GM Gawain Jones rules Dubai Open Blitz Cup

Grandmaster (GM) Gawain Jones of the UK defeated GM Boris Savchenko of Russia in the final round to rule the Dubai Open Blitz Cup on Friday at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club. Jones overcome an early third-round loss of Egypt’s International Master (IM) Hesham Abdelrahman by scoring 7.5 points from the next eight games to claim the championship with 9.5 points.

Cuba’s GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista took the runner-up spot with nine points after beating Latvia’s GM Igor Kovalenko in the final round.

The Georgian GM Levan Pantsulaia defeated Asian champion Salem AR Saleh in the last round to claim the bronze with 8.5 points, half a point ahead of a big group of eight-pointers that tied for the fourth to 13th spots.

Kovalenko and Salem AR Saleh claimed the next two spots on tiebreak, while India’s Harsha Bharathakoti, rated only 2061 and seeded 74th, was the tournament’s biggest revelation by placing sixth ahead of dozens of highly rated titled players.

Indian untitled junior Bharathakoti Harsha finished sixth, defeating top player GM Baadur Jobava
Indian untitled junior Bharathakoti Harsha finished sixth, defeating many overrated players including GM Baadur Jobava

The top six placers received cash prizes during the awarding ceremony. The tournament had a total prize fund of US$4,000. Nearly 130 players from 32 countries took part in the tournament, including 25 grandmasters and 18 international masters.

The tournament was held during the rest day of the Dubai Open Chess Championship – Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Cup. The Dubai Open resumes today (April 16) with the fifth round at 10 am and the sixth round at 6pm.

Dubai Open Blitz Cup final standings (Top 13)

Rank Title  Name FED Rtg Pts.
1 GM Jones Gawain ENG 2711 9.5
2 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro CUB 2668 9
3 GM Pantsulaia Levan GEO 2638 8.5
4 GM Kovalenko Igor LAT 2707 8
5 GM Saleh AR Salem UAE 2637 8
6 Harsha Bharathakoti IND 2061 8
7 IM Hesham Abdelrahman EGY 2435 8
8 GM Laxman R.R. IND 2493 8
9 GM Iordachescu Viorel MDA 2541 8
10 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2653 8
11 GM Safarli Eltaj AZE 2694 8
12 GM Savchenko Boris RUS 2683 8
13 IM Al Qudaimi Basheer YEM 2399 8