With orange juice and coconut water

5/9/2004 – The final of the Canarias en Red Internet Chess Festival ended in a victory for Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran, ahead of a valiant Sergey Karjakin, who is just 14 years old. 73 players, including 18 GMs and FIDE champion Ponomariov, were present in one of the strongest blitz tournaments ever. Sasikiran tells us the secret of his extraordinary success.

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The Canarias en Red Internet Chess Festival

It was an exciting culmination to a week-long event. From Monday to Friday over 1000 players had competed for places in the final of the Canarias en Red Internet Chess Festival on Sunday. At 12:15h Server time the final round began, with 75 participants playing in the 13-round Swiss. Time controls: three minutes for all the moves, one second increment for each move executed.


Players from all over the world taking part or watching. Left is a list of the most distant (from Hamburg)

One of the highlight was the participation of two top Ukraine players, Ruslan Ponomariov and Sergey Karjakin. The former is the reigning FIDE world champion, playing for the first time on the server and in an Internet event. Karjakin is 14 years old and was the youngest GM in the history of the game – he did his final norm at the age of 12 years and 7 months). He had participated in the third qualifier where he took second place behind India's Krishnan Sasikiran.

Sergey got into the spirit of the event faster than his "boss" Ruslan Ponomariov (Sergey has worked as the world champion's second), and when they encountered each other in the 4th round there were many hundreds of spectators watching. At move 39 Karjakin offered a draw, which Ponomariov turned down. The younger player then went on to win the "Ukraine Championship" game with cold-blooded efficiency. You can replay it here.


Watching the Canarias en Red tournament on the Playchess.com server

In the end eight players qualified for the Knockout Final: GMs Jan Gustafsson, Alexey Dreev, Sergey Karjakin, Vladimir Belov, Krishnan Sasikiran, Petr Kiriakov and IM Andrei Deviatkin. The full cross table is given below. And this is how the Knockout Final proceeded.

Jan Gustafsson 
Sergey Volkov
3.0
2.0
  Jan Gustafsson
Sasikiran
1.5
2.5
  Sasikiran
Karjakin
2.5
1.5
Vladimir Belov
Sasikiran
1.5
2.5
Alexey Dreev
ADevyatkin
2.5
0.5
  Alexey Dreev
S-Karjakin
1.5
2.5
S-Karjakin
Petr Kiriakov
2.5
1.5

It was a really exciting event, with Krishnan Sasikiran deserving to win his first place. Both he and finalist Karjakin were playing their first big Internet tournaments. Interestingly all the finalists were well-known titled players, which speaks for the efficiency of the Playchess anti-cheating software. No unknown talent with a 1700 OTB rating miraculously standing up to the top stars – always a sign that computer assistance is involved.

This is the prize money the winners took home:

Krishnan Sasikiran
 € 1,350.00
Sergey Karjakin
 € 700.00
Jan Gustafsson, Alexey Dreev
 € 450.00 each 
Volkov, Belov, Deviatkin, Kiriakov
 € 250.00 each 

Krishnan Sasikiran

We have known India's second strongest player for a while and have been keenly following his career. After the Canarias en Red event we spoke to Sasi. "Sasikiran" is his first name – you can call him Sasi, Sasikiran or Mr Sasikiran, according to Indian system.

ChessBase: How do you feel, having won such an incredibly strong tournament?

Sasikiran: I feel really very happy. Actually this was my ever win in an Internet event.

How did the qualification go? You played in two qualifiers...

Ok here is the full story. I played in the second preliminary and was doing pretty well. I had 4/4, but then I lost to Hikaru Nakamura ("Star Wars") in round five. I won round six and thought I still had good chances. But then in the middle of round seven there a full power failure in Chennai (India). My laptop simply went dead and I had to discontinue. In the third preliminary no such thing happened, and I was lucky. I played some decent games without obvious blunders, even though in India I was playing way past midnight, in the early hours of the morning (of the next day!).

And the final today?

