Caruana wins first AAI

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Caruana leads first AAI at half-timeFabiano Caruana won the first Airports Authority of India (AAI) International Grandmasters Chess Tournament. The Italian grandmaster finished on 7/10 and a 2799 performance rating. Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran ended second with 6/10 and GM Viktor Laznicka of the Czech Republic came third with half a point less.

General info

The Delhi Chess Association along with the Airport Authority of India under aegis of the All India Chess Federation and the World Chess Federation organized India's first ever Category-17 tournament. It was a double round robin with Fabiano Caruana of Italy, World Women Champion Hou Yifan of China, Indian National Champion Parimarjan Negi, Czech Republic's number two Viktor Laznicka, Indian number two Krishnan Sasikiran and the best Philippine player Wesley So. Venue was the Airport Authority of India Officers' Institute, Old Safdarjung Area, Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi. The total prize money was US $24,500.

Institute

The Airport Authority of India Officers' Institute

Rounds 6-10

At half time, Fabiano Caruana was leading with four points, followed by Laznicka with half a point less. The Italian living up to his top billing stretched his lead to a full point as he beat Parimarjan Negi after a marathon 98 moves in the sixth round. “It was a tough and tiring battle, but I knew I was winning so I had to keep going,” said Caruana. The other two games in the round ended in draws. Viktor Laznicka wasn't happy to spill half a point against a struggling Hou Yifan. “I must admit that I am disappointed. With White I was hoping for a better result, but she defended well. I could not find a way, I am not sure where I made a mistake, if any,” said Laznicka. Hou Yifan admitted she hadn't been showing her best chess: “I have been in time trouble as I was not able to adjust to the fact that there was no incremental time here and I also made a lot of mistakes. But last two rounds were better and I hope I can play better in the coming games.”

The 7th round seemed to be a day for revenge. Welsey So and Hou Yifan avenged their earlier losses in the tournament against Viktor Laznicka and Parimarjan Negi respectively. “When I looked out of the window during the game it was raining for a while. I love the weather to be cool and it did change my mood,” said a laughing So. "I finally managed to get something substantial from the opening. In the past games I was not able to make much headway, maybe I was not good enough. Maybe I was not well prepared for India. I came from Sweden and I had not spent much time." The game between Krishnan Sasikiran and Fabiano Caruana ended in a draw after 92 moves and seven hours.

Sasikiran vs Caruana

A hard-fought draw between Sasikiran and Caruana



The next day, Negi stopped his run of losses while Sasikiran got back to his winning ways in what turned out to be good day for the Indian duo. Negi beat So in 27 moves while Sasikiran took 30 moves for a full point against Laznicka. “Maybe the weather cooling down also helped me. I like playing in slightly cooler weather," said Sasikiran. Caruana beat Hou Yifan to extend his lead to 1.5 points with two rounds to go. “It was a nice win. It is good to be 1.5 points ahead with two rounds to go, but no tournament is over till the last,” said a shy Caruana with a slight smile.

And indeed, things got quite exciting when the Italian suffered his first loss of the tournament in the ninth and penultimate round. He lost to Laznicka, who said: "Suddenly in the second half things went wrong. I lost two in a row, so this win was good.” This game gave Sasikiran an outside chance of catching up the leader at the top of the table. The Indian drew with compatriot Negi, and the same result was seen in the game between So and Hou Yifan.

A draw between Negi and Sasikiran

Negi and Sasikiran drew their game



In the final round on Saturday Caruana took no chances and played a solid 30-move draw against So. This way he won the title at the inaugural AAI Grandmasters Chess tournament. Sasikiran finished sole second, one point behind the winner, after drawing with Hou Yifan. Negi split the point with Laznicka.

“I thought I would play for a win if there was a way, but yes I was not going to take risks. I certainly did not want two losses. Except for that loss in the ninth round it was a good tournament for me,” Caruana said with a smile. “Overall it was a fine tournament and I enjoyed and it is always good to win a title.”

The winner Caruana received the trophy from Mr. V P Agrawal, Chairman of the Airport Authority of India, and also the first prize of $8,000. Sasikiran’s winnings were $6,000 for the tournament. The third to sixth finishers received $4,000, $3,000, $2,000 and $1,500.

Caruana wins first AAI

Caruana receives his trophy from Mr. V P Agrawal, Chairman of the Airport Authority of India,



Games rounds 6-10



Game viewer by ChessTempo


AAI GM Tournament 2011 | Schedule & results




AAI GM Tournament 2011 | Round 10 (Final) Standings




Photos © Delhi Chess Association



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