32nd PSPB Inter-Unit Chess Tournament: MRPL, IOC-A in joint lead in Pool 1, ONGC-A tops Pool 2

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PUNE: Mangalore Refinery Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)-A are in joint lead in Pool 1 league matches of the team championship at the end of the third round with five match points each on the inaugural day of the 32nd Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Inter-Unit Chess Tournament hosted by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana on Wednesday.

In Pool 2 of the team championship after round three, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation-A is leading with a maximum of six match points followed by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited-B, and Oil India Limited-A with four match points.

The tournament began with the team championship with overall 15 teams, which have been divided into two Groups – Pool 1 (7 teams) and Pool 2 (8 teams). The team championship, comprising a total of seven rounds, will be followed by a knockout format, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the knockout stage.

The individual championship will be held on March 11 and March 12.

There were some interesting encounters including some upset results on the first day when Grand Master MR Venkatesh of BPCL prevailed over Grandmaster Koneru Humpy of ONGC-A in the second round in a Four-Knights opening.

While in the third round, International Master VS Raahul stunned current sensation Grand Master R Praggnanandhaa of IOC-A in a sharp battle in the Nimzo-Indian defense, which was employed by Praggananandhaa.

The remaining four rounds in the League format will witness some intense fights on Thursday with the teams vying for a knockout berth.

Earlier in the morning, the tournament was inaugurated by Ajit Dhakras, Chief General Manager (Western Region), Indian Oil Corporation Limited in presence of international Cricketer Kedar Jadhav, Jasjeet Singh, Assistant Secretary PSPB, Niranjan Godbole, Secretary, Maharashtra Chess Association (MCA), Ashwin Trimal, Vice President, Pune District Chess Circle and Sarang Lagoo, Secretary PYC Hindu Gymkhana.

Grand Master Abhijit Kunte, Chief Manager (Sports), IOCL, welcomed all the players and dignitaries while Bhalchandra Joglekar, Deputy General Manager (Sports) IOCL, anchored the inaugural ceremony.

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