INTERNATIONAL Master (IM) Harshavardhan G B of India emerged standard champion unbeaten in the Asian Juniors and Girls Chess Championships at the Knights Templar Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay City on Friday.
Harshavardhan went for a routine draw—which was what the 19-year-old from Chennai needed to win the gold medal—with fellow IM Sugar Gan-Erdene of Mongolia to prevail in the championships hosted by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
He finished the nine-round competition with 7.0 points on five victories and four draws to pocket the gold medal of the event that gathered 52 of the brightest young players from 11 Asian countries.
Woman IM Ngoc Thuy Duong Bach of Thailand won the girls’ gold medal with 7.5 points with WIM Ravi Rakshitta (7.0) of India clinching silver and WIM Amina Kairbekova (6.0) of Kazakhstan settling for bronze in the competition National Chess Federation of the Philippines Vice President Athena Bryana Tolentino, also Cavite’s vice governor, opened nine days ago ago.
The title-conquest gave Harshavardhan the first of three norms required for a player to earn a grandmaster title. He became an IM only two years ago.
“I’m so very happy winning this tough and prestigious chess tournament,” said Harshavardhan, who improved on the bronze medal he clinched in last year’s Sri Lanka Asian championships.
Filipino IM Michael Concio Jr. defeated International Indian IM Saha Neelash in the battle for the silver medal. Concio, playing out of Dasmariñas City, was also unbeaten with 6.5 points he built around four victories and five draws.
Gan-Erdene amassed 6.0 points along with four others but got the bronze medal after the tie break.
Also with 6.0 points were Chatterjee Utsab (fourth) of India, Eric Labog Jr. (sixth) of the Philippines, IM Raahul V S (sixth) of India and Iran’s Fide Master Arman Hakemi (seventh).
Despite missing the podium, Labog earned his IM title after breaking the 2200 Elo rating barrier. Rounding out the boys’ top 10 with 5.5 points each were Saha Neelash on India, Fide Master Daniyal Sapenov of Kazakhstan and National Master Mark Jay Bacojo of the Philippines.