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Mendonca earns his second GM norm

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Young Indian International Master Leon Luke Mendonca won a GM chess tournament in Hungary, with a round to spare, to close in on the coveted Grandmaster title.

The 14-year old from Goa triumphed in the First Saturday GM November 2020 event in Budapest on Monday to earn his second norm. He needs one more to earn the GM title.

Mendonca (Elo 2516) finished with 7.5 points and clinched the title with a round to spare. He remained unbeaten and recorded victories over two GMs. He had six wins and three draws in the nine-round championship.

In October, Mendonca had won the Rigochess International Chess Festival GM tournament in Hungary to earn his maiden GM norm.

“I am extremely happy with my performance, having won the tournament and the norm with a round to spare,” he said from Budapest.

In the opening round, Mendonca drew against higher-rated GM Plat Vojtech of the Czech Republic (Elo 2562). In the next, Mendonca beat Hungarian GM Fogarasi Tibor, which the Indian rated as his best victory in the tournament.

Away from home

The 14-year old has been away from home for nine months, along with father Lyndon, playing events in Europe.

Mendonca doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to get back to India as he is eyeing his final GM norm. He will be taking part in an invitational tournament near Budapest from November 21.

“We had planned (to play) Rigo’s GMRR event but the organisers cancelled it. So, we decided to play this event (Kumania Mestervernseny).

“It has been a challenge to stay in Europe and for him to compete in events. It has been difficult to plan for tournaments due to the uncertainty. But it has been rewarding one though,” said Mendonca’s father.

They plan to return to India for Christmas but hope that Mendonca will become a GM soon.

“We hope to be back (in India) for Christmas. But we are taking it one day at a time.”

Mendonca interacts with his coach Vishnu Prasanna in Chennai on a regular basis with extended sessions on non-game days.

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