The penultimate round took place under the overwhelming Indian dominance, awaiting tomorrow’s ninth and final day, when the winner of the championship will be decided.
The penultimate day of competition in the Llobregat Open Chess has started with a session of simultaneous games between twenty students of the Baldiri Guilera high school and the U12 world champion, the Indian Savitha Shri. The games were started by the tournament manager, International Master Marcelo Panelo, followed by Shri, who gave a master class to the young people present.
After the games, which have all ended with the victory of the young Indian, the students have chatted with the world champion about her life and how to become a top chess player. Shri, who has prepared thoroughly for the championship – in fact, he brought his own food from India – responded to the students and showed them that getting to a good level is within everyone’s reach, with effort.
Indian dominance on the board
Pending what happens tomorrow in the ninth and final round, it looks like it will be difficult to make a spot in the top four without an Indian passport. In the head-to-head matchups between the top seeds, SL Narayanan and Arjun Erigaisi have defeated Hashit Raja and P. Iniyan, respectively, so they are almost assured, if they do not suffer a setback tomorrow, their presence in the final round of rapid.
Among the non-Indian contenders to sneak into the fray, we find the Belgian Rein Verstraeten, the championship’s dark horse, who has slipped into the noble zone without making much noise and with an ELO of 2,365. Today he had the opportunity, therefore, to get a better position in the table, but he drew with Tomás Sosa -who, however, has an ELO almost 200 points higher, so it would not be a bad result-. Be that as it may, the Belgian’s chances remain intact. Who could also say something is the Icelandic Gudmundur Kjartansson, another chess player with possibilities, who has faced in the European derby Grandmaster Mateusz Bartel, who has gone from worse to better in this El Llobregat Open Chess and recovers options to get into the final, since he has beaten the Icelandic.
Another player who has been improving day by day has been the young D. Gukesh, who today drew against his compatriot Rithvik Raja, a direct rival for the places that give the right to the final round.
As for the Spanish representation, Daniel Alsina lost against his compatriot Marc Narciso, while Salvador del Río drew with the young Israeli Evgeny Zanan.
A spectacular last round
Tomorrow the first edition of El Llobregat Open Chess will come to an end with some luxury visitors: the masters Pepe Cuenca and ‘El Divis’ Martínez, who will be in charge of broadcasting, with their characteristic style, the day from an improvised set in the analysis room. A last round in which, after nine days of chess, we will know the winners of group A and group B, as well as choose the revelation prize -to be awarded by the mother of the Prat Grandmaster David García-.
About Llobregat Open Chess
The Llobregat Open Chess is an international chess tournament held from December 3 to 11 at the CEM Estruch in El Prat de Llobregat. It has more than 200 registered participants from some forty countries around the world. Among the best players in the tournament, the presence of international and Spanish champions stands out, such as Karen Movsziszian, Armenian and World Veteran Champion with an ELO of 2,491 points; D. Gukesh, from India, U12 World Champion and second youngest Grandmaster in history with a FIDE average of 2,520 points; or Gabriel del Río, absolute champion of Spain and with an ELO of 2,478.520 points; or Gabriel del Rio, absolute champion of Spain and with an ELO of 2,478, in addition to the French Maxime Lagarde, champion of France, and Edouard Romain, with titles of European and French champion to his credit and an ELO of 2,651. Among the Spanish participants is the very young Diego Vergara, U12 state champion with an ELO of 2,138.