Prasanna makes GM norm, Sahaj Grover wins under-16 title

Chalkida: V Vishnu Prasanna made
his maiden Grandmaster norm defeating Grandmaster Mahjoob
Morteza of Iran in the ninth and final round of the Negroponte
International open chess tournament that concluded here.

Prasanna who had a brilliant 5/6 start had lost the last
two rounds but the high average rating of his opponents meant
that he could still make the norm if he won in the last round
and the Indian did just that after a marathon battle.

Interestingly, Prasanna is not an International Master
yet, but his performance in the last two tournaments should be
enough to get him the IM title. For the GM title, he will need
two more norms.

The other good news was the near sweep in the under-16
category where International Master Sahaj Grover top scored
with six points and his tiebreak score was superior than
compatriot IM-in-waiting Vaibhav Suri.

Both Grover and Suri won their last round game against
lower ranked opponents.

Meanwhile, Suat Atalik of Turkey came up with a brilliant
performance in the last round too as he defeated top seed
Denis Khismatullin of Russia to take the title on eight points
out of a possible nine.

Robert Hess of United States finished second on 7.5
points while after a last round draw with Iranian Ghaem
Maghami Ehsan, Surya Shekhar Ganguly emerged as the top
performing Indian on 6.5 points.

For the records, Ganguly finished with a tie for the
eighth spot and finished 12th overall.

The last round again had mixed results for the Indians as
Sandipan Chanda went down fighting against Iranian Grandmaster
Elshan Moradiabadi.

In a King`s Indian defense as white, Sandipan enjoyed the
opening and middlegame advantage but an erroneous plan led to
a lost endgame.

Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta played out a draw with
Athanasios Mastrovasilis of Greece to finish with an overall
tally of six points.

After winning the Kavala open jointly just few days back,
this was a slight setback for Abhijeet who is currently short
of a few elo rating points to scale the 2600 ELO rating

In the women`s section Ekaternia Atalik, wife of Suat,
made it a grand double for the Ataliks by winning the last
round game against GM David Alberto of Luxembourg.

Ekaterina won the women`s title solely on 6.5 points
while D Harika, Tania Sachdev and Soumya Swaminathan all
scored 5.5 points each.

The hero of the day was certainly Vishnu Prasanna who had
to win with white against Morteza. The Indian increased the
pressure in the middle game and won a pawn but the ensuing
endgame was far from easy with the presence of Bishops of
opposite colours.

However, Prasanna tried relentlessly and was rewarded in
the end for his perseverance as Morteza was caught unawares in
a tactical trick.

"He probably had some chances for a draw, but we were
both short of time and he made the mistake", Prasanna said
after the game.