By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Grandmaster P Iniyan became the first Indian to win the annual World Open chess tournament last month. The results of the competition were officially announced on Thursday after a fair play analysis conducted by the organisers.
Usually held in Philadelphia, the event — in its 48th year — was held online due to the prevailing covid-19 situation.
The 9-round event, played in classical time control, saw Iniyan and Russian Grandmaster Sjugiro Sanan tie for the first place with 7.5 points each. However, Iniyan was declared the winner thanks to his better tie break scores.
After starting off his campaign with a draw, Iniyan hit a purple patch — winning the next 6 games in-a-row -– before drawing the last two clashes. Iniyan’s strong performance made him richer by $3100.
“It is a great feeling to be the first Indian to win this competition. This will rank as one of the biggest wins of my career,” the 17-year-old told TOI.
The tournament, played in American time zone, meant that Iniyan had to train at night in order to be battle-ready. “We were playing our games from 9.30pm till 6 in the morning. Playing in the American time was very difficult and I had to train for a week or so at nights before the start of the tournament,” he said.
A total of 122 participants from 16 countries like India, US, UK, Russia, Spain, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Poland, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Israel, Bangladesh, Mexico, Peru and Cuba featured in the tournament.