The Covid-19 protocols meant that there was no prize distribution. “I had my jacket ready for the occasion but there was no function post the event due to Covid-19 protocols. The jacket had to be folded and kept back in my suitcase. The prize money was transferred to my account. Having said that, the organisers did a great job in hosting the event and took good care of us,” Narayanan told TOI.
Interestingly, after the event in Italy, Narayanan chose to tweet a selfie which read, “Won the Cattolica Open in Italy. But I have no picture proof as the prize ceremony wasn’t held due to Covid. So here’s my triumphant selfie.”
Won the Cattolica Open in Italy. But I have no picture proof as the prize ceremony wasn’t held due to Covid. So her… https://t.co/49J7psGbMa
— SL Narayanan (@GMNarayananSL) 1646750283000
For the 24-year-old from Kerala, it was his first over-the-board (OTB) event win since bagging the Elllobregat Open in Spain in 2019. There were occasions when he was very close to clinching an event but only to lose it all in the final round. The Sharjah Masters is a case in point. “In Sharjah Masters last year, I only needed a draw in the final round against Parham Maghsoodloo (to win the event) but lost the game. The result meant that I finished seventh. There have been a few more tournaments in 2021 where I couldn’t finish the way I wanted. But this time, I was more determined and I am happy to have won,” said Narayanan.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, Narayanan had joined most of the players in being part of online events. With more and more OTB events taking place currently, Narayanan is keen to strike a balance. “Both online and OTB events are important. But with the more OTB tournaments happening, I am focusing on that at the moment,” he said.
Narayanan is keen on crossing the 2700 ELO mark this season. “I am keen to not only improve my overall game but also target a 2700 ELO rating this year,” said Narayanan, whose live rating stands at 2662.