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Negi finishes joint-first

May 28, 2007 00:00 IST

Parimarjan Negi, the world's youngest Grandmaster, had to be content with a shared first place in the World Youth Star chess tournament after losing the final round to GM Sergei Zhigalko of Belarus.

On a nerve-wrecking final day, overnight joint-leader with Negi and World junior champion Zaven Andriasian of Armenia also suffered defeat at the hands of Rauf Mamedov of Azerbaijan.

The losses of tournament leaders in the final round paved the way for Mamedov and top seed Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia to finish in a four-way tie at the top on 7 points each.

In the final round game, Nepomniachtchi drew with GM Yuriy Kuzubov of Ukraine.

In the final standings, Nepomniachtchi was declared winner on the best tie-break score while Mamedov, who was the only undefeated player in the tournament finished second.

Negi ended third while Andriasian had to be satisfied with a fourth place finish.

Overall, it was a fine outing for youngest participant Negi in the unique event that featured some of the finest talents in the world.

For the record, Negi lost two games, won five and drew the remaining four to pocket 7 points. Negi's expected score in the tournament was around 5.5 points and the Indian also stands to gain around 15 Elo rating points.

In the final game, Negi was caught off guard in the opening itself. It was a side variation in the Sicilian defense wherein Zhigalko as white was on the top winning a pawn early in the game.

Negi attempted for counter play in the endgame but the position was already beyond repairs and showing immaculate technique, Zhigalko romped in 48 moves.

This was incidentally Zhigalko's third victory on the trot after an indifferent start.

Andriasian was also comprehensively beaten by Mamedov in another Sicilian of the day. The Rauzer attack gave Mamedov enough piece play in the middle game and he topped it with

fine endgame technique after parting for two pieces for a rook. The game lasted 44 moves.

Nepomnaichtchi could do little against Kuzubov, who played the white side of a Queen pawn game. The Russian sacrificed a piece to get perpetual checks in his last game of the event.

Results final round: Sergei Zhigalko (Bel, 6) beat Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 7); Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 7) beat Zaven Andriasian (Arm, 7); Yuriy Kuzubov (Ukr, 5.5) drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 7); Daniil Lintchevsky (Rus, 5) beat Eduard Gorovykh (Rus, 3.5); Ivan Popov (Rus, 4.5) beat Avetik Grigoryan (Arm, 6); Safarli Eltaj (Aze, 4) drew with Falko Bindrich (Ger, 3.5).

Final standings: 1-4. Nepomniachtchi, Mamedov, Negi, Andriasian 7 each; 5-6. Grigoryan, Zhigalko 6 each; 7. Kuzubov 5.5; 8. Lintchevsky 5; 9. Popov 4.5; 10. Eltaj 4; 11-12. Bindrich, Gorovykh 3.5 each.

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