chessbase india logo

Hola! Sunway Sitges Chess festival 2017 begins!

by Avathanshu Bhat - 16/12/2017

Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival has begun. The A- tournament is definitely the centre of attraction for the entire festival. Players like Motylev, Shankland, Salem Saleh will be fighting out for the top prize. Apart from the main tournament there are some very exciting side events as well. Our youngest ChessBase India reporter Avathanshu Bhat is at Sitges in Spain and sends us this round one report. Find out more about the welcome reception and first round, as well as a pictorial representation of the environment.

The Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival is getting bigger and better with every passing year. The organizers and staff made sure that the tournament is conducted smoothly, with no delays or hassles. Players were greeted with a warm welcome reception and treated to some sumptuous appetizers and drinks.

Where would you find such a warm reception? | Photo: Supriya Bhat

The venue, Hotel Sunway Playa Resorts, which has a breathtaking view, was the perfect place for the tournament to take place. The A category consists of 189 players, with 26 GMs and 35 IMs.

Starting rank

1GMMotylev Alexander4121830RUS26750
2GMShankland Samuel2004887USA26620
3GMSalem A.R. Saleh9301348UAE26380
4GMMelkumyan Hrant13302485ARM26330
5GMZubov Alexander14109409UKR26260
6GMEdouard Romain633429FRA262102614Club de Ajedrez Sestao
7GMBologan Victor13900048MDA26070
8GMKozul Zdenko14502879CRO26070
9GMCan Emre6302181TUR26050H
10GMAgrest Evgenij1705024SWE260025932591Colon Sabadell Chessy

A great tournament hall... | Photo: Supriya Bhat

...and a view to die for! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

The first Round for the A category began at 16.30 hours on 15th of December 2017.

GM Alexander Motylev is the top seed! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Motylev was playing against Spanish FM Jordi Cuadras. He played a very interesting exchange sacrifice which led to a position of great complications. But he did manage to overcome his opponent in the complex middlegame.

Rxd5 by Motylev was an exciing exchange sacrifice which made the position with material imbalance quite difficult for both sides to find the accurate moves

WIM Mahalakshmi (left) was able to hold GM Oleg Romanishin to a draw. | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Aravindh had an easy win against Karsten Larsen. | Photo: Supriya Bhat

The B category consists of 88 players.

The fight on Table 1 in B category ended in a win for Gascon Del Nogal Carlos Artur(left) | Photo: Supriya Bhat


No cameras please. This is the VIP arena! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Parallel to the Open tournament are a lot of events that one can enjoy. A Grandmaster Simultaneous Exhibition was conducted by GM Oleg Romanishin and GM Awonder Liang. The latter is just 14 years old!

GM Awonder Liang is looking determined to win! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

The Simul with GM Oleg Romanishin was a test of stamina for the veteran GM | Photo: Supriya Bhat

A heated swimming pool is the perfect gift against the chilly Spanish weather! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Foosball is always fun! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

The view from the playing arena of the golf course! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Round 2 pairings:

Category A:

Category B:

There is a lot more to say about the accommodation, arrangements, playing arena and about the man behind the scenes, Mr. Oskar. But this will follow in the second report that will be published on ChessBase India after a couple of days! Until then I wish all the players at Sunway Sitges the best and urge the readers to follow this exciting tournament.


Official tournament website

Live games

About the author:

Avathanshu Bhat is a 12-year-old chess player from Mumbai. Apart from being a chess fanatic, he is a voracious reader and his favourite books include Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and the complete adventures of Feluda by Satyajit Ray. He loves Daniel King and enjoys his Power Play DVDs very much. He maintains his own blog. Like his FaceBook page for more updates!


Read more articles by Avathanshu Bhat:

Life of a young chess player

Joy of losing

G. Akash wins the Grand Hyderabad affair

10-year-old boy's deep calculation (40,000+ hits on Youtube)

12-year-old chessentrepreneur Avathanshu Bhat

Chess species classified

Hemant Sharma becomes International Master

Champion from Chudamani - IM Sidhant Mohapatra
Colours of Black and White

Contact Us