Entrance to the venue in the western Indian city of Pune (formally "Poona")
India’s first Super GM tournament (Category 16, average rating 2630) finished last Sunday with two players finishing in the top slot: Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania and FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov.
The winner of Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu with Mayors Trophy
The newly crowned World Champion proved that he is made of sterner stuff. While some of the Puneites still deliberated the pronunciation of his name, Rustam Kasimdzhanov shared first place in the Category 16 event that was part of Pune International Chess festival.
It was a special treat for Kasimdzhanov’s fans in the last round as he defeated Emil Sutovsky to finally catch up with Nisipeanu who played out a quick draw with Abhijit Kunte to end his campaign with plus 3.
Rustam Kasimdzhanov in chess-is-so-hard mode before his eighth round draw against Pentala Harikrishna
Harikrishna finished clear third on plus 1, a good achievement considering the fact that he was the one liven things up after beating Nisipeanu who was riding in top gear till then.
Surya Sekhar Ganguly vs Alexander Beliavsky
"Gentleman" Alexander Beliavsky and Zurab Azmaiparashvili finished with a 50% score while Krishnan Sasikiran, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Sandipan Chanda had to be content with 4/9. Of the trio, Chanda was worst hit towards the finish, losing last two games against Kunte and Sasikiran.
Emil Sutovsky (left) seems to sense that he's going to lose this one to Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu
As is evident from the cross table, Sutovsky’s ammunitions did not quite work. As a matter of fact he was the one everyone was putting his money on (not quite so, as betting in India is prohibited) but then somehow the former World Junior Champion failed to click and finished at the bottom of the tables on 3.5/9 along with Kunte.
Zurab Azmaiparashvili drew with India's Number two GM Krishnan Sasikiran
In many of the top events the last round is normally devoid of much excitement as the final result is usually objectively decided. However this is not good for our game that is in dire need of Corporate Sponsorship. The problem has been discussed at length by various flag bearers of the game. But it has remained just that: a problem.
Top foreign seeds Nisipeanu, Sutovsky, Kasimdzhanov and Azmaiparashvili
With all due respect to Nisipeanu (he did excellently in the event, other than in the last round) the final draw was what can be best described as a damp squib. “It was perhaps not good but a practical decision”, is how he himself explained after the game. But then unless the excitement pursues with the media and the audience till the very end, are the sponsors to be blamed for lack of interest or as some say, little mass appeal? Let's add another view, a request to that already long list. A game must be played.
Sandipan Chanda with local chess fans (photo by Manisha Mohite)
In any case Kasimdzhanov made up for Nisipeanu in his last game. And of course Sutovsky must be commended for his enterprising style.
The two at the top of the final tables: Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu (photo by Manisha Mohite)
From Indian perspective the event added a few Elo points to everyone except Sasikiran who lost 10. The open event was won by Marat Dzhumaev of Uzbekistan who pocketed more than anyone else in prize money. A cool US $3000.
Sunderrajan Kidambi in national dress during one of the games; Krutika Niadig, national junior girls champion (photos by Manisha Mohite)
This was the first time for Pune organizers. Yet there were few problems. A good teamwork that was sometimes subdued by the occasional power-cut. They plan for more. Way to go!
The Shindyanchichathri in Pune