Contrary to expectations of a thrilling finish, the home stretch proved to be an anti-climax in the Gurgaon Grandmasters International Open chess tournament here on Wednesday.

A short draw on the top board, involving the overnight leaders Tornike Sanikidze and Swayams Mishra, settled the title in favour of the Georgian, following a four-way tie at eight points.

Swayams, playing white in the 10th and final round, was expected to battle for a win but never got the position of his choice and agreed to an insipid 21-move draw.

Swayams third

Since Sanikidze enjoyed a superior tie-break score, the draw suited him more than Swayams.

The Cuttack boy was later pushed to the third spot by USA’s low-rated Grandmaster Raset Ziatdinov, who beat Ravi Teja to finish with eight points.

The final day was a heart-breaking one for Prasanna Rao. A late blunder saw the Mumbai youngster crash to a shock defeat against V. Karthik, who became the fourth player to match the winner’s tally.

A victory for Prasanna would have given him a podium-finish, but the loss saw him plummet to the 10th spot.

Overall, the Indians did well to occupy six out of the top-10 places in a field where the highest-rated home challenger was only ninth on the starting grid.

The action now moves to Delhi for the cash-rich Parsvnath International Grandmasters tournament that has attracted 24 Grandmasters and 34 International Masters in the rating-restricted field in Group ‘A’.

With over 1,000 entries, surpassing the record of 899 set last year, the country’s richest three-tier chess event offers Rs. 23 lakh as prize money in addition to lap-tops for the winners.

The results:

10th round: Swayams Mishra (8) drew with Tornike Sanikidze (Geo, 8); Martyn Kravtsiv (Ukr, 7.5) drew with Vikramaditya Kulkarni (7.5); S. Nitin (7.5) drew with Oliver Barbosa (Phi, 7.5); Prasanna Rao (7) lost to V. Karthik (8); S. Ravi Teja (7) lost to Raset Ziatdinov (USA, 8); Alexander Evdokimov (Rus, 7) drew with P. Karthikeyan (7); P. Shyamnikhil (7.5) bt Merab Gagunashvili (Geo, 6.5); John Paul Gomez (Phi, 7) drew with N. Srinath (7); S. Satyapragyan (7) drew with Marat Dzhumaev (Uzb, 7); S. Arun Prasad (7) drew with Himal Gusain (7); Sahaj Grover (7) drew with Akmal Faizulaev (Uzb, 7).

Top-10 standings (with prize-money): 1. Sanikidze (Rs. two lakh), Ziatdinov (1.50 lakh), 3. Swayams (one lakh), 4. Karthik (65,000), 5. Barbosa (40,000), 6. Kravtsiv (20,000), 7-8 Shyamnikhil, Kulkarni (15,000 each), 9. Nitin (11,000), and 10. Prasanna (10,000).

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