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Sport - Chess

Big contingent for Asian youth meet
By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MARCH 25. A 15-player Indian team, apart from a large number of `donor' entrants - 13 boys and eight girls to be precise - will take part in the Asian youth chess championship at Teheran from March 29 to April 3.

This is for the first time that such a big contingent of participants, besides 26 accompanying persons, is leaving for any international age-group championship.

Competitions, on a nine-round Swiss format, will be held in the under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-16 categories, seperately for boys and girls.

It may be recalled that in the last edition of the championship at Bikaner, in January 2001, India had won two gold, four silver and four bronze medals. On that occasion, the under- 16 event was not held.

Y. Sandeep will be defending his title in the boys under-10 section while Saheli Nath, the girls under-12 champion at Bikaner, will be gunning for the under-16 gold.

Much can also be expected from K. Vijay Keerthi (under-12), Abhijeet Gupta, G. Rohit (both under-14), Deepan Chakkravarthy and Saptarshi Roy (both under-16). Last year, Gupta and Rohit had claimed silver and bronze in the under-12 section, while Deepan had won the bronze in the under-14 category. This month, Deepan acheived his maiden International Master norm at Raipur.

Roy has made the squad by virtue of finishing runner- up in the National sub-junior championship, also held at Raipur.

Among the girls, Dronavalli Harika will try to do one better than her last year's silver-winning performance in the under-12 section. With a WIM-norm under her belt, Harika can be expected to return with her first international title.

India's challenge in the girls under-14 section will be spearheaded by last year's runner-up Kruttika Nadig. Saheli Nath and M. Rajadarshini are the other two official entries. Esha Karavade, in the girls under-16 section, can also be expected to do well.

However, the absence of D. Minu will be felt. It may be recalled that this talented Andhra girl, winner of the under- 10 title at Bikaner, passed away in a road accident in Orissa last year.

Among the donor entrants is the former under-14 champion Tania Sachdev. The winner of the bronze medal in the Asian (under-20) champion at Teheran last year, Tania was away from competitive chess for a while due to her exams.

Each donor entrant is required to pay the All India Chess Federation (AICF) Rs. 15,000 as entry fee, besides bearing the expenses towards board and lodging at Teheran. In addition, the unusually long list of accompanying parents and personal coaches reflects the kind of encouragement received by these children.

The team:

Boys (under-10): Y. Sandeep, S. Ravi Teja; Under-12: K. Vijay Keerthi; Under-14: Abhijeet Gupta, G. Rohit and V. Subhashi; Under-16: Deepan Chakkravarthy and Saptarshi Roy.

Girls (under-10): G. Madansri. Under-12: D. Harika, Dhyani Dave; Under-14: Kruttika Nadig, Saheli Nath and M. Rajadarshini; Under-16: Eesha Karavade.

Coaches: K. A. Siva Prasad and Suhas Asnodkar.

Donor entries:

Boys: Parimarjan Negi, G. Madhukiran, Abhishek Kelkar, P. P. Prachura, Sankalp Modwal, Gopikrishna Mohan, D. Sai Srinivas, Akshayraj Kore, Kunal Gupta, K. Nikhilesh Kumar, T. R. Shanmuganathan, Haren Pandya and Himanshu Kumar.

Girls: Monogna Mandava, S. V. Sathya Priya, V. K. Sindhu, Dhara Gupta, Kajri Choksi, N. Anjana Sowjanyea, N. Vinuthuna and Tania Sachdev.

Coaches (Boys): Mr. K. A. Shiva Prasad; Girls' coach: Mr. Suhas Asnodkar; Coach-cum- manager: Mr. G. B. Joshi.

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