A norm seeker's paradise - Rilton Cup 2018-19 in Sweden
We don't often get to see that the top seed of a strong tournament is also the winner of the same. The 48th edition of the Rilton Cup was won by the top seed Israeli GM Tamir Nabaty who scored a solid 8.0/9 points. Every year, this event attracts strong chess players from all around the world and this 48th edition was no different. A total number of 398 participants across all its various formats, setting a new record in its 48-year long history. Also ten norms were scored at the event, making it a huge success for the organizers. In this article Rupali Mullick, who was present at the venue, shares with us an in-depth pictorial report of the event and also lot of video interviews.
The 48th Rilton Cup was held in Stockholm, Sweden from the 27th December 2018 to 5th January 2019 at the Scandic Continental Hotel, conveniently located near central station, in the heart of Stockholm. The name of the tournament comes from Late Dr. Tore Rilton who was also a chess player. There is a very interesting story as how this tournament came into existence and below is an excerpt from the book "Tore and the tournament - The story of the Rilton Cup" by IM Jesper Hall published in the year 2007 and was also published on ChessBase India two years ago.
"A summer day in 1971, a postal exchange of SEK 12,000 came to the organizers of the local chess tournament Stockholm Open. "Make a strong tournament" was the short directive that was attached. The mail exchange came from Dr. Tore Rilton, a man who few knew more than the appearance. When the organizers tried to thank their benefactor by letter, they received the letters in return, and when they called, they were met by a dry secretary's voice explaining that the doctor did not receive any calls. The only organizers could do to pay attention to the donation was to rename the tournament to the Rilton Cup.
Twelve years later, Tore Rilton died. He then entrusted a considerable amount of money to the newly formed foundation Dr Tore Rilton's memorial fund. A central mission for the foundation was to secure the financing of the Rilton Cup tournament for all time."
The top seed at the Rilton cup this year was Israeli Grandmaster, GM Tamir Nabaty who remained undefeated and won the tournament in style by winning his last game against GM Awonder Liang of USA with the black pieces in the last round and scoring 8.0/9 points, performing at an Elo of 2885 and taking home a cash prize of 20000 SEK (~ Rs. 1.6 lakhs).
GM Tamir Nabaty remained undefeated and gave a superb rating performance of 2885(!) also increasing his rating by 20 elo rating and taking it to 2689. The 11th edition of the Chennai GM Open has just kicked off and if we go back in time to the 3rd edition of the event (2011) then we will see a young IM Tamir Nabaty finishing second in the event ahead of 22 GMs by scoring 9.0/11 points and remaining undefeated. The spark could be seen eight years ago!
Gajewski vs Nabaty
The tournament witnessed 160 participants in the main Rilton Cup (greater than 2200 Elo), 151 in the below 2100 rating section and 87 in the below 1800 rating section. Among the 160 participants in the main event of the Rilton Cup, there were 26 GMs, 34 IMs, 5 WGMs, and 4 WIMs making this a very strong event with an average elo rating of 2320 - a norm seeker’s dream event!
The second prize was won by the local favorite, GM Tiger Hillarp Persson from Sweden, who scored 7.0/9 points and the third place went to the Russian veteran GM Sergey Volkov who also scored 7.0/9 points but was adjusted as the 2nd runner up on the basis of their tie-break score.
Of the total participants, 25 were from India comprising of big names such as GM Karthikeyan Murali followed by GM Gopal G.N., GM Deep Sengupta, GM Debashish Das, GM Lalith Babu M.R. and WGM Sowmya Swaminathan to name a few. Amongst the youngsters were IM Raja Rithvik R, IM Vardan Nagpal, CM Rohith Krishna, IM Rakesh Kumar Jena, CM Leon Mendonca, WGM Vaishali R, WIM Priyanka Nutakki, CM Raahil Mullick, FM Pranav Anand, Amit Moksh Doshi, FM Jeet Jain, WIM Saloni Sapale, CM Dev Shah etc.
