Grandmaster Oliver Barbosa of the Philippines claimed the title edging past GM M.R. Lalith Babu of India on a better tie-break score in the sixth Kolkata Open International chess here on Thursday.
Both were on 7.5 points after 10 rounds forcing the Buchholz tie-break to decide the winner.
Barbosa held Ziaur Rahman to a draw in a Slav defence game in 38 moves. But, Barbosa had to wait for the result of the match between overnight leader GM Vidit Gujrathi and Lalith Babu for the confirmation of his title. A win or even a draw would have given Gujrathi the title as he had the best tie-break score in the penultimate round.
Lalith Babu, however, shattered young Gujrathi’s dreams, clinching victory in a Queen’s Indian defence. The decisive moment came on the 23rd move after Gujrathi exchanged queens. Lalith Babu grabbed Gujrathi’s two connected pawns and forged the advantage.
Gujrathi tried in vain to halt the onward march of Babu’s pawns in a rook ending. Lalith played correctly to force the win in a protracted game that lasted 97 moves.
In another rook-and-pawn ending arising out of a Scotch game, top-seeded Nigel Short of England used his isolated passer pawn to inflict a defeat on P. Konguvel.
Final rankings: 1. Barbosa Oliver (Phi) 7.5, 2. M.R. Lalith Babu 7.5, 3. Abhijit Kunte 7, 4. Vidit Gujrathi 7, 5. Ziaur Rahman (Ban) 7, 6. B. Adhiban 7, 7. J. Deepan Chakkravarthy 6.5, 8. Konstantin Landa (Rus) 6.5, 9. S.P. Sethuraman 6.5, 10. Deep Sengupta 6.5, 11. Avetik Grigoryan (Arm) 6.5, 12. Nigel Short (Eng) 6.5, 13. G.N. Gopal 6.5, 14. Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Geo) 6.5, 15. Sergey Fedorchuk (Ukr) 6.5.