Abhijit Kunte, Vidit Gujarathi richest picks in 2nd Maharashtra Chess League

All the team owners with the chief guests
All the team owners with the chief guests

Pune, May 30, 2014: Seasoned GM Abhijit Kunte and fast emerging star GM Vidit Gujarathi of Maharashtra jointly earned the distinction of being ‘Most Valuable Players’ at the Player Auction for the 2014 Johnson Tiles Maharashtra Chess League.

At a well-attended function at the Hyatt Pune, Kalyaninagar both Kunte and Gujaratihi, with a base price of Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 75,000 respectively, were bought by Ahmednagar Checkers and Jalgaon Battlers for Rs 1,20,000 each.

Interestingly, for the first time the auction had three players go past a lakh rupees. GM Abhjeet Gupta (Base Price: 75,000), from Rajasthan, completed this elite list with Thane Combatants’ closing bid at Rs. 1,10,000. The top bid this year thus superseded last year’s top contender by Rs 10,000.

The MCL, in its second year, will be played from June 11 -15 at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana.

The participating teams are defending champions Pune Attackers (Owned by Goel Ganga Group), runners-up Jalgaon Battlers (Jain Irrigation Systems Pvt. Ltd.), Thane Combatants (MEP Infrastructures), Ahmednagar Checkers (RBS Sportethics), Mumbai Movers (South Mumbai Chess Association) and new-entrants Pune Tru Masters (Tru Space).

Both Kunte and Gupta will be first time participants in the MCL, while for Nashik’s Gujarathi it will be his second stint with Jalgaon Battlers. Last year, the 19-year-old World Junior Chess Championship 2013 bronze medallist in the (Under-20) category, had become the second most expensive player.

On the women's side, Pune’s Eesha Karavade, for the second year in a row, became the most valuable player attracting a bid of Rs 85,000. Mumbai Movers came up with the highest bid for Karavade. Orissa’s Padmini Rout was second highest after Ahmednagar Checkers came up with Rs. 72,000.

As per the Player Auction Policy, the 63 players that went under the hammer were divided into Grandmasters (GM), Women Grandmasters (WGM), International Masters (IM), women players and rated players' categories. Each team had to buy at least one GM, one WGM one IM and a minimum of two women players.

Among the International Masters, Swapnil Dhopade was a stand-out buy after Pune Attackers closed bidding at Rs. 72,000. The price paid for Swapnil’s was higher than two GMs.

Similarly, among the rated-players Chinmay Kulkarni attracted a Rs 33,000 bid from Mumbai Movers. Chinmay was locked in a long drawn process that involved Pune Tru Movers and Jalgaon Battlers initially, before Mumbai Movers jumped in fray and out-bid Jalgaon Battlers.

Teams also needed to have at least three Maharashtra players playing in each Match, comprising six boards. Each team was given a total purse of Rs 3,50,000 in which they had to buy a minimum of six players.

The franchisee owners/ representatives and coaches attending the function included; Mumbai Movers – Mr. Rishi Gupta and Coach Prathamesh Mokal; Jalgaon Battlers– Mr. Farukh Shaik, Mr. Pravin Thakare and Coach Moreshwar Bhagwat; Ahmednagar Checkers – Mr. Dhaval Shah, Mr. Siddharth Mayur and Mrs. Mrunalini Kunte-Aurangabadkar, Thane Combatants – Mr. Sachin Awsthi, Mr. Deepak Vaze and Coach Jayant Gokhale; Pune Attackers – Mr. Mayur Agarwal and Coach DV Prasad; Pune Tru Masters – Mr. Ashwin Trimal and Coach Anupreeta Patil.

At the end of the Auction a total 12 players will be playing for the first time in the MCL, which included GMs Parimarjan Negi (New Delhi), B.Adhiban (Tamil Nadu), Abhijeet Gupta (Rajasthan), SP Sethuraman (TN), Abhijeet Kunte (Maharashtra), V Vishnu Prasanna (TN); IMs Diptayan Ghosh (West Bengal), Thejkumar MS (Karnataka), Prasanna Rao and Vikramaditya Kulkarni (both Maharashtra), WGMs Bhakti Kulkarni (Goa) apart from rated player Vignesh N.R (TN).

