Kunte beats 6-way tie to title - An Indian finally triumphs in a Calcutta-hosted international championship

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By BIPIN SHENOY in Calcutta
  • Published 18.11.04
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Calcutta: GM Abhijit Kunte emerged champion in the International Open Chess tournament organised by Alekhine Chess Club, at Gorky Sadan on Wednesday.

There was a six-way tie for the first place with Kunte, Aleksej Alexandrov, Ni Hua, Oleg Romanishin, Ehsan Ghaem Maghami and Surya Sekhar Ganguly, all scoring 7.5 points. However, Kunte, who had the best progressive score was declared the winner. The prize money, though, was shared. The top six receiving cash prize of Rs 75,750 each.

Kunte, expectedly drew his game quickly against GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam. Immediately after the prize distribution Kunte told The Telegraph, ?Calcutta has always been a happy hunting ground for me. I got my first IM norm here in 1996 and the GM title in 2000 in The Goodricke Open? and now this title??. Kunte, incidentally is the first Indian to win such an event in Calcutta. Earlier in The Goodricke Open, Viswanathan Anand had shared the second position in 1992 and Krishnan Sasikiran too had finished runners-up a decade later in 2002.

Top seed, Alexandrov of Belarus decided to play safe against GM Ghaem Maghami of Iran and quickly drew in 7 moves. City-based GM Surya Sekhar, however, decided to fight it out against the second seed, Ni Hua of China.

In a Ruy Lopez opening, Surya Sekhar, playing black, had some advantage in the middle game, but his decision to exchange pieces allowed the Chinese to ease the pressure and the game petered out into a draw.

Lady luck smiled on veteran GM Romanishin of Ukraine, who was playing with the black pieces against Niaz Murshed of Bangladesh. In what looked like an easy draw in queen ending, Niaz blundered and gifted the point to Romanishin.

Meanwhile, Saptarshi Roy of Goodricke National Chess Academy, who got the maiden IM norm on Tuesday finished 13th.

GM Dibyendu Barua, playing against compatriot Sandipan Chanda went for a kingside attack and broke open Chanda?s castled position. His endeavour paid him rich dividends as his opponent resigned on the 46th move. While Dibeyndu tied for the seventh to 10th place, Sandipan and Ziaur Rahaman were the only GM?s to finish outside the prize list.

Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was chief guest, handed out the prizes.

FINAL ROUND RESULTS

Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (7.5) drew with Aleksej Alexander (7.5), Ni Hua (7.5) drew with Surya Sekhar Ganguly (7.5), Dao Thien Hai (7) drew with Abhijit Kunte (7.5), Niaz Murshed (6.5) lost to Oleg Romanishin (7.5), Tejas Bakre (7) drew with Reefat Bin-Sattar (7), Dibyendu Barua (7) bt Sandipan Chanda (6), Alexander Fominyh (6.5) drew with Saptarshi Roy (6.5), Nguyen Anh Dung (6.5) bt Ziaur Rahman (6), Mohammed Javed (5.5) lost to Timur Gareev (6.5), Enamul Hossain (6) drew with Abdulla Al-Rakib (6), Neelotpal Das (6) drew with Dinesh Kr Sharma (6), R. Balasubramanium (6) bt Nisha Mohota (5.5), Vinoth Kumar (6) bt K. Visweswaran (5), R.R. Laxman (4.5) lost to Rahul Sangma (5.5), Arindam Mukherjee (5) drew with D.V. Prasad (5), Abhiskek Das (5.5) bt Rahul shetty (4.5), Abu Sufian Sakil (4.5) lost to Somak Palit (5.5), Devraz Chatterjee (5.5) bt Mahtabuddin Ahmed (4.5), Satyajit Kundu (3) lost to Neeraj Kr Mishra (4), Souvik Chakraborty (2) lost to Kh Aminul Aslam (5), Sandipan Chatterjee (3) lost to Soumya Thakurta (4.5), Abhratanu Dutta (4) drew with Ghader Pour, Shayesteh (3.5), Bitan Banerjee (2) lost to Arman Monir (4.5).

HOW THEY FINISHED

1. Abhijit Kunte (India, 7.5); 2. Aleksej Aleksandrov (Belarus, 7.5); 3. Ni Hua (China, 7.5); 4. Oleg Romanishin M (Ukraine, 7.5); 5. Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (Iran, 7.5); 6. Surya Sekhar Ganguly (India, 7.5); 7. Dao Thien Hai (Vietnam, 7); 8. Dibyendu Barua (India, 7); 9. Tejas Bakre (India, 7); 10. Reefat Bin-Sattar (Bangladesh, 7); 11. Niaz Murshed (Bangladesh, 6.5); 12. Alexander Fominyh (Russia, 6.5); 13. Saptarshi Roy (India, 6.5); 14. Timur Gareev (Uzbekistan, 6.5); 15. Nguyen Anh Dung (Vietnam, 6.5)