Impressions from the Mumbai Mayor’s Cup (part 1)

by Sagar Shah
6/25/2014 – As noted in the first report on the Mumbai Mayor’s Cup: it was an extremely strong event won by the Georgian grandmaster Levan Pantsulaia (2577) with a score of 8.0/10. Sagar Shah and his wife, Amruta Mokal, take a more intimate look at the many faces that played, giving us a glimpse into who they are, by providing this report filled with anecdotes and photos.

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Two times in a row! Pantsulaia was the winner in 2013 too.

The Mayor’s Cup tournament was held in the Thakur College of Science and Commerce in Thakur Village. The Thakur Village is a densely populated residential complex in Kandivali, Mumbai. The area is also an education hub and is known for a number of educational institutions located here, mostly founded by the Thakur Educational Group.

The venue of the tournament was scheduled to be the National Sports Complex of India, Worli. This was changed to the above Thakur College just one week prior to the tournament. Managing nearly 850 players (from all the three categories) and communicating the change of venue to all the players was a huge task for the organizers. The reason why the venue was changed at the last minute was because the organizers received the letter below from the National Sports Complex of India authorities just a few days prior to the tournament.

The above is an extract from the letter sent by the NSCI owners to the chief organizer of the tournament Mr. Ravindra Dongre just thirteen days prior to the event. The venue was supposed to be free but now they were asking for nearly Rs 50,00,000. (approx $ 83,000). This immediately excluded the venue so the search for a new venue started just days before the start. Finally, Thakur college in Kandivali came to the rescue.

A beautiful air conditioned playing hall which absolutely did not look like a last minute fix

As the tournament venue was shifted at the last moment it was bound to create some difficulties. The biggest difficulty was that the playing hall for the A category was on the seventh floor and there was only one elevator.

The road to the top is never easy!

Though the players faced difficulties, we must take into consideration that changing the venue at the last moment and accommodating nearly 850 players was not an easy job.

The chief organizer of the event Mr. Ravindra Dongre had his task cut
but he did a great job considering the desperate nature of the situation

Aleksandrov Aleksej (2554) from Belarus was concentration personified in this tournament
helping him to finish second

The three musketeers: WGM Toma Katarzyna (2291) from Poland (left), GM Merab Gangunashivili (2562)
in the centre who finished tenth and the winner, GM Levan Pantsulaia (2577), on the right.

GM Harutjunyan Gevorg (2434) from Armenia finished seventh

GM Paichadze Luka (2544) from Georgia finished eighth staying unbeaten

The very talented 16-year-old IM Shardul Gagare (2446), who finished ninth, is next to his proud mother

The 56-year-old veteran GM Ziatdinov Raset (2387) from USA is still
a force to be reckoned with. He scored 7.0/10 and finished twelfth.

14th place GM Daniel Semcesen (2509) from Sweden

GM Vasily Papin (2531) from Russia is a strong positional player but found the going tough

His eyes reflect his love for the game! CRG Krishna (2327) made his fifth IM norm

CM Prince Bajaj (2333) played a great tournament to score an IM norm and gain 28 Elo

A fantastic tournament for WGM Bhakti Kulkarni (2231) who scored
an IM norm and gained 41 points in the process

The trapped knight on c7 is going to give me my WIM title!

WFM Kurbonoeva Sarvinoz (2234) scored a crucial last round victory to gain her final WIM norm achieving her WIM title and also thirty Elo points.

The ‘B’ category was won by Cheniram Pegu of Assam with a score
of 9.5/10 and the ‘C’ category was won by Mayur Vispute (unrated)
from Mumbai (above). Both of them won Rs 1,00,000. (approx. $ 1700).

The life of a chess player

Pictures by Amruta Mokal

Continued in part 2/2

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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