Kunin collects in Zürich

by André Schulz
1/3/2020 – There are several prominent opens held over the Christmas and New Year holidays. One of the long-running traditions is the Christmas tournament in Zurich which took place for the 43rd time. In all, 90 players, including ten grandmasters took part, and first prize went to Vitaly Kunin. | Photo: Gerd Densing

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43rd Christmas Open in Zurich

With 90 participants in the master open, including ten grandmasters, the Christmas open in Zurich was one of the better ones both in terms of quantity and quality of the field. Top contenders were Maxime Lagarde, Martirosyan Haik, Rasmus Svane and Dennis Wagner. Other young GMs like Spain's Lance Henderson de la Fuente competed for top spots in the master tournament, which was held over seven rounds according to the Swiss system.

In the end, however, the 36-year-old "veteran" Vitaly Kunin finished ahead. Like Lagarde, he scored six points, but had a better tiebreak score than his French colleague. Last year's winner Martirosyan came third, half a point behind. Svane also took fourth with 5½ points and Wagner ended tenth with 5 points.

The top-scoring women in the tournament were Laura Unuk and Hakimifard Ghazal, tied for 13th through 19th with 4½ points. In the last round Unuk played with White against Rasmus Svane, achieved a good position after the opening, but was then outplayed by the German talent:


From the diagram position, the youngster from Lübeck finally decided the game in his favour with a petite combinaison: 59...♞d2, followed by 60...♛xh1 and 61...♜c1.

In the parallel amateur open 270 players took part. Here Dorian Asslani won with 6½ points after a better second ranking ahead of Mikayel Martirosyan, the father of GM Haik Martirosyan.

The venue was the Crowne Plaza Hotel. 15 prizes were awarded and the first prize was CHF 3,000 (about USD $3085).

Final standings (Master, top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Kunin Vitaly 6,0 32,0
2 Lagarde Maxime 6,0 31,0
3 Martirosyan Haik M. 5,5 35,5
4 Svane Rasmus 5,5 30,5
5 Grover Sahaj 5,5 30,0
6 Henderson De La Fuente Lance 5,0 31,5
7 Pikula Dejan 5,0 30,5
8 Fecker Noah 5,0 30,0
9 Zhang Xiaopeng 5,0 29,5
10 Wagner Dennis 5,0 29,5
11 Maki-Uuro Miikka 5,0 29,5
12 Janoszka Arnd 5,0 28,5
13 Paltrinieri Nicholas 4,5 29,0
14 Hakimifard Ghazal 4,5 27,5
15 Unuk Laura 4,5 26,5
16 Florescu Codrut Constantin 4,5 24,5
17 Damjanovic Vuk 4,5 24,0
18 Angst Oliver 4,5 23,0
19 Akermann Thomas 4,5 23,0
20 Wagner Leopold Franziskus 4,0 28,5

...90 Players

All games


Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


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


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