Dubai: Former World Junior Champion and Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta defeated BPCL team mate Parimarjan Negi in a battle of nerve to clinch the Dubai International open chess title.
In the ninth and final round, Abhijeet held on to his own and benefited from an optical blunder by overnight sole leader Parimarjan that made him the first Indian to win the Dubai open title.
Abhijeet finished the tournament on 7.5 points out of a possible nine and in addition to the winner`s purse of USD 8000 he also ended up with a handsome gain of close to 17 points to decisively move past the 2600 rating barrier for the first time in his career.
In good form for the past couple of months, Abhijeet has gained 40 points overall and will now be 2620 in the next list.
After a grand showing that put him as the frontrunner for the title coming in to the last round, Parimarjan had to be content with the second place with his superior tiebreak after the four-way tie was resolved.
Tying for second along with Negi were Csaba Balogh of Hungary, Murtas Kazhgaleyev of Kazakhstan and Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway.
Parimarjan won the opening battle in the big game against Abhijeet. Going for the Moscow variation in the Semi-Slav Abhijeet was the first to deviate from known paths and the resulting middle game was about equal.
Needing just a draw for the title, Parimarjan went for unwarranted tactical complications which did not turn out to be a good decision. It was on the 27th move that Parimarjan blundered and was down a piece for no compensation. Abhijeet just had to make a few right moves and it was all over four moves later.
It turned out to be a bad day for top seed Krishnan Sasikiran who met his nemesis in Csaba Balogh of Hungary. Playing the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf, Sasikiran faced a massive attack and even the three pieces that he won for the queen did not prove enough.
M Shyam Sundar failed to capitalize on a slightly better position against Aditya Udeshi and what looked a certain GM norm a few rounds back was blown after the game ended in a draw.
Sasikiran along with Surya Shekhar Ganguly, M R Lalith Babu, Ashwin Jayaram and Shiven Khosla ended up in a tie for the 17-30 place.