Hrant Melkumyan wins in Riga

by Johannes Fischer
8/24/2014 – GM Hrant Melkumyan started the strong Technical University Open in Riga with 6 out of 6. Then the European Blitz Champion of 2011 decided to slow down and finished the tournament with three draws. Enough to win the tournament, but only because he had half a tie-break point more than Hungarian opening iconoclast Richard Rapport. Report and Games...

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The Riga Technical University Open was played directly after the Olympiad, from 15th August to 24th August 2014. For Sam Shankland this demanding schedule proved to be too much. After his brillant performance in the Olympiad he started the tournament with 0.5/2 and decided to limit the damage to his Elo-rating and take a deserved rest.

The Armenian GM Hrant Melkumyan belongs to the top five players of his country but did not play in the Olympiad. Well rested he started in Riga with 6 out of 6, winning his games with solid technical chess.

Hrant Melkumyan

After this ferocious start he slowed down somewhat and finished the tournament with three draws leading to a final score of 7.5/9. This gave the young Hungarian GM Richard Rapport the chance to catch up with him. Rapport also finished the tournament with 7.5/9 but had the marginally worse tie-break and became second.

Richard Rapport

Rapport, born in 1996, is considered to be one of the greatest young talents in chess. With a rating of 2704 he is number two on the junior list and number 45 in the world. He has a keen tactical eye and likes to mix it up in the opening.

His keen tactical eye allowed him to spot a nice queen sacrifice against Benjamin Bok from Holland:

 

 

The crucial encounter: Richard Rapport against Hrant Melkumyan

Rapport is famous for his innovative and unusual opening play. One striking example was his crucial game against Melkumyan:

 

 

Final Standings

Rg.   Name Typ FED Elo Pkt.
 Wtg1 
 Wtg2 
 Wtg3 
1 GM Melkumyan Hrant   ARM 2655 7.5
43.0
55.5
2792
2 GM Rapport Richard U18 HUN 2704 7.5
43.0
55.0
2809
3 GM Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo   VEN 2653 7.0
42.0
54.0
2731
4 GM Naroditsky Daniel U20 USA 2587 7.0
41.5
53.5
2712
5 GM Savchenko Boris   RUS 2596 7.0
41.0
52.5
2693
6 GM Banusz Tamas   HUN 2585 7.0
40.0
51.5
2674
7 GM Fridman Daniel   GER 2639 7.0
39.0
50.0
2641
8 IM Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. U16 IND 2467 7.0
38.5
49.5
2718
9 GM Bok Benjamin U20 NED 2587 6.5
39.0
51.0
2600
10 GM Molner Mackenzie   USA 2509 6.5
39.0
50.0
2630
11 GM Boruchovsky Avital U18 ISR 2483 6.5
39.0
50.0
2620
12 GM Goganov Aleksey   RUS 2604 6.5
38.5
49.0
2625
13 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej   BLR 2595 6.5
36.5
47.0
2593
14 GM Werle Jan   NED 2511 6.5
36.5
47.0
2534
15 GM Danin Alexandre   RUS 2572 6.5
35.5
44.5
2541
16 IM Steinberg Nitzan U16 ISR 2420 6.5
34.5
44.5
2541
17 GM Baron Tal   ISR 2519 6.5
32.0
41.5
2449
18 GM Kovalenko Igor   LAT 2650 6.0
40.0
51.0
2613
19 GM Kveinys Aloyzas   LTU 2527 6.0
39.5
50.5
2599
20 GM Oparin Grigoriy U18 RUS 2546 6.0
39.0
49.0
2556
21 GM Yemelin Vasily   RUS 2573 6.0
38.5
49.5
2526
22 GM Neiksans Arturs   LAT 2572 6.0
38.0
49.5
2541
23   Sarana Alexey U14 RUS 2341 6.0
38.0
47.5
2555
24 GM Antipov Mikhail Al. U18 RUS 2508 6.0
36.5
46.0
2506
25 IM Swayams Mishra   IND 2479 6.0
36.0
47.0
2514
26 IM Krivonosov Oleg   LAT 2442 6.0
36.0
47.0
2454
27 FM Ben Artzi Ido U20 ISR 2395 6.0
36.0
44.5
2506
28 IM Vavulin Maksim U16 RUS 2425 6.0
35.5
46.5
2421
29 IM Ris Robert   NED 2408 6.0
35.5
46.0
2526
30 GM Gavrilov Alexei   RUS 2505 6.0
35.5
44.0
2493

Complete Standings

Rapport was not the only young talent to shine in Riga. The young Indian IM Aravindh Chitambaram Vr also left a strong impression. With 7/10 he finished equal third on points but eighth on tie-break. In the last round he managed to outwit Alexei Shirov tactically:

 

Aravindh Chithambaram Vr

Alexei Shirov

Alexei Shirov was top seed in Riga but came directly from the Olympiad and seemed exhausted. In the first round he lost against Florian Armbruster from Germany, then won four in row, followed by three draws and the loss against Aravindh Chithambaram.

Playing hall

The winner takes it...

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Johannes was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".
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lecganesan@yahoo.co.in lecganesan@yahoo.co.in 8/25/2014 06:06
great performance by arvind chidambaram! with this victory over shirov, he has become a GM at the age of 15!
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