Grand Master  Pantsulia Levan  retains crown

Mumbai: GM Pantsulaia Levan of Georgia retained his crown by finishing at the top of the leader-board with an overall tally of 8 points at the end of the 10th and final round of the LIC 7th Mumbai Mayor’s Cup International Open Chess Tournament, organised by Venus Chess Academy at the Thakur College, here, on Monday.

Meanwhile, there was cheer for India as IM Himanshu Sharma earned the first of the three GM Norms, required to graduate into a Grandmaster. Sharma along with four other players —  GM Aleksandrov Aleksej of Belarus, GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil of Georgia, GM Amonatov Farrukh of Tajikistan and Russian GM Ovetchkin Roman all ended up with 7.5 points each.

The Indian was placed third behind Aleksej on the basis of the Buchholz (tie-breaker) score. Mikheil, Farrukh and Roman grabbed the next three places. The last and final round witnessed a spate of draws with Levan (ELO 2577), who started with a full point lead play out a safe draw with Tajikistan’s Amonatov Farrukh (ELO 2609) on the top board.  The half point from the tie ensured Levan clinch the top position.

On the second board, Sharma (ELO 2372) playing with black pieces did well to share honours with Mikheil (ELO 2632) and Aleksej split a point with Roman in another stalemate.Earlier in the 9th round, Levan without taking undue risks against countryman GM Gangunashvili Merab (ELO 2562) played a quick draw in just 15 moves, while Aleksej was engaged in a long battle with Sharma before they settled for a draw after 66 moves.

Meanwhile, WGM Bhakti Kulkarni claimed an IM norm in the tournament as she held GM Harutjunyan Gevorg (ELO 2434) for a draw with black pieces.

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