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Vidit finishes ahead of Anand, Surya in world rapid chess
Archiman Bhaduri | TNN | Dec 29, 2016, 10.35 PM IST

Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly hogged the spotlight in his opening match where he gave world champion Magnus Carlsen a fright, but the real surprise of the World Rapid Chess tournament that concluded in Doha on Wednesday was GM Vidit Gujrathi who emerged as the top Indian performer in the three-day tournament.

Ganguly had Carlsen on the ropes and came within three moves of checkmating him in the first round. The Norwegian, however, managed to hold on for a draw. Ganguly later failed to capitalize on his good show and lost his next three games (sixth to eighth rounds).

Despite the presence of India’s top-ranked player Viswanathan Anand in the field, it was Gujrathi who compelled attention in the 15-round tournament. The 22-year-old finished with 9.5 points – half-a-point ahead of Anand – in eighth place. Anand ended 16th.

The Nashik boy, seeded 51st, gained 75 Elo points from this meet as his rapid rating rose to 2718. It capped a fine year for Vidit who had also enjoyed a very good outing at the Chess Olympiad.

Vidit made a great start, winning his first three games in Doha. Although he lost to Carlsen in the 12th round, he drew against the Norwegian’s World Championship challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia and defeated Polish and French GMs Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, respectively.

Anand too had his chances and would have been in contention for a podium finish had he not lost his 14th-round game against eventual winner Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk. That was the only match the five-time world champion lost in the meet, winning four and drawing 10. Vidit, on the other hand, recorded eight wins, three draws and 4 losses. Ganguly finished on a par with Anand on points but was placed 21st in overall standings.

Carlsen staged a remarkable comeback to clinch the bronze after ending tied on 11 points with Ivanchuk and Russian GM Alexander Grischuk. Ivanchuk, however, edged past both on tie-break.

In the women’s section, India’s Koneru Humpy finished 10th with 7 points while Dronavalli Harika (6.5) was placed 16th in the 12-round competition which was won by Ukrainian GM Anna Muzychuk with 9.5 points.
HOW INDIANS FARED
 
Men:
V Gujrathi: 9.5pts (8th); V Anand: 9 pts (16th); SS Ganguly 9pts (21st); B Adhiban 8.5pts (34th); Lalith Babu 7.5pts (60th); Debasish Das 7pts (70th); Neelotpal Das 6pts (90th).
Women: K Humpy 7pts (10th), D Harika 6.5pts (16th).
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