Negi (2643) is leading the challenge for the Mumbai Movers. Negi is currently studying at the Stanford university. Leaving USA and his esteemed college behind, Negi has decided to entertain the spectators of MCL with his attacking chess! He is the highest rated player in the tournament. Mumbai will be feeling pretty secure having him in the team. Rs 95,000 for such a strong player is not much to spend!

The higest paid woman player in the tournament. IM Eesha Karavade (2399) from Pune received a handsome amount of Rs 85,000. She is definitely a strong rapid player and also has great opening preparation. She combined with Negi are two of the biggest opening experts in India! Mumbai can be proud of that fact.

To counter balance this fact, the team has other four members who are completely original players and do not believe in opening theory to any great extent.

Himashu Sharma (upper left), Chinmay Kulkarni (upper right), Rakesh Kulkarni (lower left) and Anup Deshmukh (lower right) are the middle order of this team.

These four players have a unique style of play. Anup Deshmukh (2237) was at one point one of the top players of India. His talent was often compared to the great Vishy Anand. 
Himanshu Sharma(2350) is known for his fighting chess by even the best players of India. His never-say-die spirit is what helped Pune Attackers win the MCL championship last year. 
Rakesh's(2224) performance as a rapid player has been so good that he has been dubbed as the rapid champion of Mumbai. He wins rapid tournaments at an alarming rate and that explains why he was retained by the Mumbai team who didn't want to miss out on him.
Lastly, Chinmay (2249) too is a rapid expert. Pragmatic and practical at the chess board, he hardly thinks long for his moves. That makes him a very potent force in this shortened time control.

WGM Bhakti Kulkarni (2231) from Goa's recent performance in the National Rapid and Blitz is a very encouraging point for the Mumbai team. She couple with Eesha, make the female side of the team very sturdy.

Total money spent = Rs 3,29,000.

(owned by MEP Infrastructure Developers Pvt Ltd)

The Thane Combatants is a very interesting side. They have two great friends coming together in the team in the form of Abhijeet Gupta and Tania Sachdev.

Whenever I see an update from Abhijeet Gupta (2634) on facebook, I see him holding a trophy in his hands! Such is his propensity to win tournaments. Just a few days back he won the super strong Azgamov Memorial in Tashkent. His confidence combined with his will to win is sure to raise the morale of the team.

He describes his latest picture as : Just a normal day when I take a break from chess work! :)
I better not write too many things about him!! :)
You can visit his wonderful website which he has recently created over here.

Tania Sachdev is one of the most famous chess celebrities not only in India but all over the world. Her rating of 2422 made her the strongest woman player in the auction but maybe her performance in the last edition of MCL fetched her lesser than what one might have expected her to be sold at. This year she will be aiming to win a lot of points for her team!

Thane Combatants has bought the cream of Maharashtra IMs. The two IMs Prasanna Rao (2427) and IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni (2352) have a totally different style of play. While Prasanna is a solid IM who hardly takes risks, Vikramaditya plays chess taking loads of risk and depending heavily on his calculations. Prasanna recently made his 2nd GM norm at the Bhubaneshwar GM open so he is the man in form.

Abhimanyu Puranik (left) (2301) is a little kid who looks very cute. But let not his looks deceive you. He has a superb killer instinct over the board and great tactical vision. S L Narayanan (2398) is the highest rated untitled player in the MCL. 39,000 is the perfect amount for him because he is as good as an IM. Calm and composed at the chessboard he played very well in the last MCL. Infact if we look closely, Vikramaditya Kulkarni and S L Narayanan are both very similar. They both have a poker face and show no real emotions while playing!

Parnali Dharia (1942) cannot be underestimated. In a recent Rating tournament in Mumbai she beat IM Aditya Udeshi. 

Total money spent=3,44,000.

Maharashtra players were in great demand of course as this is the Maharashtra Chess League. Every team wanted some flexibility so they chose four Maharashtra players. Just the Pune Attackers went one step ahead and selected five. Thus there are in all 25 players from the State out of a total of 43.It's a huge boost for the Maharashtra players and this tournament will benefit them immensely. After all to be discussing everyday with the likes of Negi, Abhijeet, Adhiban, Vidit, Lalith, Kunte, Bakre etc is a wonderful opportunity for the upcoming players.

You must agree that Rs 1,20,000 is nothing when compared to other sports. But it is a start. Making a start is always the tough part. Things can only get better from here. A big thanks to the entire organizing team of the Maharashtra Chess League.

The games will begin from 11th of June 2014. But till then let the excitement grow and do support your favourite team. I hope you enjoyed the article and have an idea now as to what MCL 2014 looks like!



A huge thanks to Amruta Mokal (my wife) who has clicked some wonderful pictures at the Kolkata Open 2014 which I have been able to use here!

If you liked the article, do become a member of this blog by clicking on the "Join this site" tab on the upper left corner of the blog.