Dubai: British Grand Master (GM) Gawain Jones beat erstwhile sole leader GM Boris Savchenko of Russia to win the Dubai Open Chess Championship-Shaikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Cup at the Dubai Chess Club in Dubai, UAE.
Jones used the Moscow variation against the Sicilian Defence of Savchenko and early on prevented him from castling. In a difficult position, the Russian blundered and chose to exchange his Queen for two pieces on the 24th move and resigned 13 moves later.
Jones finished with 7.5 points in a tie with GM Vladimir Akopian of Armenia who beat GM Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia. Akopian used the King’s Indian Fianchetto and won a crucial centre pawn on the 13th move. He transposed to the endgame with a better pawn structure and won in 30 moves.
Jones and Akopian had drawn with each other earlier in the penultimate round but the British grandmaster prevailed in the Buchholz tie break and won the top prize of $13,000 (Dh47,749). Jones had also won the Dubai Blitz championship last Friday.
Savchenko finished on seven points, third by tie-break, together with GMs Alexandr Fier of Brazil, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi of India, Darini Pouria of Iran, Lazaro Bruzon Batista of Cuba and Mikhail Antipov of Russia.
Landing in the total prize money of $50,000 with 6.5 points and higher tie-break scores were Pantsulaia, GMs Ivan Sokolov of The Netherlands, G.N. Gopal of India, Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia, Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan, Yuriy Kuzubov of Ukraine and 15-year-old International Master (IM) Amin Tabatabaei of Iran. Others with 6.5 points but out of the prize fund due to lower tie-break were GMs Chanda Sandipan of India, Bassem Amin of Egypt and Emre Can of Turkey.
In the category prizes, Bassem won the Best Arab Player award, former women’s world champion GM Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria won Best Woman award, followed by IM Padmini Rout of India; while FIDE Master (FM) Ishaq Saeed was named Best UAE Player and Candidate Master (CM) Nagueb Saleh took the Best Dubai Player award, followed by Ali Abdul Aziz.
In the rating category prizes, IM S. Nitin of India won the best among 2300+ rating, Al Muthaiah of India won best 2200+, CM Peter Dost of The Netherlands won best below 2100+, WIM Ivana Maria Furtado won best 2000+ and Naji Sanjeev won best below 2000.