Abhijeet and Swapnil defeated lower-rated rivals

NEW DELHI: M.R. Lalith Babu, Abhijeet Gupta, Swapnil Dhopade and Kruttika Nadig posted impressive victories for a strong finish in the Balaguer International Open chess tournament at Balaguer, Spain, on Wednesday.

Lalith, who made an International Master norm in the previous round, surprised teammate IM Deep Sengupta in the 10th and final round to finish ninth with seven points. Seeded 33rd with a rating of 2328, Lalith stands to gain 49 rating points from this commendable performance.

Kruttika impresses

Abhijeet and Swapnil defeated lower-rated rivals to match Lalith’s tally while Kruttika Nadig (6.5) shocked Filipino IM Joseph Sanchez to emerge as the strongest lady player in the field. Top seed Ukraine’s Vladimir Baklan won the title with eight points.

Top prizes

Many Indians also walked away with top prizes in various categories. They were: G.V. Saikrishna (U-12 and best in the 2000-2149 rating group), Lalith Babu (U-16 and best in the 2300-2399 rating group), Swapnil (U-18), Abhijeet (U-20), Kruttika (best woman performer and 2150-2299 rating group) and C.P. Aatirah (best in the 1850-1999 rating ).

The results (involving Indians): Balaguer International (10th round): Abhijeet Gupta (7) bt Yvain Bruned (Esp, 6); Oussama Adel Lahchaichi (Esp, 6) lost to Swapnil Dhopade (7); Deep Sengupta (5.5) lost to M.R. Lalith Babu (7); Jose Luis Vilela de Acuna (Cub, 6.5) bt Soumya Swaminathan (5.5); Mary Ann Gomes (5.5) lost to T. Abhay (6.5); Joseph Sanchez (Phi, 5) lost to Kruttika Nadig (6.5); Angel Lazaro Porta (Esp, 4.5) lost to Vishnu Prasanna (5.5); Devagi Patankar (4.5) lost to Karolina Ortiz Nadya (Col, 5.5); Aitor Ramoneda Rumi (Esp, 5) drew with C.P. Aatirah (5); G.V. Saikrishna (5.5) bt S.V. Sathyapriya (4.5).

Indians’ standings: 9. Lalith, 12-13. Abhijeet, Swapnil, 19. Kruttika, 21, Abhay, 34. Deep, 36-38. Soumya, Mary, Saikrishna, 43, Vishnu, 47. Aatirah, 59. Devangi, 67. Sathyapriya.

Canadian Open (fifth round): S. Arun Prasad (3) lost to Victor Mikhalevski (Isr, 4); M.R. Venkatesh (3.5) drew with Abhijit Kunte (3.5); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (3.5) bt K. Ratnakaran (2.5); Swati Ghate (2.5) lost to Bator Sambuev (Rus, 3.5); Sylvain Barbeau (Can, 2.5) drew with Kiran Manisha Mohanty (2.5); Nisha Mohota (3) bt William Doubleday (Can, 2); Nelson Castaneda (USA, 1.5) lost to Eesha Karavade (2.5); Andrei Gulko (Can, 1) lost to Sai Meera (2).

Politiken Cup (sixth round): Konstantin Landa (Rus, 5) bt Tania Sachdev (4); Andreas Moen (Nor, 4) lost to Ashwin Jayaram (5).

Biel Masters (third round): Volker Meier (Ger, 2.5) drew with R.B. Ramesh (2.5); Alexandre Grillon (Sui, 1) lost to N. Srinath (2).

Dutch Open (second round): Ali Bitalzadeh (Ned) bt Sandipan Chanda (1); Sriram Jha (2) bt Ewoud De Groote (Ned, 1). First round: Chanda bt Harmen van den Berg (Ned); Antoon van Lanen (Ned) lost to Jha.

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper