Abhijeet Gupta Wins Commonwealth Championship
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The 2013 Commonwealth Open Championship in Port Elizabeth, South Africa ended in a three-way tie for first place between Abhijeet Gupta of India, Sergey Fedorchuk of Ukraine and Sergey Tiviakov of the Netherlands. The three grandmastes scored 9 points out of 11 rounds. Gupta had the best tiebreak and was declared the winner.
The Commonwealth Championship is an event especially for players from the Commonwealth, the intergovernmental organisation of member states (53 in total!) that were mostly territories of the British Empire. This year's championship was an open, and so players from other countries could play as well; they simply couldn't apply for the special Commonwealth prizes.
The 19th edition took place July 5th-14th, 2013 at the Boardwalk Hotel, Convention Centre and Spa in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The tournament ran concurrently with the South African Open Chess Championship, the Nelson Mandela Bay Open Chess Championship and the South African Open Blitz Chess Championship. The prize fund was R300,000 (about US $30,400).
With a score of 9/11 Abhijeet Gupta won the tournament, edging out Sergey Tiviakov and Sergey Fedorchuk on tiebreak (Buchholz score). As the only Commonwealth player in this group, Gupta obviously also clinched the Commonwealth Championship title. His compatriots Dibyendu Barua and Lalith Babu won the silver and bronze medals.
The tournament had two (very) promintent guests: 13th World Champion Garry Kasparov, who visited several African countries last week, and South Africa President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. The latter gave a speech at the closing ceremony and this is part of it:
"On Robben Island, chess provided a solace to us that we needed in those conditions of isolation and deprivation. It propelled our minds beyond the confines of the prison walls and allowed us to reflect and to position our thoughts strategically to fight the regime. (...) Many comrades made chess sets out of soap and driftwood that allowed us to continue to play this noble and great game. We improvised with makeshift chess boards and we enjoyed the fullness of the game."
The following game, against one of the other Indians, was Gupta's sixth straight win:
In the last five rounds, Gupta would draw four games but he defeated one other Indian:
Commonwealth Championship 2013 | Final standings (top 30)
|2||GM||Fedorchuk Sergey A.||UKR||2667||9||83||69||55||66|
|5||GM||Musunuri Rohit Lalith||IND||2571||8,5||81,5||67,5||53||60,25|
|11||GM||Conquest Stuart C||ENG||2492||8||82,5||68||52,5||56,75|
|17||IM||Mabusela Johannes Manyedi||RSA||2281||8||71||58,5||45,5||50,75|
|18||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||IND||2408||7,5||79,5||65,5||51||51|
|25||Hercules Benjamin Vincent||RSA||2066||7,5||73,5||60,5||47||44,5|
|28||WGM||Mohanty Kiran Manisha||IND||2195||7,5||71||57||43,5||44,5|