By Kirti Patil
Pune: 22 Grand Masters including R. Praggnanandhaa (IOCL), B. Adhiban (IOCL), Vidit Gujrathi (ONGC), Koneru Humpy (ONGC), and 6 Women Grandmasters including Padmini Rout (IOCL) will feature in the 32nd Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Inter-Unit Chess Tournament 2022-2023, hosted by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana starting here from March 8 to 12.
This was announced at a Press Conference by Ajit Dhakras, Chief General Manager (Western Region) IOCL in the presence of Suresh Iyer, Deputy General Manager, Corporate Communications, IOCL, Bhalchandra Joglekar, Deputy General Manager (Sports) IOCL, Jasjeet Singh, Assistant Secretary, PSPB, Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte, Chief Manager (Sports), IOCL, Grand Masters Vidit Gujrathi, Koneru Humpy, B. Adhiban, Raunak Sadhwani and Woman Grand Master Soumya Swaminathan.
The tournament comprising ‘Rapid’ games will be played as per the league cum knockout format in two categories – team championships and individual championships.
The team championships will be played from March 8 to10 f. 14 teams from different public sector oil companies have sent in their entries . there are two teams each from IOCL, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) will in the fray.
The individual championships will be played on March 11 and 12 from 9 AM to 4 PM.
Some of the other prominent names to feature in the tournament include GM Raunak Sadhwani, WGM D Harika, WGM Eesha Karavade, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, WGM Soumya Swaminathan, GMMurali Karthikeyan, GM M. R. Lalith Babu (all IOCL), GMs P. Sethuraman, Mr Diptiyan Ghosh (both ONGC), GM Abhijeet Gupta, GM GN Gopal (both BPCL).
In the team championships, IOCL has been top seeded, while ONGC is seeded second and BPCL in no. 3 seeded team. In the individual championship, GM Vidit Gujrathi is top seeded, while GM R. Praggnanandhaa and GM S. P. Sethuraman are seeded second and third respectively.
“The tournament will feature 8 GMs from IOCL, 9 GMs from ONGC ,5 GMs from BPCL and 6 WGMs – 5 from IOCL and one from Oil India Limited,” Dhakras said. Pune is hosting this tournament after almost one decade.
Both Vidit Gujrathi and Koneru Humpy termed the tournament as a strong tournament where a host of grandmasters taking part, while B Adhiban and Soumya Swaminathan acknowledged Indian Oil Corporation’s role in her career saying a job at IOC ensured that she was financially stable and could focus on the career.
Sports in IOCL –
Indian Oil has been at the forefront of Sports across the country. Indian Oil started recruiting sportspersons way back in 1986. Since then, recruitment has been done in 10 games like Cricket, Badminton, Table Tennis, Tennis, Hockey, Chess, Carrom, Athletics, Golf and Billiards & Snooker.
Indian Oil Corporation Ltd also introduced sports scholarships for young sportspersons in the year 2005 under CSR activity. Initially the number was only 50 in ten games which were subsequently increased to 150 in 20 games (Prominent games and Olympic medal prospect games). Now the number of scholarships has been increased to 250. Many of the currently recruited players have come through the sports scholarship of Indian Oil and are now international stars. Players like Prithvi Shaw, Lalith Babu, Dhvaj Haria, Kajal Kumari, Divij Sharan have come in IOCL through Scholarships.
In various games Indian Oil has the following stars representing the country at the international level:
- Cricket: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Prithvi Shaw, Khalil Ahmed, Awesh Khan
- Badminton: Lakshya Sen, Chirag Shetty, Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy, Ashmita Chaliha, Sikki reddy
- Table Tennis: Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra, Manav Thakkar, Archana Kamat
- Tennis: Rohan Bopanna, R. Ramakumar, Divij Sharan, Prarthana Thombare.
- Billiards & Snooker: Aditya Mehta, Dhvaj Haria, Brijesh Damani, Laxman Rawat.
- Hockey: Hardik Singh, Krishna Pathak, Dilpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Sharmila Devi, Uditha, Beauty Dungdung
- Chess: R. Praggnanandhaa, B Adhiban, Lalith Babu, D. Harika. S S Ganguly, Padmini Rout.
- Carrom: Yogesh Pardeshi, K. Srinivas, Kajal Kumari, and M Gufran.
- Athletics: Ameya Mallick, Indrajit Singh.
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