10 things that made last day of Goa GM International 2019 special
The second edition of the Goa International Open Grandmaster Chess Tournament 2019 came to an emphatic end for the Armenian fans. Samvel Ter Sahakyan scored a gritty victory over Davit Jojua in the last round to tie with his friend Manuel Petrosyan on 8.0/10. They were joined by Iranian Pouya Idani who scored 5 points in last five rounds. Samvel was the champion on better tie-break score. In this article we bring you all the action from not just the final round, but also from the closing ceremony. A total of 13 norms were scored in the tournament. A huge boost for Indian players and it was only possible because the organizers at Goa ensured a very high rating average (2182) of participants in the A group.
1. Armenian lions rule in Goa
The Goa GM 2019 was not one of those events where the top boards took quick draws and just finished the event. In fact every top player was in an ambitious mood and fought until the bitter end. Manuel Petrosyan had a half point lead over the field. In the last round, however, he couldn't make a breakthrough against Georgian GM Luka Paichadze. The game ended in a draw. This gave a chance to other pursuers on seven points to play for a win and tie with Petrosyan. On board three Samvel Ter Sahakyan played against Davit Jojua.
If you look at the game below, you will notice the smoothness with which Samvel won the game. It just shows how strong the Armenian GM is mentally. He didn't care that it was the last round, he just played all the best moves in the position and won his game!
Samvel Ter-Sahakyan vs Davit Jojua
Samvel had seen the nice tactic in advance. He played Nxf5! Rxf5 Qe4 pinning the rook. Black tried to cling on with ...Ng7 but after g4! it was already over!
We had a three way tie at the top, but in the end it was Ter Sahakyan who had the best tiebreak and took home the winner's cheque of Rs.3,50,000
Manuel Petrosyan who was leading the tournament right from the start had to be content with the second spot. But it was a very successful tournament for both the youngsters from Armenia. Samvel gained 12.5 Elo points, while Petrosyan went back with 15 Elo points.
Final standings after round 10
|7||27||GM||Vasquez Schroeder Rodrigo||CHI||2476||CHI||7,5||0,0||52,5||56,5||41,75||6||10||7,5||7,16||0,34||10||3,4|
|9||38||IM||Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh||IND||2436||MAH||7,5||0,0||52,0||55,5||38,00||7||10||7,5||6,52||0,98||10||9,8|
|12||1||GM||Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo||VEN||2637||VEN||7,0||0,0||60,5||65,0||43,50||5||10||7||7,44||-0,44||10||-4,4|
|19||54||CM||Bharath Subramaniyam H||IND||2383||TN||7,0||0,0||52,0||55,5||35,50||6||10||7||5,91||1,09||20||21,8|
The trophy is too heavy for Samvel!
Samvel Ter Sahakyan had a flight to catch and was in quite a bit of hurry. I ran over to him and asked for an interview. "Let's do it near my car", he said, so that he can leave the premises immediately after the interview is done. I agreed and we did a very short interview (published above). As he was just about to leave Samvel told me, "Look, this trophy is really very heavy. I would not be able to carry it back home. It will make my life really tough getting it through the flight. You keep it. And keep it for yourself!" I thought to myself, this guy is joking. But he gave the trophy in my hand, sat in his car and left!
A lot of people posed with the trophy and everyone had a great time (Thanks, Samvel!). I went to the organizers and told them about the trophy. The organizers said that if they got Samvel's address then they would ship it to Armenia! Well, now that's a wonderful gesture by the Goa team. After I was confident that the trophy will be taken care off and sent to Samvel, I left it with the organizers and went back to my work. I must say, the feeling of holding the winner's trophy for those 15 minutes was quite exhilarating!
3. The Iranian fighter
Iturrizaga vs Pouya Idani
4. Top scoring Indians
Nubairshah Shaikh vs Kiril Stupak, round 10
Although this position has been reached seven times before, Nubair was unaware about the best move in the position. He thought hard over the board and found the idea with d4! A pawn sacrifice, but one that won the game for the Mumbai player.
5. Thirteen norms by eleven players
When you are able to maintain a high Elo average of the tournament (2182, in this case), then you are bound to get a lot of norms scored. At the Goa GM 2019, thirteen norms were scored, by eleven players. K. Priyanka managed to score three norms in the single event (WIM, WGM and IM).
1. Srija Seshadri - Final WGM norm
2. Anuj Shrivatri - second IM norm
3. K. Priyanka - second WIM norm and maiden WGM/IM norm
4. Rathanvel - Final IM norm
5. Michelle Catherina - maiden WGM norm
6. Bharath Subramaniyam - final IM norm
7. Neelash Saha - IM norm (has already completed all requirements to be an IM)
8. Mitrabha Guha - IM norm ( has already completed all requirements to be an IM)
9. Aaryan Varshney - first IM norm
10. Saina Salonika - first WIM norm
11. Sankalp Gupta - IM norm (has already completed all requirements to be an IM)
6. Three new IMs and one WGM was created at this event!
7. The top boards at C category didn't want to fight!
The C group (below 1600) tournaments have become quite popular in India. That's because of the huge prize money at stake. However, in the final round at the Goa GM 2019, instead of fighting for the first place, the top two boards agreed to a draw in a few minutes from the start of the game and ensured that they all would be joint first.
I wouldn't call this the best approach by the players to make short draws for the top prizes, but I can also understand the immense pressure that was there on their mind. The huge prize money forced them to play for truce rather than war! Maybe, the organizers will find a way to avoid such a situation in future.
Final standings after round 10
|2||62||Stephen Raj A||IND||1479||TN||8,5||0,0||63,0||68,0||56,00||7|
|5||25||Prasath K R||IND||1545||TN||8,5||0,0||62,5||67,5||56,50||7|
|6||37||Deepak K S||IND||1512||KER||8,5||0,0||62,5||67,5||55,75||8|
8. Chief minister visits the tournament
You know that this is a big event when the chief minister of a state visits the closing ceremony. Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant was the chief guest at the closing ceremony. On his first appearance it is easy to mistake him as a common man. And that's what was so refreshing about him. He didn't wear the usual politician's outfit. A simple shirt and trousers was how he arrived at the venue. More than his attire, he let his words do the talking. He announced a 20 lakh rupees grant to the Goa Chess Association and assured that even in the future the government of Goa will support the Goa International Grandmaster chess tournament to the best of its abilities. When you have the political backing, the sport is bound to flourish.
9. The man with the vision
Conducting the first GM tournament in the smallest state of India was a bold decision. Following it up with a bigger, grander and better organized event was even bolder! All of this is possible only because of the vision of one man - Nilesh Cabral. He is the Power minister of Goa, and the President of the Goa Chess Association. A lot of people described him as "dynamic" in their speeches. I felt these were just kind words that everyone said about someone important. I later understood that the word "dynamic" suits Nilesh Cabral in the best possible way. He is all the time taking the hard decisions and making sure that solutions are found for the problems that arise. His vision is to make Goa a hub of chess in India and with the Goa GM International tournament he is making it possible. At the ChessBase India stall, we saw a huge rise in the number of coaches and players who were from Goa than what we witnessed last year. This is the direct consequence of the Goa GM international tournament!
10. ChessBase India team
The ChessBase India team worked around the clock to bring you all the results of the tournament. It was time for us to take a short break from work and to unwind and reload ourselves with new weapons and ammunition. Hence, after the tournament ended, the ChessBase India team spend some time in Goa, not just discussing about the future ideas and plans but also having a nice time with each other!