chessbase india logo

Shyam Sundar leads in Sunway Sitges with 4.5/5

by V. Saravanan - 20/12/2016

The Sunway Sitges International is currently taking place in Spain from the 16th to the 23rd of December 2016. Gata Kamsky and Sasikiran are the top seeds with a rating of 2661 followed by 26 more grandmasters. However, the most impressive thing about the event is the beautiful setting. IM V. Saravanan, who himself is playing at the event, sent us an impressive pictorial report. And don't miss out on two brilliant games by Shyam Sundar, who leads the event along with Granda Zuniga and Romanov.

It is almost difficult to concentrate on your games at Sitges, with the natural beauty that surrounds the place. Consider this - Hotel Sunway Playa Golf & Spa, at the end of the Platja de les Anquines, and before the golf course, is a sheer joy to be present.

Hotel Sunway Playa, at the end of a beautiful promenade

 View from the seaside

A walk along the beach overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, before or after the round giving you the utmost of beauty and serenity.

Sitges Beach...

...inviting a leisurely stroll

If you can withstand the cold at the seaside in the morning, the sunrises are simply magnificent…

Sunrise at Sitges...

...and sunsets happen right when you are immersed in your game!

The tournament hall in the evening, as the sun is about to set in the backdrop...

If you are lucky (or very strong!), you might even be at one of the top tables overlooking the sea, from the fifth floor tournament hall which gives you a great view of the sea and the beach.

Some of the players have the best of all views during their games!

View from the tournament hall

The added attraction are the bicycles provided by the hotel, which has made exploration of this beautiful place even more enjoyable!

Indian Grandmaster Shyam Sundar likes his strolls in Sitges!
Shyam is currently one of the three leaders at the event. He is on 4.5/5. Here is one of his nice wins against Prithu Gupta of Delhi.
White has just played his knight to e6. You are in Shyam's shoes. What would you do? Would you take the knight on e6?
[Event "III Sunway Sitges International Chess Fe"]
[Site "Sitges (Barcelona)"]
[Date "2016.12.16"]
[Round "1.17"]
[White "Prithu, Gupta"]
[Black "Shyam, Sundar M"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2219"]
[BlackElo "2532"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "166"]
[EventDate "2016.12.16"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "CAT"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. b4
Be7 9. b5 Na5 10. Bxd5 Qxd5 11. c4 Qd8 12. Bd2 c5 13. Qe1 b6 14. Bxa5 bxa5 15.
Qe4 Rb8 16. Nc3 Bb7 17. Qe2 f6 18. Rad1 Qc7 19. Rfe1 Bd6 20. Ne4 Rbd8 21. a4
Be7 22. Nc3 Qd7 23. h3 Rfe8 24. Qe3 Bf8 25. Ne4 Qc8 26. Ned2 Qc7 27. Nb3 Rd7
28. Nfd2 f5 29. f3 Red8 30. Qxe5 Qxe5 31. Rxe5 Rxd3 32. Ree1 Bc8 33. Kf2 f4 34.
Ke2 Re3+ 35. Kf2 Red3 36. Ke2 Bf5 37. Nxa5 Re3+ 38. Kf2 Bc2 39. Nc6 Rd7 40. Nf1
Rxd1 41. Rxd1 Bxd1 42. Nxe3 fxe3+ 43. Kxe3 Bxa4 44. Nxa7 Kf7 45. Kd2 g6 46. Nc8
Bg7 47. Nb6 Bb3 48. Nd7 Ke7 49. Nxc5 Bxc4 50. b6 Be5 51. b7 Bd5 52. Ke3 g5 53.
Kd3 h6 54. Ke3 Bc6 55. Kd3 Kd8 56. Kc4 Kc7 57. Kd3 Bd6 58. Ne6+ Kd7 59. Nc5+
Kc7 60. Ne6+ Kb8 61. Nd8 Bd5 62. Kd4 Ba2 63. Ke4 Bc7 64. Nc6+ Kxb7 65. Ne7 Bb1+
66. Kd5 Ba2+ 67. Ke4 Bd8 68. Nf5 h5 69. Ng7 h4 70. f4 Kc6 71. fxg5 Bxg5 72. Kf5
Bd8 73. Ne6 {White has just played his knight to e6. What should Black do?
Should he take the knight? Shyam calculates this accurately and wins the game.}
Bxe6+ $1 {Yes, it's a wrong coloured bishop, and the white king can read on h1,
but it is not possible to draw the game.} 74. Kxe6 Bc7 75. Kf5 Kd5 76. Kg4 Bg3
{The bishop makes sure that g3 is not possible.} 77. Kf3 Kd4 78. Ke2 Ke4 79.
Kf1 Ke3 80. Kg1 Ke2 81. Kh1 Bf2 (81... Kf1 {would be a huge mistake, of course!
}) 82. Kh2 (82. g3 hxg3 83. Kg2 {This position is a theoretical draw if the
bishop were on h2. But with the bishop on f2, this is just lost.} Ke3 84. h4
Kf4 85. h5 Kg5 $19) 82... Kf1 83. Kh1 Bg1 $1 {A nice finish! The g-pawn has to
move which will spell disaster for White.} 0-1

