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Maiden GM norm for Abhijeet Gupta

July 18, 2006 18:46 IST

Teenager Abhijeet Gupta bagged his maiden Grandmaster norm after a sparkling performance in the 24th Andorra International Open Chess tournament, in Andorra La Vella, last week.

Gupta scored an impressive victory over Sasha Kaplan of Israel in the ninth and final round to tally 6.5 points, which was enough for his first GM norm.

The former national junior champion, who was seeded 25th, was among a pack of eight on joint second, half a point adrift of winner Igor Khenkin of Germany, but finished sixth after the tie-break was resolved on Sunday.

Apart from the GM norm, the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) player also stands to gain around 23 Elo points.

Abhijeet's was class act in his effort against Kaplan who played the white side of Sicilian Alapin.

The 16-year old Bhilwara Boy, who required a victory with black for GM norm, came out with some strong tactical chess to beat the Israeli in 42 moves.

Abhijeet had become the youngest International Master of the country at the age of 15 in August last year. He also entered the Limca Book of Records, becoming the youngest National junior (under-19) champion at 13 years and 10 days.

He has won 14 international medals, including six gold medals from the Asian, Commonwealth and British age-group championships.

Meanwhile, another teenager S P Sethuraman made his second IM norm after winning his final round game to finish with 6 points.

GM Khenkin won the tournament with a fine victory over local challenge GM Oscar De La Riva Aguado in the final round.

IM Lanka Ravi missed his second GM norm by a whisker after he failed to defend his position against Maxim Rodshtein of Israel.

Ravi needed a draw in last round for the norm while a victory would have given him his first International open title.

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