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3rd GM norm for Sandipan

Calcutta: City prodigy Sandipan Chanda has clinched his third and final Grandmaster norm. He got the decisive third at the XXIII Benasque Open in Spain on Sunday, according to information received here on Monday.

This makes Sandipan the countryís ninth GM, although his current Elo rating is below the required 2500 mark. Knowledgeable sources, however, insist that the city youngster has become a GM, having touched that figure before.

The same criterion, for the record, was considered when Koneru Humpy became the youngest woman in history to seal the GM title in May, 2002. Sandipanís current rating is 2469 and he had crossed 2500 last year before losing points after some bad performances.

Even Humpy was below 2500 when she got her third GM norm, but was awarded the title ó a world record, eventually ó because she had been beyond that mark earlier. If the same is applied in Sandipanís case, the city star is set to earn the coveted title.

In the tournament in Spain, Sandipan finished with eight points out of a maximum of ten. He finished equal on points with eventual champion Oleg Korneev of Russia and runner-up Alik Gershon of Israel, but was declared third on progressive score.

If his claim his ratified, the 20-year-old will follow Viswanathan Anand, Dibyendu Barua, Pravin Thipsay, Abhijit Kunte, Krishnan Sasikiran, P. Harikrishna, Humpy and Surya Sekhar Ganguly as Indian GMs.

Sandipan, who is due to play in another tournament in the Czech Republic soon, had collected his first GM norm at the Goodricke Open here in 2000 and got the second at the same event a year later.

He is expected in the city at the end of this month.

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