Kaidanov earns a draw, crown
Bagan wary vs Churchill
Paes races into quarters
Chopra defies Bengal shackles
Mixed fortunes for Indians
Obolensky asserts his class
Spice Boy is the best bet

 
 
KAIDANOV EARNS A DRAW, CROWN 
 
 
BY A CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16 
US’ Gregory Kaidanov expectedly emerged champion in the 11th Goodricke International Open Chess meet at Alekhine Chess Club today. Kaidanov drew his final-round game against K. Sasikiran of India to top the field with 8.5 points.

Mathias Roeder and Vladimir Akopian both finished half-a-point behind, but Akopian was declared second on account of his better progressive score.

On an eventful final day, three more norms were confirmed taking the total to nine. A record five GM norms, in addition to a WGM norm and three IM norms, were confirmed in this tournament.

IM Roeder earned his second GM norm by beating Viktor Korchnoi while India’s G.B. Prakash achieved his maiden GM norm by outplaying GM Maxim Sorokin. T.S. Ravi made his final IM norm when he prevailed over P. Harikrishna.

It was not smooth sailing for Kaidanov today as he was in some difficulty against K. Sasikiran in the Averbakh variation of the King’s Indian defence. Sasikiran, who needed a win to confirm his final GM norm and title, tried hard but the game petered out into a draw.

Defeat upsets Korchnoi

Roeder outplayed 68-year-old Viktor Korchnoi in a fine tactical game which so upset the former world No. 2 that he walked out of the playing hall shouting and creating a scene in the playing area.

Roeder employed a sharp but dubious manoeuvre in the middle game, giving up the exchange in return for attacking chances. Roeder later forced Korchnoi to resign by weaving a mating net around Korchnoi’s King.

“I tried desperately to win as only a win would have given me a GM norm,” Roeder told The Telegraph later. “The line I played is known to theory but Korchnoi stretched himself and lost. After the game he told me that I had little understanding about chess.”

When asked whether bad losers make good players, Roeder said: “You must excuse him for his age. A younger player would have taken defeat in his stride, but for Korchnoi it was unacceptable. I think that’s what keeps him going even at this age.”

Vladimir Akopian made short work of Evgeny Vladimirov in 24 moves in a Queen’s Gambit declined. Akopian started an attack for the Kingside after which Vladimirov’s position was shattered.

Prakash played a neat positional game to get the better of Maxim Sorokin in a Queen’s Indian defence. Prakash, playing white, took control of the c-file with his rooks and won a piece later which netted him the full point as well as his maiden GM norm.

Ravi won a see-saw battle against P. Harikirishna to confirm his final IM norm. Ravi has a 18-game IM norm from the national A championship. Ravi now needs to reach the magic Elo figure of 2400 to confirm his title.

Abhijit Kunte won his last round in style, getting the better of Alexander Goloshapov in a Ret I Opening. GM-elect Kunte spurned the draw offer of his opponent on the 21st move and went on to win in 33 moves.

Sandipan Chanda, who picked up his maiden GM norm, finished with a defeat against GM Bogdan Lalic to remain on six points.

Saheli Dhar Barua missed yet another chance of getting her second WIM norm when she went down to Roktim Bandyopadhyay despite having the material advantage of rook for Knight.    


 
 
BAGAN WARY VS CHURCHILL 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16 
Churchill Brothers and Mohun Bagan meet tomorrow in a crucial clash of the Coca-Cola National League, with none of them willing to buy its winner-takes-all billing.

“Of course, it’s an important game but the League is hardly going to be decided by the result here. There’ll still be a long way to go,” Churchill’s Scottish coach Danny McLenan pointed out after putting his players through their paces at the SAI Eastern Centre this morning.

Subrata Bhattacharya spoke almost the same lines later in the day but, even in his so-much-can-still-happen replies, there was no mistaking that the Mohun Bagan coach is keen to ensure that they don’t lose it all at the Salt Lake Stadium tomorrow.

