Harikrishna wins last round, wins Spice Cup title

September 29th, 2008 - 7:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Lubbock (Texas), Sep 29 (IANS) India’s Pentala Harikrishna won the Spice Cup chess with an exciting last-round win that not only got him into a four-way tie, but also earned him the title with the best tie-break score.The 22-year-old Harikrishna, the former world junior champion and second highest rated Indian after Viswanathan Anand, was lying third before the final round. He fought till the very last and snatched a win against the Russian-born American Gregory Kaidanov, who is currently the most active chess coach in the United States.

It was a major win for Hari, who in 2004 won the world juniors and then in 2006, won the Chess960 title in Germany.

Interestingly, back in 1987 Kaidanov had scored his first major tournament win in Moscow by crushing the then upcoming Viswanathan Anand. Four years later Kaidanov left Russia for United States with his family.

Harikrishna took his tally to 5.5 points from nine rounds and was tied with Alexander Onischuk, Leonid Kritz and Varuzhan Akobian.

Akobian and Kritz were leading with five out of eight going into the last round, where they had to play each other. Their game ended in a draw but it was not a quick one.

Onischuk and Harikrishna, who were sharing third place, won their respective games with White pieces to join for a four-way tie. Harikrishna had the best tiebreak score of 23.2 and was adjudged the winner. He received the Spice Cup put up by Susan Polgar (and a Swiss watch).

Round 9 results:
Onischuk beat Stefansson; ?Harikrishna beat Kaidanov; ; Eugene Perelshteyn beat Mikhalevski; Miton drew with Becerra; Akobian drew with Kritz.

Final Standings:
1-4. Harikrishna Pentala 2668 IND, Alexander Onischuk 2670 USA, Leonid Kritz 2610 GER and Varuzhan Akobian 2610 USA - 5.5?
5. Julio Becerra 2598 USA - 5.0?6. Victor Mikhalevski 2592 ISR - 4.5?
7. Eugene Perelshteyn 2555 USA - 4.0?
8-9. Gregory Kaidanov 2605 USA and Kamil Miton 2580 POL - 3.5?
10. Hannes Stefansson 2566 ISL - 2.5

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