Areshchenko Retains Title In Pretty Porticcio

Areshchenko Retains Title In Pretty Porticcio

For the second year in a row, Alexander Areshchenko won the Porticcio Open in Corsica, France. The Ukrainian grandmaster edged out six players who also scored 7.0/9.

All photos courtesy Corse-Echecs.

Say “chess in Corsica” and you'll say “Leo Battesti.” Already responsible for countless wonderful chess events on the French island (most prominently the annual Corsican Circuit in October), Battesti organized an open tournament in Porticcio for the third time this year. This iteration drew in some well-known grandmasters

Porticcio is a seaside area which lies in the south on the Gulf of Ajaccio. It is part of the municipality of Grossetu Prugna and has a bit more than 2,000 inhabitants. With beautiful landscapes and beaches, tourism is an important economic sector.

Not a bad place for a chess tournament.

The tournament, a nine-round Swiss, took place June 25-July 1 in Hotel Club Marina Viva and had a €15,000 prize fund. The top seeds were Etienne Bacrot (FRA, 2695), Alexander Areshchenko (UKR, 2654) Viktor Laznicka (CZE, 2654), Sergei Zhigalko (BLR, 2653), Gawain Jones (ENG, 2650), Romain Edouard (FRA, 2648), Nils Grandelius (2643), Yuriy Kuzubov (UKR, 2635), Daniel Naroditsky (USA, 2634), and Sebastien Mazé (FRA, 2627).

You might remember the name Areshchenko from last September when he  ousted Levon Aronian from the World Cup in Baku. Back then the Ukrainian was rated 2661, but he was “stronger than his rating” according to Russian grandmaster Ernesto Inarkiev. 

Areshchenko, who passed the 2700 mark two years ago, couldn't keep it up. His rating has dropped to 2654, but he's still a very strong player, obviously. He won the third Porticcio Open last Friday, a year after he had won the second edition. He tied for first place with Naroditsky, Zhigalko, Edouard, Jones, and GM Deep Sengupta of India.

In a tournament where he remained undefeated, Areshchenko started with two wins and two draws. He then grabbed the lead thanks to three straight victories. Finally, he stayed on top with two more draws.

Here's his win against Grandelius, the strongest opponent he defeated, in an old line of the Closed Ruy Lopez.

A powerful game by Areshchenko, full of forcing moves.

Another player who remained undefeated was Deep Sengupta of India. He ultimately finished in third place. His biggest win was against Zhigalko in a Sveshnikov. After lots of maneuvering, White finally found a winning breakthrough, although it took him longer than necessary to win it.

Deep Sengupta of India.

Naroditsky's biggest scalp was Laznicka, in round four. That was a bit of a topsy-turvy game where Black was better in the early middlegame, went for a strange trade around the time control, could still draw the endgame, but then blundered a full piece.

Daniel Naroditsky finished second on tiebreak.

3rd Porticcio Open | Final Standings (Top 20)

# Title Name Elo Pts TB Perf TB2
1 GM Areshchenko, Alexander 2654 7 46 2709 37
2 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 2634 7 45½ 2718 39
3 GM Sengupta Deep 2543 7 45½ 2672 37½
4 GM Zhigalko, Sergei 2653 7 43½ 2654 36
5 GM Edouard, Romain 2648 7 43 2694 37
6 GM Jones, Gawain C B 2650 7 39½ 2637 35
7 GM Grandelius, Nils 2643 6.5 47 2681 37½
8 GM Bacrot, Etienne 2695 45 2693 37
9 GM Cornette, Matthieu 2583 42½ 2600 36
10 GM Maze, Sebastien 2627 42 2575 34
11 GM Laznicka, Viktor 2654 42 2568 34½
12 GM Schroeder, Jan-Christian 2507 42 2530 34
13 GM Kuzubov, Yuriy 2635 6 44½ 2568 34
14 GM Lalith Babu, M R 2579 6 43 2549 35½
15 GM Libiszews KIabien 2537 6 42 2509 33½
16 IM Bernard, Christophe 2245 6 40 2334 30
17 IM Sagar Shah 2433 6 39 2418 32
18 IM Piscopo, Pierluigi 2429 6 39 2264 28½
19 FM Schnider, Gert 2374 6 38½ 2355 32
20 WGM Areshchenko, Kateryna 2211 6 38 2281 28

(Full final standings here.)

The prize winners: L-R Deep Sengupta, Alexander Areshchenko and Daniel Naroditsky.

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