Gukesh wins third straight title; vaults to 64th in live chess World rankings

D. Gukesh from Chennai scored eight points from 10 rounds to stretch the sequence of title-triumphs that includes the La Roda tournament and the Menorca Open last month.

D. Gukesh, 15, winner of the Chessables Sunway Formentera International chess title in Spain.   -  RAKESH RAO

As widely anticipated, country's youngest Grandmaster D. Gukesh completed a hat-trick of titles spread over the past month with a fine triumph in the Chessables Sunway Formentera International chess tournament at Punta Prima, Spain on Sunday.

The 15-year-old from Chennai scored eight points from 10 rounds to stretch the sequence of title-triumphs that includes the La Roda tournament and the Menorca Open last month.

In Saturday’s ninth round, Gukesh outfoxed 41-year-old compatriot, second seed K. Sasikiran in 49 moves and then drew the final round with Armenia’s Haik Martirosyan (7) in 25 moves to top the field.

In fact, it was the second-board draw involving top seed Latasa Jaime Santos (Spain, 7.5) and third seed Shant Sargsyan (Armenia, 7.5) that eased the pressure on Gukesh. Considering Santos, the eventual
runner-up, had a better tie-break score over the young Indian, he could have taken the title away from Gukesh in case of a tie at eight points. But such a situation did not arise and Gukesh crossed the line by signing the peace treaty.

This unbeaten performance earned Gukesh 15.6 rating points, raised his live rating to 2674.6 and placed him 64th in the world.

International Master Soham Das (7) upstaged sixth seed Ruiz Miguel Santos to take the 5th spot while Sasikiran (5.5) lost for the second time in under 24 hours after facing Polish rival Lukasz Jarmula and ended up 15th.

On May 1. Gukesh became the youngest player among the World's top-100 players. He now targets to breach the top-50 bracket and then the 2700-rating mark.

Meanwhile, at Malmo, Arjun Erigaisi (3 points) let go of a golden opportunity to nail Dutchman Jorden van Foreest in the closing moments of their drawn encounter in the fifth round of Tepe Sigeman round-robin chess tournament on Saturday.

The draw kept Arjun in second place, jointly with Nils Grandelius (Sweden). Leader Hans Moke Niemann (4) enlarged his lead to one point after beating Alexei Shirov.

The results:

Fifth round: Jordeen van Foreest (Ned, 2.5) drew with Arjun Erigaisi (3); Hans Moke Niemann (USA, 4) bt Alexei Shirov (Isr, 1.5); Nils Grandelius (Swe, 3) bt Saleh Salem (UAE, 1.5); Michael Adams (Eng, 2.5) drew with David Navara (Cze, 1.5).

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