Chinappa clinches Chennai Open
World Chess Championship
Asian chess cup
Maria ready to take Paris by storm
Strauss leads England reply
Chennai, May 26
The rise and resurgence of the Super Kings has raised many eyebrows. A team that had failed to show any sort of consistency in its endeavor to mount a title defence, has shot to the top, and how! They beat Mumbai, and then thrashed one of the strongest sides in the league so far, the Delhi Daredevils. People are attributing their turnaround to luck and many other unseen factors, but the truth is that they have indeed raised their game. The batting display against both Mumbai and Delhi was a phenomenal one.
Also, their fielding has been a cut above the rest. In a format as breathtaking as T20, a boundary saved is not just four runs. It can build insane amounts of pressure on the batsman when you are looking at run-rates in excess of nine, at times even 10. That has meant that Chennai have barely taken their foot off the pedal once into top gear.
Murali Vijay played an innings no one will forget in a rush, Dwayne Bravo has become a master of the final overs, and MS Dhoni is slowly, but surely rediscovering the art of quick scoring. All signs are promising, and the home ground factor will definitely play a part too.
But Delhi, despite their showing in the league stages, are not the most balanced side. But Chennai's next opponents are, the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Having booked a place in the final before anyone else, the KKR side will be well rested. Skipper Gambhir is drawing applause for his brilliant leadership skills. He has led with aggression, attitude and brain and brawn in equal measure.
Also the team has not relied too much on any one individual to win them matches. It has been a concerted effort from all the 11 players that has pushed KKR into their first ever IPL final. They have not shown any signs of nerves, or awe of the occasion, and there is no reason to think that they might now.
With Kallis, McCullum, Gambhir, Debbrata Das and Yusuf Pathan, the batting looks a nicely rounded one. The bowling also boasts of guys like the unreadable Sunil Narine and Shakib al Hasan, apart from Balaji and Brett Lee.
It is a battle that can have a deep impact on the future of Indian cricket as well. While Dhoni has taken care of one contender for his captaincy crown in Sehwag, who anyways in not much of a strategy expert, Gambhir, after being removed from the vice-captaincy, has a point to prove.
Chennai, May 26
The Indian, ranked 71 in the world, recorded a 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10 win in the summit clash against British rival. Joshna started off in a sluggish manner and lost the close opening game, in which score were 8-8 at one stage.
However, in the second game, Joshna build up a 6-3 advantage and was swift in her moves, covering the court well.
The Indian took five of the six points to draw the parity, pocketing the second game in just 10 minutes.
The third and the fourth games were closes affairs as Johsna trailed initially in both but showed tremendous fighting ability to comeback and win. — PTI
Moscow, May 26
The 24-move draw in the penultimate game under the normal time control gives Anand a slight edge as he plays with white in the last game. Should the deadlock continue, the players will play tie-break games of shorter duration to determine the winner. The scores now stand at 5.5-5.5.
This was the third straight draw in the Championship after Anand scored the equaliser in game eight and now the Israeli will be hoping to get another draw and move to the tie-break stage.
It was a Nimzo Indian defence by Anand and this time the Indian ace proved his point by coming out with a rare move on his eighth turn. Gelfand sank in deep thought of close to thirty minutes but did not find a successful way of proving his advantage.
On move 11th, Anand produced the first new move when he captured a knight with his dark squared Bishop. The move was aimed at stopping white from getting a definite control in the center and Gelfand could not prove white to be better at any stage.
"There are a lot of subtleties in the position after the opening, I delayed the knight capture for a move as I thought it was right to do it now," Anand said at the post-match conference.
This was already a major shift from Anand's last black game where the King suffered a long time and was saddled with a passive position out of the opening. This time, the element of surprise was so high on Gelfand that he fell behind on time by almost an hour.
Anand took his chances on move 14 when he went for a pawn trade and shifted his queen over to the king side a move later. Gelfand was still hoping for an advantage when he went for the trade of queens on the 17th move but Anand was well armed even though white still retained the Bishop-pair advantage.
"I was not playing for time. The reason I went for this tactical operation was because I wanted to neutralise the Bishop pair," he said.
After move 24, Anand proposed the peace treaty which was immediately accepted by Gelfand. The match now enters the most crucial phase and Anand said he will think about the rapid and blitz games when he reaches there.
"We still have this last game, I will go and get ready to play that, will think about the tiebreaker when we reach there," said the defending champion. — PTI
Zaozhuang (China), May 26
Top rated K Sasikiran rested himself while P Harikrishna, Parimarjan Negi, Abhijeet Gupta and GN Gopal completed a easy victory to collect 15 points to finish second to top seed China-1. China-1 beat Mongolia 3.5-0.5 to win the gold while China-2 won the Bronze medal.
In the women's section, China-1 won the ninth match in a row to deservingly win the gold medal while China-2 won the silver ahead of India with better tie-break.
China-1 finished with 18 points while China-2 and India collected identical 14 points each. In the individual encounter, China-2 had beaten India in the first round itself and that had more game points to stake their claim for the silver.
The Indian women had to be content with the bronze medal after a 2.5-1.5 victory over China-3 in the final round. In the last three editions, the Indian women's team had won the silver.
The Indian team next plays in the Chess Olympiad and while the men's team is likely to be the same, Koneru Humpy is expected to join the women's team on the first board in which case Padmini Rout may be dropped. — PTI
Paris, May 26
The 25-year-old Russian will reclaim top spot in the WTA rankings if she wins in Paris and current world number one Victoria Azarenka does not reach the final, or if she reaches the final and the Belarussian fails to make it to the last eight.