Evgeny Postny - Shyam Sundar, Round 5

In the fifth round Shyam's queen seemed to be in grave trouble on b2. What did Black play here?

Annotations by IM Sagar Shah

[Event "Sunway Sitges Open 2016"]
[Site "Sitges ESP"]
[Date "2016.12.19"]
[Round "5.4"]
[White "Postny, Evgeny"]
[Black "Shyam, Sundar M"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2620"]
[BlackElo "2532"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2016.12.16"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 {Postny is an expert at the Catalan. It is
quite possible that Shyam prepared well for this game. After all he is a big
expert at finding ideas and side lines which can be used for a game or two.}
dxc4 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 a5 {Postny has played a game in this line against
Luther. Shyam must have based his preparation on that game.} 7. Qc2 Bxd2+ 8.
Qxd2 {You might remember this opening from the World Championship Match in
2010. Anand vs Topalov. Vishy played this line as White and scored a fine win
in the fourth game.} (8. Nbxd2 b5 9. a4 c6 {seems quite ok for Black. White
goes for a pawn sacrifice line here with} 10. b3 $5 cxb3 11. Nxb3 O-O 12. O-O (
12. Ne5 Nd5 $11) 12... b4 {With an interesting position that we have seen in
Kunte-Ni Hua 1-0.}) 8... c6 9. a4 Ne4 {This move is quite in vogue recently.} (
9... b5 10. Na3 $5 {was Anand's novelty at that time.} (10. axb5 cxb5 11. Qg5
$14 {Also worked quite well for White.})) 10. Qf4 (10. Qc2 Nd6 11. Nbd2 Na6 12.
Nxc4 Nb4 13. Nxd6+ Qxd6 14. Qb3 b6 $11) 10... Qb6 $5 {Following the game
Matlakov-Predke. Shyam likes to do this. It's a recent game played in November
2016. He surely has some new ideas up his sleeve.} 11. O-O (11. Nbd2 $5 Nxd2 (
11... Qxb2 $2 12. Rb1 $18) 12. Qxd2 Nd7 13. O-O O-O $11) 11... Qxb2 12. Ne5 $1
O-O 13. Na3 {Postny is upto the task until now.} Nc3 14. Qe3 $1 Nxe2+ 15. Kh1
Nc3 {Highly risky chess by Shyam. While White has everything developed, Black
is ready to play with just his queen and knight deep down the enemy territory!}
(15... Nxd4 16. Naxc4 $16) 16. Rfc1 (16. Naxc4 Qb4 17. Rfc1 Nd5 {Black will
wriggle out.}) 16... Nd5 17. Bxd5 $1 {Giving up the bishop is the right
decision as the queen can be trapped now.} exd5 (17... cxd5 18. Rcb1 Qb4 19.
Rxb4 axb4 {It would be better to have the pawn here on c6 stopping Nb5. Hence,
exd5 is better.}) 18. Rab1 Qb4 $1 19. Rxb4 axb4 {For a queen Black has a nice
phalanx of pawns, and a rook. Very enterprising play by the Indian.} 20. Naxc4
$1 {Postny immediately decides to return some material. Hanging on to it would
have resulted in a catastrophe.} (20. Nb1 Rxa4 $17) 20... dxc4 21. Nxc4 Be6 22.
Nb6 Ra5 (22... Ra6 $1 23. d5 cxd5 24. Rc7 d4 $1 25. Qxd4 Nc6 26. Qc5 (26. Qe3
b3 $19) 26... b3 $1 $17) 23. d5 cxd5 24. Rc7 d4 $1 {A fine pawn sacrifice in
order to develop the knight with a tempo.} 25. Qxd4 Nc6 26. Rxc6 (26. Qe3 Re5
27. Qc1 Re2 $19) 26... bxc6 27. Qxb4 Re5 {Now Black is materially better.
White may hold the balance with extremely careful play, but it looks like an
extremely difficult task.} 28. h4 h5 29. Qd4 Re1+ 30. Kg2 Bf5 31. Nd7 Rfe8 32.
Nc5 Bg4 33. a5 Rd1 34. Qb2 Ree1 {The mating net has been weaved!} 35. f3 Rg1+
36. Kf2 Rgf1+ 37. Ke2 (37. Kg2 Bxf3+ $19) 37... Rfe1+ 38. Kf2 Rf1+ 39. Ke2 Rb1
40. Qc2 Rbe1+ 41. Kd3 (41. Kd2 Rf2+) 41... Bf5+ 42. Kd4 {A brilliant game by
Shyam!} 0-1


