M.R. Venkatesh completed the formalities to become the country’s 28th Grandmaster on his way to the runner-up spot behind compatriot Abhijeet Gupta in the Philadelphia International chess tournament on Tuesday.
Venkatesh, 27, scored seven points from nine rounds after drawing his final round with teammate S.P. Sethuraman for his third and final Grandmaster norm. Abhijit scored 7.5 to win the event dominated by the Indians.
An International Master since 2004, Venkatesh narrowly missed making the final norm on a few occasions. In May, in the Bangkok Chess Club Open, Venkatesh led after winning the first five rounds, before losing the sixth round to the eventual champion Nigel Short. Finally, Venkatesh’s long wait ended on Tuesday.
After firming up the final norm, Venkatesh called up his father and said he was relieved to reach the landmark. Venkatesh’s previous two norms came in the 2006 National championship in Visakhapatnam and the second in the Moscow Open this year.
The 28-year-old from Chennai touched the stipulated rating of 2500 by reaching 2509 in March this year. His rating rose to 2517 in May, before slipping to 2506 on July 1.
Venkatesh also became the third Indian to become a GM this year. He is also the 11th GM from Tamil Nadu, the most from any state. Before leaving for the US, Venkatesh trained online for a week with a Ukrainian Grandmaster. He trained for four days with GM Sethuraman and also held sessions with city-mates and International Masters, former national champion P. Konguvel and Shyam Sundar.
Venkatesh is slated to play the US Open and two other events in Spain, before returning home on July 31.
India’s GMs: V. Anand (1987), Dibyendu Barua (1991), Pravin Thipsay (1998), Abhijit Kunte (2000), K Sasikiran (2000), P. Hari Krishna (2001), Koneru Humpy (2001), Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2002), Sandipan Chanda (2003), R.B. Ramesh (2004), Tekas Bakre (2004), P. Magesh Chandran, (2006), Neeloptal Das (2006), Deepan Chakkravarthy (2006), Parimarjan Negi (2006), G.N. Gopal (2007) Abhijeet Gupta (2008), S. Arun Prasad (2008), S. Kidambi (2009), R.R. Laxman (2009), Sriram Jha (2010), Deep Sengupta (2010), B. Adhiban (2010), S.P. Sethuraman (2011), D. Harika (2011), M.R. Lalith Babu (2012), Vaibhav Suri (2012) and M.R. Venkatesh (2012).