AICF World Cup Qualifier: Iniyan wins title, seals World Cup berth

Grandmaster P. Iniyan kept his tryst with destiny and sealed the lone berth available by winning the penultimate round of the AICF World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

Since Iniyan had scored over Gukesh in their 14th round encounter on Saturday, he was awarded the title, worth a spot in the World Cup beginning in Sochi Russia on July 10.   -  Special Arrangement

Grandmaster P. Iniyan kept his tryst with destiny and sealed the lone berth available by winning the penultimate round of the AICF World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

Seeded seven, Iniyan won the first two rounds on Sunday to reach an unsurpassable tally of 12.5 points from 16 rounds. In the final round, he could not focus enough and lost to Deep Sengupta. But the result did not harm Iniyan even after D. Gukesh won his final round to match the winning tally.

Since Iniyan had scored over Gukesh in their 14th round encounter on Saturday, he was awarded the title, worth a spot in the World Cup beginning in Sochi Russia on July 10.

It was important for Iniyan to win against overnight third-placed Raja Rithvik in the day’s first round. S. L. Narayanan did Iniyan a favour by holding Gukesh to a draw.

READ: Iniyan ends Gukesh's unbeaten run to take lead

Leading by a point with two rounds remaining, Iniyan defeated Saravana Krishna to ensure that he could not be overtaken by Gukesh who stayed close by beating Soumya Swaminathan.

“I didn’t expect to win the title. I came here well prepared and the idea was not to lose games,” said Iniyan who won 12 games - most by any player.

“I am very happy to win in such a tough field,” said the soft-spoken champion. “This will be my first World Cup and it’s a dream come true because this is where the top players will fight for the qualifying spots for the next Candidates cycle.”

Iniyan thanked his coach K. Visweswaran for his guidance behind the title triumph. “I prepared for around eight hours even during the five-day competition,” revealed the youngster who has played several rapid online competitions, including some for charity to raise funds to fight Covid in the past year.

The results

17th round: Deep Sengupta bt P. Inyan; D. Gukesh bt Vishnu Prasanna;

S. P. Sethuraman bt Aditya Mittal; Krishnan Saravana lost to S. L. Narayanan; B. Adhiban lost to S. Nitin; Surya Shekhar Ganguly bt Vatsal Singhania; Raja Rithvik drew with Soumya Swaminathan; M. Vinay Kumar lost to Rahul Srivatshav; C. R. G. Krishna bye.

16th round: Iniyan bt Saravana; Soumya lost to Gukesh; Nitin bt Sethuraman; Vishnu drew with Ganguly; Adhiban bt Srivatshav; Aditya bt Deep; Narayanan bt Rithvik; Krishna lost to Prasanna; Singhania lost to Krishna; Vinay bye.

15th round: Rithvik lost to Iniyan; Gukesh drew with Narayanan; Ganguly drew with Soumya; Deep lost to Nitin; Saravana bt Aditya; Adhiban bt Vinay; Sethuraman drew with Srivatshav; Singhania bye.

Final standings: 1-2. Iniyan, Gukesh (12.5 points); 3.  Sethuraman (10.5); 4-7. Ganguly. Narayanan, Nitin, Rithvik (10 each); 8. Srivatshav (9); 9. Adhiban (8.5); 10. Sengupta (8); 11. Aditya (7.5); 12. Prasanna (6.5); 13. Krishna (6), 14. Soumya (5); 15-16. Vinay, Saravana (4 each); 17. Singhania (2).

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