Former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta finished joint first at the Reykjavik International Open Chess Tournament after playing out a quick draw with local star Hannes Stefansson in the ninth and final round in Iceland on Thursday.
Former world junior girls' champion D Harika also drew her final-round game with Normunds Meizes of Latvia and made her maiden Grandmaster norm in the event alongwith the best woman player prize.
Starting as the eighth seed, Abhijeet tied for the first place with third seed Ivan Sokolov of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yuri Kuzubov of Ukraine and Stefansson who all scored an identical seven points apiece.
The best victory for the Bharat Petroleum employee came in the penultimate round when he defeated overnight leader Sokolov in a completely one-sided affair where the latter played black.
After a rather forgettable show in the Capelle chess tournament in France, this was a fine comeback by Abhijeet who also stands to gain close to 10 rating points from the tournament.
After the tie was resolved, Sokolov had the best tie-break score on Bucholz count while Kuzubov had the next best, a little ahead of Abhijeet and Stefansson. The four winners, however, had an equal share of the first four prizes up for grabs.
"I never thought I will be tying for the first place after I lost the third round game here. I just took one game at a time from there and idea paid off," said Abhijeet.
Speaking about his victory over Sokolov, Abhijeet said he was not under pressure knowing that Sokolov was a class act.
"He has played chess at the highest level and beaten almost all top players, so I was basically not feeling the heat as he was also basically one of the stronger players I ever played. However, as the game continued I realised that he was making a lot of mistakes, this was clearly an off-day for him," Abhijeet candidly admitted.
Harika played the tournament quite brilliantly and Grandmaster Yuri Shulman of United States and Tiger Hillarp Persson of Sweden were her prized scalps in the tournament.
The Andhra Girl started off with three victories and was only momentarily shaken when she lost to Ilya Nyzhnyk of Ukraine in the seventh round. In the penultimate round Harika defeated Persson and then finally held Meizes to score six points and get her first Grandmaster norm.