Fifteen-year-old Indian WIM B Savitha Shri on Wednesday won a bronze medal in the women’s event of FIDE World Rapid Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan Seeded 36th, she finished with an impressive tally of eight points from 11 rounds to finish third. The teenager, who was on 6.5 points at the conclusion of the eighth round, picked up 1.5 points to end the tournament on a high in a star-studded field. A loss to Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdumalik in the ninth round hurt Savitha’s chances of a top-two finish.
She bounced back by beating Qianyun Gong of Singapore in Round 10 and drew with Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan in the final round.
Savitha Shri became the third Indian after Viswanathan Anand and Humpy to win a medal at the world rapid championship.
India’s top player and Asian Games gold medallist Koneru Humpy, who had come back into medal contention after a modest performance on day two, had to settle for sixth place though she logged eight points.
Though Savitha, Humpy, a former world Rapid champion, and two others ended on eight points, the teenager took bronze on the basis of a superior tie-break score. Savitha had shone bright on Tuesday, posting four consecutive victories.
Noted coach R B Ramesh wished Savitha Shri and wrote on Twitter: “Hearty Congratulations to @SavithashriB for winning the Bronze medal in the World Rapid Championship! Attended @ishafoundation inner engineering course & it seems to have calmed the nerves at crucial junctures. Let this be a good beginning! ” The All India Chess Federation also hailed the Chennai player.
“It’s an incredible performance from 15 year old Savitha Shri B to clinch the Bronze medal in World Women Rapid Chess Championship at Almaty ahead of many fancied players. Congratulations Savitha!!” Tan Zhongyi of China won the title, defeating Saduakassova in a play-off.
A total of five Indians participated in the women’s event while 15 were in the fray in the Open section.
Meanwhile in the Open event won by world No.1 Magnus Carlsen, 19-year old Indian Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi finished fifth.
In the 13th and final round, Erigaisi defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) to finish with nine points. Also securing nine points were Vladimir Fedoseev, Vladimir Artemiev and Richard Rapport (Hungary).
Carlsen defeated Iran’s Parham Maghsoodloo in the final round to emerge clear winner with 10 points after having been in joint lead with Artemiev and Vincent Keymer (Germany) on nine points.
India’s Nihal Sarin took the 10th place logging 8.5 points while compatriot Vidit Santosh Gujrathi with an equal number of points finished 15th.
Experienced Indian GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly scored 8.5 points and ended up 20th while teenaged GM Raunak Sadhwani (8 points) settled for 33rd place.
Gujrathi, who had a mixed run in the tournament, scored a memorable win over defending champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan) in the 11th round. However, a defeat to Keymer in the 12th round dented his chances of finishing higher in the event.
In the women’s event, Padmini Rout took the 38th place with six points while GM D Harika with an equal number of points ended 39th. Tania Sachdev (5.5 points) was placed 50th.
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