Sandipan stuns third GM; Thipsay tamed
�I gained from Horvath�s errors�
Sewa, Tulpule in title round
Marking Bagan centenary
Nicco, Topsel set up title clash
Bagan face the tricky Kochin test
Allied Forces catches eye

Calcutta, Feb. 10 
Sandipan Chanda continued his fine run in the Goodricke International Open chess meet. Hungarian GM Jozsef Horvath became his latest victim, losing the fifth-round match at Gorky Sadan today.

Today�s win took Sandipan�s tally to four points and he now stands and excellent chance of getting his maiden GM norm. Significantly, his opponents in all five rounds have been GMs and the Calcutta boy has beaten three of them and drawn with two.

The day also witnessed some other upsets. Indian IM P. Konguvel beat GM Toni Najdoski, who suffered his third defeat of the meet. Indian GM Praveen Thipsay lost to P.D.S. Girinath in a marathon battle.

Indian youngster K. Sasikiran held veteran GM and second seed Viktor Korchnoi while top seed Vladimir Akopian drew with IM G.B. Prakash. Aarthie Ramaswamy held GM Leonid Yurtaev, S. Vijayalakhshmi drew with GM Pavel Blatny, Shanker Roy held Ildar Ibragimov,Gurpreetpal Singh split point with GM Viorel Iordachescu and Sriram Jha held GM Peng Xiaomin.

Overnight leader GM Gregory Kaidanov (5) of the US maintained his position with a win against Koneru Humpy. Kaidanov, now a point clear of his rivals, faced little trouble with white pieces in a Reti opening.

Five players � Sasikiran, Sandipan, Korchnoi, Evgeny Vladimirov and Abhijit Kunte � are sharing the second spot with four points each.

Sandipan, playing whites, opted for the King�s Indian Attack against Horvath�s French Defence. Sandipan played an unconventional move which turned out to be a bad one.

But Horvath was unable to take advantage of Sandipan�s inaccuracy and to make matters worse for himself, made a couple of bad moves which allowed Sandipan to launch a dangerous kingside attack. Sandipan finished the game with a brilliant mating attack.

Horvath was all praise for his opponent after the match. �I think he played brilliantly in the final stages of the game. I had prepared hard for this game by studing some games of GM Ulhmann who is a master of this system.The move which he had played was clearly bad, but I failed to capitalise on it.�

At his present average, Sandipan � who has an Elo rating of 2537 � needs two points from the next four games for a nine-round GM norm, according to R.B. Sengupta, chief of the technical committee.

Double GM norm holder Sasikiran employed the Leningrad variation of the Nimzo Indian defence against Korchnoi and obtained a slightly superior position. But he was unable to make a breakthrough as his ilustrious opponent defended accurately and a peace treaty was ultimately signed.

Akopian tried desperately to squeeze out a win in a Rook and Knight vs Rook and Knight ending against Prakash but could make little progress as Prakash defended accurately.

On the top board, Kaidanov won a pawn in the middle game against Humpy in a Reti set up which proved enough for him to collect a point.

In a game of fluctuating fortunes between Chinese GM Peng Xiaomin and Sriram Jha, the former Xiaomin was clearly in a winning position which emrged from a Sicilian Paulsen. But the Chinese overlooked Jha�s bishop on the long diagonal and lost the exchange after which the game was drawn.    

Calcutta, Feb. 10 
Sandipan Chanda seems to have a strong �liking� for Grandmasters. Hungarian Jozsef Horvath discovered that in a little over three hours today as he became the third GM to lose to the 16-year-old in the ongoing Goodricke International Open.

Sandipan, a trainee at the Goodricke National Chess Academy, is certainly on a roll, having scalped GMs Toni Najdoski (Macedonia) and Viorel Iordanescu (Moldova) earlier. He also held GMs Maxim Sorokin (Argentina) and Alexander Goloshchapov to draws. He meets Viktor Korchnoi tomorrow.

But it was not smooth sailing for Sandipan today and he admitted that some serious blunder by the Hungarian helped him wriggle out of a spot. �I didn�t open well and would have been in trouble. But I gained from the errors he committed,� Sandipan said after the 26-move victory.

