Dubai: International Master Sayantan Das finished on a high defeating Daniele Vocaturo of Italy in the ninth and final round and earned the distinction of being the best placed Indian in the Dubai International Open chess tournament here.
Despite his heroic performance that found him in the main prize list, Das, could not get a Grandmaster norm in his kitty as he fell short in the average rating by a mere 2.5 points. Any opponent rated 25 points more than the current rating would have sufficed for the Indian to make the coveted GM norm.
That however did not deter the Kolkata-based player to display his best chess as he outplayed Vocaturo in all departments of the game. The Italian was up against the Ruy Lopez and after a dubious plan never got in the game as Das cruised home after 76 moves to finish on six points in all.
Dragan Solak of Turkey was adjudged the champion on best tiebreak after a five-way tie at the top was resolved. David Howell of England, Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia, Ivan Ivanisevic of Serbia, Andrei Istratescu of France and Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan took the lion’s share of 50000 USD prize purse after all scored seven points each and tied for the top spot alongside Solak.
For once, the Indian challenge never took off in the tournament and the main reason was a terribly out-of-form former winner of this event Abhijeet Gupta, who lost yet another game against Russain International Master Eduard Kanter to end on just 4.5 points out of a possible nine.
S Vijayalakshmi had the consolation of finishing as the top woman player in the tournament after she drew with Ezat Mohamed of Egypt. The other Indian girl, Eesha Karvade missed out on the top spot when she lost her last round game against Alexander Kovchan of Ukraine.
Among other Indians in the fray, Aniruddha Deshpande had something to cheer about as he made his International Master norm following a hard-earned victory against Pascal Haridas of Philippines in his final round game. Deshpande ended on 5.5 points apiece and was in a must win situation in the final round for his norm.
Grandmaster Sahaj Grover ended his tournament on a positive note by winning his last game against Iranian youngster Alireza Firouzja. Grover ended his stint on 5.5 points but still loses some important rating points.
Important and Indian results final round (Indians unless stated):
Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 7) drew with David Howell (Eng, 7); Dragan Solak (Tur, 7) drew with Eltaj Safarli (Aze, 7); Ivan Ivanisevic (Srb, 7) beat Alexander Shabalov (Usa, 6.5); Andrei Istratescu (Fra, 7) beat Alexander Ipatov (Tur, 6); Nils Grandelius (Tur, 6.5) beat Murali Karthikeyan (5.5); Tigran Petrosian (Arm, 6) beat R R Laxman (5.5); K Rathnakaran (5) lost to Peter Prohaszka (Hun, 6); Sayantan Das (6) beat Daniele Vocaturo (Ita, 5); Eesha Karavade (5) lost to Alexander Kovchan (Ukr, 6); Ezat Mohamed (Egy, 5.5) drew with S Vijayalakshmi (5.5); Mehar Chinna Reddy (5.5) drew with Hovik Hayrapetyan (Arm, 5.5); Abhijeet Gupta (4.5) lost to Eduard Kanter (Rus, 5.5); Alireza Firouzja (Iri, 4.5) lost to Sahaj Grover (5.5); Nico Georgiadis (Sui, 5.5) beat Nr Visakh (4.5); Sagar Shah (4.5) lost to Gunay Mammadzada (Aze, 5.5); Pascua Haridas (Phi, 4.5) lost to Anuruddha Deshpande (5.5); Abhishek Kelkar (5) drew with Abdelnabbi Imed (Egy, 5); Abdulla Khayala (Aze, 4.5) lost to Sundararajan Kidambi (5.5); Nr Vignesh (5) drew with Rakesh Kulkarni (5); Siva Mahadevan (5) drew with Tissir Mohamed (Mar, 5); Yildiz Betul Cemre (Tur, 5) beat L N Ram Aravind (4); Rajarishi Karthi (5) beat Sameer Kathmale (4); Saeed Ishaq (Uae, 4) lost to Vinayak Kulkarni (5); Tabada Jobannie (Phi, 4.5) beat Amruta Mokal (3.5); Al Hamed Saif Idrees (Uae, 3) lost to Inacia Rodrigues (4); Amna Nouman (Uae, 4) beat Rajesh Vasanthakumar (3); Hamdan Marshool (Uae, 4) beat Aswin Sreekumar (3); Bashaer Khalil (Uae, 3) lost to Akshay V Halagannavar (4).