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Sunway Sitges 2019 - An event hosting 106 Indian players in Spain

by Sagar Shah - 16/12/2019

From 33 Indians in A group in 2018, the number has spiralled to 85 at the sixth edition of the Sunway Sitges International 2019. Right from Sasikiran, Sethuraman, Karthikeyan Murali to Nihal Sarin, Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh, Raunak Sadhwani, Arjun Erigaisi, we have so many Indian talents fighting it out in Barcelona. 21 more players are playing the B-group which makes it a total of 106 Indians at the event. It is quite amazing to see such a turnout in spite of the event clashing with the Indian national championships 2019 in Sikkim. We bring you rounds one to three report along with annotated games of the four Indian players leading - Sethuraman, Srinath Narayanan, S.L. Narayanan and Praggnanandhaa.

The most scenic tournament of the year is back! Sunway Sitges International 2019, being held in Barcelona, Spain from the 12th to the 22nd of December, has the most picturesque view from the playing hall that you would ever see.

Isn't this amazing? | Photo: Lennart Ootes

From being a normal open event, Sunway Sitges, which is into its sixth edition, has become one of the most exciting events in the calendar year? What are the reasons for the same?

1. A total of 311 players are fighting it out from 56 countries.

2. The top seed of the tournament is the legendary Vassily Ivanchuk.

3. There are a total of 55 GMs, 56 IMs and 43 FMs. With so many titled players competing, the chances for a norm are very high.

4. The rating average of the tournament is a solid 2234.

5. The tournament has some of the best youngsters in the world which include Nihal Sarin, Praggnanandhaa, Sindarov, Gukesh, Raunak Sadhwani and others

6. The event is especially exciting for Indians because we have 85 players taking part! Just to show you the growth of the event - last year the tournament had 183 participants and 33 Indians playing in the A group, while this year you have 311 players and 85 Indians!


Three rounds have been completed and we have a total of 16 players on a 100% score. Four of them are Indians - Sethuraman, Srinath Narayanan, Praggnanandhaa and Narayanan S.L.

Standings after round 3

Rk.SNo NameTypsexGrFEDRtgIRtgNClub/CityPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
13GMKorobov AntonUKR266803,04,006,0
246GMAroshidze Levan2549ESP25142511C.E. Banyoles3,04,005,5
310GMSethuraman S.P.IND263803,04,005,0
11GMTabatabaei M.AminIRI263503,04,005,0
40GMNarayanan SrinathIND252903,04,005,0
47GMKelires AndreasHGRE25100O.F.I Chess Club3,04,005,0
64IMYankelevich LevGER247203,04,005,0
67IMSong RaymondTPE246803,04,005,0
939GMStefansson HannesISL25380Chess Club Huginn3,04,004,5
1024GMPraggnanandhaa RH16IND258603,04,004,0
119GMDonchenko AlexanderGER264403,03,505,0
76GMBatsiashvili NinoAwGEO244703,03,505,0
136GMLagarde MaximeFRA26552596C.E. Barcelona3,03,504,5
32GMShevchenko KirillUKR254703,03,504,5
35GMLi DiHCHN254303,03,504,5


Complete rankings

Sethuraman S.P. has begun strongly at the event and is on 3.0/3 | Photo: Lennart Ootes

In round three Sethuraman played a strong opening against top Kazakh woman player Dinara Saduakassova. Once her opponent went wrong in the Open Ruy Lopez, Sethuraman gave her absolutely no chances.

Sethuraman vs Dinara Saduakassova, Round 3

Sethuraman's h4!? in this well known position of the Open Ruy Lopez is not a theoretical novelty, but it was enough to throw his strong opponent off balance

After winning the London Chess Classic 2019, Praggnanandhaa is now leading the Sunway Sitges Open 2019 with a score of 3.0/3. His live rating is up to 2607. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Although Praggnanandhaa is on 3.0/3, he is living quite dangerously at the event. Against Krishna Teja in round two he was completely lost, when his opponent went wrong and Pragg chalked up the full point. Even in round three, he was worse against Gudmundur Kjartansson. But he fought back and won. Here are both of his games. 

Krishna Teja vs Praggnanandhaa, Round 2

White is a piece up, but Black has some attacking chances. How does White win here?

Praggnanandhaa vs Kjartansson, Round 3

White has just pushed the pawn to f5. How should Black continue?

Kjartansson, with the black pieces, is clearly in the driver's seat. He can take ...gxf5 and make Pragg suffer for the rest of the game. Instead he took on f5 with his bishop and after Bd5 Pragg was not just back in the game, but also clearly better. He won within a couple of moves.

