Grandmaster SP Sethuraman wins Barcelona Open, Karthikeyan Murali takes third spot

By PTI

BARCELONA: Indian Grandmaster SP Sethuraman won the Barcelona Open chess tournament title here while compatriot Karthikeyan Murali finished third. Sethuraman (Elo 2644) collected 7.5 points from nine rounds to emerge winner on the basis of a better tie-break score after Daniil Yuffa of Russia also finished level with the Indian player.

In the ninth and final round played late on Thursday, Sethuraman beat Hakobyan in a Catalan Closed variation game. Sethuraman, who was the top seed, remained unbeaten through the nine rounds, winning six matches and drawing three.

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He finished strongly, scoring wins in his last three rounds, including over fellow Indian N R Visakh and Armenia’s Aram Hakobyan. “Elated to win the Barcelona Open 2021,” he tweeted after the win.

Sethuraman gained 8.5 Elo points thanks to the triumph while Murali (Elo 2606) increased his by 6.4 points. Sethuraman and Murali had played out a draw in the fifth round. Murali won six games, drew two and went down to Hakobyan in the sixth round.

He finished equal on seven points with four others, including fellow Indian Aravindh Chithambaram, but clinched the third spot on the basis of a better tie-break score. In the final round, Murali outplayed WGM R Vaishali in 30 moves.

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Chithambaram took the fifth spot while Arjun Kalyan (6.5 points) ended ninth, followed by Visakh in 10th place after a handful of players finished with 6.5 points. Indian International Master N R Vignesh and Vaishali scored six points to finish 15th and 16th respectively.

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