GM G.N. Gopal and GM Murali Karthikeyan gave solid performances as both of them remain undefeated and scored 6.5/9 points, however on the basis of tie-break score they were adjusted as 5th and 6th position respectively.
Check out this game, where Gopal plays a beautiful rook endgame:
A fine King's Indian by Karthikeyan:
The event was a huge success for three Indian youngsters FM Pranav Anand, Moksh Doshi and WIM Priyanka Nutakki. Moksh and Pranav scored their IM norms, while Priyanka achieved her WGM norm. FM Pranav Anand played some fabulous chess right from the beginning of the event and managed to secure his maiden IM norm at the end of the 8th round itself. Pranav also won the first prize in his rating category (2250-2285).
Check out the finish of this game:
WIM Priyanka Nuttaki had a slow start to her tournament, but fought her way back and secured her maiden WGM norm by drawing her last round game against IM Lars Oskar Hauge of Norway. Had she won the last round, she would have scored her maiden IM norm! Priyanka won the second prize in her rating category (2286-2350).
Paradise for norms:
With such a strong field there were so many norms that were scored at the tournament. A total of ten! Something that the organizers can be proud of!
IM Alessio Valsecchi
IM Aryan Gholami
IM Yeoh Li Tian
FM Zhou Chen
WFM Elizabete Limanovska
WFM Michal Lahav
Final Ranking after 9 Rounds
|2||16||GM||Hillarp Persson Tiger||N||SWE||2546||7,0||47,0||51,0||35,0||2682||9||7||5,47||1,53||10||15,3|
|4||18||GM||Urkedal Frode Olav Olsen||N||NOR||2537||7,0||44,5||47,5||34,5||2677||9||7||5,37||1,63||10||16,3|
|12||13||GM||Moroni Luca Jr||N||ITA||2564||6,5||44,0||47,5||33,0||2599||9||6,5||6,01||0,49||10||4,9|
|14||9||GM||Santos Latasa Jaime||N||ESP||2584||6,0||50,0||54,5||34,0||2581||9||6||6,00||0,00||10||0,0|
|15||19||GM||Lalith Babu M R||N||IND||2529||6,0||48,0||53,0||34,0||2601||9||6||5,08||0,92||10||9,2|
|17||21||GM||Santos Ruiz Miguel||N||ESP||2523||6,0||47,0||50,0||33,5||2609||9||6||4,94||1,06||10||10,6|
|23||IM||Yeoh Li Tian||N||MAS||2508||6,0||47,0||50,0||33,5||2626||9||6||4,56||1,44||10||14,4|
Apart from the Open tournaments, 2 blitz tournaments were also conducted. The first Rilton Blitz was played in the morning before the third round with 21 players participating. GM Alexander Donchenko of Germany was the only grandmaster participating and the clear favourite. Donchenko won all of his games finishing with the perfect 9.0/ 9 points, 2.5 points ahead of Carlos Alvarez Serrano of Spain and Stephan Wagner of Austria who claimed the second and third places respectively.
The second Rilton Blitz gathered 72 players. GM Maxime Lagarde of France won with 8.0/9 points. After a loss in the second round he went on to win all the remaining games. Second place was taken by IM Aryan Gholami of Iran and IM Ariel Erenberg of Israel got the third place. The winner of the first Rilton Blitz GM Alexander Donchenko, Germany, ended up in fourth place.
CM Raahil Mullick performed well during the blitz tournament as he scored 6.5/9 points and stood joint 5th. He secured the first prize in his rating category.
CM Leon Mendonca performed very well in the blitz tournament as he scored 6.0/9 points and secured the first prize in his rating category.
About the Author:
Rupali Mullick is the mother of the current Commonwealth U-10 champion Raahil Mullick. She has a Ph.D in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a partner at JVM Industries. Her husband Prashant is a FIDE Rated player making them a complete chess family.
Rupali is a well-known interviewer in the chess world now and this was some of the work she did at the 48th Rilton Cup:
Nongsha Angom contributed to this article