The man who has travelled with Nihal as his second and trainer for quite some time now Srinath Narayanan, is back on the chess board and has begun with 3.0/3. | Photo: Nihal Sarin Facebook page

S.L. Narayanan, the winner of the Elllobregat Open 2019, just a few days ago, will be looking to make it a double in Spain by winning the Sunway Sitges Open as well | Photo: Lennart Ootes

GM Srinath Narayanan, on his Facebook, made the following clarification some time ago: "So, on the left, we have Srinath Narayanan (me). On the right, Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan ('2600+'). My given name is Srinath, his is Narayanan, so it's not even quite the same names. We're not brothers, we're not the same person, and I am not him!" | Photo: N. Srinath Facebook page

Srinath wriggled out of a messy position in round one. Playing after nearly ten months, his last classical event was the Aeroflot Open 2019, it was clear that Srinath needed some time to settle in. But after avoiding an accident in the first round, he is back on track and is now on 3.0/3.

Narayanan S.L. has been trying out the Grunfeld at the event with black.


Barseghyan vs S.L. Narayanan, Round 3

...Nbd7 is quite uncommon. The main move instead of Nbd7 is Ne4 and there is huge theory attached to it. But with ...Nbd7 Narayanan is trying to get his opponent into uncharted territory!

One of the biggest upsets of the event has been Harshit Raja's win against second seed Parham Maghsoodloo. After scoring a GM norm at the Elllobregat Open 2019, Harshit is no mood to slow down and has begun with 2.5/3.

Looking for his second GM norm - IM Harshit Raja | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Harshit Raja vs Parham Maghsoodloo, Round 2

Parham's g7-g5 was already a bit suspect. But, his last move g4 turns out to be a losing mistake. Can you spot why?

Harshit simply picked up the pawn on e5 with his knight and after Qxe5 he continued with Rxd7! The rook if taken is met with Qxg4+ followed by pocking up the rook on d7. White is just three pawns up.

Hungry Harshit loves pawns! | Art work by Wada Lupe 

It was nice to see Parham being a sport and analyzing the game event after his loss. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Nihal Sarin is on 2.5/3. In round three he won his game against the reigning national women's champion of India Bhakti Kulkarni in just 26 moves. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Talented youngster Divya Deshmukh is on 2.0/3. She lost one game to her city-mate... | Photo: Lennart Ootes

...Raunak Sadhwani (not on his chair) | Photo: Lennart Ootes

A nice analysis room means that players spend quite some time looking at their games along with their opponents | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Vassily Ivanchuk already has two draws and is on 2.0/3 | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Top player from India K. Sasikiran lost his third round encounter to Levan Aroshidze and is on 2.0/3 | Photo: Lennart Ootes

The Spanish Castellers perform at a colourful opening ceremony! | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Live commentary of the open event by Anna Rudolph and Simon Williams can be followed here.


The famous Sunway Sitges Night blitz tournament took place on the 15th night. Amin Tabatabaei won the tournament with 8.0/9. Arjun Erigaisi was second with 7.5/9 and Nihal Sarin was third with 7.0/9.

Night Blitz

Rk.SNo NameTypGrFEDRtgIRtgNPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
17Tabatabaei M.Amin GMIRI249908,049,553,546,50
23Erigaisi Arjun GMIND260407,547,551,542,00
32Nihal Sarin GMIND268507,050,053,540,25
45Larino Nieto David GMESP253507,046,551,539,00
511Trent Lawrence IMENG246706,547,551,534,00
615Lobanov Sergei IMRUS239406,547,550,534,25
71Maghsoodloo Parham GMIRI273506,546,049,534,25
84Santos Latasa Jaime GMESP255706,546,049,533,25
912Cuenca Jimenez Jose Fernando GMESP245106,545,548,533,50
1013Sindarov Javokhir GMUZB244706,542,046,029,75
119Sadhwani Raunak IMIND249006,539,042,530,00
1235Gines Esteo Pedro Antonio IMESP214106,047,549,529,00
1325Gorshtein Ido FMISR225606,046,049,528,00
1421Martinez Martin David IMESP232206,045,048,027,50
1529Fernandez Diaz Cristian FMESP224706,042,545,527,00
1636Rajarishi Karthi CMIND212606,041,544,022,50
1727Boyer Mahel FMFRA225306,039,040,521,50
1816Iniyan P GMIND239205,549,553,529,75
1943Bharath Subramaniyam H IMIND202205,542,045,024,25
2059Tanmay ChopraIND186005,537,540,020,00


Overview of performance by Indian players:

