SPORT

IOC retains team title

Mumbai Nov. 24. The star studded team of Indian Oil Corporation (16.5points) retained the inter-Petroleum team chess championship by slenderest of margins ahead of Oil and Natural Gas Corporations (16) and Bharat Petroleum (14.5).

The fight for the individual crown will be witnessed over the next three days in nine rounds of Swiss system among 60 players.

The well-balanced Indian Oil team (IM D.V. Prasad, GM S.S. Ganguly, GM Abhijit Kunte, IM R.B. Ramesh and IM T.S. Ravi) played as per plan had only one setback when Prasad lost a drawish game to GM Sasikiran.

GMs Abhijit and Suryasekhar were the architects of IOC's win over archrivals ONGC.

Kunte accounted for IM Lanka Ravi while Ganguly's blitzkrieg of 28 moves in just four minutes in Spanish opening left IM Konguvel dazed and helpless. Sasikiran outlasted Prasad, who had shocked the super Grandmaster last time they met in the same tournament.

However, beating ONGC with 2.5-1.5 margin was not enough for the ultimate champion team. The IOC mainstay Ganguly nearly lost a game to Jayant Gokhale of BPCL. "Had Jayant played a move of his 'h' pawn in Larsen Opening, it was over for Ganguly,'' exclaimed an excited IM Lanka Ravi.

However, Jayant failed to find the correct sequence of moves and Ganguly escaped with a draw.

The IOC -BPCL encounter was over within an hour with draws on all four boards.

The final and fifth round saw IOC and ONGC `A' blanking their opponents by 4-0 margins but OIL's Laisaram Imocha taking away a full point from Jayant Gokhale (BPCL) and thus halting the rout.

Final standings: 1. Indian Oil Corporations (16.5), 2. Oil and natural Gas Corporation `A' (16), 3. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.(14.5), 4. Indian Petro Chemical Ltd. (11.5), 5. GAIL (11)

Important results: Fifth round: IOC (16.5) bt ONGC `B' (8.5) 4-0; AOD (9) lost to ONGC `A' (16) 0-4; OIL (9.5) lost to BPCL (14.5) 1-3.

Fourth round: BPCL (11.5) drew with IOC (12.5) 2-2; ONGC `A' (12) bt EIL (7) 4-0; AOD (9) drew IPCL (8.5) 2-2.

Third round: IOC(10.5) bt ONGC `A'(8) 2.5-1.5; ONGC `B' (6.5) lost to BPCL (9.5) 0-4; OIL (6.5) bt IPCL (6.5) 2.5-1.5.

Individual board prizes: Top Board - GM K. Sasikiran (ONGC `A'); Second board - GM S.S. Ganguly (IOC); Third board - GM Abhijit Kunte (IOC); Fourth board: IM Sandipan Chanda (ONGC `A'); Reserve - IM V. Koshy (ONGC `A').