Gukesh scores a hat-trick, wins Chessable Sunway Formentera Open

by Shahid Ahmed
5/11/2022 – Gukesh won his third consecutive tournament in Spain as he scored an unbeaten 8/10 to claim first place at the Chessable Sunway Formentera Open. After missing several tournament triumphs on tiebreaks, Gukesh got outright victory in Formentera by finishing a half point ahead of the field. Jaime Santos (Spain) and Shant Sargsyan (Armenia) completed the podium. | Photo: Official site

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Permission to only play in Spain

Gukesh won three tournaments in a row in Spain without conceding a single game. His unbeaten streak, which started on April 12, is now at 26 games. He won three events — first the La Roda Open and then the Menorca Open — and moved up to world number 66 in the live ratings list. Certainly an incredible feat!

The youngest GM from India collected six wins and four draws to claim clear first place on 8/10 points. Top seed Jaime Santos from Spain and third seed Shant Sargsyan from Armenia both scored 7½ points to finish in second and third place respectively.

[Don’t miss the very instructive instalment of the “Endgame Magic Show” with Gukesh]

Shant Sargsyan, Gukesh, Jaime Santos

Top 3 (L to R) - GM Shant Sargsyan, GM D Gukesh and GM Jaime Santos Latasa

The Chessable Sunway Formentera Open took place from April 29 to May 8 in Formentera, the smallest and most southerly island of the Pityusic Islands in the Spanish Balearic Islands autonomous community.

The main event was a 10-round Swiss open, played with a time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds from the first move. The total prize fund of the tournament was €14.500. The top three prizes were €3.000, €2.000 and €1.000 along with a trophy each.

Two crucial wins

On his way to overall victory, Gukesh scored two key wins over a couple of experienced grandmasters — José ‘Pepe’ Cuenca and Krishnan Sasikiran. The youngster had the black pieces in both games.

 

36.bxc6 bxc6 would have been fine for White when the pawn was on f2. However, after 36.f3 Nd6 37.bxc6 bxc6 it is not the same. In fact, it is much worse for White.

Now the threat of f4 is devastating as there are too many ideas for Black, including Nc4-e3 — if Bd2 is played, Nxd2 Qxd2 and the white king will be in deep trouble.

 

 

Black’s pawns on the queenside became a menace after White declined the queen exchange in this position. 35.Qxb7 Rxb7 would have probably not affected the outcome of the game, but it would have given some fighting chances.

Instead, 35.Qc2 suffocated White’s own pieces. There followed 35...b3 36.Qc1 a4 and the white pieces are cramped due to the lack of space. Earlier, Gukesh had declined a threefold repetition, making his intentions clear: he was playing for a win.

 

Video analysis by IM Sagar Shah


Final standings (top 15)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Gukesh Dommaraju 8,0 57,0
2 Santos Latasa Jaime 7,5 58,0
3 Sargsyan Shant 7,5 57,5
4 Martirosyan Haik M. 7,0 57,0
5 Soham Das 7,0 51,0
6 Cuenca Jimenez Jose Fernando 6,5 58,0
7 Santos Ruiz Miguel 6,5 57,0
8 Jarmula Lukasz 6,5 52,5
9 Song Julien 6,5 50,5
10 Romanishin Oleg M 6,5 50,0
11 Batsiashvili Nino 6,0 56,0
12 Yankelevich Lev 6,0 49,5
13 Eugene Floryan 6,0 48,5
14 Chiku-Ratte Olivier-Kenta 6,0 47,0
15 Sasikiran Krishnan 5,5 58,5

...54 players

All available games

 

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Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.