That was at a normal time for me. At the start I was a bit shaky. I lost again to Star Wars, my nemesis in the qualifiers, and I blundered a piece against Gustaffson in a much better position. But the mistakes are all there, waiting to be made – especially in Blitz. Against Belov I took some unnecessary risks and lost the game without much fight. But my game against Ponomariov in the do-or-die last round encounter brought my confidence back. Thereafter I became more and more concentrated and played much better. Playing these fast games adds much thrill to the game. I enjoy it tremendously.

How did you prepare for the event?

I did not make any special preparation – just studied some tactics. In fact today is my grandmother's 91st birthday (this is a nice present for her!). There were a lot of visitors in our house, so I locked myself into my computer room with enough orange juice and coconut water. I am sure they helped a lot!

Was the kid tough to beat in the end?

Karjakin? He is really very strong and very dangerous. I guess I was a bit lucky. In the first game we followed the moves of my recent game against Goloshchapov in the final round of recent Dubai open 2004 (except there we had included the moves 23.Rg8 g3). In Dubai I missed the move Ra1 and only drew. It cost me the chance of first prize. But this time I knew Ra1 already in the position! Let me show you:

Sasikiran (2723) – S-Karjakin (2619) [D49]
Canarias en Red Final
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 axb5 12.exf6 gxf6 13.0-0 Qb6 14.Qe2 Ba6 15.Rd1 Rd8 16.b4 Bxb4 17.Rb1 Bc3 18.Ba3 Qc6 19.Bxb5 Bxb5 20.Rxb5 Ra8 21.Bb4 Rxa2 22.Nxd4 Bxd4 23.Qxa2.

23.Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2. In the game in Dubai we now played 23...Rg8 24.g3 Bxf2+25.Kxf2 Qxb5 26.Qa8+Qb8 27.Qa4? ( 27.Ra1! wins) 27...Qb6+28.Ke2 Qb7 29.Rxd7 ½-½. 24...Qxb5 25.Qa8+Qb8

26.Ra1! This is the move I missed in Dubai, but I had it ready for Sergey. 26...Rg8 [26...Qd8 27.Qxd8+Kxd8 28.Ra8+Kc7 29.Rxh8 is the reason Black is lost] 27.Bd6 1-0.

Final standings of the 13 round Swiss. Note that the ratings given are those achieved on Playchess.com

