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Daniel Dardha wins Sardinia World Chess Festival 2024

by Shahid Ahmed - 08/05/2024

Sardinia World Chess Festival 2024 Open A had an intriguing finish. It would have been difficult to predict it for anyone. Daniel Dardha (BEL), Jorden van Foreest (NED), Kirill Shevchenko (ROU) and Volodar Murzin scored wins in the final round. They all finished with the same score 7/9. Daniel and Jorden defeated the coleaders Alan Pichot (ESP) and Yair Parkhov (ISR) to dash their championship hopes. Kirill and Volodar got the better of Lorenzo Lodici (ITA) and Maksim Chigaev (ESP). The Belgium no.1 Daniel won the tournament due to better tie-break scores, Kirill second, Volodar third and Jorden fourth. IM Ramazan Zhalmakhanov (KAZ) scored his final GM-norm, crossed 2500 in the live ratings and became Kazakhstan's latest Grandmaster. Photo: Niklesh Jain

Ramazan Zhalmakhanov becomes the latest GM of Kazakhstan; Six-norms scored

The success of a GM tournament can be solely measured by how many norms are scored. The average rating of 2278 and a strong lineup gave an inkling that a lot of norms will be scored. Nobody could have predicted exactly how many until the end of the final round. Six norms - a GM-norm, three IM-norms and two WIM-norms were scored by six different players. One of them, IM Ramazan Zhalmakhanov (KAZ) became a Grandmaster too. It goes without saying the tournament was a resounding success. The total prize fund of the tournament was €50000. GM Daniel Dardha (BEL) earned €10000, GM Kirill Shevchenko (ROU) won €6000 and GM Volodar Murzin got richer by €4000 along with a trophy each. Open B and C reports will be published separately.

Champion - GM Daniel Dardha (BEL) 7/9 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Runner-up - GM Kirill Shevchenko (ROU) 7/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

The top two: Champion - GM Daniel Dardha (BEL) 7/9 and Runner-up - GM Kirill Shevchenko (ROU) 7/9 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

L to R: Luigi Maggi, President of Federazione Scacchistica Italiana (FSI), GM Daniel Dardha, GM Kirill Shevchenko, Elisa Farris, Mayor of Sardinia, Danilo Mallò, President of the regional section of FSI, and GM FST IO Roberto Mogranzini, Tournament Director. They all distributed the prizes.

"I think I handled my emotions well" - GM Daniel Dardha (BEL) | Video: ChessBase India

GM Alan Pichot (ESP, 2644) and GM Yair Parkhov (ISR, 2513) were the coleaders 6.5/8, heading into the final round. Both of them lost their respective games against GM Daniel Dardha (BEL, 2630) and GM Jorden van Foreest (NED, 2668) respectively.

Pichot - Dardha

Position after 36...a4

Alan needed to find the precise defense 37.Ba6 Rb2 38.Bxb7 Bxb7 39.c6 Ba6 40.Ra7 Be2 41.Rxa4 Bxg4 and White still has good chances to fight for a draw. Instead, 37.Bc4? Re1 38.Kd2?? turned things completely in Black's favor 38...a3-+ and he won in another ten moves.

GM Daniel Dardha (BEL) scored a crucial win over GM Alan Pichot (ESP) to become the champion | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Kirill - Lorenzo

Position after 33...Qc6

Try to think like Kirill and find out the winning continuation. It is a typical Kirill move and idea.

I had to prove that I can actually comeback - GM Kirill Shevchenko | Video: ChessBase India

GM Kirill Shevchenko (ROU) en route his victory against GM Lorenzo Lodici (ITA) | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

GM Volodar Murzin defeated GM Maksim Chigaev (ESP) comfortably to finish third 7/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Jorden - Yair

Position after 27...Rd5

Computer suggests some inhuman lines 28.Bxa7 Ra5 29.Bb6 Rxa2 30.Rd1 and evaluates White to have a decisive advantage. However, Jorden opted for the human 28.b4 a5 29.a3 Nd7 30.Rxh7 Kg8 31.Rh3 Ne5 32.Rd1 Nf7 33.Rg3 Bh4 34.Rg2 Ng5 35.c3 Nxf3 36.Rf1 Bf2 37.Rgxf2 exf2 38.Qxf2 d3 39.c4 Rxc5 40.bxc5 d2 41.Qe2 and White went on to win the complex battle.

"I wasn't that serious about chess for a couple of years" - Jorden van Foreest | Video: ChessBase India

After suffering a loss in the first round, GM Jorden van Foreest (NED) made a fantastic comeback to score 7/9 and finish fourth on tie-breaks | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

IM Yahli Sokolovsky (ISR) became the highest non-GM finisher. He scored 6.5/9 to be placed tenth.

