"I am pleased I was able to cope up with some pressure."
Abhijeet Gupta successfully defended his title at the 2016 Commonwealth Chess Championships, held at the Citrus Hotel, Waskaduwa, Sri Lanka.
In fact, the entire senior category was made up of Indian winners with International Master, Tania Sachdev, also taking gold.
Gupta started slow, conceding 2 draws in the first 3 rounds but found his stride from there on out.
SL Narayanan and Deep Chakkravarthy took silver and bronze medals respectively, with Bhilwara-born Gupta finishing half a point ahead of Narayanan.
In the seventh round, Gupta dismissed Abhijit Kunte and went on to defeat M R Lalith Babu in the penultimate game.
Arghyadip Das was Gupta’s final task. It ended in a draw and enabled a final score of 8 points out of the 9 available for him. This bagged him the top prize of Rs. 300,000.
Abijiheet has won 23 medals in all competitions and became National Junior (Under-19) Chess Champion at the impressive age of 13.
Following his victory, Gupta stated: “Last year when I won it in Delhi, I had started off with victories and was in lead right till the end.
“This time it was a catch-up act and I am pleased I was able to cope up with some pressure.”
The 26-year-old took to Twitter:
Not the smoothest nowhere close to pretty,lucky enough to win the event #commonwealthchess
— Abhijeet Gupta (@iam_abhijeet) 6 August 2016
Tania also played well throughout, winning 5 games and drawing the remaining four.
She said: “It feels quite good to get the one gold that I had been really missing, hope to carry this form in the forthcoming chess Olympiad.”
P V Nandhidaa scored the same respectable tally as Tania, with a solid 7 points and even had a better tiebreak.
Unfortunately, Nandhidaa was only registered for the junior category. He had to settle for the gold medal in the junior girls’ competition.
Gupta and Tania will both likely feature next at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. It will take place in Baku City, Azerbaijan from September 1-14, 2016.