Well, it was always going to be a tense affair going into the final round – almost all the titles (Commonwealth Men’s, Women’s and Scottish Champion) were still up for grabs and a degree in FIDE tiebreak systems was needed to work out the possible permutations!
Abhijit Gupta had led al the way after blasting his way to 6/6 followed by 2 draws, while Aravindh, Sengupta, Grover and Debashis were all just half a point off the pace. When Debashis could make no headway on board 3, and Sengupta won a fierce battle against Grover on Board 2 (which I’m hoping he will annotate for the next issue of Scottish Chess magazine) it all came down to the top board battle between GM Gupta and the 14-year old ‘wunderkind’ IM Chithambaram Aravindh.
So the end result was that GM Sengupta and IM Aravindh finished tied on 7.5/9 with Deep Sengupta lifting the trophy on tie-break.
The Women’s title was just as hard fought, and eventually it was WGM Bhakti Kulkarni who prevailed on tie-break ahead of WGM Soumya Swaminathan. IM Tania Sachdev, who has graced these blog posts (rather too much some might say!) over the last 9 days came third after losing her final round game. Here is the new champion’s final round game….
The Scottish Champion for 2014 was anyone’s guess at the start of play. GM Colin McNab, IM Mark Orr and FM Alan Tate were all tied on 5.5/8 with a swarm of hopefuls on 5/8 (including yours truly) desperate to win and see the top 3 fail. Tiebreaks seemed to favour Colin McNab, but he failed to get anywhere against Peter Constantinou and had to accept a draw and 6/9. With Mark Orr losing a sharp battle to GM Dibyendu Barua, this left Alan Tate needing to win his game to lift the title. A long, hard struggle, which seemed destined to end in a repetition at several points, finally went Alan’s way when he discovered a chink in his opponent’s defensive armour! Alan has kindly agreed to annotate this game for the next issue of Scottish Chess magazine, so for now here is the bare score for you all to enjoy.
Congratulations to all the champions, including all the junior medallists whom I haven’t had space or time to follow this week.
[from this morning] I will write a more detailed final round report later once I have some photos from the prize-giving ceremony, but in the meantime here is my own final-round game for you all to play through…
#Click on e7 square to flip board#
7 out of the top 10 boards were drawn today, but that statistic doesn’t reflect the fighting nature of the games! GM Gupta seemed to overplay his initiative, but held the draw easily enough and produced a nice trick in doing so.
Romanian IM Vlad Barnaure may not be eligible for either the Scottish or the Commonwealth titles, but he’s having a big say in who those champions will be after defeating top Scottish GM Colin McNab today.
The Scottish title is now well and truly up for grabs with 3 players on 5 and a half points and a mass just behind on 5/8. All to play for tomorrow then, and your scribe might event lift the title if 5 or 6 (only!) results go my way
My game today was quite interesting, with several spectators watching the tricky ending which occurred.
Things are hotting up at the top, and today’s games featured a lot of brutally quick wins. I thought the top board might be one of them when tournament leader and top-seed GM Abhijit Gupta seemed to catch his opponent unprepared in a sharp line of the Nimzo-Indian, but GM Babu Lalith finally worked his way through the options to reach equality and take the first half-point from Gupta.
Wins for Sengupta, Aravindh and Debashis mean that the top 5 boards tomorrow will be all-Indian affairs! I expect no quarter will be given and look forward to some really interesting chess.
Just off the top boards there were some very sharp battles, not least of which was England’s FM Peter Constantinou’s win against Ian Robertson which he has very kindly annotated for this blog and is a game well- worth playing through.
My own tournament continued it’s disheartening yo-yo effect – wins with white against weaker opposition followed by painful defeats with Black against the titled players, viz;
The ‘Gupta Express’ shows no signs of slowing down! Abhijit saw off his main rival on top board today and it’s not clear who, if anyone, will prevent him from running up a cricket score and taking the title?!
The leading scots, GM Colin McNab and Clement Sreeves, fought to the bitter end but neither could avoid the draw, while Romanian IM Vlad Barnaure and Kiwi IM Puchen Wang are the leading non-Indians going into the final 3 rounds.
The big match-up of the day was, of course, myself against my little brother Walter. Not a pairing either of us wanted or were happy about, but sometimes you just have to get on with it! Tournament organiser Alex MacFarlane did apologise for not spotting it and changing it though.
Lots of decisive results on the top boards today, exceptions being Colin McNab’s solid draw with Black against GM Roy Chowdury and England’s Peter Batchelor taking a half-point from IM Arghyadip Das.
The game of the round though had to be the match-up between IM Tania ‘too stunningly beautiful to be true’ Sachdev and Andrew ‘the perfect face for radio’ Burnett…
If anyone thought the Indian players were going to go easy on each other and save their energy for thumping the rest of the field, today’s play dispelled that notion! Top seed Abhijit Gupta saw off fellow Indian GM Sahaj Grover and looks to be a class above the rest of the field at the moment.
Former Commonwealth champion GM Colin McNab from Dundee had a long but relatively uneventful draw with GM Lalith on board 2 while my conqueror from yesterday, the 14-year old IM Aravindh, was shown no mercy by 3rd seed Deep ‘Thought’ Sengupta.
My own game today was a decent affair – a tough struggle with an unfortunate ending (though in my favour, fortunately!)
With the Live games having disappeared from view for the evening I’ll have to fill the space with some pics. Let’s start with my favourite for 2nd place in the tournament…
BREAKING NEWS! The round 5 pairings have gone up as I speak (write/blog/whatever) – board 12: IM Tania Sachdev v Andrew Burnett. My atheism is renounced! OK, time for some preparation….deodorant? check. Mouthwash? Check. Shave? Check. Kilt? Check. Unavoidable ugliness and advancing years? Doh!
The match-ups were getting more serious today with the titled players clashing for the first time. On top board it looked like my tournament favourite – and you can read this anyway you like – IM Tania Sachdev had an over-whelming position against top-seed GM Abhijit Gupta, but somehow the tactics back-fired and eventually her poor little knight couldn’t stop the space-invader pawns.
On board 8 one of the other GM’s, Dibyendu Barua, did actually lose when his attack stalled against his talented 15-year old compatriot Nubairshah.
Elsewhere, Walter Buchanan continued his fine form with another draw, this time with 2359-rated WGM MaryAnn Gomes, while the young South African Roland Bezuidenhout (2002) toppled Scottish IM Craig Pritchett.
My own game left me cursing my own stupidity and chess-blindness…
Hotter than Hell in the playing hall today, which surely must give the Indians and South Africans an unfair advantage? Despite wilting badly towards the end of the game, I managed to score another victory, this time against one of the Indian contingent, rated 1930, which you can play through below.
Elsewhere, very few upsets on the top 20 boards although Walter Buchanan’s draw against Kiwi IM Puchen Wang was an excellent result. Here’s the game with brief notes…
P.S. My top tip for the tournament winner? Tania Sachdev
My tournament got off to a good start against one of the South African squad who made the long journey to Glasgow, many juniors among them. Hopefully I will find time to post about other games during the week, but travelling to and fro from Fife each day doesn’t leave much time or energy! Anyway, the game is below – comments/questions welcomed.
P.S. My top tip for the tournament winner? Tania Sachdev