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Get Ready for Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival 2018!

by Rupali Mullick - 01/12/2018

Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival is slated to be held in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain from the 13th to the 23rd of December 2018. The event boasts of being one of the strongest open events in the chess world, headlined this year by the Russian grandmaster, GM Dmitry Andreikin as the top seed and includes a long list of strong participants in the fray. Interesting participants include the brilliant Vassily Ivanchuk and prodigious Nihal Sarin and R. Praggnanandhaa. Read this curtain raiser by Rupali Mullick to find out more about this upcoming event.

The 5th edition of the Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival will be held in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain from the 13th to the 23rd of December 2018 at the Hotel Playa Golf Sitges. The open event will be held in 2 groups –  

Group A: open to all players with a FIDE rating of at least 1700 ELO.

Group B: open to players with FIDE Rating of below 2000 points and who have not surpassed a rating of 2100 FIDE’s ELO points in the last 3 years.

The beautiful venue of the event! | Photo: Sunway

The total prize fund for this tournament is ~Rs. 21,80,000 (i.e. 27,155 €) with a prize money of Rs. 4,00,000 for the Group A title winner. Besides, there are also various other category prizes. The tournament will be a 10 round Swiss league which will be played over a ten-day schedule.

The 4th edition was won by Aravindh Chithambaram with 7.5/9 points and he also crossed the 2600 mark with it! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

So far, 162 players from 39 federations have confirmed their entries for the Group A tournament which include 104 titled players (31 GM, 27 IM, 4 WGM, 4 WIM, 20 FM, 2 WFM, 15 CM, 1 WCM). The top seed of the event is Super GM Dmitry Andreikin with an elo of 2719 followed by the evergreen GM Vassily Ivanchuk. The Rating average for this group is 2239! It will, therefore, be a great opportunity for norm seekers to get their IM/GM norms.

Players list

No. NameFideIDFEDRtgIRtgNsexTypGrClub/City
1GMAndreikin Dmitry4158814RUS27190
2GMIvanchuk Vassily14100010UKR27140
3GMInarkiev Ernesto4162722RUS26930
4GMSasikiran Krishnan5004985IND26710Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd
5GMEdouard Romain633429FRA26362614Club de Ajedrez Sestao
6GMVocaturo Daniele813192ITA26302622Mollet
7GMAdly Ahmed10601619EGY26260
8GMIndjic Aleksandar911925SRB26180
9GMLagarde Maxime662399FRA26160
10GMGordievsky Dmitry24112798RUS26140
11GMRomanov Evgeny4148843RUS26140
12GMLiang Awonder2056437USA2589016Wisconsin
13GMPeralta Fernando105309ARG25842582Escola d'Escacs de Barcelona
14GMLopez Martinez Josep Manuel2212943ESP25782580Societat Coral Colon
15IMNihal Sarin25092340IND2576016
16GMPetrosyan Manuel13300857ARM25740
17GMSantos Latasa Jaime2293307ESP25722565Ext
18GMXu Xiangyu8608288CHN25650
19GMKadric Denis14403803BIH25540
20GMKulaots Kaido4500261EST25510
21GMDel Rio De Angelis Salvador G.2203138ESP25472543Club de Ajedrez Sestao
22GMBeliavsky Alexander G14602377SLO25440Maribor
23GMHalkias Stelios4201809GRE25440E.O.A.O. Fysiolatris Nikaias
24GMKelires Andreas5900727GRE25350
25GMPraggnanandhaa R25059530IND2530016

See the complete player list here

Not a painting but a real view from the venue! Amazing, isn't? | Photo: Sharath Elumulai

The venue Hotel Sunway Playa Golf Sitges is the official hotel of the Sunway Chess festival. It is situated in a scenic location on the beach. Players are given the Sunway apartments for stay and the organizers also provide the visiting players bicycles for the entire duration of the tournament. Riding the bicycle on beach side every day is always a refreshing experience before and after the games. Here is small clip filmed by Atul Dahale during his visit to the event:

Look at the areas and localities around, perfect place to play a chess tournament! ain't it?

A total of 92 players from 23 federations have enrolled in the Group B Open, with an average rating of 1637. This will serve as a great opportunity for players with rating less than 1700 ELO to gain international exposure and some ELO points!.

See the complete player list for group B here


Apart from the Open tournaments, there will also be a Night blitz tournament and a Junior Blitz tournament and some Simultaneous games sessions with GMs!

Yes, Wonder kid Awonder Liang was one of the GMs who gave simul exhibition last year! | Photo: Supriya Bhat
Nihal Sarin beating Evgeny Postny in one of Sunway Sitges' blitz tournament in 2016 | Video by Sushir Lohia

ChessBase India has always done some interesting coverage on the Sunway Sitges event. We have had authors like Atul Dahale, Sushir Lohia, Chessbase India Juniors editor-in-chief Avathanshu Bhat and ChessBase India's Business Development manager Supriya Bhat present at the venue in the prior editions. They brought us exciting reports from the beginning and closing of the event and a lot of amazing pictures. Below are some memorable pictures:

The playing hall with flags of all participating countries | Photo: Sushir Lohia

A heated swimming pool is the perfect gift against the chilly Spanish weather! | Photo: Supriya Bhat


Tall green trees and beautiful paintings on the facade adorn the Sunway Sitges promenade | Photos: Sushir Lohia

The official hotel Sunway Playa Golf and Spa along with the surrounding area

A natural swimming pool in a sea? Well, you have to find that out yourself! | Photo: Supriya Bhat

Previous reports on the event:

Sunway Sitges 2016 by Atul Dahale

Sunway International - the most scenic place to play chess by Sushir Lohia

Sunway Sitges 2017 (A) by Avathanshu Bhat

Sunway Sitges 2017 (B) by Avanthanshu Bhat

To know more about this upcoming Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival, please visit

About the Author:

Rupali Mullick is the mother of the current Commonwealth U-10 champion Raahil Mullick. She l 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 also an excellent interviewer and has done some wonderful interviews with some of the budding Indian talents in the past:

Interview with Praggnanandhaa after he became the youngest IM in the world at the age of 10 years and 10 months
Interview with Vaibhav Suri, who won the Biel Masters 2018

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