Dubai, September 4
Grandmaster Aravindh Chithambaram emerged champion in the 22nd Dubai Open chess tournament here on Sunday, with 7.5 points as seven Indians finished in the top 10 with R Praggnanandhaa sharing second spot with five others.
The 22-year-old Chithambaram and Praggnanandhaa settled for a draw in the ninth and final round which enabled the former finish with seven points, half a point ahead of the rest of the field.
The former Indian national champion, seeded 13th, remained unbeaten through the nine rounds, winning six games and drawing three. His victories included those against Rinat Jumabayev and in-form compatriot Arjun Erigaisi.
Five players finished on seven points and in joint second spot—Praggnanandhaa, top-seed Alexandr Predke, Indians Abhijeet Gupta, Jaykumar Sammed Shete and S P Sethuraman.
Praggnanandhaa, who has been in good form this year and recently defeated world No.1 Magnus Carlsen in the FTX Crypto Cup in Miami, began with a bang by winning four straight games. A loss at the hands of Kazakhstan GM Rinat Jumabayev pegged him back.
Erigaisi, after a bright start, fell behind and finished with 6.5 points to take 7th place. Fellow Indian GM Harsha Bharathakoti took the 10th place.
“Double dhamaka! Congratulations @pawnof64squares Aravindh Chithambaram for winning @dubaichess Dubai open convincingly with 7.5/9 points and for younger cub @rpragchess for coming second! Proud of you kutties!,” Grandmaster R B Ramesh, coach of Chithambaram and Praggnanandhaa tweeted.
Meanwhile, Indian IM Jaykumar Shete from Kolhapur played some fine chess to finish with seven points from nine rounds in a strong field, defeating three GMs. His best win came against Armenian GM Aram Hakobyan in the last round.
A bunch of other Indians—Arjun Kalyan, Raunak Sadhwani and Sahaj Grover—finished in the top 20 in the tournament which featured 150 players.