Mohun Bagan, trailing Churchill by two points, realise that a loss will not only peg them back dangerously in the title-race but also give the League leaders just the momentum they need to romp home. It’s a thought that’s making them think a little differently.

“I’ve been talking of three points for some time but, tomorrow, a draw will not be such a bad thing for us really,” said Subrata. “You see, it’ll leave them with the slender lead and, since Churchill have a tougher task than us after that, the pressure will be on them. It’ll then take only a slip or two on their part for us to overtake them.”

Churchill next meet East Bengal in the city, FC Kochin at Kochi, Dempo and Mahindra at home. Mohun Bagan’s matches are against Dempo at home, Mahindras in Mumbai, BSF at home, JCT at home and State bank of Travancore in Thiruvanantha- puram.

Though an undercurrent of caution is, thus, likely to creep into their game tomorrow, Mohun Bagan cannot afford to get too defensive.

Subrata realises like most who have seen the Mohun Bagan defence that their best bet of avoiding defeat is to keep the ball away from it for as long as possible. A screen in the form of Debjit Ghosh looks the likely answer, though the Mohun Bagan coach has been known to use even two men in midfield with such duties — and to good effect. A sweeper is also on his mind and Sammy Omollo, back after missing the Kochin match because of the League’s ‘foreign policy’, will then have to do this job.

Churchill’s Ukranian striker Andrei Malchevsky is sure to come in for a lot of attention. Mohun Bagan’s problem is that they will also have to contend with Francis Silveira, who has shown that he too is capable of some damage. The lithe Goan comes to town with eight goals, the highest in this League so far.

With men like Jose Ramirez Barreto, Igor Shkvirin and Stephen Abarowei upfront, Mohun Bagan will, of course, always fancy their chances of slipping in a goal or two and actually winning the match — a situation that the green-and-maroon camp will be dreaming of. It may, however, be tactically correct for Mohun Bagan to keep their attacking instincts in check and, instead, rely more on breakaways.

A great deal of their problems would have been taken care of had Barreto been fully fit, and Subrata actually faces a dilemma over fielding him.

Subrata realises that even a half-fit Barreto is a psychological prop and would keep his opponents uneasy, but he also runs the risk of aggravating the Brazilian’s injury to a point that rules him out of the rest of the League. “I’ll see how he feels tomorrow and take a decision only then,” the coach said.

The battle tomorrow will be won and lost in what looks likely to be a packed midfield. With Ukranian Mikola Shevchenko, Somatai Shaiza, Roque Perreira and Mario Soares manning it for them, Churchill present a daunting prospect. Mohun Bagan have three attacking medios in James Singh, Basudeb Mondal and R.P. Singh and they will need to get better organised if they hope to grab the initiative.    


 
 
PAES RACES INTO QUARTERS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16 
Leander Paes watched Vishal Uppal produce a typically Indian gallant loser’s performance and then took out his frustration on a little-known Israeli at the Indian Oil-Servo ATP Challenger meet today.

Quite like Syed Fazaluddin yesterday, the 23-year-old Uppal played solid for most of two sets but just couldn’t turn it on at the defining moments. Had Uppal managed to snatch a couple of crucial points in either set, the 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 scoreline in Pakistani Aisam Qureshi’s favour could well have been reversed.

Top seed Paes was in ruthless form, taking a shade over an hour to whip Lior Dahan 6-2, 6-2. Paes meets Qureshi in the quarter finals tomorrow.

Serving at his best and hitting forehand winners with a pleasing regularity, the Indian ace was in no trouble against his left-handed opponent. Two service breaks came easy in both sets — in first and fifth games of Set I and fifth and seventh games of Set II.

Dahan went into the match knowing he had no chance if he stayed back, but made a mess of his attempt to try and dictate at the net. He either played the wrong approach shot or was caught napping on the volley.

