Undefeated Alekseenko Wins Sitges With 2837 Performance Rating

Undefeated Alekseenko Wins Sitges With 2837 Performance Rating


The Chessable Sunway Sitges Chess Festival 2022 was won by GM Kirill Alekseenko. He scored 8.5/10 in the ninth edition of the Spanish tournament, taking home the first-place trophy and €5,000. Coming in second was GM Hans Niemann, who beat GM Amin Tabatabaei in a tiebreak match after both had scored 8/10.

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You can click here to find all the details of what happened during the event, including games, results, standings, and more, as part of our live events platform.

The ninth edition of the tournament took place December 12-22 in Sitges, a beach town in the Catalonia region of Spain, just outside Barcelona. The annual chess festival is a strong open, featuring some of the world’s top grandmasters in a 10-round Swiss. 

Taking the spot of first seed was GM Yu Yangyi, who is currently 18th in global rankings. Among the 43 grandmasters who played in the event were GM Vasyl Ivanchuk, GM Andrey Esipenko, and 2021 Tata Steel Champion, GM Jorden van Foreest. With such a high number of strong players, including many who have at some point crossed into the “super-GM” territory of a 2700+ FIDE rating, it was hard to predict who would come out on top at the end of the 10 rounds.

Grandmaster Kirill Alekseenko Chessable Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival Karen Grigoryan Lula Roberts Chesscom
Round 7: GM Kirill Alekseenko and GM Karen Grigoryan. Photo: Tallulah Roberts/Chess.com.

The Russian grandmaster drew against Niemann in the 10th and final round of the tournament, securing a winning score of 8.5 and not losing a single game. Alekseenko, rated 2682, had a short string of draws toward the end of the event after winning every game in the first seven rounds and finished the event with a tournament performance rating of 2837.

Alekseenko previously competed in the 2020-21 Candidates Tournament after being selected as a wildcard. He had come third on tiebreaks in the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss, making him eligible for wildcard selection because the second-place player, GM Fabiano Caruana, had already qualified for a place at the Candidates Tournament.

Below is his round-two win over IM Fernando Valenzuela Gomez, analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao

Labeling itself as a chess “festival,” the Sitges tournament offered many extra events including table tennis and padel tournaments, exercise classes, and cooking workshops. The Sunway Playa Golf & Spa Sitges Hotel also hosted a FIDE training camp in the week leading up to the tournament, with a focus on young talents, and had been the venue for the 2021 FIDE World Women’s Team Championship.

Throughout the tournament, there were two open blitz tournaments, the first of which was won by GM Anton Korobov who scored 7.5/9, and the second by GM Raja Rithvik R, who scored 8.5/9. There was also a seven-round junior blitz event, won by IM Yagiz Erdogmus with a score of 6.5/7.

Running alongside the tournament were daily masterclasses from grandmasters competing in the tournament, such as GM Adhiban Baskaran and GM Jan Gustafsson, as well as lectures from van Foreest, Ivanchuk, Korobov, and others. 

Grandmaster Adhiban Baskaran Chessable Chesscom Sitges Sunway Chess Festival Lula Roberts Lularobs
GM Adhiban Baskaran gave a masterclass on attacking chess. Photo: Tallulah Roberts/Chess.com.

It was unclear until the final round who would win the tournament, and although there were several draws among the top seeds in the later rounds, there was no shortage of decisive and exciting high-level chess games:

The first-place women’s prize was won by IM Irina Bulmaga, a well-known Chessable author. Also showing great performance was WGM Teodora Injac, who made a nine-round IM norm and scored a total of 6/10 with five draws against grandmasters.

WGM Teodora Injac Chesscom Chessable Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival Emilia Castelao
WGM Teodora Injac. Photo: Emilia Castelao/FIDE.

Overachieving with a performance rating of 2554 was British IM Jonah Willow, who scored 7.5/10 including two wins against grandmasters. He placed 13th after starting as the 72nd highest seed.

Tabatabaei, who placed third, turned a Berlin Defense into one of the most exciting games at the event:

Grandmaster Amin Tabatabaei Chesscom Chessable Sunway Sitges Chess Festival Lula Roberts Tallulah
GM Amin Tabatabaei. Photo: Tallulah Roberts/Chess.com.

A nice combination by van Foreest in round three caused quite a stir on social media. The Dutch super-GM demonstrated an advanced wrinkle in the thematic Greek Sacrifice.

The total prize fund for the tournament was €28,700, €21,400 of which was allocated to Group A. Alekseenko was awarded €5,000 for first place, while Niemann walked away with €3,000 and Tabatabaei €1,500. Bulmaga was also awarded €1,500 as the first-place women’s prize.

The hotel owner, Oskar Stöber Blazquez, has already announced the dates for next year’s edition of the Chessable Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival will be December 11-22 2023, noting that it will be “quite special next year, as it will be our 10th edition in Sitges.”

Grandmaster Kirill Alekseenko Sitges Sunway Festival Chessable Chesscom
GM Kirill Alekseenko is awarded his trophy and €5,000. Photo: Isabel Garcia de la Cruz/Chessable.

Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo

Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 8 GM Alekseenko Kirill 2672 8.5 64 68.5 56.5
2 2 GM Niemann Hans Moke 2698 8 60.5 65.5 50.5
3 10 GM Tabatabaei Mohammad Amin 2660 8 58.5 62.5 49
4 13 GM Petrosyan Manuel 2621 7.5 61.5 66.5 48
5 1 GM Yu Yangyi 2728 7.5 61.5 65 46.5
6 20 GM Durarbayli Vasif 2612 7.5 59.5 65 48
7 14 GM Karthikeyan Murali 2620 7.5 59 63.5 44.5
8 17 GM Bernadskiy Vitaliy 2617 7.5 58.5 63.5 46.25
9 24 GM Dardha Daniel 2606 7.5 58 62.5 43.75
10 6 GM Esipenko Andrey 2678 7.5 57 61.5 45.25
11 5 GM Moussard Jules 2684 7.5 56 60.5 44.25
12 29 GM Tin Jingyao 2562 7.5 55.5 60 44.25
13 72 IM Willow Jonah B 2409 7.5 54.5 58 41.5
14 58 IM Boyer Mahel 2434 7.5 51 55.5 42.5
15 18 GM Puranik Abhimanyu 2616 7 61.5 67 44
16 9 GM Korobov Anton 2662 7 59.5 64.5 44.75
17 21 GM Adhiban B. 2611 7 58.5 63 42.25
18 28 GM Svane Frederik 2568 7 58 63 42.5
19 4 GM Cheparinov Ivan 2688 7 58 62.5 42.75
20 22 GM Kollars Dmitrij 2610 7 58 62.5 42.75

The main event of the Chessable Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival, a strong open, took place December 12-22, 2022 in Sitges, Spain. The format was a 10-round Swiss. The time control was 90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with a 30-second increment from the first move.


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