Winning the last five rounds, Olympiad bronze-medallist Raunak Sadhwani finished runner-up in the Challengers Chess Tour’s Julius Baer Challenge online blitz chess tournament on Sunday.
In the 16-player field consisting of rising talents, Russian Andrey Esipenko scored a whopping 41 out of 45 points to claim the title 10 points ahead of Raunak. The round-robin format saw 15 rounds of blitz games over two days. A win counted for three points and a draw was worth a point.
Esipenko and Raunak qualified for the Tour Finals scheduled on October 29-30. The winner of the Tour Finals will earn a $10,000 clash against the 2021 champion R. Praggnanandhaa in Tel Aviv in December.
Starting the final day in the fourth spot with 12 points from seven rounds, Raunak lost the eighth round to Leya Garifullina but then scored 6.5 points from the remaining seven rounds.
Aditya Mittal, whose only loss of the day came against Raunak in the 12th round, also scored 6.5 points from seven rounds on the final day for the fourth spot.
Leon Mendonca and V. Praneeth matched Aditya’s tally of 27 points and finished fifth and seventh respectively.
Vantika Agrawal figured in 14 consecutive decisive games, after starting with a draw against Aditya, tallied 19 points. She finished 11th, two ahead of the latest sensation B. Savitha Shri.
Final standings (after 15 rounds): 1. Andrey Esipenko (FIDE, 41/45), 2. Raunak Sadhwani (31), 3-7. Frederik Svane (Germany), Aditya Mittal, Leon Mendonca, Jonas Buhl Bjerre (Denmark), V. Praneeth (27 each), 8. Marc Andria Maurizzi (France, 27), 9-10. Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kazakhstan), Leya Garifullina (FIDE) (21 each), 11. Vantika Agrawal (19), 12. Nurgyul Salimova (Bulgaria) (14), 13. B. Savitha Shri (13), 14. Zsoka Gaal (Hungary) (12), Maria Malicka (Poland) (4), Carissa Yip (USA) (0).
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