Dahan may not have created an impression, but two others from his country did leave a mark at the South Club this afternoon. Nir Welgreen, a qualifier, knocked out fifth seed Igor Gaudi 7-6 (7-4), 7-6,(7-5), while Andy Ram disposed of eighth seed Guillaume Marx 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Tuomas Ketola and Mose Navarra justified their high seeding, advancing to the final eight with straight-set wins over Takahiro Terachi and Tom Chicoine. Also in the quarters is sixth seed Dejan Petrovic, an Australian who was taken the distance by Frenchman Gregory Carraz.    


 
 
CHOPRA DEFIES BENGAL SHACKLES 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16 
DELHI 200/6

Sourav Ganguly believes leadership is all about man-management. This aspect of his captaincy was in ample evidence at the Eden Gardens today.

With the limited resources at his disposal, the Bengal skipper knew it needed astute handling of his bowlers to keep Delhi batsmen in check. He did that with superb acumen and authority to floor the visitors on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Super League tie.

The Delhi batsmen will also have to share a portion of the blame as they wasted the advantage of winning the toss through some indisciplined strokeplay. Opener Akash Chopra was the sole exception. His chanceless unbeaten 79 has taken came off 287 balls and included 11 boundaries.

The fair sprinkling of grass on the pitch was clipped this morning. With the surface not offering much bounce, bowlers had to rely on movement off the pitch and in the air to get the breakthroughs.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla and a distinctly unfit Sumit Panda wasted the new ball, and Sourav had to introduce himself as early as in the seventh over. With Shukla showing no signs of getting his line right, Utpal was brought into the attack in the 14th over.

The left-arm spinner’s four-over spell was followed by an unchanged 30-over second stint (30-13-35-2) from the High Court end. As Utpal tied down the batsmen, Sourav just concentrated on rotating Shukla and himself from the other end.

The tactic paid dividends as the batsmen, in their eagerness to break the shackles, often caused their own doom.

The India vice-captain bowled his 18 overs in four spells, often foxing the batsmen with his subtle change of pace and movement. In his over-enthusiasm, he also stepping onto the danger zone and was cautioned by the umpire twice.

Sourav dismissed Ashu Dani with a beauty that rose and swung late, giving the batsman very little time to withdraw his bat. The caught-behind verdict, though, left Dani unhappy and he did make his displeasure evident.

That was the only wicket to fall before lunch and it wasn’t before the second session that the Bengal bowlers wrested the initiative. Shukla, who bowled in six spells today, grabbed two wickets during this period. Though he looked far from impressive, those victims should do his confidence a world of good.

Utpal castled Akash Malhotra with an armer while Ajay Sharma fell to a planned move. The Delhi skipper’s penchant for going for the pull led to his exit as Rohan Gavaskar held on to the chance at deep square-leg. The veteran had survived an over earlier when Rohan failed to reach the ball in similar circumstances.

The Bengal fielding was, at times, brilliant despite Devang Gandhi dropping a straight forward Vijay Dahiya chance off Shukla.    


 
 
MIXED FORTUNES FOR INDIANS 
 
 
FROM A CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Feb. 16 
Indian women floundered after a promising start to lose their Uber Cup group X Super League tie 1-4 to mighty Indonesia. In the Thomas Cup, though, India triumphed 4-1 against Japan with Pullela Gopichand, Nikhil Kanetkar and Abhin Shyam Gupta all winning their singles rubbers.

Gopichand executed his jump-smashes and drop-shots well to win the first game 15-10 against Keita Masuda.

In the next game, Masuda’s powerful smashes helped him open up a 9-1 lead, but Gopichand rallied well to creep up to 6-9. The Indian saved three game-points before levelling at 14-all and ultimately winning 15-10, 15-14.

Left-handed Kanetkar excelled with his high tosses, drop-shots and angled jump shots. He easily overcame the 37th-ranked Japanese Hidetaka Yamada 15-6, 15-9.

