Group of 5 guns for glory
Debjit �reinstated� by Mohun Bagan
Paes-Bhupathi duo back in top five

Bhubaneswar, June 11: 
It took five days to separate the best from the rest.

At the first leg of The Telegraph Schools� Chess Championship 2001, held here from June 5-9, 234 students from over 70 schools in Orissa fought it out on a different arena: chessboards. Those with better weapons (openings and defence techniques) in their armoury survived the five-day bloodshed on the chequered boards. The top five qualified for the main round to be played in Calcutta later.

After the ninth and final round of the championship being organised by the Orissa State Chess Association (OSCA) in association with Alekhine Chess Club, Calcutta, Buxi Jagabandhu English Medium School of Bhubaneswar won the Best School award with 29 points.

Nishikanta Mishra, a standard X student of that school, emerged champion with eight points. Others who qualified for the main round were Piyush Roy, Byomkesh Nayak, Abinash Das and Abhisikta Pattnaik. The Telegraph spoke to these players afterwards. Following are excerpts.

NISHIKANTA MISHRA: This 14-year-old started playing chess when he was in standard IV. �I used to play with my father. He taught me the basics.�� Later, he was coached by Dilip Patsani and now it is Arati Bijay Mohanty �working president of the OSCA � who is looking after him. To hone his skills, Mishra also puts one hour of practice at home. Besides chess, Mishra is equally interested in academics. He secured 12th position in the Mathematics Olympiad. But it is his love for chess that may shape his future. �My idol is Capablanca, the former world champion,�� he says.

PIYUSH ROY: This classmate of Nishikanta could have done better but for his ninth-round draw against Byomkesh Nayak. �I was a bit disappointed,� he said. Roy, who started playing chess at the age of three under the tutelage of OSCA secretary G.B. Das, would have liked to spend more time on the board but has to think of the board exams as well. Piyush, who wants to become an engineer, is also eyeing the International Master title.

BYOMKESH NAYAK: The top seed of the tournament was initiated into chess by his chess-playing brother Amaresh Nayak and father six years ago. This standard X student of Children�s Centre of Integral Education, has already participated in a host of national tournaments including the national under-14 rapid-fire chess held last year, where he stood third.

Despite being bogged down by studies � his board exams are round the corner � he tries to devote about six hours to chess. �I want to be a Grandmaster in future and become another Viswanathan Anand,�� he said.

ABINASH DAS: Though he started playing chess four years ago, this shy standard IX student of DAV School in Unit 8, is getting better day by day, confirms his coach A.B. Mohanty. With a good score in academics, he hopes he can balance chess and studies and come out tops in both.

Abinash, who practises 1-2 hours daily with his Coach, rues he could have done better if he had more match practice. He has already participated in the under-9 and under-12 nationals. His idol is Garri Kasparov.

ABHISIKTA PATTNAIK: The youngest of the top five, Abhisikta has already participated in six national-level championships including a third-place finish in the national under-12 meet last year. This 12-year-old girl from Acharya Harihara School, Cuttack, has picked up the nuances of the game very quickly after being initiated into chess by her uncle in 1995. Abhisikta, who wishes to be a WGM, idolises Anand.


Calcutta, June 11: 
Contradictory to its earlier stand, Mohun Bagan club has signed a three-year contract with Debjit Ghosh, putting to rest speculations over the footballer�s reported release.

The contract � the first of its kind in the state � was finalised at the club secretary Anjan Mitra�s Salt Lake residence this morning, in the presence of Debjit and official Debashish Dutta.

�Due to some misunderstanding with Debjit, we decided to release him. But we have recalled him once we saw him having trouble finding an opening somewhere else�, Mitra later told a press conference at the club tent.

Though the contract is for three years (2001-2004), interestingly financial settlement has been fixed with the player for the current season only.

When asked about this, Mitra said it would be subject to review next year depending on Debjit�s performance. He did not disclosed the deal with the player either. Mitra further said if the player requested permission for playing any invitational or charity match for other teams, the club would consider.