1 Gustafsson 2717 +1/39 -1/26 +0/4 +/12 -1/14 -1/15 +0/34 +1/25 -1/3 -1/5 +1/9 +/6 -/8 9.5
2 Dreev 2598 +1/47 -1/11 +1/10 -0/9 +1/41 +/3 -/4 -1/23 +/6 +1/17 -/18 -/13 +1/16 9.5
3 S-Karjakin 2351 +1/76 +/5 -/28 +1/20 +1/46 -/2 -/18 -1/42 +0/1 -1/16 +1/11 -/9 +1/13 9.5
4 Belov 2606 +1/58 +1/20 -1/1 +/34 -1/19 -/9 +/2 +0/10 -/15 +1/29 +1/5 -/7 -/6 9.0
5 Sasikiran 2616 +1/42 -/3 +1/29 -/22 -1/25 +1/19 -0/9 -1/34 +1/11 +0/1 -0/4 +1/14 -1/20 9.0
6 Kiriakov 2623 -1/54 -1/30 +1/17 -1/21 +/9 +1/34 -/11   -/2 +1/10 +/7 -/1 +/4 9.0
7 ADevyatkin 2714 -/57 -1/37 +1/27 -0/19 +0/12 -1/51 +/20 -1/38 +1/23 +1/15 -/6 +/4 -1/9 9.0
8 Volkov 2667 -1/53 +0/14 +1/44 -0/24 +0/26 +1/37 -/32 -1/36 +1/21 -1/34 -1/17 +1/18 +/1 9.0
9 Star Wars 2782 -1/72 -1/35 +1/50 +1/2 -/6 +/4 +1/5 -/11 -/10 +1/18 -0/1 +/3 +0/7 8.5
10 Sadvakasov 2708 +1/36 +1/23 -0/2 -1/35 +0/21 -1/24 +1/12 -1/4 +/9 -0/6 -0/13 +1/34 +1/11 8.5
11 rabiega 2729 -1/56 +0/2 +1/40 -1/50 +1/24 -1/21 +/6 +/9 -0/5 +1/14 -0/3 +1/12 -0/10 8.0
12 Golubev 2604 +1/66 -0/17 +1/33 -/1 -1/7 +/13 -0/10 +0/29 +1/44 -1/24 +1/30 -0/11 +1/19 8.0
13 alexwojt 2683 +1/48 -0/21 -1/43 +/26 +1/51 -/12 -/25 +0/19 -1/50 -1/42 +1/10 +/2 -0/3 8.0
14 Berg 2526 +1/67 -1/8 +/22 -0/17 +0/1 -1/72 -1/50 +/16 +1/20 -0/11 +1/29 -0/5 -1/26 8.0
15 guar 2460 -0/20 -1/58 +1/47 -1/63 +/22 +0/1 -1/35 +1/26 +/4 -0/7 +0/16 -1/41 -1/30 8.0
16 ubivaiko 2626 +1/45 +1/51 -0/34 -0/46 -1/48 +1/36 -/19 -/14 +1/41 +0/3 -1/15 +1/23 -0/2 8.0
17 Emilios1 2865 +1/44 +1/12 -0/6 +1/14 -0/34 -1/26 +0/23 -1/27 +1/19 -0/2 +0/8 -1/22 -/24 7.5
18 Fridman 2876 -1/43 -/27 +0/19 -1/37 +1/28 -/22 +/3 -1/21 +1/34 -0/9 +/2 -0/8 +/23 7.5
19 samogon 2503 -1/65 +1/63 -1/18 +1/7 +0/4 -0/5 +/16 -1/13 -0/17 +/22 -1/27 +/20 -0/12 7.5
20 Ponomariov   +1/15 -0/4 +1/30 -0/3 +1/56 -1/73 -/7 +/22 -0/14 -1/41 +1/31 -/19 +0/5 7.5
21 topchess2 2535 -1/60 +1/13 -1/41 +0/6 -1/10 +0/11 -/22 +0/18 -0/8 +1/43 +0/34 -1/36 -1/39 7.5
22 Andrei21 2661 -1/52 +1/25 -/14 +/5 -/15 +/18 +/21 -/20 +0/42 -/19 -1/50 +0/17 -1/34 7.5
23 Dahli 2569 +1/61 -0/10 -1/32 +0/41 -1/52 +1/29 -1/17 +0/2 -0/7 +1/28 +1/42 -0/16 -/18 7.5
24 PazificDr. 2553 +1/64 -0/41 +1/52 +1/8 -0/11 +0/10 -0/29 -1/33 +1/36 +0/12 -1/32 -1/27 +/17 7.5
25 ftorodent 2506 +1/70 -0/22 +1/45 -1/31 +0/5 -1/41 +/13 -0/1 +0/27 -/38 -/28 +1/50 +1/35 7.5
26 ckbase 2574 -1/68 +0/1 +1/53 -/13 -1/8 +0/17 +1/43 -0/15 -/28 +0/27 -1/57 -1/29 +0/14 7.0