The function was graced by 5-time World Champion Vishwanathan Anand, while from organizers Pune Dictrict Chess Circle President, Mr Anniruddha Deshpande, PDCC, Secretary Mr. Niranjan Godbole along with Maharashtra Chess Association President Ravindra Dongare and Secretary Deelip Page were present.

The tournament is sponsored by Johnson Tiles and moved by Amanora Knowledge Foundation and UFO Digital Cinema. The Hospitality partner is Hyatt Pune, Kalyaninagar and venue partner is PYC Hindu Gymkhana, Pune.


Ahmednagar Checkers

GM Abhijit Kunte (Mah; Base Price - Rs. 60,000; Auction Price - Rs. 1,20,000), GM Tejas Bakre (Guj; Rs. 60,000, Rs. 70,000), WGM Padmini Rout (Orissa; Rs. 40,000, Rs. 73,000), IM Shardul Gagare (Mah; Retained; Rs. 33,000), Abhishek Kelkar (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10,000), Aakanksha Hagawane (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10,000), NR Vignesh (TN; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10,000)

Jalgaon Battlers

GM Vidit Gujarathi (Mah; Base Price - Rs. 75,000, Auction Price - Rs. 1,20,000), GM Adhiban B (TN; Rs. 75,000, Rs. 95,000), WGM Kiran Manisha Mohanty (Orissa; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 30,000), IM Narayan Shrinath (TN; Retained; Rs. 33,000), Pratik Patil (Mah; Retained; Rs. 11,000), Shashikant Kutwal (Mah; Rs. Rs 10,000, Rs. 10,000), Rucha Pujari (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 27,000)

Mumbai Movers

GM Parimarjan Negi (New Delhi; Base Price - Rs. 75,000, Auction Price - Rs. 95,000), IM Anup Deshmukh (Mah; Retained, Rs. 33,000), IM Himanshu Sharma (Har; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 30,000), WGM Eesha Karavade (Mah; Rs. 40,000, Rs. 85,000), WGM Bhakti Kulkarni (Goa; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 42,000),Chinmay Kulkarni (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 33,000), Rakesh Kulkarni (Mah; Retained, Rs. 11,000)

Pune Tru Masters

GM V Vishnu Prasanna (TN, Base Price - Rs. 50,000, Auction Price - Rs. 50,000), GM S.P Sethuraman (TN; Rs. 60,000, Rs. 90,000), IM Aditya Udeshi (Mah; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 54,000), WGM Swathi Ghate (Mah; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 57,000), WGM Mary Ann Gomes (WB; Rs. 40,000, Rs. 46,000), Pawan Dodeja (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10,000), Sameer Kathmale (Mah; Rs. 30,000 Rs. 40,000)

Pune Attackers

GM M R Lalith Babu (AP; Retained; Rs. 88,000), IM Diptayan Ghosh (WB; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 42,000), IM Swapnil Dhopade (Mah; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 72,000), IM Thejkumar M S (Kar; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 30,000), WGM Soumya Swaminathan (Mah; Base Price - Rs. 30,000, Auction Price - Rs. 72,000), Sagar Shah (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 22,000),Supriya Joshi (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10,000), Mithil Ajgaonkar (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10,000)

Thane Combatants

GM Abhijeet Gupta (Raj; Base Price - Rs. 75,000, Auction Price - Rs. 1,10,000), IM Vikramaditya Kulkarni (Mah; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 57,000), IM Prasanna Rao (Mah; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 54,000), WGM Tania Sachdev (New Delhi; Rs. 40,000, Rs. 52,000), Abhimanyu Puranik (Mah; Retained, Rs. 11,000), Narayanan S L (Ker; Rs. 30,000, Rs. 39,000), Parnali Dharia (Mah; Rs. 10,000, Rs. 21,000).

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Edited by Staff Editor