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19 players from Maharashtra feted with the Shiv Chhatrapati Award

by Sagar Shah - 18/02/2018

The highest sporting honour for any sportsplayer in Maharashtra is the Shiv Chhatrapati awards. Since last three years because of some irregularities, the award had been stopped. All Marathi Chess Association (AMCA) along with senior players and administrators of Maharashtra chess convinced the Government that different grading system should be put in place for chess players to receive the award. Hence all the GMs, IMs, WGMs and WIMs in the last five years received this prestigious award. ChessBase India's Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal were present at the venue and bring you some exclusive coverage with beautiful pictures and lively videos.

The Shiv Chhatrapati award is the highest sporting honour for players of Maharashtra. 14 players and 5 coaches from the state were feted with the Shiv Chhatrapati award on 17th of February 2018. This was an unprecedented support that the Government has shown for chess! There were in all 195 awards for players from 39 sporting disciplines. All the winners received an amount of Rs.1,02,000 along with lifetime right to travel by MSRTC bus free of cost and also not pay toll at some of the toll booths.


Here's a pictorial representation of how things were at the awards ceremony:

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. If you are in Mumbai you must travel by the local train!

The trains are a perfect way to beat the dangerous Mumbai traffic!

Could there be a better location to receive the award than the Gateway of India?

The famous Taj Hotel in the background!

Nearly 1000 people attended the awards!

Seats for prize winners were reserved!

Bhakti Kulkarni came from National Teams to cheer her friends!

These beautiful trophies depicting various facets of Shivaji Maharaj, the great ruler of Maharashtra, were given to the winners

Getting ready in the traditional Maharashtra Pheta

That's how smart you look in a Pheta! Perhaps he was the most accomplished sports player in the entire ceremony - GM Vidit Gujrathi, India number three and world number thirty!

Dinesh Chitlange for training his daughter Sakshi Chitlange to become a WIM

The first International Master of Sangli - IM Sameer Kathmale

GM Vidit Gujrathi receives the award for becoming a GM in 2013

Akshayraj Kore's father receives the award on his behalf

IM Sagar Shah became an IM in 2014-15

Sakshi Chitlange, you are sure to hear her name quite often in the times to come!

Parnali Dharia is in the final year of, but devotes all her time to chess

Abhishek Kelkar gets the award for his IM title which he achieved in 2015-16. 

This young boy comes from a town near Ahmednagar and has beaten some of the best players in the world. Talent has no boundaries - Shardul Gagare

Hailing from Amravati, Swapnil Dhopade has truly stamped his small town on the world map with his brilliant performances, especially the recent 2700+ performance at the Isle of Man 2017.

Look at that smile! That's Joseph A. D'souza for you. The man who has been spreading chess for years all over Pune, Maharashtra and India. A fitting tribute to this great guru. He receives this award for training Akshayraj Kore.

Perhaps the most accomplished coach in Pune currently. Jayant Suresh Gokhale is the trainer of two super talents Aakanksha Hagawane and Abhimanyu Puranik. Jayant thoroughly deserves this award!

You can never speak enough about this great man. IM Anup Deshmukh has trained some of the brightest talents in Indian chess including Abhijeet Gupta, Vidit Gujrathi, Swapnil Dhopade and many others. His speciality? He almost never charged any of his students for the training he gave them. Always selflessly devoting himself to the game with all his heart!

Mumbai chess owes a lot to this man. IM Sharad Tilak is the reason why quality chess education has been flowing in the city. Some of his best students include Aditya Udeshi, Nubairshah Sheikh, Parnali Dharia.

Nubairshah Shaikh deserves all the praises for his achievement. His father Salim Shaikh hailing from a small town called Beed in Maharashtra came to Mumbai and ensured that his son excelled at the game of chess. Nubair has surpassed all expectations and is now an IM with 1 GM norm!

The current IPCA world champion Shashikant Kutwal. Polio attacked him when he was young, but he attacked life with all his might! This man is surely an inspiration for every sportsplayer of Maharashtra and India.

