Ruiyan emerges winner, India`s Akshayraj joint 2nd

Chennai: Unheralded Yu Ruiyuan of China stole the limelight by emerging as champion in the fourth Chennai Open International Grandmasters Chess Tournament while India`s Akshayraj Kore ended tied second.

While Ruiyuan had nine points in the end, there was a five-way tie for the second spot with 8.5 points among top seed Aleksei Aleksandrov (Belarus), Akshayraj Kore (India), defending champion Martyn Kravtsiv (Ukraine), Marat Dzhumaev (Uzbekistan) and John Paul Gomez (Philippines).

Akshayraj, the young Pune based youngster, gained his maiden Grandmaster norm from this event.

In the crucial final round games played today, there was a lot of tension in the top board games as about four players were in with a chance of clinching the coveted trophy.

Overnight leader Ruiyuan, who had a cushion of a half point lead over the others, played a dynamic game on the top table against Grandmaster Marat Dzhumaev.

In a Sicilian game, Yu playing white, exerted tremendous pressure on his opponent`s kingside. Marat had to come up with an excellent exchange sacrifice and open the centre to drum up counterplay.

In the end, after 33 thrilling moves, the game ended in a perpetual check and the players agreed to a draw. This title win gives the Chinese star Yu Ruiyuan an International Master norm as well as a Grandmaster norm.

On an adjacent table, the top seed Grandmaster Aleksei Aleksandrov, playing black pieces, could not breach the defences of Oliver Barbosa of Philippines and had to settle for a draw.

From the Indian perspective, International Master Akshayraj of Maharashtra drew his game against defending champion Martyn Kravtsiv of Ukraine.

In a Nimzo Indian game, Akshayraj, sitting behind the white pieces, had the upper hand all through. The defending champion had a tough time in defending his position.

Ultimately, the looming time pressure and the pressure of gaining a Grandmaster norm took the toll on young Akshayraj, as he let slip his advantage and had to agree for truce after 55 moves.