Russian Sergei Rublevski won the Aeroflot International Open Chess tournament that concluded at Moscow on Wednesday night. The best Indian performance came from GM Krishnan Sasikiran who, with a hard fought draw against GM Darmen Sadvakasov of Kazakhstan, tied for the fourth place.
Though GM Valerij Filippov of Russia, Rafael Vaganian of Armenia and Rublevski emerged with an identical score of 7 points from nine games, Rublevski won the tournament as he had played five blacks in nine rounds and had a better average rating of opponents than the other two.
Vaganian, who also played five games with black pieces ended second while Filippov had to be content with third place having played more whites.
The winner gets a chance to play in the next Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting to be held later this year in Germany where he will take on the best including World Rapid Champion Viswanthan Anand.
Last year's winner of the Aeroflot Open, GM Viktor Bologan of Moldova went on to win the Dortmund Chess beating the likes of Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Anand.
In the ninth and final round games, Vaganian and Rublevski had to work hard to score over Frenchman Joel Lautier and German Igor Khenkin respectively with black pieces while overnight leader Filippov took a safe draw with compatriot Pavel Tregubov.
Sasikiran tied for the fourth place with 12 others -- Tregubov, World Junior Champion Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Alexander Graf of Germany, Alexei Federov of Belarus, Tomasz Markowski of Poland, Loek Van Wely of Netherlands, Ferenc Berkes of Hungary, Kazakh duo of Pavel Kotsur and Sadvakasov and Russians Alexey Dreev, Konstantin Sakaev and Alexander Motylev -- who scored 6.5 points each.
The second highest rated Indian behind Anand seeded 11th in this tournament, finished 11th in the tie-break, having played whites, while Van Wely finished fourth.
In the final round, Sadvakasov who played black took Sasikiran to task and it took a good effort from the Indian to steer the game to equality. Playing white Sasikiran faced the Nimzo Indian and Sadvakasov equalised comfortably showing his preparation against the Capablanca variation.
Sasikiran was left to defend an inferior middle game but thanks to some well timed exchanges that led to sufficient counter attack, white was able to maintain the balance despite a pawn down in the ensuing rook and minor pieces endgame. The peace treaty was signed after 52 moves.
The other Indian players in the fray struggled in the last round though Lanka Ravi, who had a fine run in the first half of the tournament, put an end to his losing streak.
The IM who had been looking for his second GM norm here, drew with Sarhan Guliev of Azerbaijan to finish on 4 points.
Also finishing on 4 points was GM Sandipan Chanda who drew his final round game with Alexander Obukhov but GM Praveen Thipsay and IM Neelotpal Das lost their last games against Davit Shengelia of Georgia and Marat Makarov of Russia respectively.
Important results (final round):
Valerij Filippov (Rus, 7) drew with Pavel Tregubov (Rus, 6.5); Alexander Graf (Ger, 6.5) drew with Alexey Dreev (Rus, 6.5); Joel Lautier (Fra, 6) lost to Rafael Vaganian (Arm, 7); Igor Khenkin (Ger, 6) lost to Sergei Rublevsky (Rus, 7); Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind, 6.5) drew with Darmen Sadvakasov (Kaz, 6.5); Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov (Aze, 6.5) drew with Loek Van Wely (Ned, 6.5); Alexander Motylev (Rus, 6.5) drew with Alexei Fedorov (Blr, 6.5); Konstantin Sakaev (Rus, 6.5) beat Artashes Minasian (Arm, 5.5); Andrei Volokitin (Ukr, 5.5) lost to Tomasz Markowski (Pol, 6.5); Pavel Kotsur (Kaz, 6.5) beat Evgeniy Najer (Rus, 5.5); Sarhan Guliev (Aze, 4) drew with Lanka Ravi (Ind, 4); Alexander Obukhov (Rus, 4) drew with Sandipan Chanda (Ind, 4); Neelotpal Das (Ind, 3.5) lost to Davit Shengelia (Geo, 4.5) Marat Makarov (Rus, 4) beat Praveen Thipsay (Ind, 3)
Final Standings: 1-3: Rublevsky, Vaganian, Filippov 7 each; 4-16: Van Wely, Dreev, Tregubov, Sadvakasov, Markowski, Mamedyarov, Berkes, Sasikiran, Graf, Sakaev, Motylev, Fedorov, Kotsur 6.5 each.