"I would love to have that again, because after I came back from my injury - I don't remember what my ranking was - but I thought to myself, well, when I was young I had the goal of being number one," Sharapova, who will start her campaign against Romania's Alexandra Cadantu, told a news conference after the French Open draw.
Sharapova, who occupied the world number one spot for the last time in 2007, dropped to 126th in May 2009 seven months after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn muscle.
"I'm kind of in a position right now where I don't have a ranking. I'm just starting from scratch. If I did it once, maybe, you know, I can try to do it again," she continued. "So to be in a position where I'm close and to just be in this position, I'm really happy.
"I'm happy with the way that I fought through the tough moments in the days when things weren't going exactly the way I had imagined them to go, and it's obviously always nice to be in that position to try to get that," she said.
Sharapova, who once described herself as a "cow on ice" on clay, has improved on the slowest surface, reaching the French Open semi-finals last year where she lost to eventual champion Li Na of China.
She beat Li in the Rome final last Sunday and Azarenka in the Stuttgart final last month, a sign that she will be a force to reckon with in Paris, where she hopes to complete her career Grand Slam.
"It's always nice to come to Roland Garros knowing that I have been playing extremely well on it and having a few titles in the last few weeks," she said. — Reuters
Monaco, May 26
Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber, who had qualified in second place, instead inherited the top slot, which will make it the second time in two races that the fastest driver on Saturday has not started first on Sunday.
Schumacher, 43 and in the third season of his comeback with Mercedes, had picked up his penalty at the previous Spanish Grand Prix for a collision with Brazilian Bruno Senna's Williams in Barcelona. Without it, the German would have been on pole for the first time since the 2006 French Grand Prix and 69th time in his extraordinary career.
Saturday's qualifying was still a triumph for the seven-times world champion and winner of 91 races including five in Monaco, who has yet to stand on the podium since he retired from Ferrari in 2006.
"What a little star," declared his admiring team principal Ross Brawn, the former Benetton and Ferrari technical head who has been by the German's side throughout his career.
"I have to confess it brought a little tear to my eye. He's had some tough times since he came back," added Brawn. Schumacher's team mate and fellow-German Nico Rosberg will line up alongside Webber on the front row with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Frenchman Romain Grosjean, driving a Lotus, behind the front pair.
"I saw my time on the dashboard and thought it shouldn't be too bad," grinned Schumacher, who has had some of his greatest and worst moments on the Mediterranean principality's tight street circuit. "It's beautiful."
Webber, a Monaco winner in 2010 but also yet to appear on the podium this season, recognised that it was Schumacher's day in the sunshine but was also delighted with his lap. His team mate, double world champion Sebastian Vettel who won last year, qualified 10th.
Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, winner in Spain after inheriting pole from a penalised Hamilton, saw his hopes of a second win in a row virtually disappear after he was handed a 10 place penalty for causing a collision with Sauber's Mexican Sergio Perez in final practice. Maldonado will start 19th.
Perez, who crashed heavily last year and missed the race, will start right at the back after he smacked into the barriers at the Swimming Pool in the first part of qualifying with a wheel bouncing off.
The session was red-flagged and then re-started once the Sauber had been safely removed. The Mexican appeared to have a problem with the steering that may have been related to the earlier impact with the Venezuelan.
McLaren's Jenson Button, the 2009 champion and Monaco winner with Brawn GP, also faces a tough race on Sunday after qualifying a disappointing 13th. — Reuters
Nottingham, May 26
It was the 21st century of Strauss's career and puts him only one short of England's joint record holders Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoff Boycott.
It also underlined the captain's full return to form after a modest 18-month spell broken only by his century in the first Test at Lord's last week. Strauss and Pietersen came together on a flat pitch with the score on 123 and proceeded to hand out hefty punishment to the tourists' attack in a superb display of stroke-making.
It was the first time the two had enjoyed a century partnership together and in perfect conditions they look full of runs going into Sunday's third day. Strauss ended the day with 18 fours to his name, Pietersen with 10 fours and a six.
Paceman Kemar Roach had helped the England cause early on with eight no-balls in his first 10 overs. He twice had Alastair Cook out caught behind by Denesh Ramdin off his bowling only for no-balls to be called. Cook was finally dismissed for 24, caught with some justice by Ramdin, but off the bowling of Ravi Rampaul. — Reuters
West Indies (1st innings) 370
England (1st Innings)
Strauss not out 102
Cook c Ramdin b Rampaul 24
Trott lbw b Rampaul 35
Pietersen not out 72
Extras (b-9, lb-5, w-2, nb-10) 26
Total (2 wkts; 68 overs) 259
Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-123.
Bowling: Roach 15-1-48-0, Rampaul 18-4-42-2, Sammy 15-0-69-0, Shillingford 15-2-73-0, Samuels 5-1-13-0.
Cuttack, May 26
Striker A Reagan scored the first goal in the 35th minute and substitute M David sealed the issue for Tamil Nadu fate in the 85th minute at the Barabati Stadium. The final will be played on May 28.
Tamil Nadu started on a cautious note and played a waiting game initially. They allowed their opponents to come to them but never opened their goal mouth. Their penchant for counter attack worked for them. After a series of attacks on the rival citadel, Tamil Nadu eventually gained the lead in the 35th minute.
Tamil Nadu sealed the fate of the match in the 85th minute, a counter-attack doing the trick for them. Substitute M David finished it off as he slotted past Basant.— PTI