Leon Luke clinches Baku Open

by Shahid Ahmed
5/15/2023 – GM Leon Luke Mendonca scored an emphatic victory in the final round of Baku Open 2023. He finished with the same score 7/9 as GM Aleksandar Indjic (SRB) and GM Vladislav Kovalev, but won the tournament due to better tie-breaks. The performance rating of the 17-year-old: 2732. This is Leon's third rating open triumph in less than 2.5 months and five podium finishes in his last six strong open events. His performance this year is the definition of impressive. | Photo: FA Lana Afandiyeva

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You remember Leon's immaculate 9.0/9 in the 27th Hit Open? It happened just after he turned 17, and his performance was a startling 3196, which earned him 26.4 points on his FIDE rating. It was his second consecutive tournament triumph in a month: he remained undefeated after winning 38th ChessOrg Festival Bad Woerishofen 2023.

Leon's third tournament triumph in 71 days

The teenager has been performing fantastic in this year. Here are his results since February:

  1. 3rd - 6th Kragero Resort Open 2023 - 22nd to 26th February.
  2. 1st - 38th ChessOrg Festival Bad Woerishofen 2023 - 3rd to 11th March.
  3. 1st - 27th Hit Open 2023 with a perfect 9/9 - 16th to 23rd March.
  4. 4th - 6th La Nucia Open - 5th to 10th April. (Seven players scored the same points as the champion 7.5/9 including Leon).
  5. 3rd - 2nd Chessable Sunway Formentera 2023 - 18th to 28th April.
  6. And now: 1st - Baku Open 2023 - 4th to 12th May.

Champion - GM Leon Luke Mendonca 7.0/9. 2nd GM Aleksandar Indjic (SRB)and 3rd GM Vladislav Kovalev. | Photo: FA Lana Afandiyeva

Leon scored a crucial victory in the final round:

Black captured the d5-pawn 26...Nxd5 27.Bxb5 axb5 no need to hurry in regaining the exchange. 28.Rd1? e3!

28...e3! decided the fate of the game. It can be compared to a goal scored by retired Brazillian footballer, Ronaldo Nazario (since Leon was wearing Brazil no.10 jersey). 28.Re1 would have made e3 ineffective. Anyway, the game continued 29.Ne7+ one final attempt to fight back. 29...Nxe7 30.Qxe3 Qxe3 31.fxe3 Nf6 32.Rc7 Ned5 and Black won the game soon.

Leon Luke Mendonca in his final round game against Prraneeth | Photo: FA Lana Afandiyeva 

GM Leon Luke Mendonca scored an unbeaten 7/9, gained 14.6 Elo rating points with a performance of 2732. The one and only, Vishy Anand congratulated his WACA mentee: "Amazing to win such strong opens with such perseverance and stability."

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Mendonca, Leon Luke 7 2512
2 Indjic, Aleksandar 7 2476
3 Kovalev, Vladislav 7 2426
4 Sethuraman, S.P. 6,5 2476
5 Muradli, Mahammad 6,5 2427
6 Prraneeth, Vuppala 6 2551
7 Aditya, Mittal 6 2534
8 Suleymanli, Aydin 6 2522
9 Nogerbek, Kazybek 6 2507
10 Abasov, Nijat 6 2491
11 Ahmadzada, Ahmad 6 2486
12 Sanikidze, Tornike 6 2484
13 Ansat, Aldiyar 6 2482
14 Safarli, Eltaj 6 2481
15 Samant, Aditya S 6 2472
16 Mamedov, Rauf 6 2472
17 Petrov, Nikita 6 2461
18 Samadov, Read 6 2447
19 Kushko, Dmitriy 6 2411
20 Salimova, Nurgyul 6 2410


And her's an interview with the winner:


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.