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Vietnam’s Le Quang Liem emerges champion

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Le Quang Liem.
Le Quang Liem.

S. Sabanayakan

KOLKATA: GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam needed just a 21-move draw with Indian IM S. Satyapragyan on the top board to ensure the crown in the fourth Kolkata Open chess tournament on Thursday. The soft-spoken Liem, who ended the strongest ever Open in Asia with eight points, picked up a winner’s purse of $6,000.

Defending champion GM Viktor Laznicka of Czech Republic made a valiant bid to win with black against the highest ranked GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan but came a cropper. The Azerbaijani GM finished second with 7.5 points ahead of Uzbekistan GM Anton Filippov on a better progressive score.

Chanda finishes fourth

Six players, including three Indians, tied with seven points each. The Buchholz tiebreak system placed GM Sandipan Chanda of India, GM Nigel Short of England, Laznicka, Satyapragyan, GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly of India and GM Aleksej Aleksandrov of Belarus from four to nine positions respectively.

Mamedyarov came up with another brilliant display of attacking chess. In a Queen’s Gambit declined variation, Mamedyarov, with white pieces, seemed to have got into an equal position after exchanging of queens and rooks in the middle game. The Azerbaijani GM then sacrificed a knight for two pawns of Laznicka and got a passed pawn on the seventh rank. After he marched his king up and won another pawn, it was all over for the defending champion.

Short again came up with a fine victory this time over GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia. The Georgian tried the Caro-Kann defence and the Englishman opted for the advance variation. Short soon began to sacrifice pieces to open up the position because the Georgian’s king was in the centre. Soon the exposed king was in a mating net and the game was over in 26 moves.

Apart from R.R. Laxman’s feat of becoming the country’s 20th GM, Satyapragyan got his first 10-game GM norm and Sahaj Grover earned his maiden nine-game norm.

As many as ten players — Abhishek Das, Anwesh Upadhyaya, Sahaj Grover, B.S.Shivananda, P. Shyam Nikhil, Akshat Khamparia, Ankit R. Rajpara, Vidi tSantosh Gujrathi, Sayantan Das and WGM Nisha Mohta successfully earned a 10-game IM norm. Shiven Khosla got a nine-game IM norm.

The results (top 15 boards): Le Quang Liem (Vie, 8) drew with S. Satyapragyan (Ind, 7); S. Mamedyarov (Aze, 7.5) bt Viktor Laznicka (Cze, 7); Sandipan Chanda (Ind, 7) drew with S.S. Ganguly (Ind, 7); Ni Hua (Chn, 6) lost to Anton Filippov (Uzb, 7.5); Nigel Short (Eng, 7) bt Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Geo, 6); Evgeny Postny (Isr, 6.5) drew with G.N. Gopal (Ind, 6.5); R.R. Laxman (Ind, 6) lost to Aleksej Aleksandrov (Blr, 7); Eltaj Safarli (Aze, 6.5) drew with Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 6.5); Abhijeet Gupta (Ind, 6.5) drew with Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 6.5); Vladislav Tkachiev (Fra, 6) drew with Anuar Ismagambetov (Kaz, 6); Rustam Khusnutdinov (Kaz, 6) drew with Gadir Guseinov (Aze, 6); B. Adhiban (Ind, 5.5) lost to Hillarp Persson Tiger (Swe, 6.5); Merab Gagunashvili (Geo, 6) drew with Abhijit Kunte (Ind, 6); M.R. Lalith Babu (Ind, 5.5) lost to Ziaur Rahman (Ban, 6.5); Himanshu Sharma (Ind, 6) drew with Jan Markos (Svk, 5.5).

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