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Monday, December 16, 2013

London Chess Classic 2013: Jon Ludvig Hammer wins Open Section

London, Dec 15: Grandmaster and former world junior chess champion Abhijeet Gupta went down fighting against Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway and had to settle for a tied seventh place finish in the open section of London Classic here today. 

After a disappointing exit by former world champion Viswanathan Anand from the quarterfinal of the premier event, Gupta, too, could not make it to the podium as he lost his way against Hammer. 
Hammer won the open section scoring 7.5 points and Abhijeet ended on 6.5. Among other Indians in the fray in the last round, Tania Sachdev and Eesha Karavade also ended on the losing side against Peter Sowray of England and Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova, respectively. Eesha finished the tournament on six points, while Tania scored five points out of a possible nine. Grandmasters D Harika and M Shyam Sundar finished on a positive note by winning the last round games with both scoring six points in all. 

It was an anti-Grunfeld defense by Hammer that allowed Gupta to equalise early but the Norwegian kept pressing on the queen side. Gupta sacrificed two pawns to lure the white queen out but missed out on a forced draw vide a piece sacrifice in the middle game. 
Once on top Hammer gave no chances. 

Meanwhile, Hikaru Nakamura of United States deservedly won the premier event and took home a first prize of 50000 Euros defeating Boris Gelfand of Israel in the final. 

Nakamura was at his creative best in the first game with white pieces where he outplayed Gelfand from a Grunfeld defense and then drew the second game easily to win the two games mini-match by 1.5-0.5. 

Earlier in the semifinal, Nakamura put it across Vladimir Kramnik of Russia after surviving some scare in the first game. The American had things under control in the second game that he won to reach the final. 

In the other semifinal, Gelfand accounted for English Michael Adams in a tense affair winning the first game and drawing the second to set up the clash with Nakamura. 

The Indian challenge here had ended with the ouster of Anand who lost to Kramnik in the quarterfinal after a fine performance that saw him finish tied first in the preliminaries. -- PTI


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