27 Schurick 2606 -1/59 +/18 -0/7 +1/40 -/29 -0/42 +1/33 +0/17 -1/25 -1/26 +0/19 +0/24 -1/45 7.0
28 SFrancisco 2654 -/40 +1/57 +/3 -/51 -0/18 +0/35 -1/39 -1/43 +/26 -0/23 +/25 +1/38 -/33 7.0
29 Zarnicki 2755 +/37 -1/75 -0/5 +1/57 +/27 -0/23 +1/24 -1/12 +1/63 -0/4 -0/14 +0/26 -1/43 7.0
30 Deadmold 2379 -1/73 +0/6 -0/20 +0/52 -1/44 -1/49 +1/31 +0/41 -1/45 +1/35 -0/12 -1/42 +0/15 7.0
31 TigerTAD 2662 +1/32 -0/34 +1/56 +0/25 -0/36 +1/45 -0/30 -/57 +1/49 +1/51 -0/20 +/43 -1/44 7.0
32 ABG 2040 -0/31 -1/70 +0/23 +1/69 -/35 +1/53 +/8 -0/63 -1/46 +0/50 +0/24 -1/56 +1/41 7.0
33 Dohermida 2101 +0/41 +1/60 -0/12 +1/66 -0/63 +1/59 -0/27 +0/24 -1/58 +1/56 -/38 +1/48 +/28 7.0
34 tomaja 2526 -1/62 +1/31 +1/16 -/4 +1/17 -0/6 -1/1 +0/5 -0/18 +0/8 -1/21 -0/10 +0/22 6.5
35 Chessbolo 2600 -1/71 +0/9 -1/48 +0/10 +/32 -1/28 +0/15 +/37 -1/57 -0/30 +/36 +1/51 -0/25 6.5
36 Cobise 2134 -0/10 -1/64 +0/63 -1/59 +1/31 -0/16 +1/46 +0/8 -0/24 +1/47 -/35 +0/21 -1/50 6.5
37 espartapaco 2188 -/29 +0/7 -1/55 +0/18 +1/61 -0/8 +1/66 -/35 +/38 +0/46 -0/39 -1/54 +1/42 6.5
38 maximr 2554 -0/69 +0/49 -1/74 +1/75 +0/42 -1/52 -1/48 +0/7 -/37 +/25 +/33 -0/28 +1/55 6.5
39 Raluy2 2168 -0/1 -/61 +/75 +0/58 -1/71 -/66 +0/28 +1/54 -0/51 +1/60 +1/37 -1/46 +0/21 6.5
40 JGPADRON 1944 +/28 +1/54 -0/11 -0/27 +0/72 -0/57 -1/71 +1/58 -0/43 +1/53 +0/44 -1/52 +1/51 6.5
41 topotun 2685 -1/33 +1/24 +0/21 -1/23 -0/2 +0/25 +1/56 -1/30 -0/16 +0/20 -1/46 +0/15 -0/32 6.0
42 JCACOSTA 1885 -0/5   -1/60 +1/44 -1/38 +1/27 -1/63 +0/3 -1/22 +0/13 -0/23 +0/30 -0/37 6.0
43 UncleBob 2268 +0/18 -1/66 +0/13 -1/45 -1/58 +/50 -0/26 +0/28 +1/40 -0/21 +1/52 -/31 +0/29 6.0
44 ERALLO 2217 -0/17 +1/71 -0/8 -0/42 +0/30 -1/60 +1/61 +1/52 -0/12 +0/45 -1/40 -1/49 +0/31 6.0
45 Svgutierrez 1913 -0/16 +1/73 -0/25 +0/43 +1/47 -0/31 -1/59 +1/56 +0/30 -1/44 -0/51 +1/57 +0/27 6.0
46 lion` 2405 +0/75 +1/59 -1/69 +1/16 -0/3 +0/63 -0/36 -1/48 +0/32 -1/37 +0/41 +0/39 -1/56 6.0
47 ITALVA 1700 -0/2 +1/72 -0/15 +0/53 -0/45 +1/62 +0/52 -1/59 +1/48 -0/36 +0/56 +1/60 -1/57 6.0
48 pakuka 2060 -0/13 -1/67 +0/35 -1/71 +0/16 -1/65 +0/38 +0/46 -0/47 +1/66 +1/68 -0/33 -1/61 6.0
49 Manuel L 1876 +0/50 -1/38 +0/51 -0/56 -1/69 +0/30 -1/68 +1/72 -0/31 +0/57 -1/60 +0/44 +1/62 6.0
50 Petr Hába 2616 -1/49 +1/69 -0/9 +0/11 -1/53 -/43 +0/14 -1/51 +0/13 -1/32 +0/22 -0/25 +0/36 5.5
51 ritschi 2472 +1/74 -0/16 -1/49 +/28 -0/13 +0/7 -1/54 +0/50 +1/39 -0/31 +1/45 -0/35 -0/40 5.5
