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Perfect Score for Melkumyan at Riga Open

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 8/21/14, 4:42 AM.

GM Hrant Melkumyan of Armenia is the only player left with a perfect score at the Riga Open, a strong tournament in the Latvian capital that started right after the Tromsø Olympiad.

Top seed and local hero GM Alexei Shirov started with a loss but then won four games in a row. The tournament is by far the strongest and biggest classical chess festival in the Baltic region.

Officially called “Riga Technical University Open,” the tournament takes place August 15-24 in the Exhibition Centre Kipsala. It is located in Kipsala, an island on the left bank of the Daugava river, connected to Riga city center and Pārdaugava by the Shroud Bridge.

For the fourth edition, the total prize fund has been increased to 25,000 EUR with a 3,000 EUR first prize in the main tournament. And there was another good reason to choose Riga among the many cities hosting a chess tournament this summer: in 2014 it is the Cultural Capital of Europe, and so there are many cultural activities as well.

Inside the  Exhibition Centre Kipsala.

We know about the shocking loss for Alexei Shirov in round one, and Sam Shankland's early withdrawal (already covered here), but what else happened in Riga? Well, Shirov is back on track after winning four games in a row, and only one player started with five wins: GM Hrant Melkumyan of Armenia.

The 25-year-old grandmaster is having a great season thus far: in February he won the Casino Graz International, in June he finished first at the Teplice Open, and in July he won the open in Benasque as well! In Riga, his strongest opponent was Arturs Neiksans, in round four. The game was decided in a knight ending:


Hrant Melkumyan.

One of Chess.com's weekly columnists (or rather: very-instructive-chess-article-authors), Daniel Naroditsky, had a good start: he beat three lower-rated players and then drew with GMs Richard Rapport and Jan Werle. Especially in the last game he was under pressure, but never quite lost:

Daniel Naroditsky.


Richard Rapport is often good for some creative opening play. In the third round the Hungarian GM chose 1.f4 (and went for a Stonewall setup) and another example is his round five game against GM Vitali Golod, where he went for 1.b3. A nice win!


Richard Rapport.


Four more rounds will be played, from Thursday till Sunday. The rounds start at 16:00 local time (GMT + 3). You can follow it live here.

Riga Open 2014 | Round 5 Standings

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 3 GM Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2655 5 9,5 15,5 3226
2 2 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2704 4,5 10,5 17,5 2834
3 4 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2653 4,5 10 17 2833
4 5 GM Kovalenko Igor LAT 2650 4,5 10 16,5 2816
5 14 GM Naroditsky Daniel USA 2587 4 11 17,5 2689
6 52 IM Argandona Riveiro Inigo ESP 2423 4 10 17 2686
7 10 GM Savchenko Boris RUS 2596 4 9,5 16 2619
8 28 GM Molner Mackenzie USA 2509 4 9,5 16 2612
9 37 GM Boruchovsky Avital ISR 2483 4 9 15,5 2572
10 18 GM Yemelin Vasily RUS 2573 4 9 15 2607
11 23 GM Oparin Grigoriy RUS 2546 4 9 15 2565
12 56 FM Khatoev Eduard RUS 2417 4 9 14,5 2623
13 34 IM Kantans Toms LAT 2496 4 9 14 2528
14 15 GM Banusz Tamas HUN 2585 4 8,5 14,5 2609
15 33 GM Gavrilov Alexei RUS 2505 4 8,5 14,5 2558
16 9 GM Goganov Aleksey RUS 2604 4 8,5 14 2637
17 27 GM Werle Jan NED 2511 4 8 14 2564
18 24 GM Kveinys Aloyzas LTU 2527 4 8 13 2572
19 35 GM Popilski Gil ISR 2494 4 8 13 2490
20 1 GM Shirov Alexei LAT 2709 4 7,5 12,5 2582
21 22 GM Fedorov Alexei BLR 2562 4 7,5 12,5 2560
22 17 GM Golod Vitali ISR 2574 3,5 10 16,5 2570
23 38 IM Swayams Mishra IND 2479 3,5 9,5 16,5 2555
24 20 GM Neiksans Arturs LAT 2572 3,5 9 16 2558
25 41 IM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND 2467 3,5 9 15,5 2559
26 21 GM Kulaots Kaido EST 2567 3,5 9 15,5 2551
27 47 FM Meskovs Nikita LAT 2441 3,5 9 15,5 2484
28 53 IM Valsecchi Alessio ITA 2421 3,5 9 15 2587
29 13 GM Bok Benjamin NED 2587 3,5 9 15 2533
30 16 GM Rausis Igors CZE 2578 3,5 9 15 2513

Photos by Katrina Skinke and Matiss Silis courtesy of the Riga Open.

6946 reads 8 comments
4 votes

Comments


  • 4 weeks ago

    Mkhitar

    I would say Akopian was playing the most solid chess from Armenian team in Tromso, always had pleasant positions, and it is still too early to outcircle him. May be if Melkumyan or any other player comes closer to 2700, but both Sargissian and Movsesian are very seazoned players, although this time around did not show great results.

    I wish in Armenia someone else could reach Aronian`s level though ;) Hopefully one of the kids in the schools is already on the way...

  • 4 weeks ago

    gillbod

    Rapport for president!

  • 4 weeks ago

    inselschaker

    "Armenian squad´s 5th man is always the current national champion - does this mean that the top4, already selected for the national team, always skip the national championship? It's understandable for Aronian, but not really for the other players!?

    At the official deadline for Olympiad team registration (1st June, as we all found out), Akopian was still 37 points ahead of Melkumyan. The lineup may have been finalized even earlier, and Melkumyan had a terrible event at ... the Armenian championship where he finished in last place. Armenia traditionally plays team events with four players, using board 5 only sporadically - (more than) OK if all top four show normal to excellent form, risky if one of them has a bad event.

  • 4 weeks ago

    66miki

    Rapport 6. forduló szép győzelem

    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1772310

  • 4 weeks ago

    vaiuuii

    Thank you for the info garniktalavera. I didn't know that. :)

    Apparently both Melkumyan and Vladimir Akopian, who played board 4 for Armenia, are rated 2655 at the moment. However Akopian has been going downhill for more than a year now (May 2013 he was 2704) and Melkumyan has been winning tournaments lately. Maybe it wasn't the wisest choice of lineups in the squad. Akopian's huge experience was prefered and he usually was doing very well at team events, but only Sargissian and Aronian seemed to be playing well this time around.

    @ thakaiser, he did play during the Olympiad (in one game), he just didn't play in the important matches, where he would have been outrated severely, as the top teams have on board 4 either 2700s or very strong and up and coming youngsters.

    http://chess-results.com/tnr140380.aspx?lan=1&art=20&fed=ARM&flag=30&wi=821 He was worse against a 2100 from Japan (with a Russian name?) but he managed to win the game in the end and that may be one of the reasons why he wasnt used in any other games. Maybe some risks would have payed of however, given the (very) poor form Movsesian was in.

  • 4 weeks ago

    thaskaiser

    why didn't Kotanjian play during the Olympiad ?

    I find it a fantastic idea that every Armenian can qualify for an Olympiad spot.

  • 4 weeks ago

    garniktalavera

    Armenian squad´s 5th man is always the current national champion; Kotanjian was the unexpected winnner of 2014 Armenian Championship.

  • 4 weeks ago

    vaiuuii

    Why wasn't Melkumyan (2655) in the Armenian Olympiad team and a low 2500 GM, Kotanjian, was? Strange.

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