Abu Dhabi: Indian youngster Suri Vaibhav was the surprising winner of the Blitz Championship of the 20th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival held on Friday, beating more experienced and ranked players to the title.
A total of 121 players took part in the competition, 81 of them with ranks.
Suri, 16, produced his best in the final rounds of the nine-round, Swiss-format competition to collect 7.5 points and take the title ahead of grandmasters Gadir Guseinov, from Azerbaijan, in second place, and Vasily Papin, from Russia, in third. The pair also collected 7.5 points, but the title went to Suri in the tie-breaker. Ukrainian Grandmasters Mikhailo Olekseinko and Mikhail Kazakov finished fourth and fifth respectively with 7 points each.
Russian grandmaster Aleksandr Rakhmanov played an exhibition match against 30 participants in the festival’s under-15 competition and won 28 of them while settling for a tie with UAE youngster Saif Al Hamed.
He lost one match to Ismayil Shahalyiv, from Azerbaijan, who leads the juniors competition.
The penultimate round of the open tournament on Sunday will involve a mouth-watering encounter between the joint leaders FM Ahmad Al Zayat and Behrang Kaboodi after each collected six points. Second-place Namir Esmail, with 5.5 points, will play against Francis Erwin, who has 5 points.