Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran stole the final day's honours, clinching a sparkling victory over joint-leader Kiril Georgiev of Bulgaria in the 9th and final round, to finish third in the 'A1' group of the Aeroflot International Open chess tournament in Moscow.
By beating Georgiev Sasikiran tied for the top spot along with GM Jobava Baadur of Georgia, 2003 winner Viktor Bologan of Moldova, and twice World junior champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.
As the ties were resolved, the first place went to Baadur, the second to Bologan and third to Sasikiran.
The Indian was richer by US $12,000 while the winner went home with a purse of US $22000.
Sasikiran turned out to be the lone prize winner from India in the premier 'A1' group as GM Sandipan Chanda settled for a quick draw with Konstantin Landa of Russia and national champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly followed suit against Michael Roiz of Israel.
In the 'A2' category, there was no good news for the Indians as double GM norm holder Neelotpal Das was held to a draw by Dmitry Andreikin of Russian and GM R B Ramesh was
comprehensively beaten by Vladimir Kosyrev, also of Russia.
Also losing his way was IM norm holder Arghyadip Das, who went down fighting against former World women's champion Zhu Chen of China and did not succeed in making his second IM norm.
On the brighter side, Indian youngsters Parimarjan Negi, Abhijeet Gupta and Deep Sengupta ended the event on a positive note.
Negi and Gupta drew their final round games while Sengupta defeated Duris Aurelien of France. All the three stand to gain important rating points from the event.
Sasikiran's was a class act when it mattered the most.
"He got nothing out of the opening and after about 20 moves I got a kind of position where anyone could win. I thought this was fair enough especially when you are playing black," Sasikiran said.
Starting off with the Neo-Grunfeld defense, the Indian had his task cut out in the middle game after he got a dangerous passed pawn in the middle of the board.
Georgiev who was jointly leading the event along with Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine at the start of the final round, simply went haywire with his planning and landed into difficulties soon after the first time control.
"I got this very annoying pin for him in the central file, I think after that the pressure is immense and it is difficult to survive," Sasikiran said about winning a piece for "effectively no counter play".
Apart from the prize money, Sasikiran also gained 14 valuable Elo points from the tournament which will see him past the 2680 Elo mark for the first time.
"Yes this will be my best Elo provided I don't lose any points in the next tournament that starts in just three days time," said Sasikiran, who will next play the Capella De Grande tournament in France beginning within three-days.
About his performance in the tournament, Sasikiran said it was his best Aeroflot tournament but not his best effort.
"I would say I was lucky to survive yesterday against Vladimir Akopian (of Armenia)."
About the prize distribution based on "Hort-system" that favours players, who play more black games Sasikiran thought it was not quite fair.
"We all scored same points and I got 10000 USD less than the winner, but it is a bit odd I think; I guess I will play two extra black games in any event if the difference is so much!" said the ONGC employee.
Interestingly enough, the other overnight leader, Eljanov, also lost his final round game when Mamedyarov proved simply much stronger.
Baadur Jobava was brilliance personified in his triumph over Vladimir Malakhov of Russia.
Important and Indian results round 9 (Indians unless specified):
Group 'A1': Mamedyarov Shakriyar (Aze, 6.5) beat Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 6); Kiril Georgiev Bul, (6) lost to Krishnan Sasikiran (6.5); Vladimir Malakhov (Rus, 5.5) lost to Baadur Jobava (Geo, 6.5); Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 6) drew with Dmitry Jakovenko (Rus, 6); Alexander Motylev (Rus, 5.5) lost to Viktor Bologan (Mda, 6.5); Konstantin Landa (Rus, 4.5) drew with Sandipan Chanda (4.5); Surya Shekhar Ganguly (4.5) drew with Michael Roiz (Isr, 4.5).
Group 'A2' (Indian results): R B Ramesh (5) lost to Vladimir Kosyrev (Rus, 6); Neelotpal Das (5.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 5.5); Vladimir Burmakin (Rus, 5) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (5); Parimarjan Negi (5) drew with Alexander Evdokimov (Rus, 5); Zhu Chen (Chn, 5) beat Argyhyadip Das (4); Sergei Klimov (Rus, 5) beat Vishal Sareen (4); Deep Sengupta (5) beat Duris Aurelien (Fra, 3.5); Martin Sneff (Ger, 4) drew with S Poobesh Anand (3); Alexander Potapov (Rus, 4) beat R R Laxman (3); Dmitry Batsanin (Rus, 3.5) drew with P Konguvel (3.5); Tigran Kotanjian (Arm, 3.5) beat Himanshu Sharma (2.5).