Sitges: Abdusattorov clinches first place in thrilling playoff

by André Schulz
12/25/2021 – The eighth edition of the strong Open in Sitges was a thrilling tournament throughout, but it offered an extra dose of excitement on the final day of play. Four players finished with 8 points at the top of the standings table, and a knockout was organized to decide the winner. Dimitrij Kollars reached the final, where he lost to Uzbek prodigy Nodirbek Andusattorov. | Photos: Rupali Mullick

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Sunny in Catalonia

The VIII Sunway Sitges Chess Festival brought together a very strong field in the A-Open. 280 players took part. Almost 70 players travelled from India. Spain is considered a good place for young Indian chess players. Firstly, it is still quite warm in December, and secondly, there are several nice Open tournaments played consecutively. The total prize money of 21,000 Euros in the A-Open was certainly another incentive. The strong Indian delegation included 14 GMs and WGMs, with Nihal Sarin as the highest-rated representative.

Not only young Indians but also some talents from other countries took the opportunity to compete in the event. Considering the rising number of coronavirus infections, tournament players have to reckon with a decrease in over-the-board action again at the beginning of 2022. This was, therefore, a golden opportunity to play ‘real’ chess.

The tournament was, of course, conducted under strict sanitary measures. In the tournament hall, for example, all players wore masks. 

There was also a large German delegation, albeit it only had one grandmaster. Dmitrij Kollars was the only top German player who dared to step into the tournament ring once more.

The starting rating list was headed by the winner of 2019, Anton Korobov. Dmitrij Kollars arrived in Catalonia as the ninth seed and soon began to play at the top boards. Before the tenth round, he shared first place with India’s Abhimanyu Puranik, after both players had collected 7½ points. The two grandmasters played on top board in the final round and drew.

Ivan Cheparinov and Nodirbek Abdusattorov were able to catch up with the two leaders by getting wins over Sankalp Gupta and Pranav Anand. Dmitry Kollars had the best tiebreak score, but the rules provided that a playoff would be played with the top eight players in the final standings table.

The last round had started at 10.00 am. At 7.30 pm, some participants were still playing.

The eight playoff participants

With the participation of the four players who obtained 8 points and the first four players with 7½ points, a knockout playoff took place to determine the final ranking, with each mini-match consisting of two blitz games (5’+3”) plus and Armageddon if necessary. 

It was still warm enough in Sitges for the playoffs to take place outdoors.

Dmitrij Kollars eliminated Abhimanyu Puranik in the semifinals, while Abdussattorov beat Cheparinov. In the final, Kollars lost the first game. In the second game, he could not catch up, as the game ended in a draw.


Final standings after 10 rounds

Rg. Name Pkt.  Wtg1 
1 Kollars Dmitrij 8,0 62,0
2 Abdusattorov Nodirbek 8,0 61,5
3 Cheparinov Ivan 8,0 61,0
4 Puranik Abhimanyu 8,0 59,0
5 Sethuraman S.P. 7,5 64,5
6 Van Foreest Lucas 7,5 63,0
7 Safarli Eltaj 7,5 59,5
8 Korobov Anton 7,5 59,0
9 Nihal Sarin 7,5 58,0
10 Erigaisi Arjun 7,5 56,5
11 Dann Matthias 7,5 54,5
12 Kacharava Nikolozi 7,5 54,5
13 Kulaots Kaido 7,5 52,5
14 Tarigan Gilbert Elroy 7,5 52,5
15 Niemann Hans Moke 7,0 61,0
16 Sankalp Gupta 7,0 60,0
17 Kadric Denis 7,0 58,0
18 Dardha Daniel 7,0 57,5
19 Suleymanli Aydin 7,0 57,0
20 Pranav Anand 7,0 56,5
21 Di Berardino Diego Rafael 7,0 56,0
22 Vrolijk Liam 7,0 50,5
23 Galiana Fernandez Adrian 7,0 49,5
24 Bharath Subramaniyam H 7,0 49,0
25 Pranesh M 6,5 61,0

...280 players


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

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