Valeriy Neverov tops five-way tie to take the second spot

Excitement was at a premium on the final day as short draws on the top two boards were enough to ensure the crowning of Abhijeet Gupta as the champion of the Parsvnath Grandmasters International chess tournament here on Thursday.

Going into the final round with a half-point lead, Abhijeet turned down Eldar Gasanov’s early offer to sign the peace treaty. He explored the possibility of a victory but later, sensing danger, forced a draw following repetition of moves to take his tally to an unsurpassable eight points from 10 rounds.

For Abhijeet, winner here in 2008, the triumph was a second successive one. Last month, he topped the field in the Al-Ain Classic in the UAE. His unbeaten campaign earned him Rs. three lakh besides a trophy.

“My good start had a lot to do with the triumph,” said the champion as he looked back at his performance. “There were games where I did not make the most of the chances that came my way, but I am pleased overall.”Breathing easyOn the final day, what made Abhijeet breathe easy was the early draw between his closest contender Valeriy Neverov and John Paul Gomez on the second board.

That left Abhijeet needing just a draw to clinch the title and that too without the tie-break coming into play. Neverov topped a five-way tie at 7.5 points to finish runner-up and collected Rs. two lakh.

“When Gasanov offered me a draw, I thought if Magnus Carlsen could play for a win against Viswanathan Anand in what turned out to be the last game of their World Championship match (in November) even when a draw was enough to give him the title, why shouldn’t I try harder for a win. But, once the position become complicated, I opted for a draw,” said the BPCL employee.Longest gameIn what turned out to be the longest game of the day, Deepan Chakkravarthy battled for 112 moves while registering a crucial victory over Russian GM Alexander Evdokimov. The win gave Deepan a podium finish and he took home Rs. one lakh.

Deepan’s queen proved more powerful against Evdokimov’s twin rooks. Knowing that the position offered a theoretical victory, Deepan manoeuvred his queen brilliantly to fox the Russian and eventually carved out a deserving victory.

The results (10th and final round):

Abhijeet Gupta (8) drew with Eldar Gasanov (Ukr, 7.5); John Paul Gomez (Phi, 7.5) drew with Valeriy Neverov (Ukr, 7.5); Levan Pantsulaia (Geo, 7.5) bt N. Srinath (6.5); Alexander Evdokimov (Rus, 6.5) lost to Deepan Chakkravarthy (7.5); Ankit Rajpara (6) lost to M.R. Lalith Babu (7); V.A.V. Rajesh (6.5) drew with Merab Gagunashvili (Geo, 6.5); Sameer Kathmale (7) bt Vaibhav Suri (6); Deep Sengupta (7) bt Padmini Rout (6); N. Visakh (6) lost to M. Karthikeyan (7); Saptarshi Roy (6) lost to Bobir Sattarov (Uzb, 7).

Top-10 standings (with prize-money): 1. Abhijeet (Rs. three lakh), 2. Neverov (Rs. two lakh), 3. Deepan (Rs. one lakh), 4. Gasanov (Rs. 70,000), 5. Gomez (Rs. 50,000), 6. Pantsulaia (Rs. 35,000), 7. Sattarov (Rs. 25,000), 8. Lalith (Rs. 20,000), and 9-10 Sengupta, Kathmale (Rs. 15,000 each).

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