Fabiano Caruana takes draw in final round to win the trophy
New Delhi, July 2: Fabiano Caruana took no chances and played a solid 30-move draw against Wesley So of the Philippines to take the title at the inaugural AAI Grandmasters Chess Tournament on Saturday. India’s Krishnan Sasikiran finished sole second, one point behind the winner.
The World Junior No. 1 Caruana of Italy emerged winner with seven points in the double round-robin Category 17 tournament. His only loss in the 10-round event came in the ninth round against Viktor Laznicka.
Sasikiran finished sole second with six points as he drew his final round against Women’s World champion Hou Yifan of China in Ruy Lopez Breyer where the Indian had black pieces.
In the third game of the day, Indian National champion Parimarjan Negi split the point with Viktor Laznicka of the Czech Republic from a 42-move Caro-Kann, which the Czech player admitted he knew nothing about.
Fabiano Caruana, winner of the AAI Grandmasters Chess tournament receives his trophy from Mr. VP Agrawal, Chairman of the Airport Authority of India
All players with Shri. V P Agrawal, Chairman Airports Authority of India
So the tournament that began with three decisive results two weeks ago ended with three draws on the final day. Replay the games with computer analysis.
The winner Caruana received the trophy from Mr. V P Agrawal, Chairman of the Airport Authority of India, and also the first prize of $ 8,000. Sasikiran’s winnings were $ 6,000 for the tournament. The third to sixth finishers received $ 4,000, $ 3,000, $ 2,000 and $ 1,500.
Caruana played d4 on the opening move, making it clear that he was not going to take any risks. He duly got his draw from a Catalan. “I thought I would play for a win if there was a way, but yes I was not going to take risks. I certainly did not want two losses. Except for that loss in ninth round (to Viktor Laznicka) it was a good tournament for me,” he said with a smile. “Overall it was a fine tournament and I enjoyed and it is always good to win a title.”
Fabiano Caruana with winners trophy
Fabiano Caruana receiving the prize
Mr. V P Agrawal, said, “It was great seeing six young Grandmasters battle it out for the last two weeks. I am sure many of these players will scale even greater heights in their career and this tournament will stand out in their memory. My congratulations to Fabiano Caruana, who lived up to his top seeding.”
Sasikiran was quite content with the latter part of the tournament. “After the two losses I had at the start of the tournament, I felt it was good recovery with four wins and four draws and no more losses,” he said. “In the final round I thought if I got a clear advantage I would try and go for a win. But it turned out to be a draw, which is fine.”
On the tournament overall, Sasi added, “I was playing a tournament at this level (Category 17) after a very long time. I enjoyed it but I would have liked to score a little more. I did have chances in some of the other games, but I suppose it is alright. Now I need to prepare and take some rest before the World Team Championships.”
GM Sasikiran receiving his runner up trophy
Viktor Laznicka re-iterated what he said earlier. “I was quite happy with the first part of the event, but the second half saw some poor play and I was very disappointed. Maybe the win over Caruana was the only high point for me in the second half,” said the Czech player.
Parimarjan Negi was somewhat disappointed with the tournament. “An even score or a plus one was my target, but it did not happen like that for me. It was a combination of small factors but hopefully I will quickly make up for this. Overall it was great to have a Category 17 event like this as it is very good for us Indians to have such events at home,” said Negi.
GM Parimarjan Negi signing the photograph with all players
Wesley So hoped he would be able to make amends on his next trip to India. “I enjoyed my visit, but I wish I could have played better. Maybe next time, but the tournament was very well conducted,” he said.
Hou Yifan, the Women’s World champion was happy with all the arrangements but was disappointed with her own results, which saw her finish last.
The ceremonial opening moves for the final round were made by Mr. V P Agrawal, Chairman of the Airport Authority of India.
The team of officials
Final standings after the tenth round:
7 points – Fabiano Caruana (Italy)
6 – Krishnan Sasikiran (India)
5.5 – Viktor Laznicka (Czech rep)
5 – Wesley So (Philippines)
3.5 – Parimarjan Negi (India)
3 – Hou Yifan (China)
Results of the tenth and final round: F Caruana drew with W So; H Yifan drew with K Sasikiran; Negi P drew with V Laznicka