Abu Dhabi ends in dramatic flurry

by Albert Silver
8/30/2014 – After an astonishing mid-tournament lead by 15-year-old IM Karthikeyan with 5.0/6, the young Indian proceeded to compound his lead with a win over co-leader Sergey Volkov in round seven, but now he had new challengers from his home country, and the game was afoot. It all came down to the last round where drama took place at the top. Final report with videos and GM analysis.

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The Abu Dhabi Chess Festival is now in its 21st edition, and shows no sign of losing steam, but then again, considering the conditions, it is also no surprise. The festival is comprised of a wide variety of tournaments for all strengths and groups.

The final sprint



Video of round seven with a short interview of leader IM Murali Karthikeyan (at 6:00) and
right after is Wang Hao, Vidit Gujarati, and several others. (courtesy of Vijay Kumar)


As an example of the quality of the event, GM Ivan Sokolov provided live commentary
during the rounds, and video analysis of a game of the day he chose. Here is his
analysis of Iordachescu - Istratescu from round seven.

Round eight finally saw the hero stumble as Murali faced his compatriot GM Vidit Gujarati and lost to a fine technical display. The end result though must have had the Indian press absolutely ecstatic,  not because of Karthikeyan's unfortunate loss, but because all three top spots were occupied by Indians, despite a very international crowd of players. In first were now G.N. Gopal who had beaten top seed Wang Hao, and Vidit Gurajati, both with 6.5/8. Right behind, was a group of six players with 6.0/8 led by Murali himself, but threatened by numerous other strong players, leaving the podium wide open to a last round sprint.


Video of round eight, including impressions by the new leaders (courtesy of Vijay Kumar)

The final round was as dramatic as could be, and to the dismay of Indian fans, both Gopal and Gurajati succumbed in the final round to Kuzubov and Petrosian respectively, effectively knocking them out of the top prizes. 15-year-old Karthikeyan drew his game against Ukrainina Zahar Efimenko, and by virtue of his tiebreak, clinched third with 6.5/9, edging out no fewer than six other grandmasters with similar scores.


Video report of the last round (courtesy of Vijay Kumar)


GM Ivan Sokolov analyzed two games from the last round, as both were equally
decisive. The first key game was GM Kuzubov-GM Gujarathi, effectively deciding first.

Yury Kuzubov came out ahead in a last round swashbuckle and took
first prize and a check for $10 thousand


The second game analyzed by GM Ivan Sokolov was Gopal-Petrosian

Tigran Petrosian beat Gopal with black in the last round to take second

15-year-old IM Murali Karthikeyan held his nerve and came in third
with a 2700+ performance (Photo by Ahmed Khouri)


Video of the closing ceremony and prize distribution (courtesy of Vijay Kumar)

Group shot of all the winners from the festival

Final standings in Masters

Rk SNo Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts  TB 
1 4 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2667 7.0 2527
2 7 GM Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2641 7.0 2525
3 34 IM Karthikeyan Murali IND 2462 6.5 2621
4 21 GM Gopal G.N. IND 2558 6.5 2588
5 14 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2602 6.5 2565
6 18 GM Volkov Sergey RUS 2583 6.5 2555
7 17 GM Iordachescu Viorel MDA 2589 6.5 2515
8 6 GM Efimenko Zahar UKR 2641 6.5 2507
9 15 GM Burmakin Vladimir RUS 2593 6.5 2449
10 2 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2708 6.0 2581
11 24 GM Vaibhav Suri IND 2521 6.0 2539
12 11 GM Rakhmanov Aleksandr RUS 2626 6.0 2537
13 8 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2638 6.0 2503
14 13 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2614 6.0 2439
15 41 IM Rajesh V A V IND 2404 6.0 2402
16 31 IM Ghosh Diptayan IND 2473 5.5 2534
17 19 GM Parligras Mircea-Emilian ROU 2574 5.5 2525
18 5 GM Istratescu Andrei FRA 2656 5.5 2524
19 3 GM Areshchenko Alexander UKR 2684 5.5 2499
20 1 GM Wang Hao CHN 2730 5.5 2482
21 30 GM Bajarani Ulvi AZE 2483 5.5 2440
22 33 GM Shyam Sundar M. IND 2468 5.5 2421
23 26 GM Ankit R. Rajpara IND 2509 5.5 2400
24 27 GM Rasulov Vugar AZE 2509 5.5 2260


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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