The defensive Abhin Shyam Gupta wore out his 92nd-ranked opponent Kazuhiro Shimogami in a three-game battle of attrition.

Dream start by Popat

In the Uber Cup tie, world No. 29 Aparna Popat excelled with her drops and disguised smashes to overwhelm world No. 16 Lidya in straight games and give India a dream start.

Popat trailed briefly in the opening game but then dominated to win 11-5, 11-2 in 28 minutes.

The experienced Madhumita Bisht and P.V.V. Lakshmi led Eliza Nathanael and Deyana Lomban 8-2 in the first game before the fancied Indonesian duo got its rhythm. From that point onwards, it was one-way traffic as the Indians went down 12-15, 6-15.

Teenaged Indians B.R. Menakshi, in singles, and Jwala Gutta-Shruti Kurian, in doubles, were swept off their feet. Twentynine-year-old Manjusha Kanwar fought hard only to go down 11-9, 6-11, 8-11 to Yuli Marfuah.    


 
 
OBOLENSKY ASSERTS HIS CLASS 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16 
Asserting his superior class, the Bangalore migrant Prince Obolensky gave an all round weight and a convincing one length beating to his lowly weighted rivals — Citadel and Attire — in today’s chief attraction the 1,400m Eastern Command Cup for horses in Class II. Nic Connorton partnering the John Stephens-trainee was brilliant all the way once he assumed charge of the running nearing the 1,100m marker. Oozing confidence passing the distance-post, Connorton continued to exult for rest of the journey.

As expected, the 1,400m Lt Gen. Jameel Mahmood Memorial Trophy was lifted by the even-money favourite, Black Mane. Ridden in a check until the home turn, jockey Tamang brought the Daniel David-ward, eight-wide and pounced on to the front-running Prince Of War in the last furlong to win by three-parts of a length.

RESULTS

1. Kirkwick Handicap 1,100m: (6-1-3-2) Time Of Times (Merchant) 1; Tequila Shot (Shanker) 2; Strides (A. P. Singh) 3; Avionic (Dalpat) 4. Won by: 2-1/2; 1; 1-1/2; (1-5.9). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 13; 13; Quinella: 16; Tanala: 128. Fav: Tequila Shot (1). Winner traine by R. Alford.

2. Philosopher Handicap 1,100m: (1-4-8-7) A Ma Dats’E (Shanker) 1; Silver Raising (Gowli) 2; Work Order (Islam) 3; Legal Fiction (Rabani) 4. Not run: Cavonnier (6). Won by: Nk; 3; 1-1/2; (1-8). Tote: Win Rs 51; Place: 16; 11; 21; Quinella: 32; Tanala: 446. Fav: Silver Raising (4). Winner trained by Rodrigues.

3. Partisan Handicap 1,200m: (4-2-5-6) Aristotemus (P. Alford) 1; Infierno (Akhtar) 2; Tribal Warlord (Nasruddin) 3; Lord Of The Manor (Brij) 4. Won by: 3; 3-1/2; Nk; (1-15.7). Tote: Win Rs77; Place:28; 21; Quinella: 176; Tanala: 602. Fav: Tribal Warlord (5). Winner trained by. R. Shaw.

4. Eastern Command Cup 1,400m: (1-8-7-4) Prince Obolensky (Connorton) 1; Citadel (Rabani) 2; Attire (C. Alford) 3; Cyber Freak (M. Reuben) 4. Won by: 1; Nk; 1/2; (1-28). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 17; 13; Quinella: 48; Tanala: 110. Fav: Prince Obolensky (1). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

5. Lt. Gen. Jameel Mahmood Memorial Trophy 1,400m: (5-4-1-2) Black Mane (Tamang) 1; Prince Of War (Merchant) 2; Go With The Wind (Rutherford) 3; Analyzer (Surender) 4. Won by: 3/4; 4-3/4; 5-1/4; (1-28.5). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 13; 18; Quinella: 22; Tanala: 132. Fav: Black Mane (5). Winner trained by D. David.

