Grandmaster RR Laxman sprang a major surprise on Argentinean Grand Master Pablo Lafuente to bag the gold medal in the Commonwealth Chess Championship in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The open title was won by Grandmaster Pavel Maletin of Russia who settled for a draw with MR Lalith Babu on the top board. Both Maletin and Laxman tallied nine points out of a possible eleven and the former had the better tie-break on Bucholz count.
Laxman's dream run continued on the final day as well as he played a remarkable game with black pieces to crush Lafuente who was caught off guard in the heavy pieces endgame. The gold medal is the best performance ever of this Chennai-based Grandmaster.
The silver went to Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta who finished third overall and a half point behind the two leaders. In the final round, Abhijeet, a former world junior champion and reigning Asian bronze medallist, failed to take advantage of a better position and eventually settled for a draw with Russian Dmitry Bocharov.
Lalith Babu, for his exploits, was the worthy winner of the bronze medal after his fifth place finish overall.
The women's title was decided on tie-break and the winner was D Harika who pipped Tania Sachdev at the post. Harika, who had decided to withdraw from the championship on the eve of the final round due to illness, was lucky in the final game that she won from a drawn position. Tania had started the day a half point ahead but following a draw in her final game, she could only inch herself up to 7.5 points wherein Harika's tiebreaker was superior. The bronze went to S. Meenakshi who also scored 7.5 points but had the worst tie-break.
The junior title was also won by Lalith Babu who gave yet another compelling display in the event. Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi got the silver in this section while the bronze went to Ashwin Jayaram.
The junior girls' title went to R Preethi, A Sithalatchumi won the silver while former National junior champion Bhakti Kulkarni had to be satisfied with the bronze. In the under-16 category Sahaj Grover outplayed K Priya Dharshan in the final round to secure the gold medal.