Adhiban wins chess title in Reykjavik

Adhiban, who was in top form in the tournament, drew his final round against Mustafa Yilmaz, to finish with 7.5 points.

Baskaran Adhiban (above) registered five wins, which included those against two Grandmasters, Alejandro Ramirez and Maxime Lagarde.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

India’s B Adhiban clinched the title in the 33rd Reykjavik Open, with an impressive performance, that saw him win five of the nine games. “It is a special win for me and I am happy with the way I played,” he said about the triumph.

Adhiban, who was in top form in the tournament, drew his final round against Mustafa Yilmaz, to finish with 7.5 points. He registered five wins, which included those against two Grandmasters, Alejandro Ramirez and Maxime Lagarde.

Adhiban became only the second Indian after Abhijeet Gupta (in 2016) to win the prestigious Reykjavik Open. The Tamil Nadu GM rated his win over the top-seed Richard Rapport, in the eighth round, as his best performance in the tournament.

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“I think the win in the eighth round against Richard Rapport was an important one and my best performance. I won the game in less than two hours, and it more or less guaranteed my title,” he said.

The Chennai-based player had a moderate start to the year and was off-colour in the Tata Steel Chess Masters, at Wikj Aan Zee, before bouncing back strongly in the national tournament, and winning in Reykjavik.

“I didn’t win any event last year, so this win is special,” he said. Adhiban also felt that his performance was inspired by the legendary Bobby Fischer, in whose memory the Reyjkavik tournament was held.

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“I felt I paid homage to his memory by playing some great chess here,” he added. Adhiban said he would be playing in the Sharjah Masters in April, and probably the Asian continental meet later.

He said he was looking forward to the Olympiad later in 2018, adding that the availability of five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand gives the team a very good chance of landing the top prize.

“I am looking forward to the Olympiad. With Vishy Anand making himself available, we have a strong team, and a chance to win the gold,” he added.