Sunway Sitges Chess Festival Underway
The playing hall in Sitges, Spain. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.

Sunway Sitges Chess Festival Underway

| 5 | Chess Event Coverage

The sixth edition of the Sunway Sitges chess festival is underway in Sitges, Spain. After just three rounds into the tournament, top seeds Vassily Ivanchuk and Parham Maghsoodloo are no longer on a perfect score.

The festival takes place Dec. 13-22 at Hotel Sunway Playa Golf and Spa, which is about 35 kilometers southwest of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. As an official partner, is covering the tournament daily with a live broadcast.

The Sunway Sitges games start each day at 16:30 local time which is 10:30 a.m. Eastern and 7:30 a.m. Pacific. You can follow them here as part of our live portal. Commentary is provided by GM Daniel King and IM Anna Rudolf on

This year's tournament might not have a 2700-rated grandmaster but is strong nonetheless, albeit in a different way. With slightly more than 300 players from 56 federations, the top group has no fewer than 55 grandmasters: 20 are over 2600, and 53 players in total are over 2500.

Even more so than last year, the tournament has attracted a lot of players from India. It's the federation with the biggest representation: 85 players made the long trip, compared to 48 players from Spain!

The trio of already famous Indian prodigies has returned: Nihal Sarin, Praggnanadhaa Rameshbabu and Gukesh Dommaraju. They are joined by IM Raunak Sadhwani, who is a GM-elect since the tournament in Isle of Man, while the strongest among the big Indian contingent are Krishnan Sasikiran (fifth seed in the tournament) and Sethuraman S.P.

Nihal Sarin Sunway Sitges 2019
Nihal Sarin. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.

After Ivanchuk and Maghsoodloo, the main contenders are Anton Korobov and Hrant Melkumyan. Of the top five seeds, just one is still on a 100 percent score: Korobov.

In round three, the Ukrainian GM played another prodigy: Javokhir Sindarov of Uzbekistan. The third youngest grandmaster in history had his chances in the opening and then was very close to drawing the game for hours, but eventually stumbled:

Anton Korobov Sunway Sitges 2019
Anton Korobov during his morning lecture. GM lectures are scheduled almost every day; for example, top-seed Ivanchuk also gave one. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.

Ivanchuk has already dropped two half-points, both with the black pieces and in both cases in sharp positions where his opponents found a way to give a perpetual check. This is how it happened in round one:

Vassily Ivanchuk Sunway Sitges 2019
Vassily Ivanchuk. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.

Sasikiran started with 2/2 but was defeated in round three by a local hero, Levan Aroshidze who lives in nearby Girona. His positional setup with the knight on d3 and the pawn on b4 controlling Black's pawns and bishop is instructive:

The round three broadcast.

The tournament is a 10-round Swiss. At the time of this writing, three rounds have been played. The total prize fund is 27,155 euros with a 5,000 first prize.

2019 Sunway Sitges | Top pairings round 4

Bo. No. Fed Title Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Title Name Rtg No.
1 3 GM Korobov Anton 2668 3 - 3 GM Shevchenko Kirill 2547 32
2 35 GM Li Di 2543 3 - 3 GM Lagarde Maxime 2655 6
3 9 GM Donchenko Alexander 2644 3 - 3 GM Narayanan Srinath 2529 40
4 39 GM Stefansson Hannes 2538 3 - 3 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2638 10
5 11 GM Tabatabaei M.Amin 2635 3 - 3 GM Aroshidze Levan 2514 46
6 47 GM Kelires Andreas 2510 3 - 3 GM Vocaturo Daniele 2627 12
7 13 GM Narayanan.S.L 2626 3 - 3 IM Yankelevich Lev 2472 64
8 76 GM Batsiashvili Nino 2447 3 - 3 GM Praggnanandhaa R 2586 24
9 67 TPE IM Song Raymond 2468 3 - GM Melkumyan Hrant 2668 4
10 41 GM Krysa Leandro 2527 - GM Nihal Sarin 2612 16
11 17 GM Karthikeyan Murali 2611 - GM Gordon Stephen 2495 56
12 53 IM Lobanov Sergei 2504 - GM Durarbayli Vasif 2609 18
13 19 GM Adly Ahmed 2607 - IM Erenberg Ariel 2479 60
14 21 GM Gareyev Timur 2598 - GM Firat Burak 2475 62
15 66 IM Diaz Camallonga 2468 - GM Svane Rasmus 2597 22
Playing hall Sunway Sitges 2019
The playing hall has a view over the Balearic Sea. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.
Castellers opening ceremony Sunway Sitges 2019
A castell (or human tower in Catalan), a local tradition, performed at the opening ceremony. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.
Parham Maghsoodloo Sunway Sitges 2019
Parham Maghsoodloo from Iran is the second seed. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.
Timur Gareyev Parham Maghsoodloo Sunway Sitges 2019
Blindfold specialist Timur Gareyev is also playing. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.
Analysis Sunway Sitges 2019
The limited lighting is barely sufficient to analyze this game but does offer the opportunity to shoot interesting pictures. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.
More from PeterDoggers
Gender Bias Research Shows Parents, Mentors Shortchange Girls’ Chess Potential

Gender Bias Research Shows Parents, Mentors Shortchange Girls’ Chess Potential

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory