Abhijeet wins US event, GM title for Venkatesh

Philadelphia (USA): National champion Abhijeet Gupta beat International Master Dean Ippolito of United States to win the Philadelphia International chess tournament, while M R Venkatesh became India`s 28th Grandmaster at the event here.

Gupta, part of the silver-medal winning Indian team in the Asian championship, was in his elements during the tournament and conceded just three draws besides winning six games to lodge 7.5 points out of a possible nine.

There was more good news for the Indian contingent as Venkatesh made his third and final Grandmaster norm to become the 28th GM from India.

Venkatesh drew the final round game with compatriot S P Sethuraman to score seven points in all and finish second in the overall standings. Sethuraman also did well for his fourth place finish making it an Indian domination in Philadelphia.

The fourth notable result was obtained by Woman Grandmaster Padmini Rout who achieved an International Master norm here scoring 5.5 points in all.

On an exposure trip here with the backing of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, top-seeded Gupta was the pick of the Indians in the fray.

The BPCL employee will also gain nine rating points from here which will take him closer to the 2650 rating mark once again.

Playing white in the final round, Gupta faced the Queen`s gambit declined by Ippolito and proved why he is a feared opponent when it comes to basics.

By just dismantling the black`s king side pawn structure, Gupta secured a small advantage and subsequent manoeuvres ensured that his position improved a lot in the middle game. Ippolito fell prey to a tactical shot, resulting in material loss.

"This was quite satisfying performance and I am also happy for my colleague Venkatesh who made his long overdue GM title here," said a beaming Gupta after the last round.

Speaking about the games, the Indian was quiet satisfied and singled out the one against GM Alexander Evdokimo earlier in the tournament as his best effort.

"Generally, I was able to find moves and do decently in most of the games, I suffered a little against Alonso Zapata while against Venkatesh I drew as he played solidly, last round was good too," noted the champion.

The Indian men and women team will now take part in the World Open which starts Wednesday and is a much tougher tournament.

Final points and Indian standings:

Abhijeet Gupta - 7.5 pts 1st; M.R.Venkatesh - 7 pts 2nd; S P Sethuraman - 6.5 pts 4th; Deepan Chakkaravarthy - 5.5 pts 10th; Eesha Karavade - 5.5 pts; Padmini Rout - 5.5 pts; Shyam Nikhil - 5 pts; Tania Sachdev - 5 pts; Nisha Mohota - 5pts; Pratuyusha Bodda - 4 pts.


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