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Karnataka State Day 1: Kishan Gangolli is Akshayakalpa's Brand Ambassador

by Sagar Shah - 14/04/2018

The biggest state championship ever to be held on Indian soil with a prize fund of Rs. 10 lakh began on the 14th of April 2018 in Bangalore, Karnataka, with the first two rounds. The top seeds had it easy as they were pitted against relatively weaker opposition. The exciting news of the day was surely five-time visually challenged National Champion Kishan Gangolli being given the role of brand ambassador of Akshayakalpa. A couple of months ago Kishan was thinking about quitting chess and now after today, he has every reason to start dreaming once again. A huge pictorial report with excellent photographs by Amruta Mokal.

The entire state of Karnataka looked forward to the 14th of April. The biggest state event of Indian chess was inaugurated with great energy and enthusiasm. We were expecting over 1100 participants, however, because of the formalities related to AICF registration and other issues day one ended with 880 participants. Even so, this was a brilliant effort by the Akshyakalpa group to bring together some of the best players, budding talents, and players taking their first steps in the game, under one roof. 

There around 900 players and an equal number of parents and guardians. That's how crowded it was! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

The day kicked off with a welcome speech by CEO of Akshayakalpa Shashi Kumar, who asked the players to take a pledge to ensure an environment-friendly tournament |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Congratulations are in order to Arvind Shastry, Secretary of Karnataka State Chess Association. Under his leadership the state is breaking one milestone after another. |Photo: Amruta Mokal

President of UKCA D.P. Anantha was happy to be a part of the proceedings |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Sushrutha Reddy, the founder of Innovators Chess Academy, worked really hard to make this event into a grand success  |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Mrs. Sumalini Laguve, the principal of Silicon City Academy of Secondary Education, has been a big supporter to the game of chess |Photo: Amruta Mokal  

The current vice-president of Karnataka State Chess Association Hanuamantha |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Three best players of Karnataka chess: (from left to right) M.S. Thejkumar, Girish Koushik, Stany G.A. |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Kishan Gangolli is the brand ambassador of Akshayakalpa

Around two months ago we published several articles on our newspage about India's top visually challenged player and five-time national champion Kishan Gangolli. He was thinking seriously about quitting the game of chess. Kishan had won the national title five-times, is the reigning Asian Champion, Olympiad gold (2012) and silver medalist (2017). Yet it had become increasingly difficult for him to make his ends meet due to no support from the government. No sponsor was coming ahead to help him. Just when India was going to lose one of its gems, Akshayakalpa and its CEO Shashi Kumar came forward and offered Kishan to be the brand ambassador for Akshayakalpa.

A big day in the life of Kishan as he is congratulated by Karnataka's first GM Thejkumar |Photo: Amruta Mokal

For Stany, it was a moment of unparalleled happiness as his childhood friend became the brand ambassador of Akshayakalpa. Stany has worked regularly with Kishan and helped the latter to become stronger at the of chess. |Photo: Amruta Mokal
That moment when Shashi Kumar announced that Kishan would be the brand ambassador of Akshayakalpa

Rounds 1 and 2

The first two rounds were relatively easy for the top players. All of them moved on to 2.0/2. The huge number of participants means that we will be seeing this skewed kind of pairing at least until the fourth round.

For Thej winning the state title definitely means a lot. He would surely like to dedicate it to his son Kaustubh who recently turned one year old. |Photo: Amruta Mokal

To stop Stany at this event is not going to be easy! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

While everyone thinks Thej and Stany are the favourites, you can never really discount Girish Koushik |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Fourth seed of the tournament, N. Sanjay |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Although most of the games were one-sided I would like to draw your attention to the eleventh board battle between T. Mahendran (2101) and Babu Mahadevswamy (1142). The lower rated player managed to emerge with an extra bishop in the endgame and yet the battle ended in a draw. Why you may ask? Well, have a look at the game:

Moral: One of the main reasons why a lower rated player loses to a higher rated one from a winning position is because he plays too passively. I think if Mahadevswamy was not playing against a player rated 1000 points above him, he would have been more active.

The parents find their own way to bide time! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

The best way is to listen to the various seminars held by Akshayakalpa. Each one is organized with an aim to improve your understanding about nature and how to preserve it. |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Finding out the pairings on the mobile phone before the game! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Completely engrossed! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nail biting becomes a common habit for chess players! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Not too impressed with her position! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

I have touched the queen, but I won't let it go! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Free Akshayakalpa organic milk was provided to all the participants! And they could drink as many cups as many times! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

The milk had no flavour, no sugar, and yet almost each and every player loved it. |Photo: Amruta Mokal

The ChessBase India knowledge stall is on full power here with five of us working together. We have Atul Dahale, Amruta Mokal, Niklesh Jain, Supriya Bhat and myself.  |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Our main aim is to help all the players to identify their weaknesses and improve at the game of chess. If you are at the Karnataka State Championship, do come to the ChessBase India knowledge stall and interact with us.

A lot of top players visited our stall and were interested in Quality Chess India books |Photo: Amruta Mokal

GM Srinath was also here. Don't miss his lecture on the 15th of April on chess improvement. |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Supriya Bhat and Amruta Mokal have so many new and exciting ChessBase India accessories! |Photo: Amruta Mokal |Photo: Amruta Mokal

Understanding how ChessBase softwares work with the help of Niklesh Jain! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

When you see a sight like this, you know for sure that chess is booming in Karnataka! |Photo: Amruta Mokal

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