Vakhidov & Mista share first place – Hastings Masters

The final round of the Hastings Masters and GM Vakhidov 2546 started in 1st place ½ a point ahead of the hungry pack! Playing Black against GM Khenkin 2605, who had started poorly but had fought his way back into contention, the game was a battle but ended with a draw which was a fair result. This left open the opportunity for others to catch up with Vakhidov to share first. The opportunity was grabbed by GM Mista 2567 who, with the Black pieces, defeated English GM Flear 2459 and moved in to a share of 1st. Flear, who had recovered from a loss in Round 1 to get himself back in contention, thus found himself out of the prizes which is a great shame. This left us with the long battle between GM Berkes 2604 and GM Sulskis 2590 to decide whether anyone else would share 1st. Eventually, however, the point was split and, with no-one else in range, Vakhidov and Mista had secured the top prizes.

English players were in contention throughout the tournament but, unfortunately, none were able to claim a prize at the end. The last home prize possibility was lost when GM Fodor 2492 defeated GM Williams 2439 to secure for himself a share of 2nd whilst condemning Williams to the realm of the almost made-its.

Tradewise introduced a new prize for norms achieved. Here was the one English success with an IM norm for FM Peter Batchelor 2307  who scored 6/9 who scored 2/3 in the final rounds against 2 GMs and an IM to secure his success. Many congratulations to Peter!