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Rutuja Bakshi creates history by winning Maharashtra State Open 2019

by Shahid Ahmed - 16/11/2019

Rutuja Bakshi created history on 12th November 2019 by becoming the first woman in her state to win Maharashtra State Open Selection. She won this exactly a week after winning Aurangabad District Open. Earlier this year she had won State Women's, Gold in Commonwealth under-20, Silver and Bronze at Western Asia Youth and Junior. She is also pursuing CA and balancing her chess quite well. We reported earlier this year that Sonakshi Rathore won Rajasthan State Senior for a record third time. Rutuja joins the elite list of women who have won a State Senior Open. In this article we get to know about Rutuja's triumph, her best game of the year and also hear from her coach Sajandas Joshi. Photo: Joseph D'souza / PDCA chess

Rutuja becomes the first woman to win Maharashtra State Open Selection

Rutuja Bakshi makes history by becoming the first woman ever to win the Maharashtra State Open Selection 2019. She scored eight consecutive victories and drew her final round game to clinch the title for the very first time and create history.

Rutuja Bakshi of Aurangabad receives her champion's trophy | Photo: Joseph A D'souza / PDCA chess

Top four players selected for next month's National Senior Open 2019 | Photo: Joseph A D'souza / PDCA chess

The top four players qualified to represent Maharashtra in the National Senior Open in Sikkim next month are - Rutuja Bakshi (Aurangabad), Rishi Kadam (Mumbai Suburban), Vedant Pimpalkhare (Nasik) and Siddhant Tamhankar (Pune).


The Chief Guest for the Prize distribution ceremony was World Disabled Champion IM Shashikant Kutwal. Sangram Konde, Joint Secretary of Shivbhumi Shikshan Manda, Shiv Chhatrapati Award Winner & Chairman Pune District Chess Association Joseph D'souza, Hon. Secretary Pune District Chess Association & Treasurer AMCA Rajendra Konde and Executive Committee Member Pune District Chess Association Abhijeet Joshi were also present there.


The tournament was organized by Pune District Chess Association from 8th to 12th November 2019. Total 219 players participated from various districts across the state of Maharashtra.


I caught up with Rutuja to ask her about her historic feat.


Shahid Ahmed (SA): How does it feel to win the State Senior Open, a title which has never been won by a woman in Maharashtra chess history?

Rutuja with her State Open prize, early in this year she had won State Women's championship too | Photo: Joseph A D'souza / PDCA chess

Rutuja Bakshi (RB): Yeah it's feeling great. I was just trying to play the good games and I was not thinking about the results I really really enjoyed my games.


SA: You won eight consecutive games and needed only a draw in the final round to become a champion. Before the last round, did it occur to you that you are that much close to becoming a champion and create a unique record?

Rutuja's fantastic history making performance earned her 21 valuable Elo rating points

RB: Yeah but anyway the last round wasn't an agreed draw we played like 3:30 hours I guess. My coach helped me to stay calm and cool and not get so excited. I was very happy that I won eight games but the pressure was there for the last round.


SA: Who is your coach and was he also playing in the same tournament?

Rutuja's present coach Sajandas Joshi

RB: My father is my first coach and currently I am working with FM Sajandas Joshi sir. No no he was not playing he has retired from chess.


SA: You won the State championship exactly a week after winning the Aurangabad District championship. How confident were you feeling going into the State championship?

Rutuja's unbeaten championship run at Aurangabad District which she won exactly a week before winning the State title

RB: I was very positive and confident and I was excited to play the tournament and I was looking forward to play a good chess


SA: You have won Gold in Commonwealth, Silver and Bronze in Western Asia earlier this year and now District and State Champion within a week apart. Is this the best year you ever had in your chess career?

Rutuja at Commonwealth  2019

RB: Yeah probably. All credit goes to my very supportive parents and my super positive coach, my friends who are helping me a lot and all my well wishers.


SA: Out of all the triumphs you had in this year, which one is your personal favorite and why?

RB: I think I played a good game and aggressive.


SA: We know that you are doing CA and you are balancing chess and studies in a fantastic way. What's next for you?

