Russian GM Pavel Ponkratov Wins International Chess Open "Ciudad de Leon"
Pavel Ponktratov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Russian GM Pavel Ponkratov Wins International Chess Open "Ciudad de Leon"

| 10 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Pavel Ponkratov has won the International Chess Open "Ciudad de Leon." The Russian grandmaster emerged victorious from the eight-player knockout that was held after a 10-round Swiss.

As part of the 2020 Leon Chess Festival, the Leon Open started on Tuesday with a 10-round Swiss tournament for titled players at a time control of three minutes plus a two-second increment. A total of 432 players played.

Ponkratov finished first there as well and together with GMs Mikhail Antipov, Anton Korobov, Sam Sevian, Jorden van Foreest, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Maksim Chigaev, and Abhimanyu Puranik qualified for the knockout phase, held on Wednesday.

Before moving on to that, let's first look at a few remarkable game fragments from the Swiss part. Two of these involve a crazy rook.

First, there was GM Baadur Jobava, who managed to swindle his opponent, WIM Nguyen Hong Anh, from a totally lost position (based on a wrong premove earlier in the game).

Normally you would see such an outcome just once per tournament but look at what happened in the following game between GM Bassem Amin and GM Robert Hovhannisyan. The stalemate pattern was even more special. 

Bassem Amin chess
Amin had the most unfortunate last two rounds. Photo: Peter Doggers/

In the penultimate round, Amin was still in contention for the top eight. The Egyptian grandmaster had a highly disappointing finish of his tournament as he was tricked into a draw again in a winning position vs. GM Matthias Bluebaum.

International Chess Open "Ciudad de Leon" | Swiss Final Standings

Rk Fed Title Username Name Score SB
1 GM @Infernal_XaM Pavel Ponkratov 8.5 57.25
2 GM @Antipov_Mikhail_Al Mikhail Antipov 8.5 45.75
3 GM @GOGIEFF Anton Korobov 8.5 39.25
4 GM @Konavets Sam Sevian 8 54.25
5 GM @joppie2 Jorden van Foreest 8 49.25
6 GM @crescentmoon2411 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 8 45.5
7 GM @Fandorine Maksim Chigaev 8 43
8 GM @abhidabhi Abhimanyu Puranik 8 41.75
9 GM @Borsch7 Maxim Matlakov 8 41
10 GM @Msb2 Matthias Bluebaum 7.5 46.5
11 GM @GHANDEEVAM2003 Arjun Erigaisi 7.5 43
12 GM @abykhovsky Anatoly Bykhovsky 7.5 42
13 GM @Dr-Bassem Bassem Amin 7.5 41.5
14 GM @Gabrielian_Artur Artur Gabrielian 7.5 40.25
15 GM @fireheart92 Adhiban Baskaran 7.5 39.75
16 GM @KuzubovYuriy Yuriy Kuzubov 7.5 39.25
17 IM @Supernotar Maly Alexey 7.5 37
17 IM @Semen_Khanin Semen Khanin 7.5 37
19 FM @Kranke007 Khazar Babazada 7 44.75
20 GM @jsl796 Jaime Santos Latasa 7 41

The knockout tournament on Wednesday consisted of best-of-four matches, again at the time control of three plus two. In the event of a tie, a single armageddon game (five versus four) was played. Players were seeded by their results in the Swiss from the day before.

Ponkratov first beat Puranik 3-1, next scored 2.5-1.5 against Sevian and then beat Chigaev 2.5-0.5 in the final.

Pavel Ponkratov chess
Ponkratov at the 2017 World Rapid and Blitz. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the match with Sevian, Ponkratov was incredibly lucky in game four, with a score of 1.5-1.5. The American grandmaster was about to win until he blundered terribly. Two question marks don't do justice to this howler of a move. But especially online, such mistakes can happen to anyone.

Ponkratov won the final convincingly so his tournament victory did look well deserved. Here's his first win against Chigaev, who got just one chance in the whole game.

Ponkratov earned 1,200 euros with his victory while Chigaev got 800 euros. Korobov and Sevian earned 400 euros each, and Antipov, Nguyen, Puranik, and Van Foreest all received 250 euros.

The live broadcast of the knockout on Wednesday.

Games final eight

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