Vienna: 16-Year-Old Wins Open; Mamedyarov Beats Ragger

Vienna: 16-Year-Old Wins Open; Mamedyarov Beats Ragger

| 9 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday, the Vienna Open was sensationally won by 16-year-old IM Francesco Rambaldi. Alongside the tournament, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov beat GM Markus Ragger 3.5-2.5 in a friendly match. 

All photos by Gerhard Peyrer
courtesy of the Wiener Schachverband.

Italy never had many grandmasters. The first was Sergio Mariotti (69), who secured the title when he won a bronze medal at the Nice 1974 Olympiad.

Two Italian immigrants became grandmaster as well: Cuba-born Lexy Ortega (55) and Argentine-born Carlos Garcia Palermo (61).

At the time of writing, the Italian federation lists 10 GMs. It used to be 11, before Fabiano Caruana's move to the U.S., and it will be 11 again soon.

[Update: In the comments the inactive GM Alexander Zlochevskij was mentioned, which means there are 11 Italian GMs now, and soon 12.] 

Last Sunday 16-year-old IM Francesco Rambaldi fulfilled all requirements for his grandmaster title. Not only did he score a norm; he won an open tournament along the way, and 2,000 Euros with it!

Rambaldi edged out GMs Keith Arkell of England, Tamas Banusz of Hungary, Axel Rombaldoni of Italy and Gergely Antal of Hungary on tiebreak after all five had finished on 7.5/9.

The following game begs to be embedded here. It shows fighting spirit among compatriots, it starts with 1.b3 (with a novelty on move 5!) and ends with a nice combination: 

2015 Vienna Open | Final Standings

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2
1 11 IM Rambaldi Francesco ITA 2517 7,5 44,5 56,5
2 16 GM Arkell Keith ENG 2488 7,5 43 54,5
3 3 GM Bánusz Tamás HUN 2586 7,5 42,5 55
4 12 GM Rombaldoni Axel ITA 2515 7,5 41,5 53
5 10 GM Antal Gergely HUN 2524 7,5 41 52
6 2 GM Buhmann Rainer GER 2613 7 44,5 55
7 37 FM Carow Johannes GER 2407 7 43 55
8 8 GM Brunello Sabino ITA 2545 7 41,5 53,5
9 23 FM Moroni Luca ITA 2461 7 40,5 51,5
10 14 IM Tari Aryan NOR 2510 7 40 52
11 15 GM Kindermann Stefan AUT 2507 7 39,5 51
12 13 GM Kurajica Bojan BIH 2513 7 39,5 50
13 5 GM Hawkins Jonathan ENG 2554 7 38,5 49,5
14 61   Dragnev Valentin AUT 2339 7 38 48,5
15 22 IM Mons Léon GER 2464 7 38 47
16 6 GM Ruck Robert HUN 2552 7 37,5 48,5
17 75 FM Schwabeneder Florian AUT 2299 7 35 44,5
18 1 GM Safarli Eltaj AZE 2644 7 34,5 43
19 137 WIM Gevorgyan Irina UZB 2206 6,5 44 55
20 112   Pop Alexandru ROU 2248 6,5 40 52

(Full final standings here.)

Trophies for the top 3: Rambaldi in between Arkell (l.) and Banusz.

Alongside the tournament, in the same playing hall, GM Markus Ragger played a six-game match against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. After winning the Politiken Cup, the Austrian number-one did reasonably well in this match, losing by the smallest possible margin: 2.5-3.5.

It was Mamedyarov who opened the score in the first game, in an Exchange Ruy Lopez. After game two ended in a draw, the Azerbaijani came up with a stunning almost-novelty, as early as move seven, again in a Ruy Lopez Exchange:

Sparkling opening play from Mamedyarov in the Ruy Lopez Exchange.

The amazing thing was that Mamedyarov only spent a bit over 22 minutes on the whole game. His longest think was three minutes and 19 seconds on 30.h6. Mind-blowing.

Ragger saved the honor by winning game five. Mameyarov decided that his experiment was for one game only, and deviated with the rare 6.Re1. A quick e4-e5 came anyway, Ragger defended well and easily refuted a piece sac.

Ragger's three white games ended in draws. As the tournament website notes, he might well be the first Austrian player to reach the world's top 50 on the next rating list.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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