Indians dominate in Fagernes

by André Schulz
10/13/2022 – A prominent open event is currently taking place in Fagernes. A strong Indian group is dominating the action. But the top group also includes 17-year-old Elham Abdrlauf, Norway’s biggest rising star. Report after round 5. | Photos: Tom Eriksen

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Eight co-leaders

Last Sunday, the Fagernes Autumn International Open kicked off in the Norwegian town of Fagernes, 180 km north of Oslo. The main organizer is Hans Olav Lahlum, who works in cooperation with Sotra Sjakklubb and Innlandet Sjakkrets.

Olaf Lahlum is a well-known Norwegian chess player, organizer and chess television commentator. As an arbiter, he has worked at the Norwegian National Championships ten times since 2006. From 1999 to 2008 he organized tournaments in Gausdal; in 2011 he began to put them together in Oslo; and since 2014 he moved his events to Fagernes. Olav Lahlum is also a successful crime novelist and has published numerous bestsellers.

The venue for the Fagernes Autumn Open is the Hotel Scandic Valdres in the centre of Fagernes. The festival includes a GM Open (1st prize - 2400 Euro) and a B Open, a “Talking chess” event (four players play on six boards and can consult each other) and blitz tournaments.

In the GM Open, a number of well-known grandmasters are participating, including an Indian contingent including Praggnanandhaa, his sister Vaishali, Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan, Sethuruman, Abhimanyu Puranik and Krishnan Sasikiran. Also competing is Anton Demchenko, the 2021 European champion.

After five rounds, eight players are sharing the lead with 4 points. Among them, five hail from India — Narayanan, Sasikiran, Puranik and the sibling pair of Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali. Pragg, the top seed, drew with Ukrainian streamer Tykhon Cherniaiev in the first round.

Pragg and Tykhon!

After collecting three wins, Praggnanandhaa conceded another draw, this time against Elham Abdrelauf. The 17-year-old from Norway is one of the country’s biggest talents and is now among the co-leaders. Abdrelauf is already tenth in the Norwegian ranking with 2495 rating points to his name.

Mads Anderson and Anton Demchenko complete the group of eight co-leaders.

Standings after round 5


All games


The tournament ends on Sunday, when the final (ninth) round will start at 9.00 am.


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.