Perfect Score for Melkumyan at Riga Open
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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.
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:
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:
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!
Riga Open 2014 | Round 5 Standings
|3||4||GM||Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo||VEN||2653||4,5||10||17||2833|
|6||52||IM||Argandona Riveiro Inigo||ESP||2423||4||10||17||2686|
|25||41||IM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2467||3,5||9||15,5||2559|
Photos by Katrina Skinke and Matiss Silis courtesy of the Riga Open.