After Leon Luke Mendonca won the Challengers title, beating compatriot Divya Deshmukh in the final round, D. Gukesh battled brilliantly to tie the Tata Steel Masters crown before losing the title-deciding tie-break blitz game to eventual champion China’s Wei Yi at Wijk aan Zee, on Sunday.
The teenage Indian won his final round against Iranian Parham Maghsoodloo to be part of a four-way tie for the top spot at 8.5 points, with Wei Yi, Anish Giri and Nordirbek Abdusattorov. Wei prevailed over Vidit Gujrathi in the final round. The prize money was split among the top four finishers.
However, to decide the champion, as per tournament regulations, blitz semifinals were played involving all four toppers. Two blitz games, where each player received three minutes plus a two-second increment for each move, followed. In case the tie persisted, the players were to play ‘sudden-death’ games till the winner was found. In these games, white received 2.5 minutes to black’s 3.
As it turned out, Wei defeated Abdusattorov in the second blitz game after the first ended in a draw, to reach the final.
Gukesh lost the opening game with white to Anish but bounced right back to win the second with black. In the first sudden-death game, Gukesh prevailed with white pieces.
In the final, the first game ended in a draw, but in the second, Gukesh came under time pressure while playing from the black side, eventually blundered a rook and resigned in 59 moves.
Final standing (after 13 rounds):
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