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Over 50 Indians are competing at the Elllobregat Open 2019 in Spain

by Satanick Mukhuty - 07/12/2019

The first Elllobregat Open 2019 has commenced from the 3rd of this month and will continue till the 11th. The grand, week-long event, that is going to disburse a total of 21,490 Euro (about 16,90,000 Rupees) as prizes is seeing a phenomenal participation of more than fifty Indians this year. The tournament has found eight leaders after four rounds who have scored 3.5/4 points each and following them closely is a pack of eighteen players who are just half a point behind with 3.0/4 each. Read this article to know how the Indian players are faring so far in the competition.

The first edition of Elllobregat Chess Open is taking place from the 3rd to 11th of December in Catalonia, Spain. Out of the total 130 players competing in Group A of the event, India has the largest representation with as many as 55 participants. The mammoth contingent is led by Grandmasters S.L. Narayanan and Karthikeyan Murali who have started as the third and fourth seeds respectively; while Abhimanyu Puranik, Gukesh D, Arjun Erigaisi, and Harsha Bharathakoti are the other prominent Indians seeded in the top ten.

The participation of Indian players in different European events of note has gone appreciably up in the recent years. Chess in the country is clearly growing by the day! | Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar  

After the completion of four rounds there are five Indians who lead the tournament along with three others. Arjun Erigaisi, S.L.Narayanan, Raja Rithvik R, Abhimanyu Puranik, and Iniyan P have all scored 3.5/4 points so far and are vying for a strong finish. On the other hand, the 13-year-old wunderkind Gukesh D has slipped down the leaderboard after suffering consecutive defeats in the last two rounds.

Gukesh D started off with a fine victory against Moksh Doshi but lost to Kjartansson Gudmundur of Iceland and compatriot Dhulipala Bala Chandra Prasad in rounds three and four. The latter was a particularly topsy-turvy game | Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar

Gukesh D - Dhulipala Bala Chandra Prasad, Round 4

Dhulipala actually found a strong pair of central pawns out of the opening which seemed to prove quite annoying for Gukesh throughout the game. 

Black can already seize an initiative here with Kh7 which puts the king out of the undesirable a1-h8 diagonal. In the game 28...Nxe4 was played and the balance was maintained.

35.g3? is a major blunder which again gives Black the chance to take the upper hand with c4 and d3. Can you suggest a better alternative? Check the game below to find out the answer.

43.a5? was the final mistake that sealed Gukesh's fate. Black easily won from here after 43...d3 44.Bb4 c3 45.a6. Try to find a better continuation instead of the premature 43.a5 that keeps everything consolidated.  

Harsha Bharathakoti is another one of country's brightest hopes. In the fourth round of the event the 19-year-old Grandmaster from Hyderabad pulled of a crushing win against Rathanvel VS | Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar

Harsha Bharathakoti - Rathanvel VS, Round 4

The above position was a result of a Grunfeld sideline and here Rathanvel's 12...Nd7 seemed to be an inaccuracy as it conceded White's extended pawn center too much liberty. 12...a6 13.Nc3 Qd6 14.Be3 Nd7 instead would have kept things roughly balanced. 

Not long after Harsha's pawns were rolling rampageously down the board. Black gave up some material here to alleviate his woes but that didn't do much other than delaying the loss.

Photo Gallery

IM Raja Rithvik R is one of the eight leaders after four rounds with a score of 3.5/4 points. He has held his own commendably well against strong opposition so far. We present his win against GM Narciso Dublan Marc from round two below | Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar

Iniyan P found a surprising fourteen move win against Adrian Uriel Suarez of Spain. He held compatriot Karthikeyan Murali to a draw in the last round to remain in the lead | Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar

The talented Arjun Erigaisi (right) has been solid throughout. In the last round he made a quick draw against the third seeded S.L.Narayanan to stay atop the leaderboard | Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar

Standings after four rounds

Rk.SNo NamesexGrFEDRtgIRtgNClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 nwwew-weKrtg+/-
GMErigaisi ArjunIND25440AICF3,50,039,043,52,590,91109,1
GMAlonso Rosell Alvar2577ESP25482550CAT - CE Gerunda3,50,038,543,52,750,75107,5
IMRaja Rithvik RIND23810AICF3,50,038,043,51,791,711017,1
IMZanan EvgenyISR24930Israel3,50,037,543,52,550,95109,5
IMKjartansson GudmundurISL24480Iceland3,50,037,543,52,331,171011,7
GMPuranik AbhimanyuIND25800AICF3,50,037,043,53,190,31103,1
GMIniyan PIND24970AICF3,50,036,543,52,491,011010,1
GMGagare ShardulIND24680AICF3,00,037,5432,660,34103,4
IMLow Zhen Yu CyrusSGP24200Singapore3,00,037,5432,870,13101,3

Complete results and standings