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Aravindh Chithambaram leads with four others at the Sunway Sitges 2017

by Avathanshu Bhat - 21/12/2017

The Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival is just over it's halfway point. 5 players are now tied at 5.0/6, including two youngsters GMs Aravindh Chithambaram and Awonder Liang. The other three players are experienced GM Hrant Melkumyan, IM Matthias Dann and IM Aman Hambleton. In this report by our 12-year-old author we not only tell you all about the main event, but also take you to all the other events that are taking place in Sitges. We also have an interview with the man behind the Sunway Chess Festival. Enjoy our report from Barcelona, Spain.

What previously consisted of many players in the lead is now taking a definite shape as the tournament is surging ahead. We have five leaders on 5.0/6 at the Sunway Sitges International 2017. They are:

Rank after Round 6

Rk.SNoNameTypsexGrFEDRtgIRtgNClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
114GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND258605,021,524,519,0
24GMMelkumyan HrantARM263305,021,023,519,5
316GMLiang Awonder16USA25730Wisconsin5,019,021,518,5
421IMDann MatthiasHGER251705,019,021,518,0
529IMHambleton AmanHCAN247405,019,021,018,5
62GMShankland SamuelUSA266204,522,025,517,5
78GMKozul ZdenkoCRO260704,521,023,517,5
831IMSaduakassova DinaraHwKAZ246004,521,023,017,5
91GMMotylev AlexanderRUS267504,520,023,017,0
106GMEdouard RomainFRA26210Club de Ajedrez Sestao4,520,023,016,5

Aravindh Chithambaram finished joint runner-up in National Premier 2017, he won the bronze at World Junior 2017. The first place has been eluding him for quite some time. Will it be at the Sunway Sitges International 2017.

Aravindh until now has four wins and two draws. He has drawn with GM Alexander Predke and IM Matthias Dann. Apart from this he has beaten all his other opponents, the best one being Dinara Sadduakassova in round five.

The other youngster who has impressed one and all with his play is GM Awonder Liang. He is also in the lead with 5.0/6. Awonder is just 14 years old. He beat the experienced Spanish GM Marc Narciso Dublan in round five.

Awonder's got this!

You could say they are all in the same boat!

Hrant Melkumyan had a 4.0/4 start including a win over GM Fernando Peralta. Now he scored two draws against Sam Shakland and Awonder Liang.

IM Akshat Khamparia, the only IM from Madhya Pradesh, is on 3.5/6 at the event. Akshat will miss the Bhopal Grandmasters event, the biggest tournament in his state which begins from today.

M. Mahalakshmi is already gaining 40 Elo points from this event. She has a rating performance of 2400+

Rishab Shah (who is rated just 1973), beat Michel Bifulco (2344) in the first round. Rishab has sent us an annotated game!

The B category, after the fifth round had a sole leader...

...Valbona Domingo Joan (left) who is on 4.5/5 after his win against Saheb Kamel

The leader drew his sixth round game and was joined by Nadal Fajardo Ricard and Vargas Drechsler Carlos at the top.

Rank after Round 6

Rk.SNoNameTypsexGrFEDRtgIRtgNClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
17Nadal Fajardo RicardDESP19462126Barcelona, Club Escacs5,021,024,518,0
216Vallbona Domingo Joan65 HDESP19182073Tres Peons C.E.5,020,023,018,5
39Vargas Drechsler CarlosHDESP19352107Tres Peons C.E.5,018,020,518,5
48Magallanes Gustavo JavierDARG19352113Peon Doblado4,522,025,018,0
56Amellal Sofiane AnisDALG19470Nadi Riadhi Malki4,520,524,017,5
611Flores Mendoza Jose AntonioDESP19322127Viladecans C.E.4,520,523,017,5
715Taylor Robert Graham65DWLS191904,519,021,516,5
84Gil Vega MarcelESP19782144Colmena, La C.E.4,518,019,514,5
917Gurel Ahmet UnalHDTUR191804,517,520,015,5
1038Costa Trave JaumeEESP17922041Granollers-Canovelles4,517,519,514,5

Sunway Sitges International Chess festival also hosted a Night Blitz which went on till 2:00 am! The victor was Victor Bologan with a full score of 9.0/9!

GM Victor Bologan stormed the Night Blitz with a full score!

Final Ranking after 9 Rounds

Rk.SNoNameTypGrFEDRtgIRtgNClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
12GMBologan VictorExMDA260909,047,050,545,0
21GMMunoz MiguelpagESP26552617Sant Andreu C.E.8,051,055,540,0
34IMBilguun SumiyaMGL249206,547,551,532,0
412FMLiu YipagAUS228706,049,554,532,5
53IMSantos Latasa JaimeESP251625366,049,552,532,5
615IMRaja HarshitIND223022276,048,551,533,0
76GMManolache MariuspagROU241324016,046,548,534,5
828FMDardha Daniel309BEL202723196,045,048,533,0
918Ashwath R.IND221422396,042,545,531,0
109IMGascon Del Nogal Jose RafaelExVEN236425176,042,045,528,0

As preparation for the rounds, GMs Ivan Sokolov and Romain Edouard held a conference explaining about material from the books that they have written for Thinkers Publishing.

GM Ivan Sokolov's conference attracted a good audience

A lot must be said about the Organizer, Mr Oskar. He has truly done a great job with the whole event. The event is over its halfway point and is slowly nearing its end, but by then, you really don't want it to end. As promised, here is a short interview with Mr Oskar.

While we complained about the cold, people dived and swam and surfed in the water!

Ahh, there's nothing like dal-rice meal when you're so far away from home!

The crucial stages in the tournament will follow in the next few days. Catch all the action in our next article on the Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival 2017!