CHENNAI: Remaining undefeated, Krishnan Sasikiran triumphed in the Rilton Cup in Stockholm recently. It was his second title in the last few months after the Benasque Open in the second half of 2016.
The Indian GM secured 7.5 points to win by half a point. Russia’s Sergei Volkov (7) finished second and former world championship challenger Gata Kamsky (6.5) third.
Four straight victories from the fifth to eighth rounds helped Sasikiran win the tournament. He had the best performance rating (2789) in the tournament, besides gaining 13.3 rating points. Importantly, Sasikiran has got his mojo back after poor outings in 2015 resulted in the loss of more than 40 rating points.
He has been getting better with every tournament and won an individual silver medal (5.5/6, sixth board) in the European Club Cup last November representing Czech team Ave Novy Bor. Shifting from the queen pawn opening (1. d4) to king pawn opening (1. e4) has benefited him, as the results indicate.
Indian GM Sundararajan Kidambi, who has worked a lot with Sasikiran at the early stages of their careers, had this to say on his performance: “Superb win! He is back to his old risk brand chess, making sacrifices to imbalance the position and go for win until the final resource is exhausted.”
Kidambi added: “Even though he hasn’t got back to his best rating, he is definitely on a great comeback spree and hopefully will be back to his best soon.”“He always fights to the hilt on the board, and it all came good at Rilton Cup, especially his calculation,” said IM Venkatachalam Saravanan on Sasikiran’s win.
Rilton Cup was a fruitful tournament for Indians in general. Swapnil Dhopade (6.5, fifth) and M Shyam Sundar (6.5, 10th), one of India’s most improved player, performed well, while Sankalp Gupta and CM Prince Bajaj made IM norms.
Sengupta top in London
Deep Sengupta made it a double delight for Indians by winning the Hastings Masters in London with a score of seven points in nine rounds. He sealed the title with a victory over Karthikeyan Murali in the final round.
It was Deep Sengupta’s biggest win after the Commonwealth Championship in 2014. Another highlight of the tournament for India was R Praggnanandhaa, who took the third spot.