Indian Grandmaster P Iniyan on Sunday qualified for the FIDE World Cup, scheduled to be held in July, by winning the AICF World Cup qualifier online chess tournament.
Iniyan and fellow GM from Tamil Nadu, D Gukesh had finished on 12.5 points each after 17 rounds but the former took the top prize since he had emerged winner in the match between the two in round 14.
Iniyan entered the final day with 10.5 points in his pocket and ahead of Gukesh by half a point. He defeated Rithwik Raja in the 15th round and P Saravana Krishnan in the 16th before losing to Deep Sengupta. However, the defeat in the 17th round did not prove costly. He scored 12 wins and suffered three losses in the tournament.
The Salem-based GM had scored wins over fancied B Adhiban in the second round apart from scoring GMs SL Narayanan and Vishnu Prasanna but lost to Surya Sekhar Ganguly. GM S P Sethuraman finished third behind Iniyan and Gukesh with 10.5 points while Ganguly (10 points) took the fourth spot. The FIDE World Cup will be played from July 10 at Sochi in Russia.
"I am delighted to win the event and qualify for the World Cup. I am happy with the way I played in the tournament which featured some very good players," the 18-year-old Iniyan told PTI. "I had some good games in the tournament. The win over Gukesh who was playing really well, was an important one and gave me a lot of confidence," he added.
Iniyan said he was looking forward to competing the World Cup in Sochi. "It has been a long time since I have played a tournament over the board. I have been keeping myself busy training and playing online events. But a tourney over the board is something I look forward to always," he added.
Iniyan further said he would continue to train with his coach K Visweswaran in the lead-up to the World Cup which would feature the cream of the chess talent. Apart from Iniyan, a few other Indians are likely to qualify for the World Cup by virtue of their world rankings. FIDE is expected to announce the official list of participants for the tournament some time next week.