Popov checkmates Hungary’s Czebe to Delhi title

Ivan Popov continues to steamroll the opposition as the second-seeded Russian Grandmaster raced away to his sixth straight victory after making short work of Hungary’s Attila Czebe in the Delhi International Open Grandmasters chess tournament here on Tuesday.

Popov, playing black, needed just 21 moves to destroy the challenge of 21st seed after gaining a knight.

Ivan Popov continues to steamroll the opposition as the second-seeded Russian Grandmaster raced away to his sixth straight victory after making short work of Hungary’s Attila Czebe in the Delhi International Open Grandmasters chess tournament here on Tuesday.

Popov, playing black, needed just 21 moves to destroy the challenge of 21st seed after gaining a knight. Ukrainian GM Vitaly Sivuk overpowered third-seeded Italian GM Alberto David in 33 moves to move to the second spot with 5.5 points.

Among the Indians, Pradeep Kumar continued his fine run by holding GM Vaibhav Suri in the morning and then defeated 14{+t}{+h}-seeded Dutch GM Sipke Ernst to reach five points.

Other Indians joining Pradeep in the joint-third spot were Sriram Jha, Sayantan Das and S. Ravi Teja.

Jha outwitted Ukraine’s Adam Tukhaev in the battle of GMs, Sayantan surprised Suri and Ravi Teja upset Vitaliy Bernadskiy, the 12{+t}{+h}-seeded Ukrainian.

Meanwhile, in Category ‘B’ tournament played concurrently for those rated 1,999 and below, UP’s Rishabh Nishad won the 10-round contest with nine points and walked away Rs. 1.5 lakh.

Pankaj Sharma, who matched Rishad’s tally, was placed second on tie-break score and was richer by Rs. 1.2 lakh. Afghanistan’s Habibullah Amini took the third spot, worth Rs. one lakh, after scoring 8.5 points each.

The results (Indians unless stated):

Sixth round: Attila Czebe (Hun, 4.5) lost to Ivan Popov (Rus, 6); Alberto David (Ita, 4) lost to Vitaly Sivuk (Ukr, 5.5); Boris Grachev (Rus, 5) bt K. Rathnakaran (4); Anton Demchenko (Rus, 4.5) drew with N. R. Vignesh (4.5); Yuri Solodovnichenko (Ukr, 5) bt P. Shyam Nikhil (4); Adam Tukhaev (Ukr, 4) lost to Sriram Jha (5); Vaibhav Suri (4) lost to Sayantan Das (5); S. Ravi Teja (5) bt Vitaliy Bernadskiy (Ukr, 4); Pradeep Kumar (5) bt Sipke Ernst (Ned, 4); Mehar Chinna Reddy (4.5) drew with Nguyen Duc Hoa (Vie, 4.5).

Fifth round: Popov bt Demchenko; Sivuk drew with Grachev; Jha drew with Solodovnichenko; Das drew with Tukhaev; Pradeep drew with Suri; Bernadskiy drew with Reddy; D. Bala Chandra Prasad lost to Czebe; Harsha Bharathakoti lost to David.

Category ‘B’: Final Top-10 standings (with state/country, points and prize-money earned):

1. Rishabh Nishad (UP, 9 points, Rs. 1,50,000), 2. Pankaj Sharma (Punjab, 9, 1,20,000), 3. Habibullah Amini (Afghanistan, 8.5, Rs. 1,00,000), 4. Leithanthem Koireng (Manipur, 8.5, Rs. 75,000), 5. Sarthak Gupta (Delhi, 8, Rs. 60,000), 6. Anchit Vyas (MP, 8, Rs. 50,000), 7. Soham Datar (Maharashtra, 8, Rs. 40,000), 8. Ashish Kumar (Jharkhand, 8, Rs. 30,000), 9. Mohammad Dilshad (Kerala, 8, Rs. 25,000), 10. Jitendra Paul (Maharashtra, 8, Rs. 20,000).