His rival had similar things to say but added that the city lad was �brilliant� in attack. �I think Sandipan is very good in tactics, but he should play open games if wants to go further. He will surely get a GM norm here. I think he is capable of reaching 2600 Elo points in a couple of years, or may be even earlier,� Jozsef said.

His conqueror, meanwhile, has no intentions of basking in the glory he has already achieved. �I�m not thinking of what I have done so far but concentrating on the future. Competition will get tougher but I want to stay positive and play well.�

Norms or titles aren�t his priority at the moment but GMs beware, Sandipan Chanda is raring to go.    

Calcutta, Feb. 10 
Top seed Radhika Tulpule and Vinod Sewa entered the finals of the girls� and boys� singles events of the ITF junior world ranking meet at Dakshin Kalikata Sansad courts today.

The unseeded Sewa, who won his maiden ITF crown at this very venue two months ago, came from behind to beat Uros Kuhar of Slovenia 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 in the semi-final today.

Sewa will take on fourth seeded Huzat Sofyan of Armenia. Sofyan ousted unseeded Raian Luchici of Romania 6-3, 6-1.

In the girls� semi-finals, Radhika sailed past Nandita Chandrasekhar 6-2, 6-2 in an all-Indian affair. The other semi-final, an all-Chinese duel, saw second-seeded Shuai Peng overcome Xie Yan Ze 1-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-0.

In the girls doubles final, the top seeded pair of Peng and Xie Yan will face second seed A Shcupak and A Kalsareva.

In boys doubles final, K Kannan and P Ravishankar will meet winners of Arun Prakash-B Xavier versus Sofyan-Mukhamedzanov match.    

Calcutta, Feb. 10 
The philately section of the Department of Posts will be releasing a commemorative wall clock embossed with an enlargement of the postage stamp it had brought out to mark Mohun Bagan�s centenary a few years ago.

The wall clock, priced at Rs 275 each, will be formally launched during a function at the club to felicitate former international Sailen Manna Sunday. Manna has been adjudged Player of the Century by the AIFF.

Mercantile Sixes

Selvel and HTA were among teams that won on the second day of the McDowells� Centenary Mercantile 6�s cricket tournament at the CC&FC today.    

Calcutta, Feb. 10 
Nicco and Topsel set up a clash for the Main Plate at The Telegraph Merchants Cup badminton tournament this evening. Nicco tamed The Telegraph 2-1, while Topsel got past ITC by the same margin in semi-final showdowns at the Saturday Club.

Title-clashes for both the main Plate and the Loser�s Plate come off tomorrow.    

Calcutta, Feb. 10 
Mohun Bagan have done remarkably well in the National League so far but, ironically, that is exactly why a streak of vulnerability has crept into their camp. The added pressure of leading the title-race is now squarely on them.

�It�s a nice position to be in, but also a difficult one to handle,� coach Subrata Bhattacharya reminded soon after practice this afternoon. �We have everything to lose from here. And, remember, this lead is not a big one.�

Later this evening, Churchill Brothers leapfrogged to the top of the table with a win over State Bank of Travancore in Margao.Though Mohun Bagan have played a match less, the situation emphasised how close the race really is so far. None of them can afford to slip from here.

Subrata will be hoping this extra pressure doesn�t show on the pitch tomorrow, when the League leaders take on FC Kochin at Salt Lake Stadium in what looks a tricky outing for the local giants.

With nothing to lose and with a team which, by Subrata�s own assessment, �can beat any team in this League on their day,� FC Kochin presents an uneasy problem. �The position Kochin now occupies on the league table (eighth) is not a true index of their real strength,� said Subrata, before adding that he considers I.M. Vijayan and his own Barreto to be the best strikers in the League.

It is, of course, not just the goal-scoring abilities of the Brazilian that Mohun Bagan have come to rely upon. The workload that Barreto carries every match, and the skills he brings to his game, has made the maroon-and-green brigade look a different team. Mohun Bagan have actually cashed in well on their �foreign reserves.� Tomorrow, Subrata is faced with the problem of plenty.