Rutuja spoke with IM Sagar Shah after winning Gold in Commonwealth earlier this year | Video: Sagar Shah

RB: Haha, yes my boss CA Renuka Boramanikar is very very supportive I am looking forward to National Seniors, IIFL and Delhi open./9/


SA: Thank you Rutuja for taking your time to answer all the questions. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

RB: Thank you!


I reached out to Rutuja's coach Sajandas Joshi to hear his thoughts on his student's triumph and this is what he had to say

Shahid Ahmed (SA): How does it feel to learn that your student won Maharashtra State...?

Sajandas Joshi (SJ): Yes she won Maharashtra State Open Selection. Actually, Anupama Gokhale won State Senior Men's title long back in 1987. State Selection Open and State Senior Open are separate tournaments. They do not take place every year. My other student Vrushali Deodhar had won State Amateur Open and now Rutuja won State Selection Open. That is a unique feat. She has also won State Women's championship early this year which makes it a double delight.


SA: What are your thoughts on her having a fantastic year?

SJ: Generally she is showing improvement in various areas after every tournament. Basically, mentally she is quite tough. That is also an essential quality for a champion. In this particular tournament, she had never faced any time trouble in any of her games. That is also a good sign. Generally you face time in some of the games. I am very happy that she was second seed and still she could improve 21 Elo rating points which is also quite difficult generally. The 1700-1800s are also good. Consistently winning eight games is really a great performance on her part.


SA: She said that before the last round she talked with you, what did you tell her knowing the fact that she had high chances of winning the tournament?

SJ: Yeah of course, even a draw was sufficient for her. Unfortunately if she had lost her game, then also if another player had joined her at eight points, her tie-break score was better. Anyway she would have been champion. Only if her opponent won the game and no one else reached 8.0/9, then her opponent would have become champion as direct encounter was the first criteria for the tie-break. I told her that, opponent should not get psychological edge. If he offers you a draw, it's okay. Otherwise she should be in a fighting mode throughout the game. She had a chance of scoring 9.0/9. My suggestion her was to keep that in her mind too, if he wants to fight, you may get an opportunity to score 9.0/9 also. He will be under more tension because he has to qualify. By drawing the game, on 7.5 points, he may not qualify. That tension will be always on him. He may go for harakiri also and there lies your chance of winning the game with black pieces. That was my simple advice to her.


SA: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer all these questions.

SJ: Thank you.


Check out Sajandas Joshi's insane calculation | Video: Sagar Shah

Final Standings

Rk.SNoNameTypFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 Rp
12Bakshi RutujaIND2054Aurangabad8,50,053,057,52079
219Kadam Rishi RU15IND1702Mumbai Sub8,00,049,053,01891
31Pimpalkhare VedantIND2080Nashik8,00,046,550,51943
415Tamhankar SiddhantIND1770Pune7,50,048,052,01866
511Nirgun KevalU17IND1825Pune7,00,053,558,01840
67Wankhede AvishkarU17IND1924Nashik7,00,052,557,01779
718Mishra SanjeevIND1713Mumbai Sub7,00,048,553,01607
821Mhamane SourabhU17IND1652Pune7,00,048,552,51715
924Bilpe AbhijeetU17IND1588Parbhani7,00,048,051,51630
1034Pawar SohumIND1452Thane7,00,046,047,01603
1135Jadhav JyotiradityaU15IND1447Satara7,00,044,548,01617
1225Borse PankajIND1571Nashik7,00,044,547,51558
138AGMKiran PanditraoIND1915Pune6,50,053,558,01672
143Gokhale Rishabh ChandrashekharU15IND1965Pune6,50,052,557,01666
1526Kherdekar ArnavU15IND1552Mumbai City6,50,050,052,51707
1617Tajane GaneshIND1746Nashik6,50,047,552,01616
1716Joshi AbhijeetIND1747Pune6,50,045,550,01479
1840Apte DhaivatU17IND1413Pune6,50,045,048,51512
1937Mayekar AyushU15IND1440Ratnagiri6,50,045,046,51650
2013Sachin BilpeIND1788Parbhani6,50,044,048,01445

Complete standings