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Indians put up a strong show at Qatar Masters; Carlsen wins title

Rohan Nagaraj
905   //    30 Dec 2015, 19:54 IST
Carlsen finished his glorious year with a win at Qatar Masters Tournament

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen finished the year with yet another title, clinching the Qatar Masters Open in a thrilling play-off against Chinese GM and defending champion at Qatar, Yu Yangyi. After tieing for first place with identical scores of 7/9 at the end of 9 rounds, Carlsen defeated Yangyi in blitz tie-break 2-0. 

The Norwegian who was leading right from the start of the tournament was caught up in the last round by the Chinese grandmaster Yu Yangyi, which meant that the winner had to be decided in a tie-break. Carlsen who is known for his fantastic skills in crunch games, hardly broke sweat, as his opponent blundered on more than one occasion to comfortably clinch the Open.
Widely regarded as the toughest Open in recent times, the Qatar Masters Open saw 148 players, battle out against each other, and also witnessed significant upsets. The third place was shared by as many as 5 players-Vladimir Kramnik, Sergey Karjakin, Sanan Sjugirov, Ni Hua and Vassily Ivanchuk, all with identical 6.5 points out of 9. 

Strong showing from Indian contingent

10 players including 3 Indians- Pendyala Harikrishna, Surya Shekar Ganguly and SP Sethuraman finished with scores of 6/9. Indian chess prodigy 16-year old Aravindh Chithambaram produced a decent showing, as he beat many good players, and scored 5/9. 
International Master NR Vignesh, who started the tournament off strongly, finished with a score of 4.5/9,  alongside 22 other players including 5 fellow Indians. Vignesh along with IM Shardul Gagare have earned a GM norm on the basis of their performance in this tournament. 

Meanwhile, other Indian players like Rohan Ahuja, M.N Shaikh, Prantik Roy and Harshith Raja have managed to earn an IM norm for their decent results. Chinese GM and women's world champion Hou Yifan clinched the best Women's prize.