For the first time in this League, all five foreign recruits � Barreto, Igor Skhvirin, Stephen Abarowei, Sammy Omollo and Dusit � are available together, but only four can be fielded as per rules. �It�s presented a dilemma, but I think I�ve worked it out,� the coach said, but refused to divulge any further information on this.

With Stephen, Igor and Barreto doing some great job upfront, especially in the needle match against Salgaocar last week, and with Thailand�s Dusit having a good game as left-back, Subrata may be tempted to rest Omollo but the presence of I.M. Vijayan in the opposing team may well have him change his mi

The option, in that case, may then be to cross out Stephen � one very good excuse being that he is already on a yellow, and another would put him out of the crucial clash against Churchill Brothers.

While on yellow cards, it would be a good idea for the coach to warn his players against picking up cards for silly reasons. The manner in which Debjit Ghosh earned one in the Salgaocar game can serve as good example of what is �silly.� Barreto too is on a card, and it would be a shame to have him sitting out the Churchill tie.

The Brazilian skipped practice today because of injury, but Subrata says he will turn out tomorrow.

For Kochin, there�s only real goal. �We�ll have to win; a draw is as good as a loss for us now,� coach Chathuni said this evening.

He will, of course be depending a great deal on Vijayan. �He has it in him to deliver and, even if he is marked tightly, it will open up space for others to utilise,� said Chathuni, who replaced Sreedharan as coach after Kochin�s disappointing early stages of the League.

Vijayan�s strike-partner is Issac Tondo, one of the three Liberians who will be fielded tomorrow. Chathuni would have loved to used the lethal left foot of Jo Paul Ancheri upfront if it weren�t for a shaky defence where his services are needed more. More so, against the firepower of Mohun Bagan.

The teams ended with a 1-1 draw in their first match, at Kochi, but Barreto has since added a new edge to the Mohun Bagan attack.

Tollygunge vs ITI

It doesn�t take too long for a goalkeeper to fall from grace in a game where a goal matters most. Bibhas Ghosh, hero of many a Tollygunge Agragami outing in the recent past, will be making way for Ranjit Ghosh when the team takes on Bangalore�s ITI at Rabindra Sarobar tomorrow.

Coach Amal Dutta feels Ghosh must take a big share of the blame for Tollygunge not doing as well as he had expected.

Dutta wants his team to gather a minimum of 20 points when the finish which, he feels, will take Tolly to the shores of safety as far as relegation is concerned. They now have 16 points from 13 matches. Tomorrow, the plan is to start cautiously and then go for a win. He was, however, all praise for ITI, who had won the first-leg match between the two 2-0.    

Calcutta, Feb. 10 
Allied Forces, Saddle Up and Free At Last were impressive from among the following horses exercised today:

Outer sand track

2,000m: Audible (C. Alford) and Assyrian (Surender S.) in 2-27s; (1,000m) 1-9 2/5s; (400m) 28s. Former was pushed. Finished well ahead.

1,600m: Astrodance (Rb) in 2-5s; (800m) 1-3s; (400m) 31s. Easy.

1,200m: Super Sunrise (C. Alford) in 1-22 4/5s; (800m) 54 3/5s; (400m) 27 1/5s. Moved well. Allied Forces (C. Alford) in 1-24s; (800m) 53 2/5s; (400m) 25 3/5s. Good.

1,000m: Free At Last (C. Alford) in 1-7s; (600m) 38 2/5s. (400m) 26s. Moved well. 800m: Saddle Up (Kasbekar) in 54s; (400m) 25s. Impressive. Alameda (C. Alford) in 51 2/5s; (400m) 25 2/5s. Good. Adventure (Amil) and Amarante (C. Alford) in 50 3/5s; (400m) 25 2/5s. Former a neck better. Both moved well. Affliction (C. Alford) Annella (Amil) in 54s; (400m) 25 2/5s. Both were level and impressive. Alyssum (C. Alford) and Astrotot (Amil) in 54s; (400m) 26 4/5s. Former was a length better. Both moved well. Giorgio (Rb) in 59 3/5s; (400m) 27 4/5s. Easy.

600m: Constantine (Kujur) in 42s; (400m) 28s. Kargil Soldier (Engineer) in 38 2/5s; (400m) 24 1/5s. Note.    


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