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Barbosa emerges champion

Oliver Barbosa with the trophy, on Thursday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Grandmaster Oliver Barbosa of the Philippines edged out M.R. Lalith Babu on the tiebreak to emerge champion of the 6th Kolkata Open Grandmasters Chess, organised by Alekhine Chess Club, at Gorky Sadan, on Thursday.

Both Barbosa and Lalith Babu scored 7.5 points in 10 rounds, but it was the Filipino who prevailed, keeping control over his nerves at crucial moments.

Barbosa won Rs 4 lakh, while Lalith Babu had to be content with Rs 2.75 lakh for his splendid efforts. “Honestly, I never expected to win given the fact that the field comprised so many higher-ranked players,” Barbosa said.

“My win against Konstantin Landa was the best of all. It was a tough situation and I could take advantage of the slight edge I enjoyed midway through the game,” Barbosa, who gains 16 Elo ratings for this victory, said.

The Slav defence game between Barbosa and Ziaur Rahman ended in a draw after 38 moves, with both of them having Queens, a minor piece and three pawns each. Barbosa, though, had to wait for the result of the game between Lalith Babu and Vidith Santosh Gujrathi to be confirmed of his title. Had Vidith won, the title would have stayed in India.

Lalith Babu shattered the dreams of Gujrathi to clinch the title in the Queens Indian defence employed by him. After Gujrathi exchanged the Queens on the 23rd move, Lalith grabbed his two connected pawns.

Gujrathi tried in vain to halt the onward march of Lalith Babu’s pawns on A- and B- files in a rook ending. But in the end, Lalith Babu played correctly to force a win in 97 moves.

GM P. Harikrishna and Surya Sekhar Ganguly were present during the prize distribution ceremony.