Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Saketh Myneni and Vennam Jyothi Surekha conferred with Arjuna award 2017

As many as 17 sports personalities were honoured with the 2017 Arjuna awards including Tennis player Saketh Myneni and Archery player Vennam Jyothi Surekha.

Selection Committee for Dronacharya Awards and Dhyan Chand Awards was headed by Pullela Gopichand.

The awardees will receive their awards from President Ram Nath Kovind at a specially organized function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29.

Apart from a medal and a citation, Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awardees will received statuettes, certificates and cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh each.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Apex Frozen Foods IPO to launch on 22 August

The Apex Frozen Foods IPO will see a fresh issue of 7.25 million shares at a price band of Rs171-175 apiece

Mumbai: Aquaculture company Apex Frozen Foods Ltd Wednesday said it will open its initial public offering (IPO) on 22 August.

At the upper end of its price band of Rs171-175, the share sale will be worth approximately Rs152 crore. The IPO will close on 24 August.

The IPO will see a fresh issue of 7.25 million shares, which at the upper end of the price band will fetch the company approximately Rs126 crore. The proceeds will be used to set up a new shrimp processing unit with a capacity of around 20,000 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in Andhra Pradesh.

Karuturi Satyanarayana Murthy, chairman of the company, will sell 1.45 million shares in an offer for sale. At the upper end of the price band, the share sale will fetch the promoter Rs25 crore.

Karvy Investor Services Ltd is managing the share sale.

Apex, established in 1997, is an integrated producer and exporter of shelf stable and ready-to-cook products to a diversified customer base consisting of food companies, retail chains, restaurants, club stores and distributors across the US, UK and European countries. The company sells aquaculture products under three brands, namely, Bay Fresh, Bay Harvest and Bay Premium.

“We are a hundred percent export-oriented company, with the US accounting for 82%, and the UK and European countries accounting for 17.8% of the total sales,” said Karuturi Subrahmanya Chowdary, executive director, Apex.

According to the management, the company’s total revenue has grown from around Rs255 crore in fiscal 2013 to Rs710 crore in fiscal 2017, at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29%. The company’s net profit has increased from Rs9 crore in fiscal 2013 to Rs24 crore in fiscal 2017, at a CAGR of 26%.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Saketh Myneni return in India's Davis Cup Squad

Top singles player Yuki Bhambri has returned to the Indian Davis Cup team together with Saketh Myneni. However, the competent Leander Paes has been chucked out from the squad for the tie against Canada next month.

Both Bhambri, who in recent times triumphed over world number 22 Gael Monfils, and Myneni were not able to be present in the Uzbekistan tie in Bengaluru as a result of their respective injuries. Other than Bhambri and Myneni, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna have been retained in the squad which is going to be captained by Mahesh Bhupathi.

The reserves slots were filled by Prajnesh Gunneswaran and N Sriram Balaji.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pentela Harikrishna finishes 3rd in the Biel Chess Festival

Biel Chess Festival: Pentela Harikrishna's 3rd place finish no mean feat, but errors at crucial moments still a bane

The Grand Master tournament of the Biel Chess Festival featured an eclectic field of participants in its Golden Jubilee edition. In the mix were names like the Czech number one, David Navara; former FIDE world champion, Ruslan Ponomariov; and world’s highest rated woman player, Hou Yifan. India’s frontman at the event was the Guntur-born Grand Master, Pentala Harikrishna.

Harikrishna had put up a reasonably good show in his last tournament, the Geneva Grand Prix, only to falter at the later stages. In Biel too, he did not fail to impress. The Indian ace was on an unbeaten run, having won three and drawn five of his eight games, and was leading the tournament with Hou Yifan after the penultimate round.

However, just like in Geneva, Harikrishna fumbled at a crucial moment in the tournament and missed out on winning the title prize. In the final round, he failed yet again to convert his tournament lead into a title prize as he blundered right out of the opening and suffered his only loss of the tournament against Etienne Bacrot.

When the curtain rose, Harikrishna was seen struggling against much lower rated opposition. In the first two rounds, he drew against two lower rated opponents - Rafael Vaganian and Nico Georgidias. It was not the best of starts, but Harikrishna compensated for it with a brilliant game in the third round against Alexander Morozevich. The latter is known to be one of the most original thinkers in the modern era of chess. Even the greats of the game have great respect for him. To match such a player in calculation and complicated moves was a great effort by Harikrishna. Although the game ended in a draw, one could already sense that Harikrishna was coming back in form. After the game, the tournament’s official commentator, Grand Master Daniel King said, “Although Harikrishna has had three draws so far, if he shows that kind of calculating form, I think we could be seeing him storming through in the tournament.”

