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IM Raja Rithvik scores second GM-norm at Skalica Open, Leon finishes third in Masters

by Shahid Ahmed - 06/09/2021

IM Raja Rithvik R beat GM Valentina Gunina in a must-win final round to score his second GM-norm at Skalica Chess Festival 2021 in the Open section. Rithvik scored an impressive 7.0/9 to finish sole second with a performance of 2616. He gained 21.7 Elo rating points, a beautifully crafted trophy and €500 as his prize. India's 67th GM and Skalica Open 2020 winner Leon Luke Mendonca scored 5.5/9, finished a half point behind the winner Anton Korobov (UKR) and runner-up Vitaliy Bernadskiy (UKR) to secure third place. He also won a trophy and €800 for his efforts. Check out the article to find Rithvik's epic win over Gunina and also Leon's triumph over Bernadskiy and draw with Korobov. Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

Rithvik beats Gunina in a must-win situation

The 17-year-old IM Raja Rithvik R is a former National under-15 and under-17 champion. He also scored his first GM-norm at Elllobregat Open 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic delayed his opportunity to travel and play over-the-board tournaments. However, he has been working hard with N V S Ramaraju at RACE (Ramaraju Academy of Chess Education) and Ukrainian coach GM Alexander Goloshchapov. After missing out his second GM-norm by a whisker on several occasion, he finally scored it in Skalica, Slovakia.

Top 3 in Open (L to R) - 2nd IM Rithvik Raja R, 1st GM Jergus Pechac (SVK) and 3rd GM Friso Nijboer (NED) | Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

Skalica Open 2020 winner GM Leon Luke Mendonca finished third in Skalica Open 2021 Masters | Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

Skalica Open 2020 winner, GM Leon Luke Mendonca made his mark by finishing third 5.5/9 in the Masters section. He drew with the eventual champion Anton Korobov 6.0/9 and defeated the eventual runner-up Vitaliy Bernadskiy 6.0/9. Leon gained 6.0 Elo rating points in the process

Top 3 in Masters (L to R): 3rd GM Leon Luke Mendonca, 1st GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy (UKR) and 2nd GM Anton Korobov (UKR) | Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

Open

Rithvik scored six wins, two draws and suffered only one loss against the eventual champion GM Jergus Pechac. The most important was against GM Valentina Gunina in the final round as it was a must-win situation for him to score his second GM-norm.

Gunina - Rithvik, Round 9

Position after 20...Kh8

Gunina has already sacrificed a knight to expose Black's kingside. Draw was the best result White could gain out of this position. 21.Nf7+ Rxf7 22.Qxf7 Bxg2 and now White cannot win the game with either 23.Qxe7 or Kxg2, both are devoid of winning chances for White. The three-time Russian and European individual champion went for 21.e4. Black retreated his queen 21...Qd8

Position after 38.f4

Despite Black's king seeming more vulnerable than White's, Black is out of the woods. 38...e4 was played and Rithvik showed staunch defence and went on to beat Gunina in her own game, a volatile-sharp encounter, something which she prefers and thrives on. This win allowed Rithvik to score his second GM-norm and finish second in the overall standings in the Open section.

Rithvik en route his important victory over Gunina | Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

In the fifth round, Rithvik defeated the eventual second runner-up GM Friso Nijboer (NED).

Rithvik - Nijboer, Round 5

Position after 15...f4

15...f4 forces White to take on c5. 16.Bxc5 Qxc5, and now what should White do? Rithvik executed a fantastic plan and won the game in another eight moves.

Rithvik performed at 2616, scored 7.0/9 and gained 21.7 Elo rating points

Replay all games of Rithvik

Masters

Leon defeated the eventual runner-up GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy (UKR) in the fifth round.

Leon - Bernadskiy, Round 5

Position after 25...Nxd5

Black had to play 25...Rxd5 as 25...Nxd5 costs material. Find out how.

Leon drew with four-time Ukraine champion GM Anton Korobov in the sixth round. He made a brilliant save in the endgame.

Korobov - Leon, Round 6

Position after 40.Kg1

Find out how can Black save the game after 40.Kg1.

Leon in action against IM Jan Vykouk (CZE) | Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

Photo Gallery

Rithvik with the Chief Arbiter of the Open section - IA Diviak Rastislav | Photo: Deepika Rajavaram

The tournament hall | Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

The well-crafted beautiful prizes | Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

IM Raja Rithvik R receives his second GM-norm certificate | Photo: Skalický Šachový festival

Rithvik with his mother Deepika Rajavaram

Replay all games of Leon

Final Standings in Open

Rk.SNo NameTypsexFEDRtgClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
13
GMPechac JergusSVK2523Tj Mladost Zilina7,548,023986
26
IMRaja Rithvik RU18IND24337,048,023966
34
GMNijboer FrisoNED24686,548,523005
413
FMHollan MartinCZE23556,537,521795
55
GMGunina ValentinawRUS24376,049,023305
61
GMHera Imre Jr.HUN26016,047,023054
712
FMHaring FilipU18SVK2357Sk Junior Cvc Banska Bystrica6,047,022934
810
FMFinek VaclavU18CZE23726,045,023106
938
Zetocha AdrianU18SVK2082Sk Slovan Bratislava6,042,522555
1014
FMFarkas GaborSVK2347Msk Gabcikovo6,041,522835

Complete standings

Final Standings in Masters

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
11
GMKorobov AntonUKR26836,023,250,04
29
GMBernadskiy VitaliyUKR25946,023,000,04
36
GMMendonca Leon LukeIND25375,523,250,03
44
IMVykouk JanCZE24455,521,500,04
57
GMMovsesian SergeiARM26385,021,000,02
65
IMLomasov SemyonRUS25245,017,750,04
710
GMMichalik PeterCZE25924,517,250,01
82
FMKostolansky Sebastian LukasSVK23944,015,000,02
98
IMSahidi SamirSVK24373,512,000,02
103
Brhel JanSVK20490,00,000,00

Details

Links

Skalický Šachový festival fb


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