Akshayraj Kore wins Cannes; becomes Grandmaster
New Delhi: Akshayraj Kore became the latest Indian chess player to achieve the Grandmaster title after he came up with a career-best rating performance to win the `A` category of Cannes Festival that concluded in the French city famous for its film carnival.
It turned out to be a grand double for the Pune-based International Master, who registered his fist victory in an international tournament.
Just a few days before the tournament, Kore had made his third and final norm at the Rochefort tournament in France and the fourth inconsequential norm here came as an added bonus.
Going in to the final round as the sole leader on 6.5 points, Kore defeated International Master Alexander Donchenko of Germany to complete his best ever tournament performance.
Kore finished with a rating performance of 2743 points, way above his modest 2455 ELO rating at the start of the tournament.
The results at Rochefort and Cannes will take the Indian past the 2500 rating barrier and he is now set to become the next Grandmaster of the country and second from his city after Abhijit Kunte.
After a draw in the second round, he came up with three victories against Grandmasters on the trot.
Jean-Marc Degraev of France was the first to lose and thereafter, Safarli Eltaj of Azerbaijan and Russian Alexander Dobrov followed suit.
A draw against compatriot Prasanna Raghuram Rao did not dent his chances as he finished the event with a dash defeating French GM Glenn Flear and Donchecnko for a clear first place.
"This is indeed a flattering result and I am very pleased to have completed the GM title", said a beaming Kore from Cannes.
When asked what he termed as his best game, the Indian conceded that it was a tough choice.
"I generally played way above my strength here for some reasons, I guess the win against Safarli Eltaj and Glenn Flear were my two best games in recent times," he said.
With the Grandmaster title completed, Kore aims at attaining the next level which is to touch the 2600 rating barrier.
"It`s always tougher from here, but let`s see. My immediate target is to get used to being a Grandmaster after a long wait and then I will work towards attaining the 2600 rating", he said.
With Kore finishing on 7.5 points, the second place was shared by Grandmasters Ruben Felgaer of Argentina and ELtaz who both ended a half point behind.
The other Indian International Master Prasanna Raghuram Rao ended 17th with five points in all.
Final Standings: 1. Akshayraj Kore (Ind, 7.5); 2-3: Ruben Felgaer (Arg), Safarli Eltaj (Aze) 7 each; 4-5: Axel Ramboldini (Ita), Viorel Iordachescu (Mda) 6.5 each. 17. P R Rao (Ind, 5).