And boy, was he right! In his very next game, Harikrishna demolished the Norwegian International Master Noel Studer in round four and Hou Yifan in the sixth round. This was Hou’s only loss of the tournament. With a win in the penultimate round against Ponomariov, Harikrishna made sure that he had a shot at the title and was leading the tournament with Hou going into the final round.

The stage was set. This was Harikrishna’s chance to not only win the title but also finish with an undefeated score at such a high profile tournament. He was paired against the Frenchman, Bacrot. Harikrishna had white pieces. He put faith in the Italian System yet again. Of course, it is a strong opening and white generally gets a small but stable advantage by playing it.

More importantly, Harikrishna had played this opening before on several occasions. Maybe it just wasn’t Harikrishna’s day. Right after the opening phase of the game was over, on move 21, he made an inexplicable blunder and lost his game. On the other hand, his rival, Hou, made the most of her opponent’s inaccuracies and won her game in style and became the champion of Biel Chess 2017. Harikrishna’s opponent, Bacrot, who was a point behind him before the round, also jumped past Harikrishna by half-a-point and took the second place while the Indian ace had to be content with the third place.

Third place is by no means a bad result. But given that he had the chance to grab the title; it is unfortunate that Harikrishna had to miss out on winning such a prestigious event. While beating Levon Aronian was sheer genius in the Geneva Grand Prix, losing to Li Chao only shows that Harikrishna is still unable to provide a clean and flawless tournament.

Within less than a month’s time, he will be playing at the Chess World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia where players like Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand have confirmed their entries. With his performances in Geneva and Biel, Harikrishna has more than proved his capability to take on the best in the world. But it is also seen that he can falter at crucial moments.

Harikrishna currently has a rating of 2741 and is ranked 22 in the world. In December 2016, he had reached a career high Elo of 2770 and was world number eleven. Since the last eight months, he has lost 30 Elo points. Losing and gaining Elo is quite common in chess, however, 30 Elo points is a significant amount of rating and the very fact that Harikrishna has not been able to maintain his Elo at the 2770 mark shows that he is yet to stabilise among the world's top ten.

The natural question on the mind of every Indian chess fan is whether Harikrishna can ever take the spot of Anand as the best Indian chess player. Age is on his side. Harikrishna is 31 years old while Anand will turn 48 this December. However, the consistency is still missing in Harikrishna’s game. Currently he is going through the phase of gaining exposure of playing against the best players in the world regularly. The India number two has just played 20 games against 2800+ opponents in his career. Compare this to Anand who has played well over 200 duels against the best in the world, and the difference between the two becomes clear.

If Harikrishna keeps getting regular invitations to the top tournaments, and he keeps weeding out errors from his game, there is absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t be giving the Carlsens, Aronians, and Fabiano Caruanas a run for their money. For many players who are stuck in the 2680-2700 zone, Harikrishna is an inspiration. The way he jumped from 2700 to 2770 and broke into top ten of the player rankings is displays his genius. We only have to now see whether he can take the final leap of breaking into the 2800 Elo zone. It’s not going to be easy, but one can be sure that Harikrishna has it in him to push his limits.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

International award for Chukkapalli's CSR initiative

Hyderabad based Phoenix Group’s ‘Vaikunta Mahaprasthanam’ received the ‘Smart CSR Initiative’ Award at the CMO Asia Awards 2017 recently. The ceremony was held in Singapore in which Nilesh Jani, director received the award from Ned Mody, MD of Berkshire Hathaway’s Berkadia Group.

The Smart City initiative is Asia’s highest recognition of corporate organisations engaged in CSR activities from amongst 40 countries within Asia.

“Vaikunta Mahaprasthanam" is a CSR initiative of upgrading and modernising crematoria, which is inspired by the central government’s “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. Phoenix Foundation conceived and has implemented number of such initiatives and is now committed to do more across India,” said a statement from the organisation.

Suresh Chukkapalli – Chairman of Phoenix Group said, “This prestigious award is another testimonial to our aspirations and continuing commitment to give back to the society.It is our mission to provide dignity to the departed souls and solace to their loved ones in the time of grief by ensuring peaceful and decent cremation services.

“I want to thank GHMC and the public for their patronage and unequivocal support. This encourages us to do more good work,” he said. Chukkapalli urged corporate houses, city planners, architects, governments of other States and municipal bodies to come forward and take up this mission in their respective regions.