Three lead at the Sunway Sitges 2016

by Venkatachalam Saravanan
12/20/2016 – The Sunway Sitges 2016 is currently taking place in Spain from the 16th to the 23rd of December 2016. The tournament is extremely strong with 28 grandmasters playing in the field of 117 participants. Gata Kamsky and Sasikiran are the top seeds with a rating of 2661. However, the most impressive thing about the event is the beautiful setting. IM V. Saravanan, who himself is playing at the event, sent us an impressive pictorial report

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It is almost difficult to concentrate on your games at Sitges, with the natural beauty that surrounds the place. Consider this - Hotel Sunway Playa Golf & Spa, at the end of the Platja de les Anquines, and before the golf course, is a sheer joy to be present.

Hotel Sunway Playa, at the end of a beautiful promenade

 View from the seaside

A walk along the beach overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, before or after the round giving you the utmost of beauty and serenity.

Sitges Beach...

...inviting a leisurely stroll

If you can withstand the cold at the seaside in the morning, the sunrises are simply magnificent…

Sunrise at Sitges...

...and sunsets happen right when you are immersed in your game!

The tournament hall in the evening, as the sun is about to set in the backdrop...

If you are lucky (or very strong!), you might even be at one of the top tables overlooking the sea, from the fifth floor tournament hall which gives you a great view of the sea and the beach.

Some of the players have the best of all views during their games!

View from the tournament hall

The added attraction are the bicycles provided by the hotel, which has made exploration of this beautiful place even more enjoyable!

Indian Grandmaster Shyam Sundar likes his strolls in Sitges!

And of course, there a whole lot of places at Sitges to explore...

The Iglesia de Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla, the Parish Church of Sitges, is a majestic presence at the end of the beach

The cobbledstoned pathways of the old town have their eternal charm

But what makes chess being the centre of all the surroundings is the classy organisation of the event. The placards with the best players in the history of the game staring at you at the foyer sets the mood for the event.

Fittingly, the array of greats start with senor Paul Morphy himself

An excellent tournament hall, and analysis room are a bliss to concentrate on your games.

The beautiful tournament hall, with the first four boards shown live in the huge screen

Believe it or not, this is the anlaysis room!

Lodging for the majority of the players is provided in the hotel itself and the apartment owned by the hotel across Sitges. Promoting the hotel at the onset of the traditional Christmas and New Year vacations, the Sunway Chess International Festival is into its 3rd year now, growing by stature every year. Divided into two groups of competition from its inception in 2014, the tournament has attracted a total of 99 (2014) to 161 (2015) to 275 (2016) entries over the years.

And this year, they have netted two ‘big fish’ in the world championship challenger Gata Kamsky and the former top-20 Krishnan Sasikiran, both identically rated at 2661. They are part of a total of 28 Grandmasters from a total of 117 titled players!

The legendary American GM Gata Kamsky

Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran

A picture from the previous event, with all three top finishers of 2015 back this year too: winner Narsico Dublan, Runner-up Julio Granda Zuniga and third place finisher Fernando Peralta.

Apart from the opens, there are also side events to keep everyone busy at the hotel, including  the Grandmaster simultaneous displays, lectures and late night blitz events.

 A simultaneous display by American prodigy, Awonder Liang

13-year-old Liang is the youngest ever American International Master

As not surprising in many European opens, there is a large Indian contingent of 31 players in the A group, second next to the host Catalonia. Some of them are prodigies who should be looked out for!

12-year-old Nihal Sarin in action

The tournament is being lead by Granda Zuniga, Evgeny Romanov and Shyam Sundar with 4.5/5. Another 4 games remain to be played.

Complete results and pairing

Saravanan is an IM from Chennai, the southern-most state of Tamil Nadu, India. He has been an active chess player in the Indian circuit, turning complete chess professional in 2012, actively playing and being a second to strong Indian players. He has been consistently writing on chess since late 1980s and is a correspondent to national newspapers and news channels.


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