Gibraltar: Grandmaster K. Sasikiran was denied a podium finish by Nigel Short of England in the 10th and final round of Tradewise Gibraltar chess tournament.

In a nail-biting finish, Short defeated world women’s champion Yifan Hou of China in the tiebreaker to win the tournament in style. Yifan, who had led the tournament going in to the final game, played out a hard-fought draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan to set up the tiebreaker with Short, which the Chinese lost by 0.5-1.5 margin after two games.

For his efforts Short won the winner’s purse of 20000 pounds sterling. He also won 5000 pounds for being the best player among Commonwealth countries in this event. Meanwhile, despite her superlative performance right through the tournament, Yifan had to be content with the second spot and was awarded 22000 pounds in all that included the best woman prize.

It was a four-way tie for the third spot and finishing on 7.5 points were Mamedyarov, Michael Adams of England, Viktor Bologan of Moldova and Emil Sutovsky of Israel. After the loss on Friday, Sasikiran was relegated to the joint eighth spot on seven points and giving him company among others was Parimarjan Negi, who played out a draw with Le Quang Liem of Vietnam.

Having done well in the initial stages, Grandmaster G.N. Gopal missed the thread towards the end and finished on 6.5 points in all. In the final round Gopal drew with former world women’s champion Zhu Chen of Qatar.

Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta also finished with 6.5 points following a draw with Del Rio De Angelis Salvador of Spain. It was a disastrous start for Gupta that probably set the tune for the tournament after a first round loss. Koneru Humpy could not finish in top three in the women’s section after a draw with Natalia Zhukova in the final round.

While Humpy finished on just six points, Judit Polgar finished second amongst women, scoring seven points in the final tally. Soumya Swaminathan also scored six points, while Sohan Phadke ended with 5.5 points in all.

(Agencies)