Four-time Indian national champion Surya Sekhar Ganguly and women's defending champion D. Harika won the Asian Zone 3.2 chess championship at Dhaka and earned the right to play in the World Cup to be held in Russia in November this year.
Ganguly and Harika won the titles in contrasting styles. Ganguly had to go through a rapid play-off against compatriot G.N. Gopal, winning 2-0 on Saturday, while Harika defeated Swati Ghate of Pune in the 10th round to win by a one-point margin, according to information received here.
India swept all the medals in the zonal championship.
Gopal, who joined Ganguly at the top with nine points after the 11th round, bagged the second spot. G. Rohit of Andhra Pradesh finished third with eight points, while GM J. Deepan Chakkaravarthy took the fourth place with seven.
Gopal, however, had more to cheer as he completed his final GM norm. With 2,480 points, the 17-year-old Gopal from Aluva in Kerala now needs to cross the mark of 2500 to become India's next Grandmaster. Having done well in the last few months, Gopal is expected to achieve the required rating when the ranking list is released in October.
In the women's section, Swati Ghate was placed second while National champion Tania Sachdev took the third place with 5.5 points out of a possible 10.
Ganguly and Harika thus qualified for the World Cup to be held at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from November 23 to December 16. The winner will meet Vladimir Topalov in the World Championship cycle in 2008.
GM Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh has been given a direct seeding to the World Cup by the FIDE President as his nominee.