5GMSasikiran Krishnan26560IND1102,049Group A
10GMSethuraman S.P.26380IND1113,03Group A
13GMNarayanan.S.L26260IND1113,014Group A
16GMNihal Sarin26120IND1½12,541Group A
17GMKarthikeyan Murali26110IND11½2,521Group A
24GMPraggnanandhaa R25860IND1113,010Group A
26GMPuranik Abhimanyu25800IND1½12,538Group A
31GMGukesh D25470IND11½2,519Group A
34GMErigaisi Arjun25440IND1½12,544Group A
40GMNarayanan Srinath25290IND1113,05Group A
44GMHarsha Bharathakoti25230IND1½½2,063Group A
48IMSadhwani Raunak25070IND1102,053Group A
49GMGirish A. Koushik25060IND1012,098Group A
55GMIniyan P24970IND1½½2,080Group A
65GMKarthik Venkataraman24700IND1012,0111Group A
77IMRaja Harshit24470IND11½2,525Group A
85IMBharath Subramaniyam H24200IND½101,5137Group A
87IMKulkarni Bhakti24180IND½101,5150Group A
90IMAkash Pc Iyer24150IND10½1,5152Group A
92IMDhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad24140IND1012,0113Group A
94FMRathanvel V S24100IND½101,5166Group A
98IMMendonca Leon Luke23980IND1½½2,067Group A
102IMKrishna Teja N23830IND1012,086Group A
108IMRaja Rithvik R23810IND1012,0100Group A
109WGMVaishali R23760IND1012,0105Group A
113FMManu David Suthandram R23690IND10½1,5136Group A
115IMSankalp Gupta23650IND1½½2,069Group A
125IMSidhant Mohapatra23380IND1012,083Group A
128WIMDivya Deshmukh23320IND1012,0126Group A
133Samant Aditya S23090IND1½01,5147Group A
134FMKrishnater Kushager23080IND1½½2,085Group A
139Ajay Krishna S23020IND1102,058Group A
140FMMatta Vinay Kumar23000IND1012,0107Group A
153WIMRakshitta Ravi22600IND1½01,5134Group A
159WIMPratyusha Bodda22530IND0112,0122Group A
163FMDushyant Sharma22470IND0½11,5156Group A
164Panesar Vedant22470IND0101,0184Group A
168Rohit S22340IND0101,0207Group A
169WIMPriyanka Nutakki22290IND½0½1,0188Group A
172CMPrraneeth Vuppala22210IND½0½1,0179Group A
174WFMCholleti Sahajasri22160IND0011,0247Group A
175Karthik Rajaa22120IND0101,0195Group A
177FMAjay Karthikeyan22030IND½011,5153Group A
183CMTanmay Jain21930IND0101,0199Group A
185IMMohota Nisha21910IND01½1,5160Group A
187Bartakke Amardeep S.21900IND0101,0200Group A
189Sibi Visal R21850IND0101,0183Group A
191Sekar B21760IND0112,0108Group A
198Natarajan C21570IND00000000000,0292Group A
200Godbole Atharva21480IND0½11,5167Group A
204CMShahil Dey21350IND0101,0214Group A
206WIMTejaswini Sagar21282095IND0112,0124Group A
210Darpan Inani21170IND0101,0201Group A
211Arjun C Krishnamachari21130IND½011,5154Group A
219Tanmay Chopra21000IND01½1,5162Group A
220WCMSharma Isha20990IND0101,0227Group A
223CMRajarishi Karthi20930IND0011,0239Group A
225Toshali V20830IND0101,0198Group A
227Kishan Gangolli20780IND0½½1,0233Group A
229Dhrupad Kashyap20730IND0½00,5262Group A
231CMMohamed Anees M20560IND01½1,5155Group A
246Jijo Joy20190IND0½½1,0254Group A
248Potluri Saye Srreezza20130IND0011,0251Group A
255Ayushh Ravikumar19820IND½0½1,0241Group A
260WFMSavitha Shri B19680IND0½½1,0256Group A
267Manukonda Arun19230IND0½½1,0244Group A
273AIMKomal Srivatsav Sajja19070IND0½11,5165Group A
274Nawin J J19070IND0011,0253Group A
281Gugan G18430IND1001,0191Group A
282Srimathi R18420IND00½0,5280Group A
283CMGopal K.N.18400IND00½0,5281Group A
284Devnani Kush18290IND00½0,5274Group A
289Krithigga K18120IND0000,0311Group A
291Niharika Ch18030IND0000,0300Group A
292Sawant Akshay17930IND0000,0289Group A
293Kabhilan S17890IND0½00,5271Group A
295Morvekar Kedar17770IND0101,0211Group A
298Aryan B Joshi17700IND0011,0220Group A
300Sagar Siya17541408IND0000,0309Group A
301Shivika Rohilla17440IND00½0,5282Group A
302Mrithyunjay Mahadevan17350IND00½0,5283Group A
304Ankitha Goud Palle17240IND0101,0192Group A
305Raghu Ram Reddy Seelam17170IND½011,5163Group A
308Rosh Jain16970IND0½00,5267Group A
309Varsha Ramesh16690IND00½0,5284Group A

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