6. Pilot Handicap 1,400m: (3-5-4-2) Gentle Priest (Rabani) 1; Iron Warrior (C. Alford) 2; Mountain Memory (Merchant) 3; Scimitar (Manohar) 4. Won by: 1/2; 2-3/4; Nk; (1-28.3). Tote: Win Rs 55; Place: 28; 16; Quinella: 56; Tanala: 356. Fav: Iron Warrior (5). Winner trained by Bharath S.

Jackpot Rs 5,790; (C) Rs 265.

Treble: (i) Rs 415; (ii) Rs 185.

TRACK TRIALS

From among the following horses seen exercising here today,Tsaynen Blue and Floral Path were impressive:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Remember Me (Rb) in 1-40s; (400m) 30 3/5s. Good. Prizen (Rb) in 1-42 2/5s; (400m) 30 2/5s. Moved well. Super Smile (Rb) in 1-53 2/5s; (400m) 32 1/5s. Dominate (Rutherford) in 1-51 3/5s; (400m) 32 2/5s.

1,000m: Crucible (Rb) and Animator (Rb) in 1-19s; (400m) 30 3/5s. Both level. Tsaynen Blue (Shanker) in 1-11 3/5s; (400m) 27 1/5s. Moved well.

800m: Almond Rock (Rutherford) 55s; (400m) 27 3/5s. Easy. Head Hunter (Merchant) in 58s; (400m) 26s. Handy. Noble Canonire (Merchant) in 56 3/5s; (400m) 28 1/5s. Easy. Single Dawn (Rutherford) and Media Star (Salim) in 55s; (400m) 26 1/5s. Former 3 ls better. Flaming Ferrari (Rb) and No Regrets (M. Reuben) in 59s; (400m) 29s. Both level. The Cigar (Kujur) and Tabasco King (Smith) in 56 3/5s; (400m) 27s. Former 2 ls better. Splendid Pride (Merchant) in 59s; (400m) 29s. Little Boy Blue (Rb) and Whitney (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Former a length better.

600m: Aris Image (Merchant) in 43 2/5s; (400m)29 2/5s. Easy. Storm Trooper (Tamang) in 45 4/5s; (400m) 30s. Jayaashva (Razzak) in 42s; (400m) 27s. Easy.

Sand track

800m: Precious Dreams (Salim) in 51s; (400m) 24. Good. Zingari (Akhtar) in 52 2/5s; (400m) 24 3/5s. Note. Exclusive Girl (P. Alford) in 54; (400m) 26s. Unlimited (Yacoob) in 55 2/5s; (400m) 27s.

800m: Floral Path (Rb) and Software (Amil) in 36 3/5s; (400m) 22 3/5s. Former was 4 ls better. Amanda (K. Kumar) 38s; (400m) 23 2/5s. Good. American (Rutherford) and Golden Express (P. Alford) in 38s; (400m) 24s. Former a head better, both were easy.    


 
 
SPICE BOY IS THE BEST BET 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
 
Although hard-pressed to win his last start over 1,800m, the M. P. Jodha-trained Spice Boy is expected to relish the 1,400m sprint and bag the Brijendra Plate in Mumbai on Thursday. P. Chauhan partners the four-year-old colt by Reasonable out of Eretna.

SELECTIONS

3 pm: Stone Ridge1.

3.30 pm: Natural Gift 1. Falconaire 2. Exstream 3.

4 pm: Yewall 1. Clear Sense 2. Mama Mia 3.

4.30 pm: Spice Boy 1. Legendary Lover 2. Shanavi 3.

5 pm: Gay Minstrel 1. Green Paradise 2. Dreadnaught 3.

5.30 pm: Timeless Appeal 1. Impartial 2. Star Rock 3.

6 pm: Poem Of Joy 1. Burning Issue 2. Avalanche 3.

Day’s Best: Spice Boy Double: Natural Gift & Gay Minstrel    

 

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