Abhimanyu Puranik became a GM at just the age of 16. He is in his 12th grade and we can expect a lot of achievements from him in the years to come.

One of the most popular chess players, authors and teachers in Indian chess Rucha Pujari made sure that Kolhapur becomes famous for chess in the state.

She is only 18 and you can already not keep a count of the medals she has won for the country! Aakanksha Hagawane - the golden girl from Pune.

Raghunandan Gokhale with his family and Sneha Puranik (right - Abhimanyu's mother). The Dronacharya award winner has played a key role in chess players getting the award.

Another person instrumental in making the Government understand that chess requires different grading system is Pravin Thipsay. Here he is seen with his wife Bhagyashree Thipsay

Anup Deshmukh with his better half

The Governor of Maharashtra - Vidyasagar Rao's presence was much appreciated

Man on a mission: Vinod Tawde Sports Minister of Maharashtra

Nubairshah Sheikh and his proud parents

One of the most inspiring families in Indian chess. Shashikant Kutwal and his family. Shashikant is the current IPCA World Champion. Suffering from Polio at a young age, the player from Pune spends each and every waking moment of his day currently ensuring that his daughter becomes one of the top tennis players of India!

The man who revolutionized chess coaching in Mumbai - IM Sharad Tilak with his wife and daughter

IM Sameer Kathmale with his family members!

Video Gallery:

Speech by Governor of Maharashtra C. Vidyasagar Rao
Abhishek Kelkar with his wife Apoorva Joglekar Kelkar
IM Anup Deshmukh - a selfless trainer
GM Shardul Gagare speaks about his struggles to become a GM
Swapnil Dhopade on fulfilling his childhood dream
Pune based trainer Joseph D'souza on his secret of creating students who love chess very much!
20 relatives from Beed came to cheer for Nubairshah Sheikh
Vidit Gujrathi speaks about how becoming a GM was not so easy for him!

Team ChessBase India at the end of a long but fulfilling day - IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal, Avathanshu Bhat and Atul Dahale

Statement by Secretary of AMCA, Sanjay Kedge:

This is a historical moment for all Chess fraternity in Maharashtra. We have bagged 19 Shivchatrapati awards at a time. The efforts of players and parents are really great. Many parents have sacrificed their own dreams to make their son / daughter a great Chess player. We have cluster of talented players who are upcoming and we can see future GM, WGM, IM, and WIM in those players.


This record numbers of awards would be great inspiration to these upcoming players and we would be happy to see our players, coaches and organisers are honoured in more and more numbers every year. The efforts of our President Dr Parinay Fuke MLC Nagpur have provided the best rewards to our all deserving players and coaches. We all would be grateful to him for his contribution towards uplifting the moral of our Chess players.


AMCA would be happy to witness the grand ceremony in which our players and coaches would be honoured at the hands of Hon Governor of Maharashtra. I would like to request all to remain present in large numbers to see felicitation and encourage our players and coaches. We should also express our gratitude to Mr Bhagwat and Mr Kakade for their constant follow up and keen interest in completing all the formalities well in time. We are thankful to Mr Dilip Pagay, Mr Itkelwar for their great support extended by them in coordinating with Hon President AMCA to see that everything goes smoothly and paperwork is completed in time.


Our official representatives Mr Konde and Mr Khonde have spend their valuable time at Balewadi and they have worked in real spirit to see that all applications are correct and being approved by the authority. We congratulate all award winners and wish them all the best for their future acheivements in Chess.


Unfortunately ,We have missed one deserving and strong player of Maharashtra who is" Pride Of Maharashtra" "Shalmali,." Anyway ,We will see her soon with this award in a grand function in near future. So , Now it's time to celebrate the great Success of all Chess lovers in Maharashtra.


Sanjay Kedge


All Marathi Chess Association

Related news:
Seven Maharashtra players honoured with the Shiv Chhatrapati award

@ 21/02/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)

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