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Rediff.com  » Sports » Anand, Humpy shine in 2006

Anand, Humpy shine in 2006

December 29, 2006 14:08 IST

Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy catapulted Indian chess to new heights while Parimarjan Negi also made his presence felt in the year gone by.

Anand led the way by winning the Corus Super Grandmasters championship for a record fifth time and in the process crossed the magic figure of ELO 2800 for the first time.

Anand became the only player in the tournament's 68-year-old history to win the event five times and there is no one following him to eclipse his record in the near future.

Humpy summed up the year by picking two gold medals -- in the women's rapid individual and mixed team -- as the sport made its debut at the Asian Games in Doha while Negi became the second-youngest ever Grandmaster in the history of chess.

The chess revolution started by Anand in the 1990s has now snowballed into a big machine and it was evident by the feats of Indian players with Negi becoming the 15th GM.

Mahesh Chandran, Neelotpal Das and Deepan Chakraborty also claimed the GM title this year apart from a host of International Masters and other title holders in the country.

It was a fairly successful year for world number two Anand, who rounded it off with the dominating win at the Tal Memorial Blitz event in Moscow, where he showed an uncanny consistency in winning the event with one round to spare.

He also recorded triumphs in Melody Amber Rapid and Blindfold tournament in Monaco and Chess Classic of Mainz.

At Monaco, Anand won for the fifth time and in the last four editions it was his third victory. He continued his winning streak in Mainz for the ninth time. One of the toughest challenges for 2006 was his rapid match against Teimour Radjabov at Mainz. This is Anand's favourite hunting ground having collected seven black jackets in seven years. The young Azerbajani is seen as one of the most talented youngsters of Generation Next

Anand once again won the event in Leon, where he beat Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. He also came close to winning blitz events in Reykjavik, Iceland and Israel, but finished only third.

Topalov also had to taste defeat against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the world championships, which would go down in the history as 'toilet-gate'. Topalov accused the Russian of cheating by taking frequent toilet breaks during the championship.

It was not a blemish free year for Anand as well as he bit the dust at the Olympiad in Turin. The Indian team started as favourites being the second seed but finished 15th.

Not only the whole team was out-of-form, Anand was also a mere shadow of himself not being able to help the team's cause. He also ended up losing his precious ELO points in the championships reverting back in the 2700.

Having burnt his fingers once, Anand pulled out of another team event at the Asian Games but Humpy made up for his absence.

Anand wanted to play only in the men's individual rapid events while skip the team chess event which was played in the classical format but the tournament rules did not allow it.

Humpy, who had defeated former world champion Anatoly Karpov of Russia just before the Doha event, reaffirmed her stronghold in the format winning the women's rapid event with a full point margin.

Humpy also won the mixed team event with Krishnan Sasikiran and P Harikrishna. The manner of their win in team championships with more than a round to spare indicated India's dominance despite the presence of China, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

In fact, the Chinese team were so disappointed that they may not include the sport in the next edition in Guangzhau, China in 2010.

Humpy also continued to reign among the women Grandmasters in the world as Judit Polgar plays only in men's competition and is ranked 16th in FIDE charts.

Negi had a specially eventful year as he entered into 2006 with the IM title and his first GM-norm. He immediately pocketed the second GM-norm at the Parsvnath Championships in Delhi and the third one in Satka, Russia to complete the formalities to become the GM within six months like Anand.

He became GM at 13 years after Sergei Karjakin of Ukraine achieved the feat at 12 years. Negi is now youngest GM of India after Harikrishna bagged the honour at 15. At present, he is the youngest GM in the world.

He was also invited for the prestigious Cap d'Agde rapid championships in France, however, could not sum it up so well as he lost to Kateryna Lahno of Ukraine 7-11 in the match-play event at Delhi.

Juniors did extremely well at the World Age group championships in Georgia, where India won the top honours with 10 medals, five of which were gold.

At the Asian Junior girls championships, 17-year-old Mary Ann Gomes of Kolkata won the title at New Delhi with Kiran Monisha Mohanty in second place and Lakhsmi Sahiti third to make a clean sweep of medals in the girls section.

Among the boys, M Shyam Sundar, a ninth standard school student from Chennai who became India's youngest International Master, grabbed a silver behind Vietnamese grandmaster Nguyen Ngoc Truongson who took the title on better tie-break. The third place went to Gogineni Rohit of India.

India also emerged as the most dominant country by completing its richest haul of medals in the history of the World Youth Chess Championship winning five gold, two silver and three bronze medals at Batumi in Georgia.

India's haul was better than even hosts Georgia, who had only two gold in their six medals.

India surpassed the previous best of two titles and three medals achieved in 2000. The winners being G Koushik (Boys U-10), Mohineesh (Boys U-8), D Harika (Girls U-18) Sahajasri (Girls U-10) and Ivana Furtado (Girls U-8) won the World Age Group Titles for India, who won a record 10 medals.

At the Asian Youth chess championships in Iran also India won all eight gold medals. S Nitin and Bhakti Kulkarni won U-14, Mehar Chinna Reddy and Padmini Rout won U-12, G V Sai Krishna and Sahajasri won U-10 and Prince Bajaj and Sweety Patel took he the U-8, leaving little for other teams.

Amongst other successes for India was one title and four medals overall in the Asian Under-16 and 18 Championships at Kyrgyzstan. P Lakshmi Sahiti of Andhra Pradesh scored seven points from nine rounds to win the Girls Under-16 section.

 

Sheelpa Kothari
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