Untitled Haowen Xue wins strong Arona Open in Tenerife

by Johannes Fischer
7/3/2024 – With 8 points from 10 games (+6, =4), 16-year-old Chinese player Haowen Xue secured the sole tournament victory at the strong Arona Open in Tenerife, which ended on 30 June. Second place went to 15-year-old Englishman Shreyas Royal, who is hoping to replace David Howell as the youngest English grandmaster of all time, but narrowly missed out on his third GM norm in Tenerife. The winner of the tournament, Haowen Xue, has yet to get a title, but is no unknown. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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With an Elo rating of 2452, Haowen Xue started the Arona Open in Tenerife as the 29th seed, behind 26 grandmasters and 2 international masters. But that didn't stop him from winning the event with 8 points from 10 games and an Elo performance of 2677.

In the penultimate round, he scored an important win against Lithuanian GM Titas Stremavicius.

The 16-year-old Chinese player is still untitled, but has already achieved a number of remarkable results in his career. For example, he won gold with the Chinese team at the 2023 World U16 Team Championship in Eindhoven with 7 points from 9 games (+5, =4) on the top board.

However, his eighth place at the strong Dubai Open 2023 attracted even more attention, not least because Xue won a spectacular game against Hans Niemann.

The 15-year-old Shreyas Royal, who finished second at the Arona Open, also caused a stir. Royal was born on 9 January 2009 and is England's youngest International Master. He made his first GM norm in November 2022 at the Tegernsee Open in Germany, which was also a record, as no English player of that age had ever made a GM norm.

On his way to the Grandmaster title: Shreyas Royal | Photo: Olympics.com

In December 2023 Royal made his second GM norm at the London Chess Classic, but with an Elo performance of 2575, Royal narrowly missed his third norm in Tenerife, though he still has a good chance of becoming the youngest English grandmaster of all time. This record has been held for over 17 years by David Howell, who became grandmaster at the Rilton Cup in Stockholm in 2007 at the age of 16.

Final standings Arona Open

Rk. Snr Name Country Elo Pts.  Tb1   Tb2   Tb3 
1 29
Xue, Haowen CHN 2452 8 1 2691 60
2 24
IM Royal, Shreyas ENG 2483 7,5 1 2526 54,5
3 27
IM Zhao, Yuanhe CHN 2463 7,5 2 2563 56
4 5
GM Gorshtein, Ido ISR 2563 7 1 2608 59
5 8
GM Sankalp, Gupta IND 2552 7 1 2594 57,5
6 1
GM Pichot, Alan ESP 2640 7 1 2593 59
7 4
GM Gupta, Abhijeet IND 2589 7 1 2552 55
8 10
GM Stremavicius, Titas LTU 2538 7 1 2538 56,5
9 15
GM Kantor, Gergely HUN 2528 7 1 2523 56
10 13
GM Sosa, Tomas ARG 2535 7 1 2499 54,5
11 3
GM Kazakouski, Valery LTU 2603 7 1 2471 55,5
12 2
GM Albornoz Cabrera, Carlos Daniel CUB 2614 7 1 2465 51,5
13 78
Rappazzo, Johannes SUI 2169 7 1 2331 49,5
14 17
GM Raja, Rithvik R IND 2511 7 3 2455 53,5
15 19
GM Lalit, Babu M R IND 2509 7 3 2394 51
16 21
GM David, Alberto ITA 2502 6,5 1 2567 60,5
17 26
GM Bilguun, Sumiya MGL 2466 6,5 1 2516 56,5
18 6
GM Peralta, Fernando ARG 2562 6,5 1 2494 55,5
19 7
GM Socko, Bartosz POL 2556 6,5 1 2483 56,5
20 54
FM O`gorman, Tom IRL 2337 6,5 1 2413 56,5
21 23
GM Pakleza, Zbigniew POL 2489 6,5 1 2402 52,5
22 32
GM Prraneeth, Vuppala IND 2436 6,5 1 2398 53,5
23 16
GM Blohberger, Felix AUT 2527 6,5 1 2378 51,5
24 22
GM Quparadze, Giga GEO 2494 6,5 1 2299 48
25 12
GM Pantsulaia, Levan GEO 2535 6,5 2 2460 54
26 11
GM Krysa, Leandro ARG 2535 6,5 2 2452 55,5
27 36
IM Dhulipalla, Bala Chandra Prasad IND 2420 6,5 2 2406 54,5
28 20
GM Paichadze, Luka GEO 2504 6 1 2519 59

...157 participants

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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".
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