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Leon Luke Mendonca triumphs at 38th ChessOrg Festival Bad Woerishofen 2023, Visakh second and Shyam third

by Shahid Ahmed - 14/03/2023

GM Leon Luke Mendonca and GM Visakh N R scored an unbeaten 7.5/9 each. Leon won 38th ChessOrg Festival Bad Woerishofen 2023 due to better tie-breaks, Visakh had to settle for the second place. They both finished a full point ahead of the field. Eight players scored 6.5/9 each. Four among them are Indians. The reigning Commonwealth 2022 Open Gold medalist, IM P Shyam Nikhil third, GM Iniyan P fourth, IM Nitin S seventh and GM Vignesh N R secured ninth place according to tie-breaks. The top three prizes in Group A (>1850) were €2000, 1400 and 900 along with a trophy each respectively. Leon, Visakh and Shyam create a new record by becoming the first Indians to make a podium finish at this event in its 37+ years of rich history.

Indians create history, claim top four and six out of top ten

In all previous 37 editions, no Indians ever made a podium finish, let alone win the tournament. Brand ambassador of Geno and Microsense, GM Leon Luke Mendonca created history by becoming the first Indian to win the tournament. In fact, GM Visakh N R and IM P Shyam Nikhil also etched their names in the record books by securing second and third place respectively. The previous best by an Indian was a fourth place finish in 2006 by GM Parimarjan Negi. This is Leon's second consecutive podium finish of the year, after he secured a third place finish last month at 6th Kragero Resort Chess 2023. His next event is 27th Hit Open 2023 in Nova Gorica, Slovenia which starts from 16th March. Leon is slated to be the top seed of the A group.

Champion - GM Leon Luke Mendonca 7.5/9

Runner-up - GM Visakh N R 7.5/9

Second Runner-up - IM P Shyam Nikhil 6.5/9

Top 3 (L to R) - 3rd IM P Shyam Nikhil, 1st GM Leon Luke Mendonca and 2nd GM Visakh N R | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

4th GM Iniyan P 6.5/9

Leon - Levin, Round 8

Position after 37...Rec6

GM Leon Luke Mendonca (2558) is so technically sound that his opponent GM Felix Levin's (GER, 2456) small inaccuracy, cost him the game. 37...Rec6 removes the support of the e4-pawn. After 38.Re5 Rc2 39.Rd6+ Kg7 40.a4 R2c3 41.Rb6 there is no way for Black to defend the e4-pawn. White went on to win the game comfortably. What Black could have done was, keep his rook at e6 to defend the e4-pawn and okay 37...Kg7 or Rce7 to keep the game going. This win put Leon in the sole lead 7/8 and he moved a half point ahead of GM Visakh N R 6.5/8, heading into the final round.

GM Leon Luke Mendonca showcased his technical expertise in the endgame against GM Felix Levin (GER) | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

Round 9: IM P Shyam Nikhil - GM Leon Luke Mendonca: 0.5-0.5 | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

 Tournament arbiter - IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli with GM Leon Luke Mendonca | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

7th IM Nitin S 6.5/9 | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

9th GM Vignesh N R 6.5/9 | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

Best Junior - WIM Sahithi Varshini M 6/9

The prize winners | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

Top boards | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

The tournament hall at Kurhaus in Bad Wörishofen, Germany | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

A beautiful artwork of chess pieces | Photo: IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli

A special thanks to IO IA Gerhard Bertagnolli for sharing the games and photos.


A total of 130 players including 7 GMs, 10 IMs and 2 WIMs took part in the Open (>1850) category from various countries across the world. The nine-day nine-round Swiss league Rating tournament was organized by ChessOrg at Bad Woerishofen in Germany from 3rd to 11th March 2023. The time control of the tournament was 40 moves in 100 minutes + 30 minutes for the rest, 30 seconds increment from move no.1.

Replay Round 1-9 games

Final standings

11GMMendonca,Leon Luke2558Hamburger SK von 1830 eV7,556448,5
22GMVisakh N R2538SC Heusenstamm7,555,5457
35IMShyaamnikhil P24776,555432
69IMPfreundt,Jakob2407HSK Lister Turm6,550,5435
88GMLevin,Felix2456Duesseldorfer SK 14/25 e. V.6,549416,5
94IMVignesh N R25136,549408
1013FMMeissner,Felix2359Hamburger SK6,544,5411
1214FMPanesar Vedant2348649,5424,5
1368 Beisteiner,Joachim2055Tschaturanga649,5403,5
1426WIMSahithi Varshini M2262647409,5



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