After pulling off a major upset against former world champion Veselin Topalov in the sixth round, India’s teen sensation R Praggnanandhaa failed to carry on his winning form as India crashed out of the title contention in the Masters’ category of 18th Gibraltar chess festival on Friday. Along with the 14-year-old Praggnanandhaa, three other Indians also crashed out of the competition.
Grand Master Aryan Chopra secured the best finish among the Indians, taking the 11th place while Karthikeyan Murali was 13th. The experienced K Sasikiran took 18th spot while Praggnanandhaa was 20th. Twenty-one-year old Russian David Paravyan beat compatriot Andrey Esipenko and China’s Wango Hao in the tie-break to emerge champion following a play-off late on Thursday.
Four players got into the playoffs after six had finished tied first on 7.5 points.
Apart from Praggnanandhaa, B Adhiban, Karthikeyan Murali, last year’s runner-up and Aryan Chopra had finished with 7 points. They could not force a result in their final round game to join the leading pack.
Praggnanandhaa was involved in a marathon 116-move game against Ivan Saric in the 10th round but could not force a win. He had bounced back strongly after losing in the first round by posting five wins on the trot but appeared to lose steam in the final stretch.
Paravyan had remained unbeaten in the tournament to record his biggest title win so far and a paycheque of 30,000 pounds.
Among the other Indians, Adhiban lost his final round game to Daniil Yuffa to finish 29th.
France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the second-seed and one of the favourites for the crown, took fifth spot after a slow start.
Standings after 10th round: 1. Andrew Esipenko, 2. Wango Hao, 3. Daniil Yuffa, 4. David Paravyan, 5. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 6. David Navara, 7. Mustafa Yilmaz (all 7.5 points), 8. Parham Maghsoodloo, Jan Werle 7 pts, 10. Veselin Topalov, 11. Aryan Chopra, 12. Mikhail Kobalia, 13. Karthikeyan Murali, 14. Michael Adams, 15. Le Quang Liem, 16. Gawain Jones, 17. Ivan Saric, K Sasikiran, 19. Jules Moussard, 20. R Praggnanandhaa (all 7 pts).
Important results: 10th round: Andrew Esipenko (7.5) few with Wang Hao (7.5); David Paravyan (7.5) drew with Mustafa Yilmza (7.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (7.5) beat Parham Maghsoodloo (7); Deac Bogdan-Daniel (7) drew Veselin Topalov (7).
Karthikeyan Murali (7) drew Michael Adams (7); R Praggnanandhaa (7) drew Ivan Saric (7); Daniil Yuffa (7.5) beat B Adhiban (6.5); Ivan Cheparinov (6.5) drew Aryan Chopra (7).
K Sasikiran (7) beat Noel Studer (6); SL Narayanan (6.5) drew Baron Tal (6.5); Daniele Vocaturo (7) beat D Gukesh (6); Vaibhav Suri (6.5) drew Raunak Sadhwani (6.5); Jules Moussard (7) beat Leon Mendonca (6).