10th IM Yahli Sokolovsky (ISR) 6.5/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

The top ten finishers | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

The highest finisher among Indians: 18th GM Bharath Subramaniyam H | Photo: Shahid Ahmed
97-year-old Giovanni Diena, the first person in Italy to develop a chess pairing program | Video: ChessBase India

A special prize for the 97-year-old player who inspired everyone - Giovanni Diena (ITA) | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Norm makers

GM-norm - IM Ramazan Zhalmakhanov (KAZ) 6/9

IM-norm - FM Ezra Paul Chambers (BDI) 6/9, FM Diego Anton Vergara (ESP) 5.5/9, Giulio Lo Presti (ITA) 5/9

WIM-norm - WIM Alexandra Shvedova (ITA) 4.5/9 and FM Liya Kurmangaliyeva (KAZ) 4.5/9

IM Ramazan Zhalmakhanov (KAZ) scored his final GM-norm and also crossed 2500 in the live ratings to become Kazakhstan's latest Grandmaster | Photo: Shahid Ahmed
IM Ramazan Zhalmakhanov becomes Kazakhstan's latest GM | Video: ChessBase India

IM-norm - Giulio Lo Presti (ITA) 5/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

IA Gerhard Bertagnolli announced the advantage of having FSI President, Luigi Maggi, being present at the prize distribution ceremony, as he signed on Giulio Lo Presti's IM-norm certificate | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

WIM-norm - WFM Alexandra Shvedova (ITA) 4.5/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

WIM-norm - FM Liya Kurmangaliyeva (KAZ) 4.5/9 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Photo Gallery

The owner of the hotel, made the ceremonial first move of Round 9 on GM Alan Pichot (ESP) and GM Daniel Dardha's (BEL) board | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Trophies for various winners | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Players, parents and accompanying persons at the closing ceremony | Photo: Shahid Ahmed and Niklesh Jain

For more Round 9 and Prize distribution ceremony photos, please click at the respective links. Lots of exciting, interesting game videos and interviews will be published soon, stay tuned!


Photos by Niklesh Jain: Round 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, 6, 7, Black and White dinner, and FIDE 100, 8, 9 and Prize distribution ceremony.


In case you missed taking part in the inaugural edition, don't fret, the second edition was announced to be held from 26th April to 3rd May 2025 at the same place Club Hotel Marina Beach in Orosei, Sardinia, Italy.

Video Gallery

"In the Future, We Will Host the Chess Olympiad" - GM Roberto Mogranzini | Video: ChessBase India
Guy speeds in a complex endgame, Chyzy gives him Checkmate ticket | Video: ChessBase India
The Stock Market trader who met and interviewed Vishy Anand back in the 90s - Luca Barillaro | Video: ChessBase India
"The chess story of two families, two young kids, and their coach" | Video: ChessBase India
The Bolivian WCM Alexandra Prado who has 250K+ following on Instagram and Youtube | Video: ChessBase India

Replay live stream

Replay Round 9 live commentary by GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko (UKR) and WCM Alexandra Prado (BOL)  | Video: UniChess

Replay Round 9 games

Round 9 Open A results

Bo.No. NameRtgPts.ResultPts.NameRtg No.PGN
GMPichot Alan26440 - 16GMDardha Daniel2630
GMVan Foreest Jorden266861 - 0GMParkhov Yair2513
GMFedoseev Vladimir26906½ - ½6GMMoussard Jules2610
GMGurel Ediz25786½ - ½6GMSjugirov Sanan2689
GMShevchenko Kirill267561 - 06GMLodici Lorenzo2565
GMMurzin Volodar263261 - 06GMChigaev Maksim2621
IMRoyal Shreyas2455½ - ½GMLagarde Maxime2640
IMAizenberg Benny24090 - 1GMMoroni Luca Jr2580
GMSonis Francesco25621 - 0FMVergara Anton Diego2387
IMAtanasov Anthony24070 - 1GMSivuk Vitaly2551
IMSokolovsky Yahli24901 - 0IMBellia Fabrizio2384
IMZhalmakhanov Ramazan2490½ - ½FMEzra Paul Chambers2343
IMAgmanov Zhandos24580 - 1FMTudor Henry Edward2279
FMCarlo Emanuele236350 - 15GMBharath Subramaniyam H2544
IMErdogmus Yagiz Kaan254051 - 05FMZemach Nadav2396


Final standings

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgIPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
GMDardha DanielBEL26307524839,752465
GMShevchenko KirillROU2675749,545,538,002413
GMMurzin VolodarU18FID263274844,537,002459
GMVan Foreest JordenNED2668745,543,534,502390
GMPichot AlanESP26446,5544937,252514
GMFedoseev VladimirSLO26906,5534837,252480
GMParkhov YairISR25136,551,547,534,752537
GMGurel EdizU18TUR25786,55146,535,752446
GMSivuk VitalySWE25516,549,545,534,002435
IMSokolovsky YahliU18ISR24906,5494534,002430



Sardinia Chess Festival: Official site, fb page and instagram

Tournament details

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