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Pune chess maestros to lead India’s charge at World university meet in Brazil

Five out of eight players in India’s university chess team are from SPPU

pune Updated: Aug 02, 2018 17:04 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune chess,university chess,SPPU
(Standing, from left) Ranveer Mohite, Nikhil Dixit and Shreya Anekar; (from left, front row) Rutuja Desai, Sanjana Joil; with coach Yogendra Patil (middle).(HT Photo)

Pune chess players dominate the Indian university chess team representing India at the World university chess championship to be played in Aracauj, Brazil, from September 12.

Nikhil Dixit (SP College) and Ranveer Mohite (BMCC) have made the cut in the boys’, while Shreya Anekar (Cummins Engineering), Sanjana Joil (Modern Education Society) and Rutuja Desai (Trinity College, Pisoli), have been selected for the girls’ team.

Akankhya Kabi of KIIT University is the only female player in the India team not from Pune.

In the boys’ team, J Sai Agni Jeevitesh of Osmania University and IM Sidhant Mohapatra of Fakir Mohan University have also booked their berths to Brazil. Pune’s Vedant Pimpalkhare has been chosen as a reserve.

“This is the first time an India university chess team is participating in the World university competition. Pune university (SPPU) which has been winning the west zone championship for the last three years,” said India coach and manager Yogendra Patil.

“Nikhil has ample experience playing international tournaments. Shreya will be the player to watch out for. She is a good finisher with a strong tactical game. Sanjana is also a promising player, but needs to work on her middle and end-game, while we expect Rutuja to get over her nervousness,” said Patil.

At the west zone championship held in Bhopal in October 2017, Nikhil Dixit impressed by winning all his seven games.

However, at the all-India university championship held at the same venue in November, the Pune team failed to perform and finished 11th.

At the all-India university selections held in Bhubaneshwar on July 22-25, 2018, Nikhil once again proved his mettle by winning a bronze, while Ranveer finished fourth. Shreya, Sanjana and Rutuja also produced impressive performances to get into the top four.

“This will be a good opportunity for the players as we will be participating in a coaching camp in Bhubaneshwar before leaving for Brazil. We are expecting a top grandmaster to conduct the camp,” said Patil.

World University games will be exciting: Nikhil Dixit

For 20-year-old Nikhil, World University Chess Championship will be another exciting challenge as he aiming to grab an International Master norm this year.

“I don’t know if the World University Championship qualifies for the IM norm, but it will help me increase my rating for sure. I will be leaving for Abu Dhabi to participate in the Open Tournament from August 6 and then will join the team at Bhubaneshwar,” he said.

Nikhil had a rating of 2110 last year and he improved it to 2292 in April and currently sitting pretty on 2240.

“This year I played couple of international tournaments in Vietnam and Dubai, and have gained some good points. I need to continue my performance,” said Nikhil.

Interestingly, the player has been training without any coach for the last three years and yet doing a decent job at the international level.

First Published: Aug 02, 2018 17:02 IST