�I always wanted to play for Mohun Bagan and it�s nice to continue with the club. The contract has boosted my confidence and I�ll try to give my best for the club,� Debjit said.

Debjit had been accused of spawning up a movement with other players to break away from the National League runners-up and bargain with other clubs. But apart from Debjit, club officials are yet to take action against any one of them.

Bagan shocked

Mohun Bagan got off to a disastrous start at the IFA Nursery League, when they were shocked by University Institute 2-0 at home today. Mongal Ora and Krishanu Dey scored in the 10th and 22nd minutes, respectively, for the winners.

Bagan coach Bidesh Basu, however, refused to read too much into the defeat. �Our aim is to groom some young talents for the big league,� he said.

The coach also praised Bagan goalkeeper Sourav Dasgupta and Apurba Das and Tamal Mukherjee for their performance in the match.

Mohammedan AC drubbed

Mohammedan AC suffered a 1-5 drubbing at the hands of Siliguri Mahakuma Krira Parishad in the Burdwan cluster of the IFA Shield league matches in Purulia today. In another match, Behala Youth and United Students played out a goalless draw.

Alipur play under protest

Calcutta AC beat Alipur SC 2-0 but the latter played under protest in the IFA fifth division today. At half-time Alipur officials challenged the legality of some Calcutta AC players.


Calcutta, June 11: 
The French Open triumph has lifted Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi to the third spot in the ATP Champions Race doubles rankings.

Earlier, it was expected that they would be ranked No. 2. The Indian pair, unseeded in France, was ranked 13th in the rankings list released May 21.

In the latest list announced today, the Swede-Australian pair of Jonas Bjorkman and Tood Woodbridge stays No. 1 with 614 points.

Czechs Petr Pala and Paul Vizner, whom the Indians beat in the Roland Garros final, are second with 367 points. Paes and Bhupathi have 350 points.

In terms of earnings, Bjorkman and Woodbridge stay well clear of the field with $ 349101. The Indians are distant second with $ 170981. Surprisingly, the eighth-seeded pair of Wayne Ferreira (South Africa) and Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Russia) is third in terms of income, having earned $ 165181. Pala and Vizner are fourth with $ 151532.


1. Jonas Bjorkman (Swe)/Todd Woodbridge (Aus). 2. Petr Pala/Paul Vizner (Cze). 3. Leander Paes/Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind). 4. Joshua Eagle/Andrew Florent (Aus). 5. Michael Hill (Aus)/Jeff Tarrango (US). 6. Daniel Nestor (Can)/Sandon Stolle (Aus). 7. Mark Knowels (Bah)/Brian MacPhie (US). 8. Wayne Ferrera (RSA)/Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus).

Kuerten dethrones Agassi

Gustavo Kuerten�s third French Open crown has hoisted him to the top of the ATP Champions Race, dethroning Andre Agassi who had set the pace since winning the Australian Open in January, reports AFP.

Kuerten moved to 490 points, just six clear of the American who went out in the quarter finals in Paris.

Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, ousted by Kuerten in the Roland Garros semi-final is placed third with 451 points. Kuerten won the Champions Race last year, but he is unlikely to stay at the top of the rankings for long as he has decided to give Wimbledon a miss.


1. Gustavo Kuerten (Braz) 490 pts; 2. Andre Agassi (US) 484; 3. Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spa) 451; 4. Sebastien Grosjean (Fra) 323; 5. Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) 281; 6. Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) 233; 7. Alex Corretja (Spa) 231; 8. Roger Federer (Swi) 225; 9. Jan-Michael Gambill (US) 191; 10. Arnaud Clement (Fra) 185.


1. Martina Hingis (Swi) 5,685 pts; 2. Venus Williams (US) 4,789; 3. Lindsay Davenport (US) 4,328; 4. Jennifer Capriati (US) 4,252; 5. Serena Williams (US) 2,481; 6. Amelie Mauresmo (Fra) 2,367; 7. Kim Clijsters (Bel) 2,203; 8. Monica Seles (US) 2,146; 9. Justine Henin (Bel) 1,915; 10. Anna Kournikova (Rus) 1,893.


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