The most popular event in Europe for Indian players - Sunway Sitges Chess Festival
Which is the most popular European event for Indian players? Is it the Gibraltar Masters? Is it the Aeroflot Open? Is it the Grenke Chess Classic? While all of these tournaments are popular and are frequently visited by many Indians, there is one event which takes the cake. Situated in one of the most picturesque locations in Europe, on the Mediterranean sea coast, the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival is an event you cannot afford to miss. Into its sixth year, the tournament will take place from 13-22nd December 2019 and will see as many as 75 Indians taking part in the A-group out of the 240 registered players! And it's not just about quantity! We also have high quality players including Sasikiran, Sethuraman, Karthikeyan, Nihal Sarin, Praggnanadhaa and many others. Why is this tournament so popular among Indians? We try to find out!
When it comes to tournaments outside India there are events like Abu Dhabi Masters, Dubai Open, Sharjah Masters, where find nearly 50% of the participants as Indians. However, this is because the middle east is not so far from India. It's just a three hour flight! When it comes to European events, we do see quite a few Indians at the major events like the Gibraltar Masters or the Grenke Chess or the Reykjavik Open, but nothing as compared to Middle-East events. Aeroflot Open has many Indians going every year, but that is because the Government takes care of the expenses and it is a part of the exposure trip. There is one tournament that is becoming the most popular hunting grounds for Indian chess players in the Europe - The Sunway Sitges Open. In 2019 it will be held from the 13th to the 22nd of December 2019. This year 75 players out of the 240 participants in the A group are from India! 16 more players will take part in B-group, making it a total of 91 Indians at the event.
Top Indians in the A group
|5||GM||Sasikiran Krishnan||IND||2660||0||Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Lt||Group A|
|10||GM||Sethuraman S.P.||IND||2634||0||Group A|
|15||GM||Nihal Sarin||IND||2612||0||Group A|
|16||GM||Karthikeyan Murali||IND||2611||0||Group A|
|22||GM||Praggnanandhaa R||IND||2586||0||Group A|
|23||GM||Puranik Abhimanyu||IND||2580||0||Group A|
|29||GM||Erigaisi Arjun||IND||2544||0||Group A|
|30||GM||Gukesh D||IND||2544||0||Group A|
|36||GM||Narayanan Srinath||IND||2526||0||Group A|
|37||GM||Harsha Bharathakoti||IND||2523||0||RACE chess club||Group A|
|43||IM||Sadhwani Raunak||IND||2507||0||All India Chess Federation||Group A|
|44||GM||Girish A. Koushik||IND||2506||0||All India Chess||Group A|
|47||GM||Iniyan P||IND||2497||0||Group A|
|54||GM||Karthik Venkataraman||IND||2470||0||Group A|
|63||IM||Raja Harshit||IND||2447||0||Group A|
|72||IM||Bharath Subramaniyam H||IND||2420||0||Chess Gurukul||Group A|
|75||IM||Kulkarni Bhakti||IND||2418||0||Group A|
|76||IM||Akash Pc Iyer||IND||2415||0||Group A|
|77||IM||Dhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad||IND||2414||0||Group A|
|78||FM||Rathanvel V S||IND||2410||0||Group A|
|79||IM||Mendonca Leon Luke||IND||2398||0||Group A|
|80||IM||Tania Sachdev||IND||2397||0||Air India Athlete||Group A|
Top 20 seeds of the Sunway Sitges 2019
|5||GM||Sasikiran Krishnan||IND||2660||0||Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Lt|
|6||GM||Lagarde Maxime||FRA||2657||2596||C.E. Barcelona|
|9||GM||Edouard Romain||FRA||2635||2616||C.A. Sestao|
|12||GM||Vocaturo Daniele||ITA||2615||2619||C.E. Mollet|
|14||GM||Illescas Cordoba Miguel||ESP||2612||2598||E.D.A.M.I. C.E|
|19||GM||Salgado Lopez Ivan||ESP||2594||2601||H||Gal|
So what are the reasons for so many Indians and so many strong players playing at the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival? We think these seven points contribute towards the immense popularity of the event.
1. Beautiful place!
The beauty of the place is simply unparalleled! And apart from being a strong event, you can combine it with a nice vacation!
2. Inviting young talents
The organizers at Sunway Sitges have always tried to ensure that they have a good crop of young talents visiting their event.
3. Side events:
4. A good prize fund!
A key attraction for many people who play at the Sunway Sitges is cycling to the venue!
6. ChessBase India coverage:
ChessBase India has been covering the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival quite intensively since three years now! In 2016 we had Atul Dahale and Sushir Lohia who wrote reports for us with excellent pictures! In 2017, youngster Avathanshu Bhat and Supriya Bhat visited the event reporting for ChessBase India and in 2018, it was Rupali Mullick, who sent us material for daily reports!
7. Kind and innovate organizers
The organizers almost always reply instantly to the mails sent by the participants. They help you in the visa process by sending the invitation letter and they give you different options for accommodation. Their hospitable approach makes the trip to Sunway Sitges and back a very memorable one for majority of the players.
A video feast from the final day of the Sunway Sitges 2018
By Rupali Mullick
This is how the final standings of the Sunway Sitges International 2018 looked like:
A lot was expected from the strong Indian contingent at the event. Some of them played up to their potential, some did not. The best Indian performer by far was Sasikiran Krishnan.
Sasi, however, made it up with a fine win in the final round against GM Evgeny Romanov. With 7.5/10, he tied for spots second until the seventh. The organizers decided to hold a playoff for places two, three and four. As Andreikin and Sasikiran were on third and fourth places respectively, they had to play series of two blitz games with a time control of 5+3.
Blitz playoff 1.1
Blitz playoff 1.2
Armageddon Sasikiran vs Andreikin
Blitz playoff 2.1
Blitz playoff 2.2
Previous reports on the event:
To know more about this upcoming Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival, please visit http://www.sunwaychessfestival.com/
You can also know more about it from the ChessBase India Calendar