Viktor Laznicka’s ‘most cherished title’

One needs the right break at the right time and I believe this win will mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life. — Viktor Laznicka-S. PATRONOBISH

The tournament, organised by the Alekhine Chess Club, was the second strongest Open in Asia going by the number of GMs who participated here. and the strongest in Asia considering the average rating of the participants, writes S. Sabanayakan.

Grandmaster Viktor Laznicka of the Czech Republic won the title in the third Kolkata Open chess tournament recently. The fourth-seed not only proved to be the most consistent player of the 10-round Swiss League tournament but also the most productive.

Laznicka, 20, en route to winning the “most cherished title” of his career, edged Indian GM Krishnan for the top place after both the players were tied at 8.5 points. In the tie-breaker, the Czech clinched the issue and took the first prize of Rs. 2 lakhs.

“This is the most important victory of my career,” an excited Laznicka said. “This is one of the strongest tournaments I have played in and I am very satisfied with my performance. I am equally happy with the manner in which I progressed and won the championship.”

The Czech GM said that this important victory in his career would encourage him to perform better in future tournaments. “One needs the right break at the right time and I believe this win will mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life,” he said.

Sasikiran was the favourite to win the tournament, going by the Elo rating. His rating of 2677 was the best in the tournament which also included 29 foreign players of FIDE rating among whom 17 were either IM or GM title holders. While gracefully accepting the runner-up prize and Rs. 1,60,000, Sasikiran said that two draws in the first four rounds ruined his chances. “Laznicka did very well to win the title. As far as I am concerned the two draws in the initials stages caused the setback,” he said.

“There was a two-and-a-half month layoff before this tournament that did not help me. I was a bit rusty to start with and it took some time for me to settle down.

“I regained my form as the championship progressed. I am sure this second place finish will do me a lot of good in the future tournaments,” Sasikiran said.

S. Arun Prasad completed his final GM norm.-R.V. MOORTHY

GM Safin Shukhrat of Uzbekistan finished third and pocketed Rs. 1,20,000. GM Sandipan Chanda, GM Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh and GM Koneru Humpy followed in that order.

If Sasikiran’s failure to win the championship was the biggest disappointment for the local chess lovers, the display of second-seed Smbat G. Lputian was nothing short of a disaster. The Grandmaster from Armenia finished a poor 17th in overall standings with 6.5 points. So was the case of third-seeded Koneru Humpy of India, who finished sixth.

The man who made a steady progress to finish third was Uzbekistan’s Shukhrat Safin. He was consistent and calculative in his game plan. GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran and GM Nguyen Anh Dung of Vietnam were not up to the mark. World junior champion Adly Ahmed of Egypt, too, found the going tough in the later stages when the big guns began to boom.

The surprise of the tournament was Indian IM S. Arun Prasad. The lanky lad showed enough fortitude to complete his third GM norm. He began the tournament with an Elo rating of 2423 and achieved the mandatory third GM norm. The FIDE will confer the title once he reaches 2500 points.

Young Arghyadip Das, too, completed his third IM norm and awaits the title ratification by the world body. Another Indian to achieve the final IM norm was M. S. Thejkumar. Kerala’s A. G. Nimmy gained her first WIM norm as well.

The All India Chess Federation secretary, D. V. Sundar, pointed out that many Indian players went to other countries to play and earn norms till recently. “Now enough top-level tournaments are being organised in India and many foreign players come to India in search of norms.”

The tournament, organised by the Alekhine Chess Club, was the second strongest Open in Asia going by the number of GMs who participated here and the strongest in Asia considering the average rating of the participants.

The presence of two Indian Super GMs, Sasikiran and Humpy, did enhance the rating of the tournament considerably.

TOP 20 WITH POINTS & PRIZE MONEY

1. GM Viktor Laznicka (Czech Republic) 8.5 points — Rs. 2,00,000

2. GM Krishnan Sasikiran (India) 8.5 — Rs. 1,60, 000

3. GM Safin Shukhrat (Uzbekistan) 7.5 — Rs. 1,20,000

4. GM Sandipan Chanda (India) 7 — Rs. 1,00,000

5. GM Ziaur Rahman (Bangladesh) — Rs. 50,000 6. GM Koneru Humpy (India) 7 — Rs. 28,000 7. Rolando Nolte (Philippines) 7 — Rs. 24,000

8. GM Alberto David (Luxembourg) 7 — Rs. 18,000

9. IM S. Arun Prasad (India) 7 — Rs. 16,000 10. IM Ashwin Jayaram (India) 7 — Rs. 14,000

11. GM Nguyen Anh Dung (Vietnam) 6.5 — Rs. 14,000

12. GM Adly Ahmed (Egypt) 6.5 — Rs. 14,000 13. GM Tejas Bakre (India) 6.5 — Rs. 14,000 14. IM Saptarshi Roy (India) 6.5 — Rs. 14,000 15. GM R. B. Ramesh (India) 6.5 — Rs. 14,000 16. GM Dibyendu Barua (India) 6.5 — Rs. 8,000

17. GM Smbat G. Lputian (Armenia) 6.5 — Rs 8,000

18. IM Sundararajan Kidambi (India) 6.5 — Rs. 8,000

19. GM Abdulla Al-Rakib (Bangladesh) 6.5 — Rs. 8,000

20. GM Neelotpal Das (India) 6.5 — Rs. 8,000