Sunway Sitges: Alekseenko grabs the lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/18/2022 – By beating former co-leader Karthikeyan Murali, Kirill Alekseenko became the first sole leader at the main event of the Sunway Chess Festival in Sitges. After six rounds, the Russian grandmaster still has a perfect score. Standing in sole second place is Karen Grigoryan, who defeated Anton Demchenko on Saturday. Nine players stand a half point further back, including top seeds Yu Yangyi and Hans Niemann. | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

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Beating the Rossolimo

In the latest instalment of his weekly show, Daniel King looked at what he dubbed as the “raging Rossolimo”, where he analysed a game from the Sitges tournament, in which Aditya Samant managed to upset Adhiban from the white side of the Sicilian system. A few days later, Karthikeyan Murali opted to use the same opening with black in the all-important encounter against co-leader Kirill Alekseenko. The Russian prevailed to keep his perfect score and go into the rest day as the sole leader. 

Before Friday’s round, the co-leaders had five players standing a half point behind. Only one of them managed to score a full point, though, and is now in sole second place — Armenian grandmaster Karen Grigoryan, who defeated 2021 European champion Anton Demchenko with the white pieces.

With four rounds to go, set to take place between Monday and Thursday, nine players are sharing third place on 5 out of 6, including the top two seeds in Sitges, Yu Yangyi from China and Hans Niemann from the United States.


A game from the fifth round illustrated how important it is to calculate precisely in pawn endgames. Our in-house expert, GM Karsten Müller, looked at a position with only kings and pawns on the board which saw a 2400+ rated player faltering and losing the game.


Standings after round 6

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Alekseenko Kirill 6 20,5
2 Grigoryan Karen H. 5,5 21
3 Niemann Hans Moke 5 23
4 Karthikeyan Murali 5 22,5
5 Aravindh Chithambaram Vr. 5 22
6 Yu Yangyi 5 21,5
7 Petrosyan Manuel 5 20,5
8 Esipenko Andrey 5 19,5
9 Dardha Daniel 5 19
10 Tin Jingyao 5 18,5
11 Tabatabaei Mohammad Amin 5 18
12 Puranik Abhimanyu 4,5 23
13 Safarli Eltaj 4,5 22
14 Samant Aditya S 4,5 21,5
15 Demchenko Anton 4,5 21,5
16 Kollars Dmitrij 4,5 21
17 Sumets Andrey 4,5 21
18 Sidhant Mohapatra 4,5 21
19 Adhiban B. 4,5 20,5
20 Svane Frederik 4,5 20,5
21 Durarbayli Vasif 4,5 20
22 Kraemer Martin 4,5 20
23 Aryan Chopra 4,5 20
24 Cheparinov Ivan 4,5 19,5
25 Jones Gawain C B 4,5 19,5
26 Sanal Vahap 4,5 19,5
  Raja Rithvik R 4,5 19,5
28 Tahay Alexis 4,5 19,5
29 Prraneeth Vuppala 4,5 19
30 Korobov Anton 4,5 19

...326 players

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A Repertoire against the Italian Game

The repertoire against the Giuoco Pianissimo examined on this video course, provides Black with methods of evading this slightly one-sided pattern, yielding sound play in double-edged positions.


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.