Abu Dhabi Masters: Five players start with 3 out of 3

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/19/2023 – The 29th edition of the Abu Dhabi Masters is taking place on August 16-24 at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort. The 9-round Swiss open has Vladislav Artemiev, David Anton and Maxim Matlakov as the top seeds. After three rounds, none of the top-3 are in the leading pack. Five players are sharing first place with 3 out of 3: Vladimir Fedoseev, Xu Xiangyu, Alisher Suleymenov, Rathanvel V S and Abtin Atakhan.

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Gukesh and Arjun cannot make it to Abu Dhabi

A total of 145 players — including 41 GMs, 54 IMs, 6 WGMs and 3 WIMs — made their way to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the 29th edition of the Abu Dhabi Masters.

Originally, it was announced that Dommaraju Gukesh and defending champion Arjun Erigaisi would be the top seeds in the strong open tournament. Most likely, the Indian duo registered to play with the proviso that they would not make it to the final stages at the FIDE World Cup in Baku. Gukesh reached the round-of-16, however, while Arjun was only eliminated in a close match against Praggnanandhaa in the quarterfinals.

Other World Cup participants did make it to the event after being knocked out in earlier stages — i.e. David Anton, Vladimir Fedoseev, Saleh Salem, Javokhir Sindarov, S.L. Narayanan and Jaime Santos, among others.

Russian representatives Vladislav Artemiev and Maxim Matlakov also registered to participate, and are the first and third seed in Abu Dhabu, respectively.

After three rounds, five players have managed to score a perfect 3 out of 3: Vladimir Fedoseev (Slovenia), Xu Xiangyu (China), Alisher Suleymenov (Kazakhstan), Rathanvel V S (India) and Abtin Atakhan (Iran). Fifteen players, including US rising star Hans Niemann, stand a half point behind.

An exciting draw and a king march

Highlights by Shahid Ahmed

S L Narayanan sacrificed an exchange on e6 here: 12.Rxe6 fxe6 13.Qh5 g6 14.Bxg6 hxg6 15.Qxg6+ Kh8 and the exposed black king definitely gives White an advantage.

However, converting it into a full point was not easy. The computer recommends taking the e6-pawn with a check, which is quite difficult for a human to play. The game eventually ended in a draw by repetition, when Black could have pushed for a win.

Abu Dhabi Chess Festival 2023

S L Narayanan played an exciting game against one of the top trainers of India, GM FT Swayams Mishra | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Sanket Chakravarty’s plan is simple: march the king down the board and use the rooks to deliver checkmate. And that is what he did in the game against Ahmad Ahmadzada.

Black needed to prevent the king’s advance with 33...h6 34.Kxh6 Re6+ 35.Kh5 Rf3, which would have been fine. Instead, 33...Re2 34.Rg5+ Kf8 35.h4 Ree3 36.g4 Rab3 37.Kh6 f6 38.Rgg7 Re4 39.Kxh7 led to an unstoppable checkmate.

Abu Dhabi Chess Festival 2023

Sanket Chakravarty vs. Ahmad Ahmadzada (1-0) | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

Standings after round 3

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Xu, Xiangyu 3 0
Atakhan, Abtin 3 0
3 Fedoseev, Vladimir 3 0
4 Rathanvel, V S 3 0
5 Suleymenov, Alisher 3 0
6 Niemann, Hans Moke 2,5 0
Murzin, Volodar 2,5 0
8 Aryan, Chopra 2,5 0
9 Sindarov, Javokhir 2,5 0
Lu, Shanglei 2,5 0
11 Abdisalimov, Abdimalik 2,5 0
12 Suleymanli, Aydin 2,5 0
13 Dai, Changren 2,5 0
14 Nguyen, Ngoc Truong Son 2,5 0
Li, Di 2,5 0
Sankalp, Gupta 2,5 0
17 Chanda, Sandipan 2,5 0
18 Aravindh, Chithambaram Vr. 2,5 0
19 Santos Latasa, Jaime 2 0
20 Madaminov, Mukhiddin 2 0

...145 players

All available games - Round 3

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.