52 gofiomen 2026 +0/22 +1/65 -0/24 -1/30 +0/23 +0/38 -1/47 -0/44 +/53 +1/54 -0/43 +0/40 -1/64 5.5
53 NPeace 2057 +0/8 +1/62 -0/26 -1/47 +0/50 -0/32 -0/58 +1/61 -/52 -0/40 +0/54 +1/66 -1/59 5.5
54 Spyderman 1907 +0/6 -0/40 +1/64 -/72 +0/73 -1/55 +0/51 -0/39 +1/65 -0/52 -1/53 +0/37 -1/68 5.5
55 deepvitolo7 1971 -0/63 -/74 +0/37 -0/73 +1/70 +0/54 -1/65 -0/66 +0/60 -1/67 +1/62 +1/59 -0/38 5.5
56 Klimt 2173 +0/11 +1/68 -0/31 +1/49 -0/20 +1/58 -0/41 -0/45 +1/66 -0/33 -1/47 +0/32 +0/46 5.0
57 Josee 2156 +/7 -0/28 +1/61 -0/29 -0/75 +1/40 -1/72 +/31 +0/35 -1/49 +0/26 -0/45 +0/47 5.0
58 betres 1874 -0/4 +0/15 +1/67 -1/39 +0/43 -0/56 +1/53 -0/40 +0/33 -0/68 +1/69 -0/64 +1/70 5.0
59 NCCARRIO 1872 +0/27 -0/46 -1/62 +0/36 +1/67 -0/33 +0/45 +0/47 -1/64 -1/61 +1/65 -0/55 +0/53 5.0
60 cimas 1633 +0/21 -0/33 +0/42 -0/70 +1/76 +0/44 -1/67 +1/62 -1/55 -0/39 +0/49 -0/47 +1/71 5.0
61 PAMARTIN 1682 -0/23 +/39 -0/57 +1/74 -0/37 +1/69 -0/44 -0/53 +/72 +0/59 -1/66 -1/65 +0/48 5.0
62 DRALLO 1531 +0/34 -0/53 +0/59 -1/64 +0/66 -0/47 +1/69 -0/60 +1/67 +1/71 -0/55 +1/68 -0/49 5.0
63 Thompson 2659 +1/55 -0/19 -1/36 +0/15 +1/33 -1/46 +0/42 +1/32 -0/29         5.0
64 Momia 1637 -0/24 +0/36 -0/54 +0/62 -0/68 +1/74 +0/70 -1/69 +0/59 +1/76 -1/71 +1/58 +0/52 5.0
65 UVASNANI 1422 +0/19 -0/52 +0/71 +1/76 -1/74 +0/48 +0/55 -1/68 -0/54 +1/70 -0/59 +0/61 -1/69 5.0
66 DRPEREZ 1765 -0/12 +0/43 +1/70 -0/33 -1/62 +/39 -0/37 +1/55 -0/56 -0/48 +0/61 -0/53 +1/74 4.5
67 HMFALCON 1626 -0/14 +0/48 -0/58 +1/68 -0/59 +/71 +0/60 -1/70 -0/62 +0/55 -1/74 -0/69 +1/76 4.5
68 simplom 1695 +0/26 -0/56 +0/72 -0/67 +1/64 -1/70 +0/49 +0/65 -1/74 +1/58 -0/48 -0/62 +0/54 4.0
69 BVASNANI 1650 +1/38 -0/50 +0/46 -0/32 +0/49 -0/61 -0/62 +0/64 +1/76 +1/74 -0/58 +1/67 +0/65 4.0
70 MGRUIZ 1486 -0/25 +0/32 -0/66 +1/60 -0/55 +0/68 -1/64 +0/67 -/71 -0/65 +1/76 +/74 -0/58 4.0
71 Pmserrano 1709 +0/35 -0/44 -1/65 +0/48 +0/39 -/67 +0/40 -/74 +/70 -0/62 +0/64 +1/76 -0/60 3.5
72 Osiris 2199 +0/9 -0/47 -1/68 +/54 -1/40 +0/14 +0/57 -0/49 -/61         3.0
73 david333   +0/30 -0/45 +1/76 +1/55 -1/54 +0/20               3.0
74 RVASNANI 1405 -0/51 +/55 +0/38 -0/61 +0/65 -0/64 +1/76 +/71 +0/68 -0/69 +0/67 -/70 -0/66 2.5
75 Tatai   -1/46 +0/29 -/39 -0/38 +1/57                 2.5
76 (Bye)   -0/3   -0/73 -0/65 -0/60   -0/74   -0/69 -0/64 -0/70 -0/71 -0/67 0.0

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