Sayantan Das wins in Cannes, becomes India’s 81st GM

by Shahid Ahmed
3/4/2023 – Sayantan Das won the sixth edition of the Cannes Chess Open. He defeated top seed Alexander Motylev in the final round to become the outright winner with 7½/9 points. This win also helped him to cross 2500 in the ratings list and become India’s 81st grandmaster. Sayantan had fulfilled all the norm requirements in January 2017. | Photo: Susan Polgar

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Six years later

The 2008 World U-12 Gold medallist has been playing at GM strength for over six years. However, the 2500 rating kept eluding him despite getting close to it several times. The final obstacle was overcome in fantastic style as he won the 6th Cannes Chess Open and took his live rating to 2504.

We will have a detailed interview of Sayantan to know his journey, once he is back home.

Fun fact: All three GMs India got this year have won their tournaments when they became a GM by crossing 2500 in the live ratings.

Sayantan Das gained the sole lead with 6½/8 points heading into the final round. He was paired against the European 2014 champion and the coach of former world championship challenger Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Motylev.


Sayantan defended for the better part of the game against Motylev. He kept fighting, and eventually his opponent made an incorrect break in the major piece endgame: 35.c4 dxc4 36.Rb4 Qd5 37.Qe7+ Kb8 38.Qe5+ Qxe5 39.dxe5


The queens have left the board and Black is now winning. There followed 39...e3 40.e6 e2 41.Rb1 fxe6 and Motylev resigned. 

Sayantan also scored a fifth GM-norm with his performance — not that he needed it!

Sayantan Das

A total of 124 players, including 12 GMs, 27 IMs and 6 WIMs took part in the Open A (>2100) section of the Cannes Open. The seven-day nine-round Swiss tournament was organized by Romuald De Labaca at Palais des Festivals de Cannes, France on February 20-26.

The time control of the tournament was 40 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes with 30 seconds increment from move 1.

Cannes Chess Open 2023

The tournament hall at Palais des Festivals de Cannes | Photo: Cannes Echecs

Final standings

Cannes Chess Open 2023

...127 players

All available games



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.