IM Raghunandan and GM Indjic perfect at Dubai Open 2019

by Niklesh Kumar Jain
4/6/2019 – The Dubai Open has been a source of excellent opportunities for players all across the world to play in a strong open event for 21 years now. Some of the readers may remember Magnus Carlsen getting his final GM norm at one of the earlier editions of this event in 2004. This year we have 163 players with some exciting talents. After four rounds we have two leaders with a perfect 4.0/4: IM Raghunandan KS (2370) and GM Aleksandar Indjic. NIKLESH JAIN, who is present at the venue, brings you detailed report.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


From Sharjah to Dubai

After the Sharjah Masters 2019, UAE witnesses the start of another super strong event — the Dubai Open. This is the 21st edition, showing a long-standing tradition of organizing this high-quality tournament since the late 90s. Almost all of the top players in the world of chess have, at some point in their career, played at the Dubai Open!

If you look at the above image carefully, you will spot a familiar face in the background. Yes, the young boy who is standing and watching the game is none other than Magnus Carlsen, who played the Dubai Open in 2004 and achieved his final GM norm!

The road towards the Dubai Chess Club | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The Dubai Chess Club is in the shape of a rook! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The top seed of the event is GM Le Quang Liem, who is here with his wife Thanh Trúc Nguyễn | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The opening ceremony | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Le Quang Liem versus Tihana Blagojevic on the top board in round one | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The tournament has begun with a total of 163 players from 35 countries. 80 players out of 163 playing at the event are from India. There are in all 31 GMs and 24 IMs taking part in this tournament. The players are fighting for the top prize of US$ 13,000. Le Quang Liem is the only participant above the Elo of 2700.

The second seed of the tournament GM Maxim Matlakov from Russia | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Two GMs who will be fighting for the top spots in the event: Eduardo Iturrizaga (left) and Mareco Sandro (right) | Photo: Niklesh Jain

After four rounds

Four rounds have been completed and Friday was a rest day. At the end of four rounds we have two leaders. GM Aleksandar Indjic from Serbia and KS Raghunandan from India. While Indjic's performance is something we can expect from a 2592 GM, Raghunandan has been extremely impressive. With just a rating of 2370, he currently has a performance of well over 3000 Elo!

IM K.S. Raghunandan has been the surprise of the event | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Raghunandan KS started as the 56th seed, yet after four rounds he is the leader of the event with four victories. From rounds two to four he has defeated three grandmasters — GM Ahmed Adly, GM Vahap Sanal and GM Alan Pichot.

Raghunandan has used the King's Indian to score two important wins with the black pieces | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Here are all the three games played by Raghunandan. What is interesting to note, is that all of the games that he played have been fist fights, and in all of them he has come out victorious.


The other player who has 100% score at the event is Aleksandar Indjic | Photo: Niklesh Jain


While the top board clash in round five between Raghunandan and Indjic promises to be interesting, we have 11 players on 3½/4 waiting for the leaders to slip up, so that they can claim the driver's seat. The chasing pack includes Maxim Matlakov, Uzbek talent Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Spanish GM Miguel Santos, Ukrainian former talent Yuriy Kuzubov, trying to become the first GM of Malaysia Yeoh Li Tian, fresh from an excellent performance at Sharjah Masters Shamsiddin Vokhidov, top seed Le Quang Liem, Algerian GM Bilel Bellahcene, top Indian GM Sethuraman SP and Argentinian GM Sandro Mareco.

Standings after round 4 (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.
1 Raghunandan Kaumandur Srihari 4,0
2 Indjic Aleksandar 4,0
3 Matlakov Maxim 3,5
4 Abdusattorov Nodirbek 3,5
  Santos Ruiz Miguel 3,5
6 Kuzubov Yuriy 3,5
  Yeoh Li Tian 3,5
  Vokhidov Shamsiddin 3,5
9 Le Quang Liem 3,5
  Bellahcene Bilel 3,5
11 Sethuraman S.P. 3,5
12 Mareco Sandro 3,5
13 Deepan Chakkravarthy J. 3,5
14 Sadhwani Raunak 3,0
15 Kuybokarov Temur 3,0
16 Visakh N R 3,0
17 Pichot Alan 3,0
  Sanal Vahap 3,0
19 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo 3,0
  Debashis Das 3,0

All available games


Additional photos

The fighting GM from Iran, Amin Tabatabaei is on 3.0/4 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Bilel Bellahance from Algeria is on 3½/4 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

One of world's youngest GMs Javokhir Sindarov is on 3.0/4 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

We mentioned in our April ratings report about this 13-year-old from India who now has an Elo of 2432! Meet Divya Deshmukh, the top under-14 girl player in the world | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The man who put Iranian chess on the world map — GM Ghaem Maghami | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The famous chess painting when you enter the Dubai Chess Club. A lot of people recognize the Dubai Chess Club with just this painting! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The trophy that will be awarded to the winner of the event | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Dubai Blitz 2019

On the rest day, the traditional Dubai Blitz event was held. Players usually enjoy playing the blitz because an entire day has been specially dedicated for this event. As a result, you can see many of the top GMs taking part. The tournament is conducted smoothly without any delays and glitches and ends in four hours. This year the event was won by GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia. 

Mchedlishvili after winning the blitz tournament | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The prize winners along with the organizers | Photo: Niklesh Jain


FIDE Instructor Niklesh Kumar Jain Jain is an international chess player who has participated in tournaments in almost in 20 different countries, winning the international tournament in Sri Lanka in 2010. He also worked for a television network as an anchor and news writer for two years and reported in Hindi during World Chess Championship 2013 and 2014.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register