A continental chess championship has wrapped up in Tashkent and has given chess enthusiasts ten days of engaging and head-on chess battle.
In the men’s tournament, the winner is Indian grandmaster Panayappan Sethuraman, who earned seven points out of nine. Eight contestants were just half a point behind. By additional indicators, Vietnam’s Le Quang Liem and China’s Wei Yi came in second and third respectively. In addition, the top five players have been granted tickets to Chess World Cup.
In women’s games, first place went to Indian grandmaster Bhakti Kulkarni, who earned seven points out of nine and emerged as the only player bound to join women’s world cup.
So, where are Uzbek chess players? Alas, none of them won a medal. The best result was shown by Jahongir Vokhidov in tenth positions with six points. Alisher Begmuradov landed in 12th place, although he fulfilled international master norms.
The weak performance of former world chess champion Rustam Kasymjanov, who landed in 23rd place, has had everyone bewildered. In terms of class and official rating, the big-name chess player outstripped all the contestants (except for Vietnan’s Liem). And few people had doubts that he would end up at the top of the fixture list. By virtue of his class, Kasymjanov notched several starting wins. He then rolled out a traditional series of tied games. So at the finish he was supposed to beat serious rivals such as Chinese grandmaster Wei Yi. But the Uzbek chess player proved unprepared for this. Perhaps, he underestimated many players’ skills.
In the women’s tournament, Gulrukhbegim Tohirjonova held on to the leading group for quite a while, but her weak finish let her down, putting her in ninth place. Bahora Abdusattorova won eleventh place. The absence of Uzbek powerhouse female players – Nafisa Muminova and Irina Gevorgyan among others – took a toll on the outcomes, of course.
Here’s hoping that many of the young and talented Uzbek chess players such as Javohir Sindarov, Shamsiddin Vokhidov and Temur Igonin have come away with valuable experience in participating in major international competitions.