Abhimanyu Puranik finishes clear first in Sitges

by Klaus Besenthal
12/23/2023 – The Chessable Sunway Sitges Festival took place in the municipality of Sitges, not far from Barcelona, directly on the Mediterranean. The main event, a large open tournament, came to an end on Friday after ten rounds of play with the victory of Abhimanyu Puranik. The 23-year-old Indian grandmaster was the only one of the 329 participants to achieve a score of 8½/10, leaving a four-player chasing pack half a point behind. | Photo: David Llada

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Four wins in a row

Abhimanyu Puranik had suffered his only defeat of the tournament in the sixth round, when he lost to 20-year-old Brandon Jacobson from the United States. Abhimanyu was then able to put in a strong final run with four wins in a row, which ultimately brought him tournament victory.

The Indian employed an interesting style — he took quite a few risks, was then in a bad position or even lost, but his opponents were unable to deal with the complicated positions correctly and eventually made mistakes. For example, in round 9:

Sunway Sitges Chess Tournament

Puranik playing white against Sethuraman | Photo: David Llada

The winner’s trophy is unlikely to pass as hand luggage on the flight home:

The four players in the chasing pack (all with 8/10 points) were invited back to the board for a series of play-offs to determine the exact order in the final standings — two days before Christmas in the open air and against a fantastic backdrop:

The tiebreaks resulted in this order: the aforementioned Brandon Jacobson (USA) finished second, Volodar Murzin (FIDE) got third place, Aravindh Chithambaram (India) finished fourth and Ernesto Fernandez (Cuba) got fifth place.

Final standings

Rg. Snr Name Elo Pkt.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 Puranik, Abhimanyu 8,5 58
2 Jacobson, Brandon 8 63
3 Aravindh, Chithambaram Vr. 8 62,5
4 Murzin, Volodar 8 61,5
5 Fernandez Guillen, Ernesto J. 8 57
6 Sethuraman, S.P. 7,5 64
7 Iniyan, Pa 7,5 61,5
8 Tiglon, Bryce 7,5 61
9 Erdogmus, Yagiz Kaan 7,5 60,5
10 Raja, Rithvik R 7,5 58
11 Pranesh, M 7,5 57,5
12 Abdisalimov, Abdimalik 7,5 57
13 Vignesh, N R 7,5 56
14 Sankalp, Gupta 7,5 54,5
15 Bharath, Subramaniyam H 7,5 53,5
16 Makkar, Rajat 7,5 46
17 Horvath, Dominik 7 61
18 Krishna, C R G 7 58,5
19 Boruchovsky, Avital 7 56,5
20 Mendonca, Leon Luke 7 56,5
21 Dhruva, Thota 7 56,5
22 Vetoshko, Volodymyr 7 56
23 Lamard, Guillaume 7 55,5
24 Moussard, Jules 7 55
25 Visakh, N R 7 54,5

...329 players

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Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.