Thapa claims championship

Kathmandu, December 6:

Uttam Raj Thapa of Tanahu won the second Shankhadhar Shakhwa Memorial Nationwide Open Chess Championship here today.

Thapa played a draw against Prachanda Malakar in the ninth and the final round to claim the championship. Thapa, Purushottam Chaulagain and Malakar all finished with equal 7.5 points but Thapa edged both the players on better progressive points (pp). Thapa earned 40.5 progressive points while runner up Chaulagain and Malakar had 37.5 and 35.5 progressive points. Chaulagain finished second with a stunning ninth round victory over Balram Napit, who represented Nepal at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany recently.

Former Nepal champion Bilam Lal Shrestha and defending champion Badri Lal Nepali along with Ratna Byanjankar ended up in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively. All three had seven points but their positions were determined by their progressive points. Bilam Lal defeated Sujendra Prasad Shrestha and Badri Lal beat former national champion Keshav Shrestha.

Manish Hamal claimed the seventh position with a win over Ramesh Bhandari. Hamal (34.5 pp) edged Rajendra Prasad Shrestha (34 pp), Rabindra Shakya (33.5 pp) and Prem Krishna Maharjan (33 pp) on better progressive points despite earning equal 6.5 points from nine rounds played under Swiss League format. Rajendra Prasad defeated Bijay Man Shrestha, Rabindra overcame Babu Raja Maharjan and Prem Krishna defeated Niraj Niraula to finish eighth, ninth and 10th respectively.

Monalisa Khambu of Times College won the ladies’ section trophy ahead of Ashmita Adhikari of Deep Jyoti School. Both the players earned 5.5 points. Tara Ghale, Shanta Thapa and Samichhya Gautam finished third, fourth and fifth. Likewise, Robindra Shakya and Sukadev Raghubanshi were the top two players in the veterans’ section while Prakash Nepal claimed the U-20 section title ahead of Sourav Pradhan.

The top three players earned Rs 20,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively. Players finishing in the top 20 also received their share of prize money.

Ladies winner Khambu got Rs 5,000 while four others atop the standing also got cash prizes. In all, 99 men and 20 women players took part in the tournament organised by Nepal Chess Association (NCA). Member Secretary of National Sports Council gave away prizes to the winners.

Meanwhile, a chess enthusiast Ram Thapa Magar of Makawanpur handed over a cheque of Rs 150,000 to NCA for the upcoming National Women’s Chess Tournament.