Kathmandu, August 23:

Surbir Lama claimed the 15th National Rating Chess Tournament after winning the ninth and final round against Balram Napit on Saturday.

Napit had one point lead going into the final round and he only needed a draw over Lama to win. But Lama, who has never lost to Napit in their previous meetings, kept his nerves to win the deciding round played under Swiss League system. This was the first national title for Lama in 13 years.

The win in the final round meant both Lama and Napit were tied on 7.5 points but Lama won the championship on better progressive points. “This is the greatest achievement in my sports career,” said jubilant Lama. Lama have represented Nepal at the 2004 Chess Olympiad in Spain and 15th Asian Games in Doha.

Sujendra Prasad Shrestha finished third after beating former national champion

Keshav Shrestha. Sujendra Prasad also had 7.5 points but he was placed third due to weaker progressive points than the top two players.

Likewise, Bhagwati Prasad Sharma came fourth as he overcame Binod Gyawali in the final round. Manish Hamal, Rajendra Bajracharya, Uttam Raj Thapa, Badri Lal Nepali, Bilam Lal Shrestha and Prem Krishna Maharjan ended up fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.