Hastings Chess Congress ends in seven-way tie

by Albert Silver
1/6/2014 – The Hastings Chess Congress was held from December 28th, 2013, to January 5th, 2014, and marked the 89th edition of the venerable tournament. Though no longer world class event it once was, it has managed to survive where higher-profile events fell. Players from around the globe still flocked to the traditonal competition to add their names to the same roster as Capablanca and Botvinnik.

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The Hastings Chess Congress was held from December 28th, 2013, to January 5th, 2014, and marked the 89th edition of the venerable tournament. It is true the great chess tradition is but a shadow of what it once was, but fortunes rise and fall, and do rise again, and while many great events have fallen victim to the vicissitudes of fortune, the resilient Hastings has held fast, offering players the opportunity to inscribe their name on the same rosters as Capablanca, Botvinnik, and endless others.

The competition has long been a proving ground for young British talent

The competition received players from Russia, China, all the way to South Africa and New Zealand for nine rounds of chess action to end the old year and start the new one in the midst of their shared passion. The games were played at 40 moves in 100 minutes, followed by 20 moves in 50 minutes, followed by all the moves in 15 minutes, with the addition of 30 seconds for each move from the start.

Many of the games were broadcast live, and spectators or players could watch
the action on screens placed throughout

Sadly, none of the players was able to truly shine much brighter than the others, and the last round ended with seven players tied for a modest 6.5/9, with all splitting prize money equally. According to the tiebreak system used, top-seed Mikheil Mchedlishvili, rated 2649, from Georgia came in first, followed by German Igor Khenkin in second, and Chinese GM Ma Qun in third.

Ma Qun (left) from China was third on tiebreak, and drew in the last round with
Mikheil Mchedlishvili (right) who came first

GM Igor Khenkin came in second, while his opponent FM Jovica Radovanovic
won the prize of the best non-GM/IM

In the second round, 14-year-old Ravi Haria beat IM Justin Sarkar in spectacular fashion after the latter erred.

Young Ravi Haria

Pictures by Lara Barnes

[Event "89th Hastings Masters 2013-14"] [Site "Hastings ENG"] [Date "2013.12.29"] [Round "2.8"] [White "Haria, Ravi"] [Black "Sarkar, Justin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B51"] [WhiteElo "2160"] [BlackElo "2425"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2013.12.28"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7. c4 b5 8. Nc3 bxc4 9. Qxc4 e6 10. Bg5 Qb6 11. O-O Ne7 12. Rad1 Ng6 13. Rfe1 h6 14. Be3 { The New York IM seems to be seriously underestimating his young opponent, which may be why he played the howler:} Qxb2 $2 {Although this is a serious blunder, White's refutation is spectacular.} 15. Rb1 Qa3 16. Qc7 Rc8 ({The problem is that after a normal move such as} 16... Be7 {The queen is lost to} 17. Rb3 $1 {and she is trapped.}) 17. Rb8 Rxb8 18. Qxb8+ Ke7 19. Bb6 { Threatening the straightforward Qd8 mate.} Kf6 20. Qd8+ Be7 21. Qxd7 Ne5 (21... Qxc3 {loses to} 22. Bd4+ $1) {White finds the mercy blow} 22. Nd5+ $3 ({After} 22. Nd5+ exd5 ({Or} 22... Kg6 23. Nxe5+ dxe5 24. Nxe7+ {and White is two pieces up.}) 23. Qf5#) 1-0

Final standings

Rk Name Ti FED Rtg Pts TPR
1 Mchedlishvili, Mikheil GM GEO 2649 6.5 2628
2 Khenkin, Igor GM GER 2598 6.5 2548
3 Ma, Qun GM CHN 2595 6.5 2631
4 Hebden, Mark L GM ENG 2560 6.5 2479
5 Vakhidov, Jahongir IM UZB 2452 6.5 2520
6 Sarkar, Justin IM USA 2425 6.5 2527
7 Radovanovic, Jovica FM SRB 2339 6.5 2511
8 Pert, Nicholas GM ENG 2554 6.0 2542
9 Gordon, Stephen J GM ENG 2519 6.0 2421
10 Hawkins, Jonathan IM ENG 2512 6.0 2513
11 Gormally, Daniel W GM ENG 2500 6.0 2483
12 Rahman, Ziaur GM BAN 2496 6.0 2451
13 Flear, Glenn C GM ENG 2471 6.0 2558
14 Arkell, Keith C GM ENG 2438 6.0 2449
15 Cherniaev, Alexander GM RUS 2434 6.0 2354
16 Milliet, Sophie IM FRA 2387 6.0 2433
17 Foisor, Cristina-Adela IM ROU 2355 6.0 2483
18 Mu, Ke   CHN 2302 6.0 2372


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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