And of course, there a whole lot of places at Sitges to explore...

The Iglesia de Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla, the Parish Church of Sitges, is a majestic presence at the end of the beach

The cobbledstoned pathways of the old town have their eternal charm

But what makes chess being the centre of all the surroundings is the classy organisation of the event. The placards with the best players in the history of the game staring at you at the foyer sets the mood for the event.

Fittingly, the array of greats start with senor Paul Morphy himself

An excellent tournament hall, and analysis room are a bliss to concentrate on your games.

The beautiful tournament hall, with the first four boards shown live in the huge screen

Believe it or not, this is the anlaysis room!

Lodging for the majority of the players is provided in the hotel itself and the apartment owned by the hotel across Sitges. Promoting the hotel at the onset of the traditional Christmas and New Year vacations, the Sunway Chess International Festival is into its 3rd year now, growing by stature every year. Divided into two groups of competition from its inception in 2014, the tournament has attracted a total of 99 (2014) to 161 (2015) to 275 (2016) entries over the years.


And this year, they have netted two ‘big fish’ in the world championship challenger Gata Kamsky and the former top-20 Krishnan Sasikiran, both identically rated at 2661. They are part of a total of 28 Grandmasters from a total of 117 titled players!

The legendary American GM Gata Kamsky

Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran

A picture from the previous event, with all three top finishers of 2015 back this year too: winner Narsico Dublan, Runner-up Julio Granda Zuniga and third place finisher Fernando Peralta.

Apart from the opens, there are also side events to keep everyone busy at the hotel, including  the Grandmaster simultaneous displays, lectures and late night blitz events.

 A simultaneous display by American prodigy, Awonder Liang

13-year-old Liang is the youngest ever American International Master

As not surprising in many European opens, there is a large Indian contingent of 31 players in the A group, second next to the host Catalonia. Some of them are prodigies who should be looked out for!

12-year-old Nihal Sarin in action

The tournament is being lead by Granda Zuniga, Evgeny Romanov and Shyam Sundar with 4.5/5. Another 4 games remain to be played.

Complete results and pairing

About the author

V. Saravanan is an International Master and has been an active chess player in the Indian circuit, and has been consistently writing on chess since late 1980s. He turned complete chess professional in 2012, actively playing and being a second and a trainer to a handful of Indian players. He reports on chess tournaments, occasionally being a correspondent to national newspapers and news channels. Apart from chess, he is also interested in Tamil and English literature, music and photography.