Hans Niemann scores five wins in a row, clinches Uralsk Open

by Shahid Ahmed
8/16/2023 – Hans Niemann scored 7½/9 points to win the Uralsk Open 2023 in Kazakhstan. He finished a full point ahead of a five-player chasing pack consisting of GM Sethuraman S P, GM Manuel Petrosyan, GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, GM Boris Savchenko and Valery Sviridov. Niemann entered the tournament as the rating favourite. The US youngster lost his round-2 game and bounced back in style, scoring 6½/7 from that point on, with five consecutive wins in rounds 5 to 9. | Photos: Kazakh Chess Federation

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A strong comeback

Despite losing the second-round game against FM Mukhammadzokhid Suyarov from Uzbekistan, US grandmaster Hans Niemann managed to win the Uralsk Open 2023 in Kazakhstan. Niemann made a strong comeback, as he scored 6½ points in the next 7 games, including five wins in a row in the last five games.

Niemann entered the final round sharing first place with Sethuraman, each with 6½ points. The tournament’s rating favourite defeated his Indian opponent to become the clear champion.

In the deciding game, Niemann was a pawn down, but his pieces were vastly better coordinated than his opponent’s.

28.Nf5+ was the beginning of the end for Black. There followed 28...Bxf5 29.Rxf5 cxd5 30.Re1 (now all the white pieces have joined the attack) Qd7 31.Qf4

Sethuraman resigned. Black could even get one more extra pawn with 31...dxc3, but his king is defenceless. The threat of Rf5-f6 and the impossibility of playing ...f7-f6 — due to the excellent placement of White’s light-squared bishop — more than justify the Indian’s decision.

Hans Niemann

The deciding encounter

General information

A total of 78 players, including 16 GMs, 5 IMs and a WIM, took part in this 8-day open tournament. It was organized by the RPA Kazakhstan Chess Federation jointly with the State Institution Department of Physical Culture and Sports of West Kazakhstan Region and the WKR Chess Federation at the Palace of Culture Atameken in Uralsk, Kazakhstan, on 21-28 July 2023.

The time control of was 90 minutes for the entire game plus 30-second increments per move from the first move.

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Niemann, Hans Moke 7,5 44,5
2 Sethuraman, S.P. 6,5 48
3 Petrosyan, Manuel 6,5 46
Ter-Sahakyan, Samvel 6,5 46
5 Savchenko, Boris 6,5 44,5
6 Sviridov, Valery 6,5 40,5
7 Lazavik, Denis 6 47
8 Goganov, Aleksey 6 45
9 Aditya, Mittal 6 44,5
10 Fedorov, Alexei 6 44
11 Bernadskiy, Vitaliy 6 43,5
12 Madaminov, Mukhiddin 6 43
13 Nikitenko, Mihail 6 41,5
14 Zakhartsov, Viacheslav V. 6 39
15 Kovalev, Vladislav 5,5 47,5

...80 players

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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.